Marriott has launched The Autograph Collection, a new brand of “upper upscale and luxury, independent hotels”.

According to Marriott, hotels within the new brand will have “distinctive personalities in major cities and desired destinations worldwide”. The group hopes to add 25 properties to the collection throughout 2010, although there are no details on specific properties as yet.

Marriott says the Autograph offering will allow the group to attract guests “that would not have typically considered a branded concept”, while allowing member properties to tap into Marriott’s global reservations system and Marriott Rewards loyalty programme.

While the hotels within the group will be independent in feel, Marriott says they will be required to go through the same hotel and operator approval processes as other Marriott full-service hotels, and will need to “demonstrate continued high guest satisfaction and quality assurance scores to remain part of The Autograph Collection”.

Commenting on the announcement Don Semmler, executive vice president of brand management for Marriott International said:

“The Autograph Collection will take the innovative approach of grouping these iconic hotels according to the unique experience that guests are seeking whether it’s a resort, historic hotel, boutique arts, or urban edge hotel in a dynamic gateway city.”

The move is similar to rival hotel group Hilton’s portfolio of around 20 independent luxury hotels under the Waldorf Astoria Collection, which includes The Rome Cavalieri and The Bentley Hotel in London.

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