Several chains are getting a brand-new look this year. Sheraton has launched a comprehensive new design of its lobbies and guestrooms, while Motel 6 and Best Western have introduced new prototypes. America's Best Franchising and Hotel Condo Services have teamed up to create a new upscale brand called 3 Palms.

Sheraton, the largest and most global brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, will upgrade 100 hotels in the U.S., renovate 50,000 guestrooms and redesign 100 lobbies as part of a global initiative to revitalize the iconic brand. The multi-year strategy to improve the quality and consistency of the portfolio includes $1.3 billion in renovations, $400 million in brand initiatives and $2 billion in new hotel openings. Sheraton has 406 hotels in 71 countries.

The new look starts in the lobby with the Link@Sheraton, a communications hub that allows guests to stay connected and productive while on the road. The free Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled computer stations allow guests to work or play online.

Led by Vice President of Design D.B. Kim, Sheraton will renovate more than 50,000 rooms in one of three distinct design templates: classic/timeless, simple/aesthetically streamlined and relaxed/casual.

The flexible room designs will incorporate four zones: a welcome area, a connection zone, an area to rest and a space to re-energize. The welcome area features a luggage bench and streamlined organizational wall shelf, the connection zone combines work (movable desk space) and play (flat-screen TV), the area to rest has the new Sheraton Sweet Sleeper II bed, and the refurbished bathroom includes a free-standing vanity and wall-mounted shelving with Shine by Bliss, a new bath amenities line.

“We're leveraging Starwood's proven history of building great lifestyle brands to enhance the entire guest experience for the company's most global, recognized brand,” says Hoyt H. Harper II, senior vice president for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts.

Best Western unveiled its Atria prototype last October and recently broke ground on the first in San Antonio: a 100-room property owned by Ajay Patel expected to be completed next fall.

The prototype's signature feature, its multi-function community space, includes a breakfast area, bar and media area in the lobby. Guests can watch TV, hold a business meeting or relax in the free-flowing gathering space. Guestrooms are designed around a loft concept and built with a frosted glass half-wall that separates the sleeping and living areas.

Modular design allows developers to adapt the building to meet local market needs. The prototype layout, which can be built for $85,000-$90,000 per room, features 100 rooms in five stories on a two-acre site.

“Developers have jumped at the chance to build the Atria prototype,” says David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western International. “Its design is attractive, functional and flexible enough to suit a variety of markets. We expect it to be very successful and a profitable model for a variety of hotel owners.”

Accor North America unveiled its reinvention of Motel 6 with the Phoenix prototype.

Highlights include a new building exterior designed by BOKA Powell, a spacious lobby with a new 24-hour food and beverage vending marketplace and a modern guestroom design with bright accent colors.

Designed by Priestman Goode of London, the guestrooms optimize the use of space by combining multiple functions. Rooms include ambient lighting, wood-effect flooring and a 32-inch flat-screen TV. The TV is displayed on the entertainment unit, which conceals the door-less wardrobe behind it. Also on the entertainment unit is a cubby for personal items and a multi-media panel allowing guests to plug in their MP3 players, CD players and laptops.

“The design embodies the heart of Motel 6 — it's no frills, uncomplicated and efficient with a new modern edge,” says Jim Amorosia, president and COO of Motel 6 and Studio 6.

The new brand 3 Palms, a joint venture between America's Best Franchising and Hotel Condo Services, consists of properties with a three-star rating or higher. The first six properties, with a total of 1,455 rooms, were scheduled to open this month and another three will open by the end of the year.

“The 3 Palms brand is more than a new name,” says Doug Collins, chairman and CEO of ABF. “It provides a new level of full-service franchise benefits at a reasonable fee to a wide category of properties, including independent and condominium hotels.”

Some locations will re-brand using the new name, while others will retain their current name with an added tagline describing the property as a 3 Palms hotel. No new constructions are planned at this time.

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