Sage Hospitality Taps Prominent Hospitality Executive Shakir Hussain as GM to Lead Lavishly Restored The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel

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Appointment Poised to Establish The Blackstone Hotel as an International Benchmark of Excellence in Luxury, Style and Service

Sage Hospitality, the Denver, Colorado based hospitality company, has selected Shakir Hussain, a prominent industry veteran whose distinguished career includes executive team building and leadership posts at luxury five -star hotels and resorts in the U.S. and abroad, to lead this legendary Chicago hotel on Michigan Avenue in its post-opening phase. The Blackstone, a national landmark that provided regal lodgings for many of the 20th century's most famous figures - from a dozen U.S. presidents to Hollywood stars -officially opened on April 30, 2008 after lying dormant since 1999. Sage spearheaded the $128 million showcase renovation of the historic Blackstone, sensitively preserving its architectural legacy while transforming it into a world-class, 332-room luxury hotel.

Walter Isenberg, president and chief executive of Sage, described Mr. Hussain as uniquely qualified to position The Blackstone Hotel as an international destination and a benchmark of excellence in luxury, style and service.

"Mr. Hussain brings impeccable executive management credentials in the hospitality industry to The Blackstone and a profound understanding about the expectations of the world's most sophisticated travelers," said Mr. Isenberg. "Mr. Hussain's demonstrated success in collaborative team building will enable us to nurture a culture and brand that graciously delivers an inspired and iconic 'Blackstone' experience to our guests."

Mr. Hussain launched his hospitality career training with The Oberoi Group, headquartered in New Delhi, India, that owns and manages world-class hotels in seven countries. From 1992 until 1997, Mr. Hussain served as assistant general manager of the Art Deco RIGHA Royal Hotel providing leadership to establish the property as one of the most financially successful hotels in New York City.

Other career highlights include introducing "mini bars" at the Waldorf-Astoria, executive positions at the famed Colonial Williamsburg Hotels and Royal Caribbean International where one of Mr. Hussain's responsibilities was to establish an exclusive level of service and to maximize the revenue stream for "Explorer of the Seas", the world's largest cruise ship. Most recently, Mr. Hussain was the vice president of operations for Heritage Hotels in Arizona. Mr. Hussain is a graduate of the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

About The Blackstone, A Renaissance Hotel
Located in the heart of Chicago's arts and theater district and adjacent to the world class Millennium Park, The Blackstone, offers 332 stylish suites and hotel rooms in downtown Chicago, among them the fabled Presidential Suite and the Smoke-filled Room, 19,670 square feet of meeting space, which includes the lavishly restored Crystal Ballroom, a health club, and a business center. The Blackstone's ambiance is a dynamic mix of historic architecture and savvy design combined with luxury amenities and thoughtful guest services.

As a Chicago touchstone and celebration of the arts, Sage commissioned a curator to assemble an innovative collection of over 1600 works of original art by contemporary Chicago artists that is on display in guestrooms and in public spaces throughout the hotel. A street -level Starbucks Café with outdoor seating serves hotel guests, the local business community and neighborhood residents. The Sage Restaurant Group operates a critically acclaimed, independent downtown Chicago restaurant at the Michigan Avenue location, Mercat a la Planxa, offering modern Catalan cuisine.

This fall The Chicago Blackstone Hotel will debut a "hotel within a hotel" concept, Hubbard Place, designed to pamper guests with an exclusive experience that accentuates personalized services. Hubbard Place, on floors 20-23 of the hotel, will feature custom designed suites, conference rooms and a dramatic lounge with sweeping views of Lake Michigan.

For more information and reservations, please call The Blackstone at (312) 447-0955 or visit The Blackstone web site at http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/chirh.

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