Holiday Inn parent to launch new hotel brand

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Holiday Inn’s parent company is developing a new hotel chain aimed at travelers who want to work out and eat healthy on the road.

U.K.-based InterContinental Hotels Group PLC said Tuesday it will launch a hotel brand called Even for health-conscious travelers. The hotels will have guest rooms with space to exercise and amenities such as hypoallergenic linens and healthier food options.

The mid-priced chain will have gyms in the lobby behind the front desk, as well as a “marketplace” in the lobby that will offer food including smoothies and burgers.

Rooms will have traditional features that can also be used to work out, like a weight bench that’s replaced a luggage rack at the foot of the bed, or a coat rack that’s built strong enough to double as a pull-up bar. Rooms will also feature LED dimmers, natural lighting and anti-bacterial wipes.

The company, which also operates Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Candlewood Suites, expects to sign franchise deals for 100 Even hotels within the next five years. IHG plans to announce the location of the first Even hotel this spring and expects the first hotel to open in early 2013. The first hotels are expected to be in big markets like Los Angeles and San Francisco in the West and New York, Boston and Washington D.C. in the East.

Rooms will be more expensive than Holiday Inn but will vary widely depending on the location, IHG CEO Richard Solomons said in an interview with The Associated Press. Solomons said the company plans to eventually expand the brand overseas but it will remain only in the U.S. at first.

The idea for the new hotel brand came from customer feedback. Many lamented that they “fall off the wagon” while traveling and want a way to stay healthy while on business trips or vacations, Solomons said.