NEW ORLEANS --
Although there are some 350 Country Inns & Suites by Carlson
hotels across the world, there is little doubt that the one in New
Orleans is unlike any other.
155-room property was developed out of seven connecting historical
buildings on Magazine Street, just a few blocks from the French
And much like
everything else in New Orleans, each of the buildings, which date
to the 1860s and are listed in the Register of National Historic
Places, has its own colorful history. For instance, one building
was once the home to the Clarion Herald, a publisher of Christian
literature, and another was a popular fabric retail
buildings into a midscale hotel is an involved process. In fact, it
took Carlson more than two years to complete the construction and
restoration work in order for the Country Inn & Suites to open
But while that
alone would be enough to make this ambitious addition to the chain
unusual, what truly makes the hotel in New Orleans noteworthy is
that it is the first Country Inns & Suites property to be built
in an urban location.
hotel, which charges an average room rate of $120 a night, is owned
and operated by Carlson Hotels Worldwide, an unusual move for a
company that typically franchises its hotels to outside
Why would Carlson
go to the trouble of developing, building and managing one of its
hotels? The reason is simple: It wants its 18-year-old hotel brand
to be noticed by developers, and theres no place better to do that
than the Big Easy.
When a company
like this has investors and franchisees that may not be familiar
with the brand, it doesnt hurt to have one in a key location where
we dont have other Country Inns & Suites, said Jodie Grannes,
director of sales and marketing, managed hotels for Carlson Hotels
Worldwide. This exposes the brand to people who look for hotel
chains to invest in. It seems to be working.
Grannes said it
is not unusual for people who own other hotels in the area to ask
about the franchise opportunities of a Country Inns & Suites.
So [being in New Orleans] has some ancillary benefits besides just
getting our brand out there.
Like its sister
properties around the world, the Country Inn & Suites in New
Orleans has a residential feel. But there are plenty of touches
that are uniquely New Orleans.
designed it so that the hallways feel like Bourbon Street with
hanging [electric] gas lamps and pillars, said Grannes. It feels
like New Orleans.
To book, call
(800) 456-4000 or go to www.countryinns.com.
reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].