After finishing a $2.5 billion transformation of its flagship brand, Choice Hotels on Thursday unveiled a new prototype for its Comfort properties. Dubbed Rise & Shine, the prototype will be available for both new builds and conversions, and the first newly constructed hotels with the new design are expected to open in 2023, according to the company.
Choice wanted to unveil the new designs a year ago but delayed because of the pandemic. “Primarily, we wanted to focus 100 percent on helping the owners through this,” said Choice president and CEO Patrick Pacious. “Second was financing for hotels during the pandemic; it was a difficult challenge.”
Choice’s supply chain also was disrupted, he added, but the company now is seeing developers and current owners thinking about building. “We have almost 300 in the pipeline today, and many of [the developers] were asking us if they could see the new prototype,” Pacious said, adding that other factors in deciding to announce the new prototype now included the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine and increasing leisure demand for midscale properties.
The Rise & Shine prototype features a reduced physical footprint, an outdoor porch, a flexible lobby space that can transform from a breakfast area to meeting and event space, an indoor-outdoor fireplace, high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows to allow in more natural light, and guest rooms with upgraded fixtures and furniture, including semi-open closets and new “on the go” stations at the door. Developers can choose among three color schemes and wood options: “City”, “Sea” and “Sun.”
While many of the design elements were in place before Covid-19, Choice did change some of the upholstery fabrics after the pandemic, opting for vinyl, which more easily can be wiped compared with soft fabrics, said Choice director of architecture and design Kade Wane.
Comfort amenities will continue to include a free hot breakfast, free Wi-Fi and 100 percent smoke-free facilities. There are more than 1,600 Comfort hotels in the United States, and of the nearly 300 properties in the brand’s pipeline, about 80 percent are new construction, according to the company.