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Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels Debuts in Arizona with the
431-room Xona Resort Suites in North Scottsdale

Owned by Sunstone US Hotel and Operated by O'Neill Hotels & Resorts


SILVER SPRING, Md. (July 12, 2011)
– The Ascend Collection membership program from Choice Hotels International, Inc., (NYSE:CHH) today announced its first property in Arizona, Xona Resort Suites in North Scottsdale. The 431-room resort is the membership program’s largest property in the Continental United States.

“With its outstanding location, rich amenities and gorgeous views, Xona is a welcome addition to our fast-growing network,” says Stacy Ragland, vice president for Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels International. “Ascend Collection offers the best of both worlds. Like all the portfolio’s properties, Xona will maintain the personalized service and local flair of an independent hotel, while also connecting to vast global resources designed to help drive guests to its doors.”

The Ascend Collection membership program is an upscale network of hotels that are historic, boutique or unique. Properties are located in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. As a member of this elite program, Xona becomes part of the Choice Hotels global reservations and distribution systems. It gains visibility before an international network of more than 13 million Choice Privileges rewards members. Additionally, the resort acquires marketing support and an online presence on ChoiceHotels.com, one of the industry’s most visited websites.

Xona is owned by Sunstone US Hotel, Inc., and operated by O’Neill Hotels & Resorts.

Dazzling Desert Backdrop

The 12-acre hotel campus overlooks the Sonoran Desert and majestic McDowell Mountains. Located in the heart of North Scottsdale's bustling Airpark Business District, the property is convenient to major highways and the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Guests are close to many of the region’s top attractions, including world-renown spas and restaurants, from fine dining to innovative cafes and eateries. Minutes away at TPC Scottsdale, guests can play on two legendary golf courses – the Champion Course and the Stadium Course – at this permanent home of the PGA Tour's FBR Open. Also nearby: the nationally recognized Westworld of Scottsdale equestrian center, McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway, Camelback Mountain, Desert Botanical Garden, the Musical Instrument Museum and the Phoenix Zoo.

Set against a dazzling desert backdrop, Xona features a contemporary, Southwest-inspired design with sprawling indoor/outdoor spaces and spectacular views of Arizona’s pale-blue skies and purple mountains. With roomy suites, a full-service restaurant, lively bar, adjacent spa, four sparkling swimming pools, business center, 24-hour fitness center, and dramatic meeting and event space, the resort is an oasis for couples, families, groups, weddings and business travelers.

Offering Ascend Collection introductory nightly rates from $65, July through Labor Day, Xona houses one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom suites, ranging from 300 to 1,800 square feet. Many suites come with kitchens, large living and dining areas, and private patios or balconies, offering sweeping desert and mountain views. Each suite is outfitted with Wi-Fi; flat-screen televisions; and contemporary, dark wood furnishings featuring soothing earth tones and the rich patterns and textures of the Southwest. Beds promise a peaceful night’s sleep with custom Kingsdown mattresses wrapped in luxurious linens. Living rooms are large enough to accommodate business meetings. For families and extended stays, additional housekeeping services available upon request.

Unique Gatherings

The on-site Asada Desert Grille features vibrant flavors in a Southwest-influenced menu of fresh fish, seafood, steaks, chops and poultry. Try the orange chipotle glazed salmon or the achiote rubbed Colorado lamb. Asada’s décor evokes the Arizona desert with warm earth tones of cream and chocolate brown and bright bursts of colors like amber and kiwi. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the restaurant welcomes with comfy, dark wicker chairs and wood framed tabletops for a casual, elegant feel. In the evening, guests gather just off the restaurant in the Orange Iguana lounge, with comfortable couches, patio and giant fireplace, for drinks, live music and desert and mountain views.

Xona houses six indoor meeting and conference rooms as well as unique outdoor settings for meetings and events, from small executive retreats to wedding receptions and banquets for up to 200 guests. Among the options are breathtaking pool, patio and pavilion venues. Spanning 3,600 square feet, the glass-walled Pavilion ballroom boasts 20-foot cathedral ceilings and views of the Palm-fringed pool, providing a lush contrast to the desert surroundings. Not far away, the Pavilion Patio offers an intimate outdoor setting with twinkling lights, gardens and poolside views for wedding ceremonies, cocktail parties and receptions.

Meeting and event space is equipped with high-speed wireless Internet access and the latest audio-visual equipment. The resort’s dedicated concierge and team of caterers, and wedding and event planners assist with everything, from room design to music, menus and audiovisual support.

Xona’s business center has computers with Internet access, fax, phone, copying facilities, FedEx service and more. Additionally, Wi-Fi throughout the hotel lets guests check email and Facebook accounts and conduct business by the pool, in their suites, at the restaurant and elsewhere on property.

Vibrant Culture, Natural Beauty

With 40 golf courses nearby, guests can play on many of Arizona's finest fairways. Xona’s golf experts help plan excursions to some of the most challenging and visually stunning courses in the U.S. Offering an insider’s knowledge of the region's top links, the resort’s team of experts book preferred tee times and arrange outings tailored to each guest's playing level and preferences.

Additionally, Xona’s guest services staff arranges outings that spotlight the region’s Native American heritage and natural beauty: desert jeep tours, hot air balloon rides, mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking Camelback Mountain. As another option, visitors meander through the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden, where they explore the world’s largest collection of arid-land plants from deserts around the world.

For relaxation, the 44,000 square-foot Willow Stream Spa is just steps from Xona. Shoppers head to nearby Old Town Scottsdale for internationally acclaimed art galleries and Native American jewelry and crafts. Also a short drive away, Scottsdale Fashion Square, touted as the largest mall in the West, is home to top designer bands. For more options, visitors shop and stroll the Borgata of Scottsdale, an open-air, Renaissance Italy-inspired network featuring cobblestone walkways lined with restaurants, eateries, galleries and boutiques.

About Ascend Collection

The Ascend Collection membership program 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. The network appeals to the growing number of travelers who like to discover upscale independent hotels with personalized service and local flair when traveling for business or leisure. Member hotels include The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels 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.; 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 6,100 hotels, representing more than 490,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of March 31, 2011, more than 500 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 40,000 rooms, and approximately 100 hotels, representing approximately 8,400 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 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.

Contact: 

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

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Also See: Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels Debuts in New Hampshire with the 40-room Lane Hotel in Keene Operated by Colwen Management / June 2011

99-key Ben Lomond Suites Historic Hotel in Ogden, Utah, Joins Ascend Collection from Choice Hotels / March 2011

New Owner of XONA Resort Suites in Scottsdale, Arizona, Sunstone Realty Advisors, Chooses Tower Rock Hotels and Resorts to Manage Property / February 2011

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 / February 2011

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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