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The Hotel Brand You’ve Probably Never Heard Of, But Should

exterior view of cambria hotel
TripAdvisor
SmarterTravel

The Cambria Hotels franchise, owned by Choice Hotels, is a mainstream hotel brand, yet manages to seem boutique and personal while maintaining affordable room rates.

Cambria Hotels in 2020 and Beyond

My first introduction to Cambria Hotels was during a quick stay near LAX at the El Segundo property. And while I didn’t expect much from an airport hotel, I was impressed by the large room sizes and bathrooms, friendly and communal lobby, and my favorite feature, a bathroom mirror with Bluetooth capabilities.

Soon after that stay, Cambria announced a new location in Southie, my Boston neighborhood, and I began to do more research on this affordable boutique hotel chain. Turns out there are over 50 Cambria Hotels open across the U.S. in downtown hot spots like Chicago, New Orleans, Nashville, and even up-and-coming destinations like Omaha and Asheville.

The hotel chain doesn’t sacrifice location or amenities. Sometimes you’ll find more affordable hotels in less-desirable locations, but I can personally attest that the location of both the LAX and Boston hotels are convenient for travelers (leisure and business). Bonus: There’s an awesome rooftop at the Boston property.

In 2017, the hotel chain opened up 10 new hotels, followed by six in 2018, and 11 in 2019. In 2020, the brand is slated for at least 13 new openings in locations like Sonoma, Napa, Ocean City, Savannah, Detroit, Ft. Lauderdale, Louisville, and more.

I asked Janis Cannon, Senior Vice President, Upscale Brands, Choice Hotels about the explosive Cambria expansion, her favorite properties, and what’s to come in the years ahead:

Q&A with Janis Cannon

SmarterTravel: What property are you most excited about from 2019 and 2020 opening (that you can share)?

Janis Cannon: Choosing a favorite property is like choosing a favorite child–each property shares the same DNA (our brand hallmarks), which guests appreciate and expect, but has a unique personality and appearance reflective of the surrounding community.

For example, the Cambria Hotel in Anaheim is in sunny California near the main gates of Disneyland and features a 30,000 square foot waterpark, while our Boston Downtown “Southie” location perfectly bridges that area’s industrial past with the city’s academic spirit with quotes from great New England writers in each guestroom. Additionally, our hotel in downtown Houston, which opened earlier this year, and the Cambria in downtown Detroit slated to open next year, are adaptive-reuse projects that protect and pay homage to their history, while meeting the needs of today’s design-literate, modern traveler. So, you’ll see that no two Cambria hotels are alike and our guests will always be able to get a taste of the city they’re visiting without ever having to leave the hotel.

ST: What do you and your team look for when picking new locations or properties?  

JC: One of the primary things we do is study the market to understand demand drivers such travel trends, local attractions, what corporate business is in the market, and proximity to airports, and Convention Centers.  We place Cambria Hotels where people want and need to be.

ST: What are some elements/features that guests can expect at every Cambria property? 

JC: All Cambria hotels, regardless of the location or market, feature area-inspired artwork that provides time-starved travelers yet another channel to experience the culture and essence of each city.

Another way we bring the heart and soul of each city into every Cambria hotel is through Cambria’s signature Local Craft Beer Program. This program helps us curate a true taste of each destination for guests–whether they’re visiting for a day or a week. Cambria’s very own Certified Cicerone (or beer sommelier) Zach O’Haire works directly with nearby breweries to select and source at least five local craft brews to feature on tap at the hotel. He also helps train and educate hotel staff about each local brew so they can share this knowledge with our curious and experience-hungry guests.

Many of our locations also offer rooftop bars to provide guests with another way to experience the surrounding city. For example, our hotel in Washington, D.C. overlooks the city’s most iconic landmarks and guests of our Asheville, North Carolina location can enjoy stunning 180-degree views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

rooftop view from hotel in boston
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 ST: What’s one thing people might not know about your brand and/or common misconception? 

 JC: One added benefit of staying with Cambria is the Choice Privileges loyalty program guests can take advantage of from Choice Hotels.  In addition to being able to access the lowest rate guaranteed when booking directly through our channels, guests can redeem the following exclusive perks when they stay at any Cambria hotel: early check-in and late check-out, preferred parking, elite status jumping, double rewards on weekdays (Sunday – Thursday stays and enjoy your choice of a $10 coffee gift card, $5 Uber credit, $5 Amazon gift card or 800 bonus points), and a $10 Cambria credit redeemable at the restaurant and bar.

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

Editor’s note: Some quotes have been edited for clarity.

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