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Country Inn & Suites unveils new brand identity and design

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group had its Country Inns & Suites global business conference at Fontainebleau in Miami Beach this week. The major announcement from the conference is a new brand identity for Country Inns & Suites and the debut of the new hotel prototype for the brand.

The new Country Inns & Suites brand logo was introduced to the public.


In 2010 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced Ambition 2015, a five year global initiative to make the hotel brands of Radisson, Country Inns & Suites, Park Plaza and Park Inn recognized leaders in their market segments of the hotel industry.

In the past three years we have seen

  • the introduction of a unified Club Carlson hotel loyalty program replacing the disjointed Gold Points Plus;
  • the introduction of Radisson Blu in the U.S. market with Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago and the opening this past week of the second Radisson Blu Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota;
  • the introduction of a Club Carlson credit card which comes with the industry leading benefit of one free night on every award stay of two or more nights.

The unveiling of a Country Inns & Suites prototype this week is another major step toward reaching the objectives of Ambition 2015.

In a media briefing the Country Inns & Suites of the past were shown since the brand launched in 1987.


Country Inns & Suites Prototype 4 is designed to appeal to a new generation of travelers.


Country Inns & Suites Prototype 4


The design style reminds me of Hyatt Place or Starwood Element and Aloft.


The new design and architecture is scheduled to premier in Q4-2013.


Some travelers do not like the idea of a cookie-cutter hotel design, no matter how aesthetic or practical the room and hotel spaces are planned out.

My exposure these past few years to hotel industry conferences attended by hotel owners and prospective owners is the packaged hotel brand and design concept is a cost efficient investment. Replicating a similar design for hundreds of hotels around the USA and globally reduces the construction and remodeling cost significantly. The sales pitches at these conferences talk to hotel owners in terms of the cost to convert a hotel to a new brand by room key. Numbers like $15,000 or $25,000 per room key are the types of numbers used when talking about new build or rebranding. [Update clarification: the $15,000 to $25,000 per room key is in no way related to cost of Country Inns & Suites conversion. I do not know the figure for Country Inn. I used those numbers solely as an example to explain to the average hotel guest how these hotel rebranding transactions are pitched to hotel owners.]

This is why the major hotel chains have their largest number of hotels in midscale and upper-midscale brands:

  • IHG – Holiday Inn Express
  • Hilton – Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn
  • Marriott – Courtyard and Residence Inn
  • Starwood – Aloft and Element
  • Hyatt – Hyatt Place (many Hyatt Place properties were remodeled from former AmeriSuites hotels about five years ago).

The cookie cutter design backed by a major hotel brand makes bank financing much easier for the property owners. For the loyal frequent guest there is a sense of knowing what you get. I love Hyatt Place room design when I am traveling on business. Aloft is a great concept and extremely colorful, but the room feels cramped to me. With either of these brands, I feel I need to look out the window to see the difference in hotel location and remember which town I am in since, from the inside, these hotel rooms tend to look exactly the same.


Country Inns & Suites Prototype 4 bedroom.


The desk work space is updated for connectivity ease and a couch is a feature very important to me for extended stays in a hotel.


The pictures resting on a ledge is something I noticed on a stay at Fairfield Inn by Marriott last month.


Fairfield Inn Cherry Creek, Denver pictures on a ledge.

Country Inns & Suites Prototype 4 bathroom.


The Country Inns & Suites breakfast seating area is located off the lobby lounge.


The kitchen food service area is adjacent.


This is similar to the Hyatt Place design but seems more open in the food service area and separated more from the breakfast seating area.

There is a pool area and outside seating.


Deck outside pool area.


Country Inns & Suites pool area design.

Genevieve Gorder – Interior Designer

Country Inns & Suites partnered with celebrity interior designer, Genevieve Gorder to leverage her expert insights on the design needs of today’s consumers and reinforce the direction of the brand.

“Genevieve’s unique ability to add both style and comfort to living spaces translates perfectly to the guest experience Country Inns & Suites are known for — caring, consistent and comfortable hospitality delivered with a touch of home,” said Scott Meyer, senior vice president, Midscale Brands, Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

With shows like HGTV’s “Dear Genevieve”, “Design Star” and her upcoming show “Genevieve’s Renovation,” Gorder has become a beloved household name and a force within the design world.

“I am so excited for Country Inns & Suites. The design decisions that were made are strong, smart and progressive,” Gorder said. “You do not see attention to detail like this in upper-midscale hotels; it is truly special.”

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group press release

This is my first exposure to Genevieve Gorder. I have not seen her HGTV shows. Kind of like when I attended New York fashion Week last September and did not know TV celebrity fashion designer Rachel Zoe. Now I will probably recognize Genevieve Gorder’s name repeatedly over the coming months.

That was the big announcement this week from the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Country Inns & Suites conference in Miami Beach.

By the end of 2013 guests should start seeing some of these new Country Inns & Suites hotel designs.


Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.


  • DaninSTL March 22, 2013

    Funny that they had to go to a Hilton resort to figure this all out 🙂

    $15 to $25k per room to remodel seems way too high. It just seems like you could remodel an average hotel room for much less than this. I guess I’m out of touch with what commercial construction cost.

  • Ric Garrido March 22, 2013

    @DaninSTL – That figure is in no way related to Country Inns & Suites. I was using it as an example of how brands pitches are made at conferences like Americas Lodging Investment Summit to hotel owners using the term “cost per room key”.

    I have no idea about the cost of brand conversion to Country Inns & Suites.

    It also involves much more than room remodeling. Lobby, signage, brand standards for the entire property have to be redesigned and remodeled.

    Of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group conferences I have attended, only the one at Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago last month was held in a Carlson property.

    Two were in Gaylord Resorts (2010, 2011) which are now a Marriott brand and 2012 was at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

    There are more people in attendance than any Carlson Rezidor hotel in the USA has rooms. Park Inn Alexanderplatz and Radisson Blu Berlin could probably accommodate everyone with over 1,000 rooms at Park Inn Alexanderplatz Berlin.

    Nearly all Country Inn & Suites hotels are in USA so a big hotel in the USA works best – even if in a competitior’s brand.

  • DW March 22, 2013

    Not to nitpick, but the Fontainebleau hasn’t been part of Hilton for several years now and is now independent. So technically they weren’t holding the event at a big competitor.

  • andreas March 22, 2013

    I’ve stayed in a country inn once. I like the new look.. it’s hard to find that in the midscale hotel range. I’m really tired of Holiday Inns and Best Westerns.

  • Ric Garrido March 22, 2013

    @DW – thanks for nitpicking. That is twice today I was living in the past. Grandviews Restaurant at Grand Hyatt San Francisco is now closed and Fontainebleau is not a Hilton.

    I see the Fontainebleau dropped Hilton in 2005. Wow 8 years ago. That was about the same time I dropped Hilton too as my main program.

    Considering I stayed at both Hilton Miami and Conrad Miami in December, I should have noticed that Fontainebleau was not listed on the Hilton website.

    Thanks for the correction.

  • TheYGuy March 22, 2013

    Carlson needs to work on the Radisson brand in the US. They are all outdated. At least at Country Inn you get free breakfast and cookies. This redesign seems to be going away from the “country” part of country inn. They should make a new brand for this concept.

  • kodoma March 22, 2013

    Like the new look. I will give them a try once it rolls out.

  • Clare March 23, 2013

    Why don’t they call them Carlson Inn & Suites? It identifies them more accurately.

  • Ari March 24, 2013

    A big problem I have with the newer generation of cooky cutter hotels like Hyatt place and aloft is inability to open windows and absence of fresh air and oxygen all over the hotel specially in cramped rooms which suffocated me so much in my last visit to Hyatt olive 8, Seattle that I had to get out of my room in the middle of night to inhale some oxygen. The room air in almost all hyatt places that I have visited looks to be inhaled by the last 200 guests without being replaced. I hope one day these hotel designers understand that the we as human first need oxygen before we can start appreciating good temperature or nice lobby and other non-essential cosmetic factors.

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