Marriott International’s European expansion continues this summer with reservations now open at its new Spanish properties. As previously reported on businesstraveller.com (see online news March 15), four new luxury Autograph Collection hotels have been added as a result of Marriott’s deal with Spanish Hotel Company AC Hotels.
The new AC Hotels by Marriott brand has some 86 mid-market modern hotels across the Iberian peninsula, with an additional four AC Hotels properties “…selected to join Autograph Collection due to their rich history and unique style as part of a recently announced joint venture with AC Hotels”, according to the press release. The four hotels are:
- The 51-room AC Santo Mauro in Madrid, which occupies the premises of an elegant late nineteenth-century building, once the residence of the Duke de Santo Mauro.
- The 50-room AC Palacio del Retiro in Madrid, housed in a twentieth century building and preserves the original moldings, woodwork and stained-glass windows of the original noble residence.
- The 75-room AC Palacio de Santa Paula is a true restoration masterpiece, located in the historic centre of Granada and is housed in the premises of what used to be the Santa Paula Convent, a Moorish house and a Spanish noble house, all fused into one magnificent building within walking distance of La Alhambra.
- The 102-room AC Baqueira Hotel & Spa, Marriott International’s first ski resort in Europe, located in Baqueira-Beret ski station looking over the impressive landscape of the Pyrenees.
As reported last year, Marriott intends to double its European presence by the end of 2015, and the AC Hotels joint venture as well as additions to the Autograph Collection show it keeping pace with that end, according to Belinda Pote, Marriott’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Europe.
“In 2009 we announced we would grow our room count in Europe from 40,000 to 80,000 by the end of 2015. I would say we’re about a quarter of the way to that goal now, largely as a result of the deal with AC Hotels [of Spain] which adds 9,100 rooms. We have around another 10,000 rooms in the pipeline already confirmed, and so if we can achieve on average 8,000 extra rooms per year we will be on target to achieve our goal.”
The intention is for all of the AC properties, including the four Autograph Collection hotels to join the Marriott Rewards programme, though that has yet to happen.
“We will have all the systems in place by the end of 2012 and people will be able to earn and redeem across AC Hotels.” Says Pote. “We haven’t had a lot of penetration in terms of product in Spain so it’s been difficult to pick up customers, but AC Hotels has a strong presence there and a high brand awareness after Sol Melia and NH Hotels. One of the strengths of AC Hotels is that it’s a very consistent brand, with an average hotel room size of around 100 rooms.
Pote added that “There’s a lot going on in Europe in terms of expansion. Just in 2011 we are introducing four brands to Europe: AC Hotels by Marriott, Autograph, Residency and Edition. We have signed 75 Autograph Hotels in Europe, and 40 of those should be open by the end of 2011.
For more information visit marriott.com.
Report by Tom Otley