Choice Signs With VRL Hotels to Develop Two New Cambria Hotels in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

USA, Rockville, Maryland. February 09, 2021

Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) has awarded franchise agreements to Victor Patel of VRL Hotels to develop new Cambria Hotels in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. These agreements further the upscale brand's traction in Tennessee, which includes the already open Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown as well as soon-to-open Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport and a future property in Nashville's West End neighborhood. These proposed hotels will join other Cambria locations in top vacation destinations like Anaheim, California; Madeira Beach, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; Ocean City, Maryland; and Sonoma, California.

"The Cambria Hotels brand had robust development activity heading into the recent downturn, and we continue to grow despite the current challenging landscape," said Mark Shalala, senior vice president of development, upscale brands, Choice Hotels. "Since June, we've added five new hotels coast to coast — from Madeira Beach, Florida to Sonoma, California — and our developers continue to be heavily invested in the growth of the brand, as evidenced by these new franchise agreements in two highly sought-after leisure markets in Tennessee. We look forward to building on our success as we close out the year and begin a new one with more excitement on the horizon for the brand."

Cambria Hotel Gatlinburg: The 140-room in Gatlinburg-area hotel is expected to open in 2022, and will feature a rooftop bar and restaurant. Known as the "Gateway to the Smokies," the proposed hotel will be situated in downtown Gatlinburg in the heart of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the most visited national park in the United States and is part of the Appalachian Trail, offering more than 850 miles of trails, camping, fishing, biking and horseback riding.

The future hotel is in the epicenter of this vibrant mountain resort city, which includes Ober Gatlinburg, the only ski resort in the state, the Gatlinburg SkyLift, which takes people 1,800 feet up to the top of Crockett Mountain, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle, where visitors can take in 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains. Additional area attractions, many of which are within walking distance of the planned hotel, include Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and Haunted Adventure, as well as the Rocky Top Sports complex and many bourbon distilleries, breweries and wineries. The Gatlinburg Convention Center is also only one block from the future hotel.

Cambria Hotel Pigeon Forge: The proposed 140-room hotel in Pigeon Forge is expected to open in 2024. In addition to its mountain town atmosphere, the area near the future hotel is well known for being home to Dollywood, named after country singer Dolly Parton and one of the biggest tourist attractions in Tennessee, and features an Appalachian-themed park consisting of rides, an adjoining water park, a museum of her costumes and memorabilia, as well as the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and Museum. Other major draws near the planned hotel include the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, Titanic Museum Attraction, NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains and seasonal outdoor events throughout the year, such as Winterfest.

Cambria hotels feature upscale amenities and approachable indulgences that appeal to modern travelers, including:

- Locally inspired design décor, reflecting the unique personality of the surrounding community.

- Multi-purpose indoor and outdoor spaces for productive work or relaxation.

- Contemporary and sophisticated guest rooms, complete with design forward fixtures, abundant lighting and plush bedding.

- Immersive, spa-style bathrooms with Bluetooth mirrors.

- On-site dining featuring freshly made food, local craft beer, wine and specialty cocktails, as well as to-go options.

- Multi-function meeting and event space.

- State-of-the-art fitness centers.

All Choice-branded hotels are participating in Commitment to Clean, an initiative that builds upon the strong foundation of franchisees' long-standing dedication to cleanliness with enhanced training and best practices for deep cleaning, disinfecting and social distancing. Additionally, Cambria guests can limit their interactions with hotel staff by using the Cambria Contactless Concierge Service, a text messaging service for housekeeping requests, to-go food orders, meeting room requests and more.

Patel, who is developing both Cambria hotels in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, has over 15 years of experience with building hotels, including additional Choice-branded properties. There are currently over 50 Cambria hotels open across the U.S. in popular cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans and Phoenix.

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Though expectations are that hotels will return to some semblance of normalcy in 2021, their highest priority must continue to be the health and safety of guests and employees. To that end, hotels are training their guest service personnel in enhanced cleaning routines, which include the following practices - bathrooms, elevator buttons, remote controls and other high-touch items, are disinfected and cleaned with a higher frequency; all tables, chairs and menus in restaurants are cleaned at a much higher frequency, and after each seating; floor markers in public areas to remind guests and team members to maintain physical distance; hand alcohol stations and disposable gloves in lobbies and restaurants; loose items such as pens, note pads and information material removed from rooms and meeting rooms; limiting the number of seats in restaurants and public areas; and revised food & beverage offerings. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will review how guest service personnel are being trained to maintain health and safety protocols in their operations.