Marriott is to form a joint venture with Spanish group AC Hotels, rebranding over 90 properties across Spain, Italy and Portugal under the name AC by Marriott.

The preliminary agreement, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will enable customers to earn Marriott Rewards points when staying at AC by Marriott properties, and will see the two companies focusing on “on becoming a market leader in Europe and Latin America in the urban, four-star hotel category”.

The hotels will continue to be owned by affiliates of AC Hotels and other third parties, with the new joint venture entering into long term management or franchise agreements.

The AC Hotel brand was founded in 1998, and the majority of its portfolio is located in Spain, with around 80 hotels including 12 properties in Madrid and seven in Barcelona. The brand also has two properties in Portugal (Lisbon and Porto), and a further ten in Italy.

Marriott is relatively under-represented in Spain, with only nine properties listed at, none of which are in the country’s capital Madrid.

In other news, Marriott is due to unveil its first Edition property in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu this week. A partnership between Marriott International and Ian Schrager (see online news June 9), the Edition Hotels brand is also due to debut in Istanbul later this year, with future planned openings in Mexico City, Barcelona and Bangkok.

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Report by Mark Caswell