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ATLANTA-InterContinental Hotels Group of London, which calls itself the world’s largest hotel company, starts taking reservations Nov. 1 at the Downtown 12-story, 140-room Hotel Indigo, the seventh and newest brand in the company’s 3,500-hotel portfolio.

The London-based hotelier plans to open a second Hotel Indigo in Chicago in March. The company is also looking at sites in Miami, Boston and Los Angeles.

InterContinental thinks it has found a market niche in designing hotels that don’t follow conventional hotel architecture and ambience. Steve Porter, president of InterContinental Hotel Group Americas, calls his company’s newest property at 683 Peachtree St. NE, “an intriguing hotel that delivers high peace and renewal to people who are tired of mundane cookie-cutter hotels.”

The hotel has been renovated and retrofitted in an 80-year-old building directly across from the historic Fox Theater. Rooms are expected to be in the $100-per-night range.

“For the first time in the hotel industry, we’re defining customers by a mindset, rather than a price point,” Porter says. “By approaching the hotel design and services from a retailer’s perspective, we are able to cater to middle market consumers who are trading up to higher levels of quality and taste, but still seeking value.” Porter adds, “This is the first evolution of a hotel that creates a refreshing, changing environment designed to rejuvenate travelers, not impress others.”

Atlanta observers say Hotel Indigo’s personality is more like newly redesigned hotels in south Miami Beach rather than looking like traditional Southern inns. “A brand developed primarily for conversions, Hotel Indigo is designed to fit a variety of markets in locations where a hotel might not be reaching its full potential,” says Jim Anhut, senior vice president, brand development for InterContinental Hotels Group Americas.

Gabriele Webster, former regional vice president of operations at locally based Prime Hospitality, is Hotel Indigo’s general manager. Scott Petrine, the outside corporate sales manager at Embassy Suites in Buckhead since 2001, is Hotel Indigo’s director of sales.

At Prime Hospitality, Webster directed operations for 21 properties with 2,600 rooms throughout the Southeast, including Atlanta, Nashville and Memphis. She started her career in hospitality as the general manager of the Ramada/Days Inn at the Carrollton Convention Center. Webster is a graduate of LaGrange College and the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Petrine is a former sales executive at the Comfort Suites Hotel Atlanta-Perimeter, the Radisson Atlanta-Executive Park and the Marriott Grande Ocean Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a degree in home economics and business administration.

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