FLORENCE, S.C. – The Comfort Inn & Suites of Florence, at 527 Woody Jones Boulevard in Florence, held its grand opening Wednesday afternoon. There were tours, food, entertainment and ribbon cutting.

The new Choice Hotels Comfort Inn and Suites is managed by Raines Hospitality, Inc.

Grey Raines, president of Raines Hospitality Inc., welcomed guests to the event.

“We are really excited to bring Comfort Inn & Suites here,” he said.

Patrick Pacious, president and chief executive officer for Choice Hotels, said he is excited for the Florence Comfort Inn to join its 2,100 other Comfort Inns. He said they have 250 new hotels under construction and will be opening 60 hotels, one a week to the end of 2020.

Raines said this Comfort Inn is Raines Hospitality’s 17th hotel.

“It is our first Comfort Inn,” he said.

Raines said they started in the business with upscale hotels before getting into the upper midscale segment of the hotel market.

The Comfort Inn, near the Florence Center, opened at the end of June.

“It has been very good for us,” Raines said. “The Florence market continues to be a good hotel market.”

He said the company is already working on more hotels but isn’t ready to talk about them yet.

Pacious said Choice Hotels represents 12 brands. He said they have 7,000 hotels overall with 6,000 of them in the United States, mostly in the Southeast. He said they have five in the Florence market with two of those Comfort Inn hotels.

He said they started in Florence five years ago with Hotel Florence in its Boutique Collection in partnership with Raines Hospitality. They have a Cambria Hotel in Mount Pleasant with Raines and two more Cambria’s in the works, he said.

Pacious said Comfort Inn & Suites has been around since the 1980s, but the hotels recently have undergone a complete renovation, which represents a $2½ billion investment. He said the hotel has been rebranded.

The Florence hotel was one of the first in the rebranding with open and elegant lobbies, spacious breakfast areas and larger rooms with warm tones and soothing textures, local artwork and inviting designs.

“We are mostly known for three things,” Pacious said. “That is free breakfast, free Wi-Fi and free parking.”

The hotel in Florence has 89 rooms and suites.

Comfort Inn & Suites is a family-oriented hotel.

Investors and staff of Raines properties were on hand for the celebration, which included a ribbon cutting with the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce and its ambassadors.

Sparkle Cotton is the general manager of the Florence hotel. Taylor Gray is sales manager.

Prettier Than Matt duo entertained.

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