Candlewood Suites Goes Back to School for Suite Designs

Extended-stay brand engages graduate-level interior design students to give a creative boost to standardized room décor

May 19, 2010 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA - Candlewood Suites, IHG's midscale extended-stay hotel brand, is taking a creative design approach for its next generation of standardized room décor packages. The brand has partnered with a graduate-level interior design class at the Savannah College of Art and Design to create fresh, modern designs to be implemented in public spaces and guest suites at existing and new Candlewood Suites hotels.

This project follows the highly successful redesign of the Staybridge Suites standardized room décor by SCAD students in 2009. The Staybridge Suites designs were unveiled to franchisees in late 2009 and are currently available for implementation at new Staybridge Suites locations across the U.S.

"The outcome of the Staybridge Suites project proved to us that pushing the conventional boundaries really can work in our hotels," said Robert Radomski, vice president, Global Brand Management, Extended-Stay Brands, IHG. "Bringing in students from outside our industry gives us the freedom to rethink the traditional theories of hotel design. It's especially important as an extended-stay brand that we come up with concepts for Candlewood Suites that echo the elements seen in current residential design, as our properties are the next best thing to home for our guests, who often stay with us for weeks at a time."

As part of the coursework, the group of seven students were challenged to truly understand the Candlewood Suites brand culture. The students toured the Candlewood Suites at the Savannah airport, researched the brand's history and studied current and previous design schemes. They will attend the 2010 Hospitality Design Expo, the industry's largest design show, on May 19-21 in Las Vegas, to learn about current trends in hospitality design. While in Las Vegas, the students will stay at the largest Candlewood Suites in the system, where they will interview hotel teams and guests. The students are also actively engaged with the IHG design and Candlewood Suites brand management teams, as well as a group of current Candlewood Suites owners, all to ensure that the proposed designs are the right fit for the brand.

The class is led by Professor Margo Jones, who has more than 25 years of experience in corporate design, including time with Gensler, a leading global architecture and interior design firm known for its hospitality design work.

"The projects with IHG have been a hallmark of SCAD's interior design program in the last two years," she said. "The interactive sessions between the students and the IHG team are collaborative learning at its best, and the benefit to each individual student is exceptional career preparation."

SCAD offers one of the largest and most professionally-engaged interior design programs in the U.S. Students benefit from the expertise of full-time faculty who hold terminal degrees in the field and who share a common belief that a holistic educational framework guides future professional development and inspires lifelong learning. The interior design program challenges students to become innovative designers who are capable of critical thinking and effective communication. Professional ethics and values are stressed within the context of social, environmental and global design practice.

Coursework for the Candlewood Suites project began in early April of this year, and in late May, the students will present their final design concepts. IHG's Plan Review Department together with the Candlewood Suites brand team will bring the designs to life, with model rooms expected to begin construction this fall.

About Candlewood Suites Hotels

Candlewood Suites is focused on comfort, space and value. At more than 260 properties located throughout North America, guests find spacious studio and one-bedroom suites, each with their own fully equipped kitchen, large workspace, comfortable recliner, DVD and CD player and complimentary high-speed Internet access. The complimentary fitness center and guest laundry are open around the clock, and the Candlewood Cupboard® is open 24 hours for snacks, refreshments, entrées and other necessities on the honor system. Candlewood Suites hotels offer guests all of this at a very comfortable price.

All hotels offer the brand's Comforts of HomeTM Bedding Collection with upgraded mattresses and box spring sets, mattress topper, fluffy duvet inserts and poly-cotton covers matching the hotel's color scheme, 250-thread count micro-check sateen sheets in "Candlelight," triple sheeting, contemporary cotton estate blankets, choice of three upgraded pillow types in firm, medium and feather and a decorative "Consider Us Home" pillow.

About SCAD: The University for Creative Careers

The Savannah College of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers students a choice of degree programs in 46 majors and more than 50 minors at locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Lacoste, France; online through SCAD eLearning; and in Hong Kong beginning Fall 2010 (pending approval by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).

SCAD offers an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body of more than 9,900 comes from all 50 United States and nearly 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of more than 650 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These faculty emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment. SCAD provides an innovative curriculum enhanced by advanced, professional-level technology, equipment and learning resources. SCAD has garnered acclaim from respected organizations and publications, including BusinessWeek, American Institute of Architects, DesignIntelligence, U.S. News & World Report and Los Angeles Times.

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 4,400 hotels and more than 650,000 guest rooms in 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognized 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 program, Priority Club® Rewards with 48 million members worldwide.

IHG has over 1,300 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create 160,000 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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