INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP has announced Miami as the location of its first property in its upper-midscale Atwell Suites brand launched last year. Baywood Hotels, led by Al Patel as president and CEO, helped design the brand and plans to open its own Atwell Suites in Dallas in the near future.
The first Atwell Suites will be a 90-room hotel located in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood as a dual-brand construction with the 140-room Hotel Indigo Miami Brickell. Both will be owned by Francisco Arocha, Pedro F. Villar, Albert Ovadia and Sunview Companies and the Atwell Suites will open in summer 2021 as part of a new high-rise, mixed-use development.
Atwell Suites is being marketed as an all-suites hotel brand meant to attract guests for longer stays of up to six nights. IHG began franchising the brand last September and there are about 20 properties other than the Miami hotel now under planning and development in markets such as Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver; and Phoenix. Construction is expected to begin on additional Atwell Suites properties in the coming months.
“We created Atwell Suites as a result of continuous collaboration and dialogue with an enthusiastic advisory board comprised of IHG owners,” said Karen Gilbride, vice president for IHG’s Atwell Suites and avid hotels. “The all-suites segment is fast growing and remains very resilient with strong owner interest throughout 2020.”
BJ Patel, Baywood Hotel’s vice president of development, is a member of the Atwell Suites Owner Advisory Board. He said many of the board’s ideas for the brand came from a trip IHG sponsored to New York in October 2018.
“IHG invited us to New York for an inspirational journey to kind of touch hospitality in different forms. And I thought it was a really cool idea,” Patel said. “I thought that we were going to walk through many hotels and see what they do well and don’t do well, but it was completely different. We actually went to two different genres of how hospitality is touched. We went to food outlets, clothing stores, saw different products, how a product touches a human being.”
The group brought that information back to Atlanta, IHG’s home base, and started brainstorming with discussion, Patel said.
“Different aspects were very important from an owner’s perspective. Our cost to build was expensive, our return on investment was important to us, operational efficiency, what’s it going to cost, labor, all these things that are owner issues,” he said.
IHG did well to incorporate the board’s advice. There’s another benefit to the brand, Patel said.
“In times like this with COVID-19 that we’re experiencing right now, what we what we’ve seen is that business travel drops off dramatically,” he said. “What we like about the Atwell Suites brand is you can interchange very quickly from leisure to business, and that flexibility is not always there with other brands.”
Potential owners can take a virtual tour of the Atwell Suites design features.