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Ascend Hotel Collection Opens First Hotels In Baltimore

SILVER SPRING, Md., April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --  Ascend Hotel Collection, part of Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH), announced its debut in Baltimore today with three boutique hotels in the vibrant waterfront neighborhoods of Inner Harbor and historic Fells Point.

The properties – Inn at Henderson's Wharf, Pier 5 and Admiral Fell Inn – expand Ascend Hotel Collection's lineup to 80 independent hotels. Today's news comes on the heels of the announcement last month that the fast-growing portfolio has added boutique hotels in Napa Valley, Sedona, Carmel and New Orleans. The momentum continues, with 30 signed agreements for additional properties in such premier destinations as Las Vegas, Aruba, Miami, Orlando and Cape Cod.

The group's new Baltimore hotels are owned and managed by Meyer Jabara Hotels, an award-winning hospitality company that owns and operates more than 20 lodgings in 13 states.

"Since its launch just a little more than four years ago, Ascend Hotel Collection has had incredible growth, adding distinctive properties operated by some of the top companies in the industry," said Michael Murphy, senior vice president of upscale brands at Choice Hotels. "Our latest additions are true to the Ascend DNA. Within walking distance to great restaurants, nightlife and attractions, these exceptional hotels showcase the best of the local culture and go out of their way to help guests feel in the know about all that this city has to offer."

Ascend Hotel Collection properties are located in top business and leisure destinations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and Central America. Murphy attributes the portfolio's rapid expansion to its significant member benefits. Hotels maintain their independent brand identity and local character, while gaining the firepower of the Choice Hotels global distribution, sales, marketing and technology platforms.

With a proven track record for driving reservations, Ascend Hotel Collection attracts both owners of existing hotels and developers of new ones. Among the group's chief advantages, Choice Privileges ® gives hotels visibility before a network of more than 16 million loyal rewards members worldwide. Additionally, the properties are featured on ChoiceHotels.com, one of the industry's most visited websites, attracting more than 100 million visits annually. They also are supported by the latest mobile platforms and e-marketing tools, including the Choice Hotels iPhone, iPad and Android apps. Following are the latest additions to the fast-growing portfolio.

Inn at Henderson's Wharf On a quiet cobblestone street directly on the Fells Point waterfront, Inn at Henderson's Wharf is steps from the marina and bustling boutiques, bars and restaurants and a short water taxi ride from Inner Harbor. Founded in 1893, the Inn today is one of Baltimore's top-rated hotels on TripAdvisor. Each of its 38 newly upgraded guestrooms features sleek, dark wood furnishings, plush feather beds and harbor or garden views. Sculptures and paintings celebrate the neighborhood's maritime heritage. Among the other amenities: complimentary continental breakfast daily and an on-site 24-hour fitness center. The elegant Inn has two meeting rooms, including the contemporary Gallery, which opens onto a lush garden courtyard for one-of-a-kind weddings and receptions on the waterfront.

Pier 5 This stylish Inner Harbor hotel is also on the waterfront, set on a private pier a short stroll from the National Aquarium and lively restaurants, nightlife and shops of Baltimore's Power Plant Live! entertainment and shopping complex. The hotel's three-story atrium lobby has contemporary decor, with gem-hued walls, plush velvet couches and gorgeous harbor views. Just off the lobby are two of Baltimore's top restaurants: McCormick and Schmick's Seafood and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Pier 5 houses 66 waterfront guestrooms with striking views of the harbor and city skyline. Some suites also have a separate living room with an entertainment center and wet bar. Guests gather in the lobby weeknights for innovative Inner Harbor-centric activities, including "Crabby Hour," with cooking demos, tastings and complimentary beer and wine. For exquisite weddings and meetings, Pier 5 has 7,300 square feet of meeting and reception space, including ballrooms; the Harbor Club, a 270-degree, glass-walled banquet space; and the Lighthouse Garden with sweeping views of the Knoll Lighthouse and Inner Harbor.

Admiral Fell Inn This European-style boutique hotel also sits on the Fells Point waterfront, brimming with pubs, restaurants and shops. A charter member of the Historic Hotels of America, Admiral Fell Inn is steps from The Horse You Came In On Saloon, a favorite haunt of Edgar Allen Poe. The hotel is comprised of seven brick buildings, dating back to the 1770s. Today, it houses 80 refurbished guestrooms and suites, many with canopy beds; spa tubs; balconies; and stunning courtyard, harbor or city views. Eclectic onsite dining options range from Meli Patisserie & Bistro, serving elevated American fare to Tapas Adela, featuring the flavors of Spain. Admiral Fell Inn has 3,500 square feet of meeting and event space, including the Admiral Fell Ballroom with breathtaking views of city's skyline and historic seaport. Guests learn about local legends during the hotel's neighborhood Ghost Tour. Afterwards, they can reconvene at the inn's iconic Tavern At The Admiral, serving local beer and creative cocktails culled from recipes of seafarers who frequented this tavern long ago.

Inn at Henderson's Wharf, Pier 5 and Admiral Fell Inn also offer: complimentary shuttle service; free Wi-Fi; use of the nearby MAC Pool & Wellness Center; state-of-the-art meeting and event space; and specialists to customize dream weddings, vacations, meetings and events. Both Pier 5 and Admiral Fell Inn are pet-friendly hotels.

Another recent and notable addition to Ascend Hotel Collection is the charming St. James Hotel, New Orleans, in the downtown business district within walking distance of the French Quarter. The newly refurbished, 86-room hotel, features elegant West Indies decor, a nod to its origins in the stately Banks Arcade, a 19 th-century landmark, once the center of the Caribbean sugar and coffee trade.

About Ascend Hotel Collection The Ascend Hotel Collection membership program made its debut in late 2008 and now has 80 hotels open throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Central America 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 The GEM Hotels with three boutique hotels in New York City; Postcard Inn, on the white sands of St. Pete Beach, Fla. on the Gulf of Mexico; Grand Hotel Costa Rica, in downtown San Jose's Cultural Square; 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 499,000 rooms, in the United States and more than 30 other countries and territories.  As of December 31, 2012, 394 hotels, representing more than 31,000 rooms, were under construction, awaiting conversion or approved for development in the United States.  Additionally, 88 hotels, representing approximately 7,800 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 at its Ascend Hotel Collection membership program, serve guests worldwide.

Choice Hotels International offers the Choice Privileges® rewards program. With nearly 17 million members worldwide, it is one of the fastest growing loyalty programs in the travel industry.

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

Choice Hotels, Choice Hotels International, Choice Privileges, 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.

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