Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina has finished a multi-million-dollar interior renovation that took more than a year to complete.
Marriott declined to disclose the total cost of the project but the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Dan Shaughnessy, confirmed that all 1,366 guest rooms and suites in the twin-tower hotel on the bayfront were completely remodeled.
“It was really top to bottom in every single guest room and suite,” Shaughnessy said.
Owned by Host Hotels & Resorts, which is based in Bethesda, Maryland, the Marriott was last remodeled in 2016 and Shaughnessy said the hotel was due for what he called a reinvention.
“Usually, it’s every five to seven years that you need to redo your rooms. We were due for a room renovation,” Shaughnessy said. “You want your product looking fresh and avoid looking worn.”
Designed by Boston-based Parker Torres Design, the renovation is meant to evoke a beachy feel for the property that overlooks San Diego Bay.
“The design narrative is metro coastal. I feel that’s perfect for us because we are a metro convention hotel for downtown San Diego and yet we sit right on the coast,” Shaughnessy said. “The colors they used were soft blues, paying homage to the ocean water and sand, a gray neutrals, paying homage to the coast.”
With the first tower built in 1984 and the second in 1986, the hotel was designed to look like a ship. “If you look at the hotel from above, it looks like boat with a sail on top,” Shaughnessy said.
Top Suite Games
The latest renovation played off that seaside theme.
“Our goals with this reinvention was to celebrate Marriott Marquis San Diego’s prime location and create new, memorable experiences to meet evolving guest demand,” Shaughnessy said.
Ranging in size from about 400 square feet for a standard guest room to suites of 4,000 square feet, the guest rooms have been redone in soft blue hues and light wood accents, with rope details and metal hardware.
The corridors have new carpeting designed to resemble ocean waves and sandy shores.
All of the double-bed guest rooms were converted to have two queen beds, with headboards made to resemble surfboards.
Backlit vanities were added in the bathrooms, full-height mirrors were added in every room, televisions were wall mounted instead of sitting on a credenza, LED lighting was installed in every room to save energy and reduce glare, and water efficient faucets were added.
Room rates typically range from the mid $200s to the mid $400s, depending on the time of year, the type of room and the location within the hotel with rooms facing the bay. Rooms on the upper floors and those with balconies are more expensive, Shaughnessy said.
An M Club also was added on the ground floor of the north tower, replacing a smaller concierge lounge that had been on the 25th floor.
“It’s much more accessible to all our guests. Before, you would have needed a key to get to the 25th floor,” Shaughnessy said.
The service is popular for people who want a space to work apart from their hotel room, Shaughnessy said. It comes with free breakfast, snacks throughout the day, and has self-serve wine machines.
A private dining area was remodeled to create a new lounge with three Topgolf Swing Suite game simulators overlooking San Diego Bay. Each suite can accommodate eight to 10 people and includes a variety of games in addition to golf, including dodgeball, football, soccer and baseball.
“You can throw a baseball and try to strike people out,” Shaughnessy said.
Post Pandemic Recovery
Shaughnessy said that the hotel consistently runs at an annual occupancy of more than 80% and has nearly recovered from the worst of the pandemic in 2020, when it was shuttered for six months.
“Even through the end of 2021, it was still pretty rugged,” Shaughnessy said. “Midway through 2022, that’s when things really started picking up.”
This year has got off to “a terrific start,” Shaughnessy added. “I’d say 2024 is the safe bet where we should see ourselves back to record level and full recovery.”
Conventions and group sales account for about 65% of the Marriott’s annual sales, Shaughnessy said, adding those sectors have come back strong as has leisure travel.
“Group and meetings business is absolutely back,” Shaughnessy said. “Leisure is absolutely bananas.”
Although it accounts for a small share of hotel guests, “The traditional business traveler who is on their own coming into town, that has been much slower to recover,” Shaughnessy said.
Host Hotels & Resorts
CEO: Jim Risoleo
Headquarters: Bethesda, MD
Notable: Host Hotels is the largest lodging real estate investment trust (REIT) and one of the largest owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels.