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In mid-February, the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) teased a new all-suite brand to complement its existing extended stay brands of Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. At the time, it was shared that the new brand would focus on the “upper midscale market,” the pricing would fall between Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites and the brand would launch by the end of 2019.
It didn’t take long for IHG to share more details about this new brand. At its Americas Investors & Leadership Conference on Wednesday, IHG unveiled the name Atwell Suites along with mock-ups of rooms and more details about the brand. Simultaneously, IHG announced the new brand on social media and shared a video that doesn’t reveal anything substantive besides the name:
The explanation from IHG’s CEO Keith Barr doesn’t give many more specifics:
“The Atwell Suites brand is tailor-made to meet the significant demand in the upper-midscale segment for a new all-suites brand. Our newest offer gives owners and guests something different to what’s out there today — a stylish suite with the flex for guests to work, socialise or explore over a four-to-six-night stay. As we focus on accelerating our growth, the brand will further extend our leading position in the mainstream space.”
So, what do we know so far about the brand? Thankfully, there’s a press release that goes into more detail. Let’s go over the highlights.
Focused on 4- to 6-night stays. IHG notes that Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites cater to stays of a week or more. Atwell Suites will focus on providing “amenities and services falling between those offered by traditional extended stay and traditional select service hotels.” That means that…
Suites will have a kitchenette. Each Atwell Suites room will come with a small “kitchenette” with a counter-height refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and sink. This is more than you’ll find in most hotel rooms, but less than the kitchenettes in Candlewood and Staybridge rooms — which include a full-size refrigerator, stove top, a dishwasher and more counter space.
Convertible space to accommodate more guests. While IHG heralds a “premium pillow-top mattress” at its new Avid brand, there’s no details provided about the beds in Atwell Suites. From photos released by IHG, it seems travelers will have the option between one king bed and two queen beds. In addition, each suite will have a pullout sofa.
Diversity of work areas. The rooms will have a high-top desk for working in the room. In addition, properties will have a meeting room near the lobby as well as “outdoor space, huddle areas and public/private working spaces.”
Rooms will have a unique closet. One of the things that stood out to me as different in the announcement and floor plan is the closet that can be accessed from both the guestroom and the bathroom.
Free breakfast for all. Atwell Suites will offer food and beverage options during the “golden hours” — defined as “when the sun is coming up and going down.” In the morning, there will be a complimentary breakfast with 2-3 hot items and cold grab-and-go items. That sounds pretty similar to what Holiday Inn Express currently offers:
In the evenings, the brand will have a “bar in the lobby at the end of the day that will serve small plates paired with a drink menu.” The food and drinks during this “golden hour” seemingly won’t be complimentary.
First hotel will open in 2021. Unfortunately for those of us sold on the new brand, we will have to wait for a while to stay in an Atwell Suites. The brand will consist of newly built properties — rather than changing existing hotels into Atwell Suites. So, this week’s unveiling of the brand is just the start. The first hotels are expected to begin construction in 2020 and open in 2021. However, this is likely an optimistic timeline.
All photos by the author unless noted otherwise.
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