DALLAS, Oct. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. (NYSE: AHT) ("Ashford Trust" or the "Company") today announced that its Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel has been named in Conde Nast Traveler's annual Readers' Choice Awards for Best Hotels in Florida, released in the November 2013 issue. The Renaissance is one of the initial hotels to be included in the planned spin-off of Ashford Hospitality Prime, Inc. (" Ashford Prime"). Of the 20 Florida properties recognized in the Readers' Choice Awards, the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza was the only Tampa Bay area hotel ranked among Florida's finest. It tied with the Grand Bohemian in Orlando and Island City House in Key West. "We are honored to be recognized in Conde Nast Traveler's 2013 Readers' Choice Awards as one of the leading hotels in Florida by offering our guests an exceptional experience during their stay with us," said Monty J. Bennett, Ashford Trust's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "This also speaks to the rationale behind Ashford Prime, to unlock the embedded value in our highest quality hotel assets. We expect that creating a new platform with a lower leverage profile and high quality assets will result in a lower cost of capital for Ashford Prime." Ashford Prime will have a focused investment strategy targeting high RevPAR hotels in major markets. It will constitute a new public entity whereby Ashford Trust will spin-off an 80% ownership interest in an 8-hotel portfolio, totaling 3,146 rooms (2,912 owned rooms), to holders of the Company's common stock in the form of a taxable special distribution expected to be comprised of common stock in Ashford Prime. The Company currently expects to complete the spin-off during the fourth quarter of this year. Additional information can be found in the information statement for Ashford Hospitality Prime that has been filed with the SEC. The Four Diamond-rated Renaissance Tampa International Plaza hotel is located at 4200 Jim Walter Blvd. in Tampa, Florida. The 293-room full service hotel features the award-winning Pelagia Trattoria restaurant, a fitness center, outdoor pool and 12,500 square feet of meeting space. Year to date, the hotel has previously been honored with the following awards:
2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
2013 Tampa Bay's Top Workplaces by Tampa Bay Times
2013 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hotels in the USA"
The Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Survey, begun in 1988, is available through a secure Web site at condenasttraveler.com/vote. This year's tabulations of 79,268 responses were done by Equation Research. Organization: The questionnaire contains lists of candidates in various categories (Cities, Hotels, etc.). Candidates must receive a required minimum number of responses to be eligible for a Readers' Choice Award. Evaluation: Individual candidates are judged on a set of criteria relevant to their category, based on a standard five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. The percentage of excellent and very good ratings determines the final score published here.