Associated Ventures LLC Prepares First "Hotel Highland" in U.S. Market

January 20, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Los Angeles, CA (1/20/2009) - Associated Ventures LLC, an international real estate development and investment firm based in Los Angeles, announces a new hotel collection in the United States lodging market named "Hotel Highland." The limited-service urban boutique brand is designed primarily for the upscale business as well as leisure travelers seeking affordable yet stylish accommodations in an engaging, active city environment.

Associated Ventures is currently in negotiations to purchase the next additions to the Hotel Highland collection, with serious prospects in Chicago, IL and Tucson, AZ.

The completion of the multimillion-dollar Hotel Highland at Biltmore renovation is the final phase of rebranding efforts for the 120-room property formerly under the Phoenix Inn Suites banner. The grand launch of Hotel Highland, located in the Fortune 500 Biltmore corridor area of Phoenix, is set for February 2009.

Construction of an 80-unit condominium tower adjacent to the hotel is planned to commence when market conditions stabilize.

"We look forward to bringing a new urban, boutique-style hotel collection to the U.S. lodging industry," said Melanie Pennell-Mayer, Managing Member of Associated Ventures LLC. "With demand growing in urban markets for non-branded product with unique amenities that offer an affordable 'cool' factor, Hotel Highland intends to give travelers a new choice for stylish, personalized, high-tech accommodations in locations that bring together a mix of culture, business, and community. It will be higher living, higher style, and higher-tech than presently available in a given market."

Michael D. Mayer, Managing Member of Associated Ventures LLC, stated, "although each Hotel Highland may differ in look and design, there is a common thread each property will highlight chic, upscale amenities complemented by exciting food and beverage concepts.

Melanie Pennell-Mayer added, "Some of our associates have asked why we would commit over $5,000,000 to refurbish and rebrand in this challenging financial market. First, we felt that we could not be competitive in any market with rooms that have not been renovated in 13 years. Therefore, any renovation would increase occupancy; so the question then was how many dollars to commit. Second, we felt to be competitive in a down market you need a stellar product, so we decided to go all out."

"Our analogy was pure and simple. If we could increase our RevPar to pay for the cost of funds plus a return of investment and still give our customer a fresh new product for less than the competition, we will have accomplished our goal," said Michael D. Mayer.

Higher Living, Higher Style at the Hotel Highland at Biltmore
Upon completion, adoption of specialized amenities and local designers will set the Hotel Highland apart from surrounding competitors. The design scheme is described as "urban flair," integrating natural stone, wood, leather, and decorative metals throughout the property. Additionally, Hotel Highland will showcase artwork, original sculptures and prints from local artists. These items, displayed throughout the interior, will be available for purchase by guests and local residents.

The distinctive concept continues into guestrooms with exclusive in-room refreshment centers, inspired by local flavors. Featured products include wines from local wineries, beers from area microbreweries, prickly pear candies, sage-infused teas and other indigenous desert treats.

The Hotel Highland at Biltmore will include a barista and other grab-and-go deli items available twenty-four/seven. Pennell-Mayer notes, "Modern interpretations of Southwestern foods and condiments will be featured."

The Café Lounge area will serve as a communal lounge complete with a full service bar featuring a unique selection of cocktails. From a technology standpoint, the Café Lounge will offer wireless Internet access, oversized plasma televisions and more. The social setting is also enhanced by the adjacent poolside area and fire pit where guests can soak in the beautiful Arizona weather.

The fourth floor of Hotel Highland will be designated as an executive floor, accessible only by private key. In addition to larger flat screen televisions, luxury linens and pillows, the executive level will feature a twenty-four/seven executive Library Lounge offering gourmet snacks and coffees at no charge as well as local, international and financial newspapers. The area will also have its own business center and will provide wired and wireless Internet access at no charge.

A self-service Business Center will also be accessible on the lobby level, while all conference rooms will be equipped with the latest in audio/visual technologies, including video conferencing and plasma screens.

For more information on The Highland and Associated Ventures LLC, visit

Interviews Available With:
Melanie Pennell-Mayer, Managing Member and President of Associated Ventures LLC

Associated Ventures LLC, successor to Site Realty Inc., is a national real estate development and investment firm that has been responsible for more than 35 projects exceeding $1,000,000,000 in value with experience in all facets of real estate and places special emphasis on the hospitality and condominium sectors of the market. Associated Ventures LLC acquires and invests in properties in domestic and foreign markets. In addition to its North American activities, AVI is actively working on the implementation of development projects in Russia and the country of Georgia. Currently, Associated Ventures has in excess of $800,000,000 worth of real estate under consideration or development. Associated Ventures continues to look for assets strategically placed within their respective markets with value added features that will allow us to expand our portfolio. Please visit our website at

CONTACT: Susanna Minegishi
O: (520) 882-6262 M: (520) 444-9223

Melanie Pennell-Mayer
Associated Ventures LLC
O: (310) 980-0162