Choice Hotels' bid to compete in the upscale, select-service lodging market finally came to fruition in Boise, ID last month with the grand opening of the Cambria Suites Boise Airport. Corporate and property-level management welcomed media, local dignitaries and hotel owner and operator The Summit Group, Inc. to the 119-unit property.

The new-construction, all-suites product was six years in the making, with some sidetracking due to the fallout in the lodging industry following the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Officials made no secret of the fact that they modeled much of the design (particularly the common area) on the Starbucks concept, with a nod to the boutique trend.

“This is not your parents' hotel, but they'd stay here, too,” said William Edmundson, vice president, brand management & strategy, Cambria Suites. “Today's guests want to take their lifestyle with them when they travel. They want a hotel brand that delivers more space, leading technology, a fitness center that is like a spa, and healthy and organic dining options. Cambria Suites is that brand.”

Amenities include large, well-appointed suites with separate living and bedroom areas; flat panel LCD TVs in both the living area and the bedroom; MediaHub plug-and-play technology; refrigerator and microwave; movable desk; and a tub with bench seat.

Public spaces feature an indoor pool and fitness room (called Refresh), business center and limited meeting space (2,000 square feet in three rooms). A dramatic two-story lobby includes Reflect, a dining and gathering spot that has a hot buffet in the morning, a dinner menu, wine, liquor, beer and a barista bar. Refill is a 24/7 convenience store with drinks, organic snacks, sundries and grab-and-go sandwiches and salads. The hotel also offers wireless Internet access throughout the property.

Fifty Cambria Suites hotels are currently being developed in 21 states with five under construction, including properties in Green Bay, WI; Appleton, WI; Akron/Canton (OH) Airport; Savannah, GA; and Bloomington, MN.

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