BRANDING BRIEFS

America's Best Franchising

The Atlanta-based brand company added 10 franchised properties in June. The openings included seven Country Hearth Inn & Suites and three America's Best Inn & Suites. The chain added its first international Country Hearth in London, ON, Canada and its first America's Best Inns in South America (two in Argentina).

Best Western International

Lake Dallas Hotels LP opened a Best Western Inn and Suites in Lake Dallas, TX in early June. The new-construction property has 54 rooms.

Carlson Hotels Worldwide

Five franchised Country Inns & Suites by Carlson opened in May. Four of the five properties are in the U.S.: Williamsburg, VA; Independence, IA; Cape Canaveral, FL; and Green Bay, WI. The other opening was in Ciudad Valles, Mexico. The brand added 12 properties in the first five months of the year.

Choice Hotels International

Eleven properties received Inn of the Year honors at Choice's recent annual convention. The eight winners in the U.S. were the Comfort Inn Apple Valley, Sevierville, TN; Comfort Suites, Chincoteague, VA; Quality Inn & Suites, Montrose, CO; Sleep Inn Hanes Mall, Winston-Salem, NC; Clarion Inn Willow River, Sevierville, TN; MainStay Suites, Oak Creek, WI; Econo Lodge Ft. Bliss, El Paso, TX; and the Rodeway Inn, Kingsville, TX.

Extended Stay Hotels

Last month, HVM LLC purchased two hotels and converted them to Extended Stay Deluxe properties. The acquisitions include a former TownePlace Suites in Jackson, MS and the former Stanford Hotel in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

Hilton Hotels Corp.

Developer John Q. Hammons will build a 300-room Embassy Suites Hotel and adjoining 100,000-square-foot convention center in Pleasant Grove, UT. Ground-breaking on the project will be spring 2007.

Following a $10-million renovation, French Quarter Hospitality converted a former Radisson into the Doubletree Hotel JFK Airport in New York City. Innovative Hospitality Management operates the 386-room property.

In mid-July, Grandview Hotel Limited Partnership opened the first Doubletree in Alabama. Columbia Sussex Corp. manages the 298-room Doubletree Hotel Birmingham Downtown.

Nine Hampton-branded properties joined the system in June. The openings included four Hampton Inn hotels and five Hampton Inn & Suites, including the brand's 16th property in the Los Angeles area.

Hyatt Hotels Corp.

Two new Park Hyatts opened in June and July, one in Washington, DC and one in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The collection of luxury properties includes 24 hotels.

InterContinental Hotels Group

Driftwood Hospitality recently opened the fourth Hotel Indigo, a 140-room property in uptown Houston. The chain also plans Indigos in Dallas and San Antonio.

Madison Northeast LLC is developing a new-generation prototype Holiday Inn in Madison, WI. Six Titles Management will operate the 139-room property.

White Lodging Services now manages the Holiday Inn Select Grand Rapids (MI) East. An affiliate of RLJ Development owns the 148-room property.

Heartland Inns

Iowa-based Heartland Inns has gone 100-percent smoke-free in all guestrooms and public areas. The chain has 19 properties in Iowa and Wisconsin.

La Quinta

A new-construction La Quinta Inn & Suites opened in June in Bohemia, NY. The 132-room property is near MacArthur Airport in Islip.

Marriott International

Franchisee Navin Diamond opened a 124-suite Residence Inn in Aurora, CO. The property, which Stone-bridge Companies operates, is the first 100-percent smoke-free Residence in Colorado.

Concord Hospitality Enterprises and Lubert Real Estate Funds will spend $23 million to convert a former bank building in Columbus, OH to a Residence Inn. The 126-suite property opens next summer.

Commonwealth Hotels assumed management of a Courtyard by Marriott in Vallejo, CA. Commonwealth's parent company, Corporex, owns the 172-room property.

Preferred Hotel Group

The membership organization added 52 properties during the first half of the year. The group's Summit Hotels & Resorts brand grew by 11 members, including two in the U.S: the Grand Lodge in Bloomington, MN and the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, NV.

Among eight recent additions to Preferred Boutique were four properties in the U.S.: Night Hotel in New York City; Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort in Santa Ynez Valley, CA; Copperwynd Resort in Scottsdale, AZ; and Solage Calistoga in Calistoga, CA.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Local developer 1200 Arch Street Associates will build a W Hotel & Residences in downtown Philadelphia. The project will include 250 guest-rooms and 95 W Residences.

A former Sheraton Resort on the Malaysian island of Langkawi will be reflagged as the Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa. The property will undergo a major renovation to include the addition of 30 villas and a destination spa. The conversion will be complete in early 2007.

A subsidiary of Hangzhou Steel Group opened a new Sheraton in the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen. The 30-story property has 360 guestrooms.

US Franchise Systems

New Microtel Inn & Suites properties opened in Parry Sound, ON, Canada and Albertville, AL.

The Microtel Inn & Suites in Mobile/Daphne, AL was named the brand's Hotel of the Year. Franchisee Rocco Valluzzo owns and operates the 50-room property.

Wyndham Worldwide

The company will develop a 400-room Wyndham hotel and spa as part of the Fairfield Orlando at Bonnet Creek development adjacent to Walt Disney World in central Florida. When completed, the 70-acre Bonnet Creek complex will have 1,594 vacation ownership units, in addition to the hotel property.

Franchisee Gary Grewal opened a Howard Johnson in Regina, SK, Canada. The 120-room hotel is the brand's 45th location in Canada.

A former Hampton Inn near the Indianapolis airport is now a full-service Ramada. Interstate Hotels & Resorts manages the 131-room property.

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