The five-AA-star, 18-bedroom the Howard and the 42-bedroom Channings hotels, both in Edinburgh, have become the first UK properties to join the soft brand, which currently comprises 148 independent hotels in the US, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Ireland. It is hoped that they will be joined by a further eight to 10 hotels in the UK over the next three years.
The Howard and Channings will operate under a franchise agreement with the Edinburgh Collection, which is owned by hospitality and business services group Palm Holdings. Both hotels were acquired by Palm Holdings, which also owns the Old Waverley hotel and Holyrood aparthotel in Edinburgh, from the Town House Collection in 2010.
Mark Pearce, senior vice president, international division, for Choice Hotels, said the launch of Ascend into the UK was part of the company's strategy to diversify its portfolio and introduce a new upscale hotel offer.
"These two Edinburgh properties give us a critical foothold in the UK that will support the accelerated rollout of the Ascend Hotel Collection in the UK and across Europe," he said.
Ricky Kapoor, commercial director of the Edinburgh Collection, would not disclose the length of the franchise agreement with Choice Hotels, but said it allowed a degree of flexibility, regarding retaining the properties' distinct qualities and termination terms, which other brands do not offer.
"It also provides us with a badge of global distinction, a wide international reach and extensive buying power," he explained. "The only changes we will be making will be back of house with regards our revenue management and distribution systems and sales and marketing approach, which will optimise demand and generate more revenue."
The two hotels will be known as the Howard, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, and Channings hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member.
Ascend is one of 11 brands, owned by Choice Hotels International, which operates across 6,300 franchised properties worldwide. In the UK, it has nearly 40 hotels across three Choice brands: the three-to-four star rated Clarion Collection, Quality (three-star) and Comfort (two-to-three star).
Choice Hotels awards best franchised hotels for 2015 >>
Choice Hotels International ends franchises with Real Hotel Group >>
Town House Collection sells two Edinburgh hotels >>
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