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Ascend Hotel Collection Inks Member Agreement With Starwood Capital Group

  Ascend Hotel Collection Inks Member Agreement With Starwood Capital Group

Adds Iconic Postcard Inn to Portfolio

PR Newswire

SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 22, 2013

SILVER SPRING, Md., Jan. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Ascend Hotel Collection from
Choice Hotels International announced today it has added Postcard Inn on the
Beach, St. Pete Beach, Fla., to its portfolio of independent hotels. Postcard
Inn is a one-of-a-kind hotel with retro, 1950s, surfer-inspired style. The
property is owned by an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group, a leading global
real estate investment firm, and managed by Philadelphia-based Hersha
Hospitality Management.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/PH46498 )

"We are excited to join Ascend Hotel Collection and Choice Hotels," said Roy
Shanholtz, vice president, Starwood Capital Group. "Being part of Ascend will
build visibility for our hotel before an audience of more than 16 million
Choice Privileges rewards members. Starwood expects Choice's vast distribution
channels to help increase awareness and drive occupancy at Postcard Inn, which
combines a relaxing atmosphere with unique design elements for a fun and
affordable hotel on one of America's top beaches."

Ascend Hotel Collection has more than 75 upscale properties in key
destinations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Costa
Rica. Member hotels maintain their independent identity, while adding the
firepower of the Choice Hotels global sales, marketing and technology
platforms. The properties tap into Choice Privileges, a network of more than
16 million rewards members worldwide. They are featured on ChoiceHotels.com,
one of the industry's most visited websites, attracting more than 100 million
visits annually. Ascend Hotel Collection member hotels also are supported by
mobile platforms and e-marketing tools, including the Choice Hotels iPhone,
iPad and Android apps, making the lodgings instantly available to millions of
travelers worldwide.

Ascend Hotel Collection appeals to both owners of existing hotels and
developers of new ones. Recent additions to the eclectic portfolio include
boutique hotels in major cities, including New York, Boston, Miami, New
Orleans, Ottawa and Calgary as well as signed franchise agreements for new
properties in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, British Anguilla and other premier
destinations.

"We're delighted to team up with Starwood Capital Group," said Michael Murphy,
senior vice president of upscale brands at Choice Hotels. "Ascend Hotel
Collection is achieving great momentum, attracting world-class strategic
franchisees and exciting new members like Postcard Inn. This hotel is in an
ideal location and has fantastic food and a unique surfer-inspired ambiance.
It will have great appeal to our guests – savvy travelers who like innovative
lodgings that let them experience the destination like the locals do."

Surfer Chic with BBQ by the Beach

Postcard Inn sits at the ocean's edge on St. Pete Beach, a six-mile-long
island off Florida's West Coast. This destination ranked No. 1 on the 2012
TripAdvisor list of Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States. It is
known for its wide, white-sand beaches and warm Gulf of Mexico waters, just
right for swimming and watersports like paddle boarding and jet skiing.

A modern hotel with vintage flair, Postcard Inn was built in the 1950s as a
two-story, U-shaped motel. A 2009 upgrade transformed it into the Postcard
Inn. The hotel is a collaboration of Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of
Starwood Capital Group; famed restaurateur Stephen Hanson and his in-house
design team; Philadelphia-based S.L. Design; and landscape architect Christy
Ten Eyck, based in Phoenix and Austin, Texas.

Postcard Inn attracts all types of travelers – singles, couples and families –
with its singular surfing-inspired style. Many of the 196 guestrooms feature
bona fide surfboards anchored to the wall and standing upright in the corner.
While no two rooms are alike, all are outfitted with retro light fixtures,
flat-screen televisions, Wi-Fi and down-filled duvets with crisp white covers.
Some rooms also have large-scale surfer photos by local artists and quotes
from legendary surfers, artists and musicians. Rooms lining the pool come with
patios and hammocks affording views of the hotel's heated Olympic-size pool
and palm tree-lined grounds. Through the end of March, Postcard Inn room rates
start at $189 per night.

The hotel has two gyms, snorkeling, parasailing, shuffleboard, volleyball,
Ping Pong, a shady courtyard, picnic area, vintage photo booth, game room,
billiard table, business center and a library. The onsite restaurants and
beach bar – thePCI Bar & Grilland PCI SnackShack – are hits with visitors
and locals, who gather there for the ocean breezes and gourmet spin on grilled
comfort food featuring local seafood and regional American BBQ. On some
nights, live music adds to the upbeat ambiance.

Postcard Inn is the place for wedding ceremonies in the tree-filled courtyard
garden or on the white sandy beach against the backdrop of the setting sun.
The hotel has catering services and indoor and outdoor event venues, including
a ballroom, executive boardroom, garden and beach, accommodating 500 people
for banquets and receptions and 250 for meetings and conferences.

Outdoor activities like dolphin tours, fishing excursions and scuba diving are
minutes away. For culture buffs, the $36-million Dali Museum in St. Petersburg
houses the world's largest collection of Dali works outside Spain. Walt Disney
World is a little more than an hour's drive. Also nearby: shops and
restaurants in downtown St. Petersburg; Busch Gardens; Lowry Park Zoo;
Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays; Fort DeSoto Park; and other
attractions. Postcard Inn is close to St. Petersburg-Clearwater International
Airport and 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport.

About Ascend Hotel Collection
The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and
now has more than 75 hotels open and under development throughout the United
States, Canada, Costa Rica, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. This eclectic
portfolio of upscale, independent hotels appeals to the growing number of
people who like to immerse themselves in the destination and live like the
locals when they travel. Member hotels include TheGEM Hotels with three
boutique hotels in New York City; Zona Hotel and Suites Scottsdale in Arizona;
Grand Hotel Costa Rica, San Jose; Hotel Royal William in the chic New St. Rock
district of downtown Quebec City; Nordic Light Hotel, Stockholm. For more
information, visit www.ascendcollection.com.

About Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels International, Inc. franchises approximately 6,200 hotels,
representing more than 495,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30
other countries and territories. As of September 30, 2012, 360 hotels,
representing 29,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or
approved for development in the United States. Additionally, 75 hotels,
representing approximately 7,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting
conversion or approved for development in more than 20 other countries and
territories. The company's Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Sleep Inn,
Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel, Econo
Lodge and Rodeway Inn brands, as well as its Ascend Hotel Collection
membership program, serve guests worldwide.

Additional corporate information may be found on the Choice Hotels
International, Inc. website, which may be accessed
athttp://www.choicehotels.com/.

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites,
Quality, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban
Extended Stay Hotel, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and Ascend Hotel Collection are
proprietary trademarks and service marks of Choice Hotels International.

© 2013 Choice Hotels International, Inc. All rights reserved.

SOURCE Choice Hotels International, Inc.

Website: http://www.choicehotels.com
Contact: Sharlet Brennan, MMGY Global Public Relations, +1-407-838-1707,
sbrennan@mmgyglobal.com; or Lorin Konchak, MMGY Global Public Relations,
+1-407-838-1718, lkonchak@mmgyglobal.com
 
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