The UK-based Grand Heritage Hotels International consortium has been renamed Distinguished Hotels International after merging with its US division, Distinguished Hotels.
Distinguished Hotels was set up in 2002 to market distinctive and unique contemporary hotels that did not fit into Grand Heritage's portfolio of more traditional and historic properties, such as castles and stately homes.
Based in Florida under the leadership of Arnut Deeyoo, it aims to attract 100 Asian members in its first two years. Its first signing is the five-star Siri Sathorn luxury boutique serviced residence in Bangkok, Thailand.
The enlarged group now has 142 members with the addition of the seven US properties that comprised Distinguished Hotels and are managed by Magna Hospitality Group.
Magna's chairman, William Burruss, was a co-founder of Grand Heritage Hotels International until it was sold in 1997. He becomes president of Distinguished Hotels International while Tim Hadcock-Mackay remains chairman.
A spokeswoman for Distinguished Hotels International said the Grand Heritage name would be phased out in time, but would appear in the 2005 brochure.
The new brochure features 24 new members, including 10 in the UK. Newcomers include the Beales hotel in Hertfordshire, Five Lakes Resort in Essex and Llyndir Hall in Cheshire.
The unrelated Grand Heritage Hotel Group in the USA has filed a lawsuit in Texas against Distinguished Hotels for alleged infringement of its trademark rights.
Solicitors for the US hotel marketing and management group claimed Distinguished Hotels had been marketing hotels in the US under the Grand Heritage name which had created confusion and could potentially cause "significant damage" to the US business.
It alleged that Distinguished Hotels was only licensed to market hotels under the Grand Heritage name in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
The UK operation declined to comment on the lawsuit.
by Angela Frewin
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