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(Maria Wood is the senior editor for Real Estate Forum.)

NEW YORK CITY-Two new luxury brands made their debut this week during the 29th annual International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, held here and sponsored by New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.

Remington, a Dallas-based management company, has launched the Gallery, a collection of luxury resorts. Its first property is set to open in the fall in Atlantic Beach, FL. Formerly the Sea Turtle Inn, One Ocean is currently undergoing a $24-million renovation to its 193 rooms, according to Mark Sharkey, Remington’s COO. The company currently operates 40 hotels in 18 states.

Monty Bennett, president and CEO of Remington, said that the company had not ventured into the luxury segment previously because the economics did not make sense. However, with vacation ownership units paired with the hotel, the projects can work, he said.

Sharkey said Remington is looking at development sites in Bend, OR and Turks and Caicos Islands that will include for-sale units. He said it is “possible” a residential tower will be built next to One Ocean. However, he emphasized the residential units will be second homes for vacationers, not traditional condominiums.

Two of the hallmarks of a Gallery property will be “docents,” or personal concierges for guests, and a display in each property of photographs by noted photographer Greg Whitaker.

Both Sharkey and Bennett said that luxury hotel customers are not necessarily looking for a brand name as much as they a unique experience, and each Galley property will reflect its surroundings.

Meanwhile, eSuites aims to capture a younger, tech-savvy crowd with state-of-the-art technology, avant-garde design and a unique dining experience, according to its founder and chairman Gerald Ellenburg. “It’s a brand whose time is right,” he says.

Already, the company, which is based in Tampa, FL, owns four sites in Tampa, Jacksonville, FL, Raleigh-Durham, NC and Phoenix on which it expects to break ground in the third quarter, with openings expected by the fall of 2008. Each property will be eight stories with 224 suites.

Industry veteran Samuel Winterbottom has been named eSuites president and CEO. He says what will set eSuites apart from other luxury hotels are suites with distinct living and work areas; a freestanding fitness center that will be connected to the hotels; and high-end restaurants featuring local wines and beers. Most of the rooms will come equipped with a computer to which guests can download their own data via a USB flash drive. Other amenities include a fully equipped business center with PCs and Macs and a “tech concierge” to help guests.

eSuites will cost between $110,000 and $120,000 per key to build, and ADRs will run up to $145 a night, Winterbottom says.

For future growth, the company is targeting cities within established commercial corridors, such as Sacramento and Atlanta. There are no plans to franchise the brand at this time, and all properties will be owned and managed by the company.

To read more about the US pipeline click here.

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