InterContinental Hotels Group announces the launch of a new build design concept for Hotel Indigo, its lifestyle boutique brand. This announcement marks the one-year anniversary of Hotel Indigo, and is part of a larger growth and development strategy for the brand.

"The introduction of our new build design concept is driven by developer demand," said Jim Anhut, senior vice president, brand development for the Americas, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). "While conversions will be the primary method for the brand's expansion, the new build design concept will satisfy developer demand to build Hotel Indigo properties in suburban, near 'urban' locations where conversions are not an option. This inspiring interest in the brand underscores the momentum that Hotel Indigo continues to gain within the hotel franchise community because of its unique point of difference in the marketplace," said Anhut.

Hotel Indigo's new build design offering, provides prospective developers a distinctive yet flexible concept that can readily fit into a variety of marketplaces. The new build design unfolds into an intricate story that moves beyond environmental aesthetics, allowing Hotel Indigo to inspire its guests. This is expressed via the timeless beauty found in nature and realized through the Golden Mean. Hotel Indigo's new build concept uses design elements that tell the story of the brand, some of them are: non-static exterior renewable mural, open and airy public spaces designed for contemplation or congregating, and guestrooms with curved walls and distinctive entry way alcoves.

As a complement to the brand's evolving exterior footprint, Hotel Indigo has also created "Interpret Indigo." Interpret Indigo is the brand's custom interior design mantra, which gives developers and their designers the opportunity to creatively interpret the brand design hallmarks so that each property can maintain distinct character and regional flair. While the new build design concept and "Interpret Indigo" both keep the Hotel Indigo brand hallmarks at the forefront, they also allow the brand to maintain a unique personality and simultaneously deliver on its brand promise of non-cookie cutter hotels.

As the first lifestyle boutique brand in the hospitality industry, Hotel Indigo has defined a new category of hotels and is first to market with a product and service model that addresses the needs of consumers who are "trading up" to affordable luxury and service, but who are still seeking value and style. Hotel Indigo has experienced unparalleled reception from consumers and developers alike. Hotels have already opened in high-profile urban markets including Atlanta and Chicago. Before years end, another Hotel Indigo hotel will open in Palatine, Ill bringing the brand portfolio to three hotels open in just over a year.

"The introduction of this new build concept and a strong pipeline, combined with the strength and scope of the IHG infrastructure provides a strong foundation for the continued growth and development of Hotel Indigo," said Anhut. "Hotel Indigo has experienced an exceptional year and our open hotels continue to post strong performance numbers and high satisfaction marks from consumers. And, on the one year anniversary of the brand, we already have eight hotels opened, under conversion or signed. Based on this year's success we fully expect to have twelve to fifteen Hotel Indigo hotels open by end of 2006."

Already well positioned for expansion in 2006, Hotel Indigo currently has four signed license agreements with two prominent hotel development groups. Driftwood Hospitality will own and manage the Hotel Indigo Houston, TX, while Wesley Hotel Group, LLC will own and Wesley Hotels & Resorts will manage Hotel Indigo properties in Nashville, Tenn., Knoxville, Tenn., and Sarasota, Fla. A fifth conversion is also underway in Dallas, TX.

"We are pleased to add three premiere properties to the Hotel Indigo portfolio," said Wayne W. McAteer, Chairman and CEO for Wesley Hotel Group, LLC. "Conversion work has already begun on our Knoxville and Nashville properties and our Sarasota hotel is on track to open in the summer of next year. Hotel Indigo will fit well within all of these markets and create an inimitable and superior hospitality experience for travelers."

In addition to signed agreements, franchise negotiations are currently underway in more than 25 additional major metropolitan markets from California to New York. In fact, IHG recently committed to investing capital to own and develop 2-3 hotels over the next five years to expedite Hotel Indigo's distribution and penetration into key markets.