The 18-bedroom The Howard hotel and the 41-bedroom Channings hotel have become part of Choice's boutique brand under a franchise agreement with Choice Hotels Europe with immediate effect but will continue to be owned and operated by The Edinburgh Collection.
Mark Pearce, senior vice president, international division, for Choice Hotels said the move gave his company the opportunity to move into a market segment it hadn't yet operated in in the UK.
So far Choice Hotels has been represented by budget and mid-market brands Comfort, Quality and Clarion.
"The launch of Ascend Hotel Collection in the UK is part of our strategy to continue diversifying our portfolio and provide the UK with a new upscale hotel offering," he said. "These two Edinburgh properties, which perfectly fit the Ascend Hotel Collection portfolio, give us a critical foothold in the UK that will support the accelerated rollout of the Ascend Hotel Collection in the UK and across Europe."
Ricky Kapoor, commercial director at The Edinburgh Collection, told BigHospitality he'd chosen to sign up to the brand because it allowed his hotels to 'retain their uniqueness and independence' yet benefit from Choice's marketing and technical support.
"The benefit is we get Choice’s support and international expertise and knowledge plus their technology which is really good," he said. "Also they have the preferred corporate relationships with travel agents to help grow our business within the international market."
"However, while we help with the international marketing, the hotels are still allowed to have their own personality and autonomy which works well."
Ascend Collection launched in the US in 2008 and now has 148 hotels across the world, including in New York, Sydney, Stockholm and Dublin.
Its members are 'distinctive, independent hotels located in prime business or leisure travel destinations'.
Pearce said there was the opportunity to have up to 10 hotels in the UK within the Ascend Collection over the next three years.