IHG’s Atwell Suites Brand Launches Franchise Sales in the U.S.

ATLANTA—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched franchise sales efforts for its newest brand—Atwell Suites—in the U.S. The upper-midscale hotel brand targets an estimated $18-billion industry segment that has grown by 70% over the last four years. Atwell Suites was first unveiled in May 2019 to thousands of IHG owners and operators at its Americas Investors & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas.

Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG, commented: “IHG’s brands are known and loved around the world, with the Americas region serving as the birthplace of the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, as well as Avid Hotels—the fastest brand launch in our history. The Atwell Suites brand builds on this track record of growth, value and innovation for owners, while offering guests something truly distinct in the growing upper-midscale segment.”

The Atwell Suites brand is designed for a new type of guest who is seeking opportunities to discover, learn and grow as they travel—perhaps even extending their stay a few days to explore a destination. IHG designed Atwell Suites for this new generation of travelers, integrating flexibility throughout the property with spaces and programs that encourage social interaction and help foster a spirit of kinship among guests, according to the brand.

Jennifer Gribble, VP, Atwell Suites, IHG, commented: “We used extensive consumer research and insights, as well as close collaboration with our existing owners, to create Atwell Suites as a unique brand that is both efficient for owners and inspiring for guests. We’re excited to bring a new brand to the marketplace that creates an environment where guests can be at their most inspired, most productive and most rested.”

IHG today also released new Atwell Suites renderings, further illustrating how the brand is designed to bring inspiration to every journey.

The exterior design for Atwell Suites properties creates a distinctively modern and welcoming first impression for guests, with interest from all angles thanks to a mix of neutral tones and textures, according to the brand. Windows frame the two-story lobby, acting as a reveal of the brand’s shared spaces.

The lobby space mixes private and shared areas to suit guests’ transition from work to leisure, creating a comfortable, welcoming feel any time of day, according to the brand. The reception area and bar are the central elements of the brand’s first-floor shared space. The lobby’s double-height space is open to the second floor, bringing in lots of natural light for a fresh, airy feel, with the open stair connecting the first-floor lobby to the second floor, and inviting guests upward. IHG also expects to share more information on a one-story lobby solution for owners in November.

Signature features of the Atwell Suites brand include the following:

All-studio suites: Atwell Suites properties will offer all-studio suites with distinct zones for living and sleeping; a wet bar with undercounter refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and bar sink; a work area with a high-top desk; a pull-out sofa; an oversized vanity in the bathroom; and a two-sided closet that can be accessed from both the guestroom and the bathroom.

Spaces to connect and collaborate: Atwell Suites’ design allows guests to create their own environment with more flexible meeting spaces, including a flexible meeting room integrated into the second floor of the lobby, outdoor space, huddle areas and public/private working spaces.

“Golden Hours” F&B: Atwell Suites properties will offer F&B options for when the sun is coming up and going down. All hotels will offer a complimentary hot breakfast that will feature two to three rotating signature hot items alongside a variety of morning favorites, as well as premium coffee and espresso. Additionally, guests may enjoy a paid bar in the lobby at the end of the day that will serve small plates.

Atwell Suites properties will feature the latest technology solutions to power the guest experience, including IHG’s in-hotel WiFi, IHG Connect. The brand will also offer IHG Studio, a seamless direct casting of entertainment from guests’ smartphones and personal devices to 55-in. TVs in each room.

Atwell Suites is a strong complement to IHG’s established brands, offering an average daily rate within the upper-midscale price point. According to the company, Atwell Suites properties can be developed in any market and will be efficient to build, operate and maintain—consistent with the company’s commitment to a positive owner experience for all of its brands. Additionally, Atwell Suites’ efficiently designed building and operating model will minimize the number of employees required to provide exceptional service for hotel guests.

With initial development focused in the U.S. market, the brand will be predominantly new-build following a prototypical design, with conversions also being considered on a case-by-case basis. In August, IHG announced that it had received more than 50 expressions of interest from owners in developing the Atwell Suites brand a few months following the brand’s launch. IHG expects the first Atwell Suites locations to begin construction in early 2020 and open in 2021.

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