Staybridge Suites hires general manager for Newcastle

December 11, 2008 // Franchising.com // InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has appointed Mark Armstrong as general manager of Staybridge Suites Newcastle. The 128-suite extended stay hotel is due to open in April 2009, hot on the heels of the UK's first Staybridge Suites property which opened its doors in Liverpool in June 2008.

With 21 years experience in the hospitality industry, Armstrong joins Staybridge Suites from the Caledonian Hotel in Newcastle where he was general manager. He joined the Caledonian Hotel in 2005 from the Avon Gorge Hotel in Bristol, another hotel in the Peel Hotels portfolio, where he was deputy general manager.

Armstrong settled in Bristol when he returned from a 15-year stint in Australia having moved there aged 18. While in Australia, Armstrong spent five years in food and beverage management at the five-star Sheraton Sydney Airport Hotel after securing a place on the management development programme. He moved to the hotel from the Brisbane Sheraton Hotel & Towers where he worked part-time while studying Hospitality and Business Management at Griffith University in Queensland.

Having now adopted Newcastle as his home, Armstrong said: "I've worked in the north east for the last three and a half years. While it's a hugely competitive area for hotels, I've thoroughly enjoyed working in the hospitality industry here and I now think of Newcastle as my home. The Armstrong family name is originally from the Northumberland region, so I do see myself as an honorary Geordie too."

Karen Nielsen, vice president, brand development, Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), IHG, said: "The role of the general manager at Staybridge Suites is different to the general manager role in a regular hotel. Our guests typically stay with us for more than a few days and some stay for several months at a time. An important part of all our Staybridge Suites properties is that they have something we call a hub kitchen where guests gather for informal networking over a glass of wine most weekday evenings. Over the course of their stay our general managers end up spending a lot of time with our guests and get to know them well."

Since the first Staybridge Suites outside North America opened in Liverpool earlier this year a further property has opened in Cairo in Egypt. There are 12 Staybridge Suites hotels currently in IHG's pipeline across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Notes to Editors:

About Staybridge Suites

  • Staybridge Suites is an innovative all-suite hotel brand designed to meet the needs of upscale extended-stay guests, primarily targeting business travellers who usually stay five or more nights.
  • The brand's flexible approach and blend of the domestic environment with traditional hotel services is expected to bridge the gap between conventional hotels and serviced apartments. As such, Staybridge Suites appeals to a wide range of travel needs, from those in town on business or looking for a spacious 'home from home' experience while on holiday to those relocating to the area.
  • The one-bedroom and studio suites feature a fully-equipped kitchen, state-of-the-art entertainment and communications, including free WiFi, and more space compared to conventional hotel rooms.
  • At Staybridge Suites' heart is the hub kitchen, where breakfast is served every morning. This is also the venue for the signature after-work receptions, held four nights a week, when guests are served complimentary drinks and themed snacks and have a chance to socialise in a relaxing environment.
  • Other added comforts include the living room, complete with open fire, an outdoor terrace with a barbecue, an exercise room, daily housekeeping, guest laundry room and the convenience of its own 24/7 deli-style pantry.
  • Staybridge Suites Newcastle, signed with Trinity Hotels in December 2006, will be the second Staybridge Suites property to open in the UK and will be managed by IHG. The hotel will occupy a prime city centre site in Melbourne Street, ideally located for Newcastle's main business district.

Notes to Editors:

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. IHG owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 4,100 hotels and more than 600,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®, and also manages the world's largest hotel loyalty programme, Priority Club® Rewards with 40 million members worldwide.

IHG has more than 1,700 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create 200,000 jobs worldwide over the next few years.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.

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