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Ascend Collection by Choice Hotels Continues Growth with Addition of Eleven Properties
in Final Months of 2010 Bringing Total to 70 Open or Under Development


Silver Spring, Md. (Feb. 25, 2011)Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels International, Inc. enjoyed record growth during the fourth quarter of 2010, company executives announced today.

In the closing months of last year, Choice Hotels executed contracts for 11 new properties to be in this elite network, increasing its ranks to more than 70 upscale lodgings open and under development. The fast-growing membership program added hotels across the U.S. and expanded internationally, with three properties in Atlantic Canada.

“Ascend Collection has a proven track record for driving business,” explains Stacy Ragland, vice president, Ascend Collection operations. “Member properties maintain their independent identities. At the same time, they become part of the Choice Hotels global distribution and reservations systems. Plus, they gain visibility before a network of more than 12 million Choice Privileges rewards members worldwide.”

Ragland says Ascend Collection appeals to a growing number of business and leisure travelers who like to stay at high-service independent hotels that provide a true taste of the local culture. For easier booking, the portfolio is divided into three categories: Historic, Boutique and Unique. Member lodgings boast attractive rates, and some include perks like free high-speed Internet, free local calls and free continental breakfast.

From big-city boutique hotels to romantic coastal hideaways, following are the hotels for which new Ascend Collection franchise agreements were executed in the last quarter of 2010.

NORTHEAST

Union Hotel, Brooklyn, N.Y.
New York plays muse to this hip hotel. Built with 19-century brick and mortar, The Union pays tribute to the factories and warehouses that transformed this landscape into a great metropolis. Located in Brooklyn’s creative hub with interiors curated by New York artist/designer Jordan Carlyle, The Union embodies the comforts of home and the excitement of the city. The 43-room property is two blocks from the subway, 10 minutes to Manhattan and a brief stroll to Brooklyn’s most buzzed-about restaurants and nightspots.

A rooftop garden/lounge presents spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Edgy guestrooms feature high ceilings, hand-painted by famed New York graffiti artists. There is plush carpeting throughout, state-of-the-art electronics, quilted custom beds with ultra-comfy mattresses wrapped in soft Egyptian cotton linens, deco chandeliers, exotic coffees and Penny-tiled bathrooms with roomy glass-walled showers. To reduce its carbon footprint, The Union has fluorescent lighting, earth-friendly paint and a recycling program.

The Captain Daniel Stone Inn and No. 10 Water Restaurant, Brunswick, Me.
Situated in historic Brunswick, the gateway to southern mid-coast Maine, the Captain Daniel Stone Inn is widely regarded as a top-notch destination for travelers, foodies and special events guests. Just a 30-minute drive from the Portland Jetport, this scenic inn was built in 1819 as the family home of its namesake. The property underwent a top-to-bottom renovation before opening its doors in the spring of 2010. No detail is overlooked in the inn's 22 guestrooms and two suites. Guestrooms welcome with top-tier amenities ranging from deluxe baths and premium linens to flat-screen TVs, plush robes, nightly turndown service and in-room wine service. In addition to the property's sizeable gym, private use of its onsite hot tub and sauna is available for all guests.
 
The inn's on-site No. 10 Water Restaurant and Tavern has been a hit with locals and visitors since its May 2010 debut. Viewed as Maine's newest must-dine experience, the restaurant was awarded three and one-half stars by The Portland Press Herald shortly after its launch. No. 10 Water's local Maine produce and meats, artisan cheeses and fresh seafood are as popular with guests as the restaurant's impressive wine and cocktail offerings, its friendly service, and the upscale pub fare from the more casual, fireside Tavern portion of the restaurant. No. 10 Water Restaurant offers something for everyone, including vacationers, business travelers and day-trippers to Brunswick. The inn and restaurant are well equipped to host a variety of events, such as weddings, business retreats and large family gatherings.

SOUTH

Inn At The Mill, Johnson, Ark.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Inn At The Mill  was built in 1835 as a grain mill and carriage house. Today, this unique hotel houses a four-star restaurant and 46 luxurious guestrooms and suites. Its James At The Mill is a Nation’s Restaurant News Hall of Famer for its blend of splendid architecture and cuisine and Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list. Earlier in his career, Chef Miles James was a chef at actor Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Grill, New York City. Chef James is also the author of Cuisine of the Creative, which garnered a James Beard nomination for Best Cookbook of the Year.

Nestled beside a woodsy natural spring in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Inn At The Mill is less than 20 minutes from the world headquarter offices of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and Tyson Foods, Inc. Guestrooms pamper with pillow-top mattresses, fine linens, flat-screen televisions, iPod docks, marble bathrooms and one-of-a-kind artwork. In the historic mill wing, multi-level suites have separate living rooms, private balconies and marble Jacuzzi tubs. Located in the picturesque town of Johnson, Inn At The Mill is just five miles from the city of Fayetteville. Guests enjoy outdoor activities as well as a cluster of creative restaurants, shops, galleries and clubs in the nearby entertainment district. Not far away are the University of Arkansas, Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the JQ Hammon Convention Center.
 
Hotel Seville, Harrison, Ark.
Also in the Ozarks, the stylish and historic 1929 Hotel Seville is located in downtown Harrison close to area businesses and the pristine Buffalo National River. As a result of a $3.5 million renovation in 2008, each of the 57 guestrooms and suites combine contemporary conveniences – Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, pillow-top mattresses and oversized desks – with historic flair.
 
The Seville boasts a dramatic lobby with soaring ceilings, terrazzo floors and a wrought-iron chandelier. The hotel’s full-service John Paul's restaurant serves up drinks and live music for a fun, casual vibe. A massage therapist and game room are among the other amenities. For meetings, weddings and celebrations, the 1,200-square-foot Terazzo Dining Room provides a historic setting with easy downtown access. The Seville is adjacent to the state-of-the-art Durand Conference Center for groups of up to 500 people. Guests can walk to tranquil Lake Harrison and Harrison Square Marketplace. Leisure travelers also enjoy fishing, canopy tours and float trips down the bluff-lined Buffalo National River, tours of Mystic Caverns and day trips to Branson, Mo.

The Hotel Highland, Birmingham, Ala.
The Hotel Highland at Five Points South has been voted the #1 Hotel in Birmingham by reviewers on cityspur.com, a travel and rating service. Situated in the historic Southside, this boutique hotel is within walking distance of Birmingham’s premier restaurants, the entertainment district and the renowned UAB Medical Center. This prime downtown location puts guests within easy reach of the airport, businesses, sports venues and cultural attractions.
 
The Hotel Highland houses 63 stylish rooms and suites. Catering to business and leisure travelers, the property offers personalized service, high design, Internet access, business amenities and a complimentary breakfast. The H-Bar, an upscale martini bar just off the lobby, is the place to see and be seen. General manager Kay French knows many of her guests by name, and that level of attention to detail is carried throughout the entire guest experience.
 
Suites at Sunchase, South Padre Island, Tex.
Perched on beautiful Laguna Madre Bay, the unique Suites at Sunchase  is just a few miles from the SPI Convention Center, Schlitterbahn Water Park, Point Isabel Lighthouse and Laguna Madre Nature Trail. Great restaurants and shopping are also nearby.
 
This four-story boutique hotel has a 3,400 square-foot meeting room, outdoor heated pool and hot tub, and 90 studio and one-bedroom suites with panoramic views of the bay and South Padre Island. Each suite pampers with a flat-screen high-definition television, pillow-top mattress, iPod dock, desk, sitting area, wet-bar, microwave and fridge. Guests and locals gather in the Casablanca Bar on the fourth floor to sip drinks, enjoy live entertainment featuring Pelican West and catch spectacular Laguna Madre sunsets. Additional amenities include the Sunset Café, serving breakfast and lunch; a fitness center; and business center. The on-site shops at the Suites at Sunchase include a boutique shop, nail salon, beauty shop and spa, and a spirits and gourmet coffee store.

Evangeline Downs Hotel, Opelousas, La.
The newly constructed Evangeline Downs Hotel is connected to Louisiana's prestigious Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino, home of thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, live OTB, gaming, live entertainment and restaurants. Located in the heart of Cajun Country, this unique lodging puts guests close to lively restaurants, museums and historic sites. For more entertainment, Opelousas plays host to vibrant music and culinary celebrations like the Original Southwest Louisiana Zydeco Festival, Yambilee Festival and the Holy Ghost Creole Festival.
 
Each of the hotel’s 117 guestrooms is outfitted with a large flat-screen TV; refrigerator; high speed wireless Internet service; microwave; and comfy bed with pillow-top mattress, soft linens and brightly colored bed scarf. Select rooms offer such upgraded amenities as wet bars, sofa beds, balconies and hot tubs. Business travelers find on-site conveniences like an exercise room, business center with public computer with Internet access and the Microsoft Office suite, and a meeting room for up to 50 people. Also on-site: three restaurants, sports bar, event center, guest coin-operated washers and dryers and indoor pool with hot tub.
 
WEST COAST AND CANADA

The Aggie, Davis, Calif.
This newly renovated boutique hotel sits in the heart of Davis, Calif., adjacent to the University of California Davis and a brief stroll to the Aggie Stadium and downtown shops and restaurants. Just 20 minutes from the Sacramento Airport and Old Town, the Aggie   is close to the ARCO Arena, Sacramento Convention Center and the Capital Buildings complex.
 
This charming 33-room property has guestrooms with pillow-top mattresses, flat-screen televisions and refrigerators. Guest cottages also come with sitting areas, private patios, kitchens and hot tubs. With a business center, fitness room and prime downtown location, the Aggie Inn has been voted "Best Hotel" by the UC Davis newspaper for years.

Atlantic Canada
Early in the fourth quarter, Ascend Collection also expanded in Atlantic Canada, adding three boutique properties. Hotel Royal William is in downtown Québec’s trendy New St-Roch district steps away from restaurants, boutique shops, art galleries, entertainment and nightlife. In New Brunswick, the new member properties are: Château Moncton  on the banks of the scenic Petitcodiac River and Château Saint John  in the lively port city of Saint John.
 
For more information on Choice Hotels and its Ascend Collection hotel membership program, please visit choicehotels.com.

About Ascend Collection
Ascend Collection made its debut in late 2008 and now has more than 70 hotels open and under development throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Members include The GEM Hotels with three properties in New York City; Inn of Chicago, one-half block from The Magnificent Mile; O’Brien Historic Hotel in Texas, one block from the lively San Antonio River Walk; the historic Hotel Bothwell, Sedalia, Mo.; Le Consulat, within walking distance from Condado Beach, San Juan, P.R.; and Inn on the Lake, just outside Halifax, N.S. For more information on this collection of Historic, Boutique and Unique and hotels, visit www.ascendcollection.com.
 
About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises more than 6,000 hotels, representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of December 31, 2010, more than 500 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 40,000 rooms, and more than 100 hotels, representing approximately 9,000 rooms, are under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in 18 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 serve guests worldwide.  In addition, via its Ascend Collection membership program, travelers in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean have upscale lodging options at historic, boutique and unique hotels.
 
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, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Collection are proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

2011 Choice Hotels International, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Contact: 

Christie Gregovich
Ypartnership Public Relations
407-838-1822
christie.gregovich@ypartnership.com

Sharlet Brennan
Ypartnership Public Relations
407-838-1707
sharlet.brennan@ypartnership.com

 

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Also See: Three Canadian Properties Join Choice Hotels Ascend Collection; The Château Moncton and Château Saint John, New Brunswick, and Hotel Royal William, Québec / January 2011

Choice Hotels International Opens 33 Hotels in November in 14 States and Seven Countries Adding More than 2,500 rooms / December 2010

Choice Hotels International Opens 24 New Hotels in October Adding More than 1,600 rooms / November 2010

Choice Hotels Offers Significant Incentives for Hotel Owners Interested in Converting an Existing Hotel to the Quality, Clarion or Econo Lodge Brand; Incentives Include Discounted Application Fees, No Royalty Fees and Cash Back Upon Opening / August 2010

To Stimulate Brand Growth Econo Lodge Offering Up to $25,000 in Incentives for Conversion Properties / Aug 2003

Choice Offers Development Incentive for Conversions to Quality Brand; Up to $85,000 in Savings for Conversion Properties / Aug 2002
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