Ascend Hotel Collection Accelerates Growth In Top Destinations

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ascend Hotel Collection, part of Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) continues its rapid expansion with the announcement today of four new hotels in the premier destinations of Sedona, Ariz.; Napa Valley and Carmel, Calif.; and New Orleans, La. These new additions expand the current portfolio to 77 properties open, with signed agreements for an additional 24 slated to debut during the next two months.

The latest Ascend Hotel Collection additions are: Napa Winery Inn, Carmel Mission Inn and Arroyo Pinion Hotel, the portfolio's first properties in Napa Valley, Carmel and Sedona (respectively) and St. James Hotel, its second hotel in New Orleans.

Other notable recent additions include the iconic Postcard Inn, a modern beachfront hotel with vintage flair in St. Pete Beach, Fla., the No. 1 destination on TripAdvisor's 2012 list of Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States.

"Our new members play a key role in the Choice Hotels strategy to expand in the upscale market," said Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands at Choice Hotels. "With exceptional properties in some of the world's most sought-after vacation spots, Ascend appeals to the growing number of business and leisure travelers who favor unique experiences and authentic hotels that provide a true taste of the local culture."

Since its launch in late 2008 with 17 upscale properties in the United States, Ascend Hotel Collection has grown into a global portfolio of independent hotels, each with a unique personality reflecting the local character of its destination. The distinctive hotels are located in key business and leisure destinations throughout the U.S. as well as in Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Central America.

Members of Ascend Hotel Collection maintain their independent brand identity and local charm, while adding the firepower of the Choice Hotels global distribution, sales, marketing and technology platforms. Ascend Hotel Collection has a proven track record for driving reservations, providing such advantages as Choice Privileges, enabling guests to earn points to redeem for free nights and other rewards and giving hotels visibility before a network of more than 16 million rewards members worldwide. Additionally, Ascend Hotel Collection properties are featured on ChoiceHotels.com, one of the industry's most visited websites, attracting more than 100 million visits annually. They also are supported by mobile platforms and e-marketing tools, including the Choice Hotels iPhone, iPad and Android apps, making the properties instantly available to millions of travelers worldwide. Following are the latest additions to the eclectic portfolio.

Napa Winery Inn, Napa Valley, Calif. In the heart of California's premier Wine Country, this newly renovated boutique hotel provides easy access to downtown Napa, Yountville and the area's legendary wineries and restaurants. The three-story Inn houses 59 guestrooms, each with dark wood furnishings, large windows, luxurious bedding and regionally inspired artwork. Some rooms also feature patios, wet bars and large sitting areas. A complimentary Wine Country breakfast is served daily in the spacious lobby breakfast area, where the Inn also hosts a winetasting reception in the evenings. There's a courtyard with heated outdoor pool and hot tub and meeting space accommodating up to 50 people. Napa Winery Inn's central location puts guests close to the acclaimed Culinary Institute of America and unique Wine Country experiences like the Napa Valley Wine Train and Balloons Above the Valley. Rates start at $139 - $209 per night through April 30, 2013.

St. James Hotel, New Orleans – This luxurious hotel in the downtown business district is steps away from the world-famous French Quarter, The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk, Harrah's Casino, boutiques, renowned restaurants, nightlife and the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The refurbished, 86-room boutique hotel is housed within the Banks Arcade, a 19th-century landmark once the center of the Caribbean sugar and coffee trade. Guestrooms and suites celebrate the setting's rich history with elegant furnishings and West Indies decor. Guests enjoy rooms comfortably located just off a lush courtyard surrounded by sunny rooftop terraces. Deluxe rooms offer balconies with panoramic views of downtown and elegant four-poster beds with spacious sitting areas. Among St. James Hotel's notable neighbors are The Chophouse New Orleans steak house and the Board of Trade special event venue. The hotel is also minutes from the New Orleans International Airport and a short stroll to the historic streetcar line, Aquarium of the Americas, Shops at Canal Place, National WWII Museum and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Rates are from $109 through July 31, 2013. Blackout dates apply over special event timeframes.

Carmel Mission Inn, Carmel, Calif. Minutes from downtown Carmel by the Sea and the beach, this stylish, full-service hotel is close to all that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer: beautiful coastline, world-class golf and spas, unique shops, wineries, art galleries and stellar restaurants. The pet-friendly, 165-room hotel welcomes with spacious guestrooms, each equipped with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen televisions and some with balconies affording spectacular views. The contemporary, onsite Fuse Lounge Cafe serves breakfast, dinner and creative cocktails daily, with live music on weekends. Among the other comforts are spa services, a fitness room, outdoor heated pool and hot tub, courtyard with fire pit, and vibrant gardens. Five meeting rooms accommodate groups of up to 275 people for weddings, meetings and private parties. Deep-sea fishing, whale-watching tours, Pebble Beach, Point Lobos State Park, the Carmel Mission, and Fisherman's Wharf are all within easy reach. Through April 30, 2013, rates start at $119 per night.

Arroyo Pinion Hotel, Sedona, Ariz.Set amidst the red rocks across from stunning Thunder Mountain, Arroyo Pinion Hotel just completed a top-to-bottom renovation. The upscale oasis is home to 45 guestrooms and suites with plush mattresses wrapped in luxurious bedding and triple sheeting, custom-made solid wood furniture, locally inspired artwork, environmentally friendly bath amenities and all the modern conveniences. Some suites also have fireplaces, jetted tubs, separate sitting areas and patios. For company retreats in Red Rock Country, Arroyo Pinion Hotel has a hospitality room for smaller groups. Additionally, guests enjoy a fitness center, outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and complimentary continental breakfast daily. Across the street, the full-service Namaste Spa offers specials for hotel guests. Nearby attractions include miles of hiking trails leading off to the red rocks, Uptown Sedona Shopping, Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock Crossing. Guests take in the dramatic landscape while mountain biking, horseback riding, playing golf, and enjoying the thrill of hot-air balloon flights. Regular rates range from $129 to $229 per night.

About Ascend Hotel Collection
The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has 77 hotels open throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean. This eclectic portfolio of upscale, independent hotels appeals to the growing number of people who like to immerse themselves in the destination and live like the locals when they travel. Member hotels include The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels in New York City; Postcard Inn, on the white sands of St. Pete Beach, Fla. on the Gulf of Mexico; Grand Hotel Costa Rica, in downtown San Jose's Cultural Square; Hotel Royal William in the chic New St. Rock district of downtown Quebec City; Nordic Light Hotel, Stockholm. For more information, visit www.ascendcollection.com.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises approximately 6,200 hotels, representing more than 499,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of December 31, 2012, 394 hotels, representing more than 31,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 88 hotels, representing approximately 7,800 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and territories.  The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well at its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels International, Inc. web site, which may be accessed at www.choicehotels.com.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collectionare proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

© 2013 Choice Hotels International, Inc.  All rights reserved.

SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.



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