BRANDING BRIEFS

Accor

Accor will assume the role as master franchisor for the Novotel hotel brand in Canada after an agreement between Accor Canada and Realstar Hospitality. Realstar will continue as the master franchisor for Motel 6 and Studio 6.

America's Best Franchising

America's Best Franchising grew by 23 percent last year with 18 new properties and 1,649 rooms, while Country Hearth grew 32 percent with 22 new properties and 1,421 rooms.

ALHI

Associated Luxury Hotels International added The Peninsula Chicago to its luxury portfolio in the city. The 339-room hotel has earned the Mobil Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond awards the past six years.

Best Western

Properties recently joining the membership organization include the Best Western Olive Branch (MS) Hotel and Suites, Best Western Plaquemine (LA) Inn, Best Western Woodburn (OR), Best Western Kelly Inn & Suites in Fargo, ND, Best Western Bonita Springs (FL) Hotel and Suites and Best Western Tampa Airport Inn and Suites (FL).

Carlson

A new 117-room Country Inn & Suites by Carlson opened in Kansas City last month. The new 83-room Country Inn & Suites in Shoreview, MN is the first in the state to feature the brand's newest interior design package. A 59-room Country Inn & Suites opened in Valparaiso, IN.

Choice Hotels

Bell Hospitality Group agreed to build a minimum of 50 MainStay Suites and Suburban Extended Stay hotels, all scheduled to be under development by Oct. 31, 2009. The first nine franchise agreements have been executed for five MainStay Suites in Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado and four Suburban Extended Stay hotels in Louisiana.

Cambria Suites announced plans for properties in Canonsburg, PA; South Jordan, UT; New York City; Schertz, TX; and Plainfield, IN. The New York location is a block from Madison Square Garden and joins a project already under way in Brooklyn.

Choice and Outrigger Enterprises Group joined forces with six Outrigger-managed properties that will now be affiliated with Choice's Clarion Collection brand. The new properties, all in Hawaii, can be booked through Choice and will be included in the Choice Privileges rewards program.

Suenos Hospitality of Oklahoma City reached a development agreement to execute five franchises for Cambria Suites hotels by Dec. 1, 2009. The first two contracts are for Oklahoma City and Glendale, AZ.

After a deal transferring operations from Real Hotel Group, Choice will directly operate the franchise in the United Kingdom, including 78 properties, from the company's London headquarters.

Denihan Hospitality Group

DHG acquired The James hotel brand from The James Group. The cornerstone of the transaction is the 297-room James Chicago, the flagship property. It's the first acquisition of an independent hotel brand by DHG.

The Liaison Capitol Hill, the first Affinia property in Washington, DC, opens on April 1 following a $12-million renovation. Denihan will manage the 343-room hotel.

Hilton Hotels Corp.

Three Hampton Inn hotels and four Hampton Inn & Suites opened as franchised, newly constructed properties in January. The Hampton Inn hotels opened in Santa Rosa, NM; Columbia I-20/Clemson Rd., SC; and Bismarck, ND; the Hampton Inn & Suites opened in Mt. Juliet, TN; Corpus Christi-I-37/Navigation Blvd., TX; and Baton Rouge/I-10 East, LA.

InterContinental Hotels Group

Construction started recently on a $6-million franchised Candlewood Suites in Brown Deer, WI, outside Milwaukee. The property is scheduled to open in the second quarter.

CPC Hospitality will re-flag the Daniele Hotel in Clayton, MO as a Hotel Indigo following a $13-million renovation. The 50-room Hotel Indigo Mérida Hacienda Misné became the brand's first in Mexico. A second is scheduled to open next year in Mexico City.

The third Staybridge Suites is coming to the Detroit market on the campus of St. John Health at Providence Park in Novi. The $10.7-million project will include 108 guest suites.

A new, $5-million, 77-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites is expected to open this spring in Jasper, IN. It is owned by Mike Patel and managed by IPD Hospitality.

H.E. Mohammed Bin Ajaj Al-Kubaisi agreed to develop the InterContinental Doha West Bay in Qatar. The 60-story tower with 540 rooms is scheduled to open by next March.

IHG will build a 264-room Crowne Plaza hotel in San Juan, PR. Slated to open next year, the $77-million property will be part of a mixed-use development and feature a casino. Construction has begun on the first Crowne Plaza in Fort Lauderdale, FL. A Crowne Plaza in Denver is scheduled to open early this year after being converted from a Holiday Inn, while another Crowne Plaza will open in Tampa next year after extension renovations.

LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels

LXR will reopen the Bel Age Hotel as The London West Hollywood (CA) this April following an extensive renovation, just over a year after the launch of its sister property, The London NYC in Manhattan. Famed chef Gordon Ramsay will make his Los Angeles debut with the opening of Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood.

Marriott International

The renovation of the Courtyard by Marriott Gulfport (MS) is nearing completion and is scheduled to open May 1. The hotel, owned by Gulfview LLC and managed by Lane Hospitality, was to begin the $9.6-million conversion the day before Hurricane Katrina hit on Aug. 28, 2005.

Morgans Hotel Group

Morgans announced a joint venture with RE:Loft Partners Palm Springs LCC to develop the Palm Springs Hotel & Residences in Palm Springs, CA. The resort plans call for a Mondrian hotel with around 200 rooms set to open in 2010. It is the seventh announced Mondrian.

Red Roof Inn

The Red Roof Inn Brattleboro (VT) opened in January to become the only full-service conference hotel in the city. The 98-room hotel features interior entrances and an indoor/outdoor pool.

Relais & Chateaux

The exclusive collection of 470 of the world's finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries opened Maison des Relais & Chateaux in midtown Manhattan last month. It's the organization's third Maison and first in North America.

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Following the successful rebranding of its sister property in Dallas, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Hotel Crescent Court was renamed Rosewood Crescent Hotel to further the effort of brand continuity.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood will rebrand two former Adams Mark Hotels as Sheraton Dallas Hotel and Sheraton Denver Hotel. Both hotels, owned in partnership between Whitehall Funds and The Chartres Lodging Group, will undergo a comprehensive renovation. The Sheraton Dallas has 1,842 rooms and the Sheraton Denver has 1,225. More than half the rooms and the lobby will be renovated by June of next year.

The number of Le Méridien hotels in the U.S. will increase to five with properties in Philadelphia and Cambridge, MA. The Le Méridien Philadelphia, an adaptive reuse project, will undergo extensive renovations and is scheduled to open next year. The Le Méridien Cambridge will be converted from the Hotel@MIT after being acquired by HEI Hotels & Resorts.

Hicks Holdings and Gatehouse Capital will build an aloft and a Westin Hotel on five acres in Glorypark, a mixed-use development in Arlington, TX. The $232-million project will also include residences atop both properties. The hotels are scheduled to open in 2010.

The Four Points by Sheraton Manassas Battlefield (VA) opened with 158 rooms. Paragon Hotel and Banquet will open the Four Points by Sheraton Atlanta-Duluth later this year.

The Sheraton Kansas City Sports Complex Hotel opened in Kansas City with 374 rooms.

The Westin Monache Resort, Mammoth (CA) opened recently as one of the first luxury hotel brands in the mountain ski retreat. The Westin Virginia Beach Town Center hotel opened. The 236-room hotel is a part of a 38-story high-rise tower, the tallest building in the state of Virginia.

US Franchise Systems

Five-Star Hotel Management II opened Hawthorn Suites Dayton North, Hawthorn Suites Miamisburg/Dayton South and Hawthorn Columbus North, all in Ohio. The renovated properties are managed by 7 Seas Hospitality.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Lexington Hotel Associates and Bert Pooser of IMIC Hotels opened a new 97-room Wingate by Wyndham in Lexington, SC.

Corinthia Hotels International and Essential Developments signed a management agreement for the new Wyndham Port Lixus Resort, an upscale hotel project on the northern Atlantic coast of Morocco.

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