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Marriott Makes a Move to Advance Boutique Hotels Locally and Abroad

On the heels of announcing that a hotel bearing the new Nickelodeon Resorts by Marriott brand, which features a SpongeBob SquarePants theme, will break ground at Liberty Station in January, Marriott International Inc. announced it’s also eyeing San Diego as one of five “gateway cities” for its initial foray into boutique properties.

In mid-June, J.W. Marriott Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of the publicly traded company, said it has formed a partnership with Ian Schrager to create a new brand of 100 or more hotels to be located throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia.

With 2,900 properties under management worldwide, Marriott is one of the nation’s largest hotel companies.

Aside from San Diego, Marriott hopes to soon have development deals for the yet-to-be-named boutique brand in such cities as New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Las Vegas.

Schrager, who once ran New York’s legendary Studio 54 nightclub, is credited with creating the boutique hotel concept 23 years ago. His New York-based company has developed posh and trendy lodging destinations in New York, London, Miami and elsewhere. He’s also been involved in residential developments.

The venture will combine the individualized service and style of Schrager’s hotels with Marriott’s global operation.

Marriott said that the company had long planned to enter the boutique arena, but decided it needed the expertise of a “particular talent” like Schrager to make an entry into the relatively new segment. Its brands include Ritz-Carlton, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn. The 1,366-room San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina is one of the city’s two largest convention center hotels.

Expectations are that the new boutique hotels will each have from 150 to 200 rooms. But Schrager stressed that they will be “noninstitutional and nongeneric” in style and d & #233;cor.

Marriott will be the manager, however, the hotels will be owned by third-party interests. Expectations are that the new brand name will be announced within the next couple of months.


Send tourism and hospitality news to Connie Lewis via e-mail:

clewis@sdbj.com

. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359.

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