News for the Hospitality Executive
SILVER SPRING, Md. (Feb. 28, 2012) – The Ascend Collection membership program from Choice Hotels International makes it debut in Central America with a new member hotel in the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica, the company announced today. Expansion continues in Canada as well, with new properties in Québec and Ontario.
The lodgings are Gran Hotel, San Jose; St-Christophe Hotel & Spa, Granby, Québec; and Hidden Valley Resort, Huntsville, the company’s inaugural property in Ontario.
“Each hotel is in a prime location,” says Stacy Ragland, vice president of operations for Ascend Collection. “We are thrilled to offer our guests these exceptional properties and new destinations to explore and enjoy. We look forward to continuing our international expansion in the coming year.”
In 2011, membership in Ascend Collection rose nearly 35 percent over the previous year, Ragland reports. As a member of this elite portfolio, each hotel remains independently owned and managed, while also leveraging the power of one of the world’s largest hospitality companies. The lodgings gain international reservations and distribution systems. They enjoy visibility before a network of more than 14 million Choice Privileges rewards members worldwide. And they acquire a presence on ChoiceHotels.com, one of the hospitality industry’s most visited websites. Ragland offers the following information on the network’s latest additions.
Gran Hotel Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
Travelers immerse themselves in Costa Rican culture at this national historic landmark hotel in the heart of downtown San Jose, steps away from the city’s top museums, theaters and historic sites. The hotel’s open-air patio restaurant fronts the street musicians and activity of the Cultural Plaza. It’s a favorite spot to people-watch over lunch in the tropical sunshine or dine before a show down the street at the National Theater. The Gran Hotel also houses 107 guestrooms and suites, a full-service spa, piano bar, art gallery, coffee shop, business center, fitness center, meeting rooms and gift shop. Guestrooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, minibars, flat-screen TVs and comfy beds with pillow-top mattresses. Many rooms also have separate sitting areas, hot tubs and balconies with splendid views of the Cultural Plaza below. [Through April 30, 2012, rates start at $79 (U.S.) plus tax per night. For the JFK Presidential Suite, where the late President stayed during his trip to Central America, nightly rates are from $250 (U.S.) plus tax.]
San Jose’s premier landmarks are right outside the hotel doors. Beneath the Cultural Plaza, the wondrous Gold Museum is a three-story underground museum showcasing thousands of pieces made by aborigine artisans in pre-Columbian times. Steps away, housed in a 19th-century palace, the National Theater treats visitors to world-class opera, concerts, theater and art. History buffs in particular enjoy displays of Costa Rica’s past and present at the National Museum. For a change of pace, guests stroll over to the Central Market for eclectic treasures, including clothes, jewelry and crafts. Here, eateries offer luscious Costa Rican fare from homemade tortillas to guava marmalade, figs, mangoes and fried plantains.
St-Christophe Hotel & Spa, Granby, Québec, Canada
This boutique hotel boasts a lakefront, city-center location at the foot of the Laurentian Mountains; guests are just a few minutes from excellent shopping, dining and year-round recreation. The property’s classic European architecture and hand-carved mahogany furnishings create a warm and elegant atmosphere. There are 50 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, spa, business center, heated indoor pool, exercise room and three meeting rooms for conferences and banquets of up to 70 people.
Spacious guestrooms have plush beds, free Wi-Fi and luxurious robes. Some rooms and suites also come with double spa tubs, large sitting areas and balconies with striking lake views. The onsite Bistro Le Picollo offers classic French cuisine with Mediterranean flair. For relaxation, guests duck into Spa St-Christophe for everything from paramedical treatments to massages and facials. (Rates are from $129 plus tax per night.)
St-Christophe Hotel is close to all the attractions. Guests enjoy direct access to the scenic Green Route bike trail. Additionally, less than five miles from the hotel are the acclaimed Theatre Palace, Galeries de Granby shopping mall, and the Granby Zoo. Also nearby, Parc de la Yamaska draws outdoor enthusiasts for hiking, backcountry skiing, boating, fishing and spectacular Laurentian scenery. Bromont mountain resort offers year-round recreation too, with its snowy slopes in the winter and waterpark in the summer. Another favorite, Quebec’s Wine Route, is set amidst mountains and hilltops, showcasing fine wineries, regional cuisine, art galleries and more.
Hidden Valley Resort, Huntsville, Ontario, Canada
This year-round resort is perched on the shores of Peninsula Lake with the rugged Hidden Valley Highlands Ski Area as its backdrop. Guests are just a short stroll to the hotel’s private beach and to some of Ontario’s premier skiing and snowboarding terrain.
Ninety-three newly renovated guestrooms welcome travelers with stunning lake or mountain views, luxurious linens, flat-screen televisions and complimentary Internet access. Some rooms have fireplaces or jetted tubs too. The resort’s Birches Restaurant boasts stunning lake views and options to please all palates, from light bites to gourmet fare made with locally sourced ingredients. Hidden Valley Resort also has a fitness center; lounge; indoor and outdoor pools; a business center; and four meeting rooms, accommodating up to 400 people. (Rates start from $89 plus tax per night.)
Guests can find plenty of nearby things to do. There are skiing, fishing, and complimentary canoes, kayaks and paddleboats on property. Less than a mile away, Hidden Valley Ski Area offers trails, from beginner to advanced; ski and snowboard lessons; kids’ camps and more. Also nearby are golf courses, shops, theater, and Muskoka Pioneer Village, a favorite with families and history buffs. For additional options, Algonquin Provincial Park is not far away. Here, visitors find woodsy trails for snowshoeing, skiing, hiking and biking and meandering rivers perfect for paddling and fishing.
About Ascend Collection
The Ascend Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has hotels open and under development in the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Costa Rica. The network appeals to the growing number of travelers who like to discover upscale independent hotels with 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; Greenlinks Resort, situated on two championship golf courses in Naples, Fla.; Zona Hotel and Suites Scottsdale in Ariz;; 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 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories. As of December 31, 2011, more than 400 hotels were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States, representing more than 30,000 rooms, and approximately 80 hotels, representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in 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, Choice Privileges, 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.
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