Country Inns & Suites By Carlson today announced it plans to add a minimum of 36 new properties to its portfolio in the Americas during 2009 while continuing the rollout of a new transitional design concept in new and existing properties.

"Although current economic conditions are very challenging, we anticipate a year of substantial unit growth while continuing comprehensive renovations throughout our system," said Steve Mogck, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.

"Growth in 2009 will be highlighted by new properties in several major markets that support our strategy of increased presence and consumer awareness of the Country Inns & Suites By Carlson brand," Mogck said at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, taking place here this week. He noted key new locations including Baltimore, Md. (February 10); Richmond, Va.; (February 23); Knoxville, Tenn. (February 27); Barstow, Calif. (April 1); Harrisburg, Pa. (April 17); Tampa, Fla. (March 31) and Queens, N.Y. (May).

Each property will feature Country Inns & Suites' new interior design prototype, created in response to consumer input for greater productivity, comfort and style. The new standards include a fresh color palette, increased workspace, bright lighting and clean-lined, transitional furnishings reflecting current residential trends. The new properties will also feature the signature elements of the Country Inns & Suites concept including iconic hardwood style plank lobby flooring, lobby fireplaces and front porches. Many guestrooms offer microwaves and refrigerators.

"The new interior design standards are being introduced at all new properties, and through renovations at existing properties," Mogck said.

Specific elements include: