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Auckland's Sheraton Rebranded the Langham Hotel

Sheraton Auckland Hotel and Towers to be rebranded the Langham Hotel, Auckland

Hong Kong, 15th March 2004 ----- Sheraton Auckland Hotel and Towers, the first five-star hotel of its kind operated by an international chain in New Zealand, will be renamed on 1 January, 2005, the Langham Hotel, Auckland.

Langham Hotels International (LHI) is the hotel operating and management arm of Hong Kong based and publicly listed Great Eagle Holdings Limited who acquired the hotel in 1997 in one of the biggest investments in New Zealand tourism infrastructure of the time, and it will also assume the management and operation of the establishment under its own brand when the current management contract expires by agreement with the Starwood Group at the end of the year.

LHI will at the same time take over the management of its wholly-owned Sheraton Towers Southgate in Melbourne bringing both the Australian and New Zealand establishments into the deluxe group of Langham hotels with their properties in Boston, Hong Kong and London.

Vice President of Operations (Australia and New Zealand) of LHI, Brett Butcher, who made the announcement today (15 March), said that Langham Hotels International was committed to New Zealand as an important market.

“Langham has a strong belief in the future of the tourism sector, so much so we are introducing our own flagship brand to this market and are currently reviewing plans to invest further in upgrading services and facilities at the Auckland property.

“We value the reputation that our hotels in Melbourne and Auckland have each achieved over the years and are appreciative of the efforts Sheraton has made in keeping them among the market leaders in their respective cities. We look forward to many more years of providing customers with the deluxe international standard of fine hospitality offered by our Langham Hotels worldwide,” Butcher said.

The Langham in London, from which the Langham Group takes its name, was opened in 1865 as Europe’s first truly grand hotel and was purchased by Great Eagle in 1996 following a US$150 million refurbishment that saw the building restored to its original glory. The hotel has played host to many royal guests, foreign dignitaries and celebrities over the years.

Great Eagle’s decision to name its hotel company Langham Hotels International underscores its belief that the strength of the Langham name accurately reflects its commitment to being at the forefront of the hospitality industry – just like the Langham in London 140 years ago – with a top quality product, excellent service and superb environments throughout the hotels it operates.

“We are looking to extend Langham Hotels as a new luxury brand alternative, both with our wholly-owned properties where appropriate, and in partnership with other likeminded owners,” Butcher said.

“We believe our own European origins with the Langham name, and intimate knowledge of traditional hospitality values, coupled with strong, internationally experienced management, will allow further expansion for Langham Hotels to occur in the coming years.”

It will be business as normal for customers, patrons and staff at the Sheraton Auckland in the meantime.

Starwood will continue to provide corporate sales and marketing support to the hotels while working with Langham to effect a smooth transition. The existing Auckland management team and staff will stay in place to continue with the excellent operations of the hotel.

“We are very proud of the highly professional and dedicated team at the hotel, among the finest in the hospitality industry, and we know they will continue to provide the excellent service that is associated with the hotel,” said David Shackleton, Senior Vice President and Area Managing Director, Australia/New Zealand/Fiji, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

“We value greatly the seven year partnership with Great Eagle Holdings Limited in the management of these excellent hotels in Melbourne and Auckland. We wish Great Eagle Holdings continued success with the hotels under its hotel operating arm of Langham Hotels International,” Shackleton said.

The landmark Sheraton Auckland hotel has been a three-time winner of New Zealand’s “Best Hotel in Tourism Awards” accorded by the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association. As a third time winner of the award, the hotel received an additional merit in the form of a certificate of distinction that admits the hotel into the Tourism Hall of Fame.

Background Note: Langham Hotels International is a dynamic, modern hospitality ownership and management company which operates a number of luxury hotels and serviced apartment properties in prime locations within Hong Kong and overseas.

Its parent company is the publicly listed Great Eagle Holdings Limited., which was founded in 1963 and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 1972.

The Great Eagle Group is one of Hong Kong’s leading property and hotel companies.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, the Group develops, invests in and manages high quality office, retail, residential and hotel properties in Hong Kong, North America and Europe.

Its core commercial properties comprise 1.6 million square feet of Grade-A office space in the prime commercial districts of Hong Kong. It is also developing a 1.8 million square feet office, retail and hotel complex in the prime shopping district of Mongkok, Kowloon.

The Group’s extensive international hotel portfolio currently comprises seven gateway city luxury properties with over 4,000 rooms.

Properties managed and operated by Langham Hotels International in Hong Kong include the luxury Langham Hotel, Hong Kong, the Langham Place Hotel (a five-star property in Mongkok opening Summer 2004), the superior Eaton Hotel, three Eaton House serviced apartment buildings and the Yat Tung Heen Chinese Restaurants.

Other overseas properties owned by the Group - in addition to the hotels in Melbourne and Auckland which will be rebranded under the Langham flag in 2005 - include the Langham Hotel, London in England; the Langham Hotel, Boston in the US; and the Four Diamond rated Delta Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, Canada.

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