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Friday, April 8, 2011

Marriott to open 6 hotels this year

This story first appeared in DNA Money edition on Wednesday April 6, 2011.

Global hospitality major Marriott International will open six hotels in India this calendar year, adding 1500 guestrooms to its inventory in the country.

With the launches, the total guestrooms of the US-based company in India would rise to 5,000 rooms and the number of operational hotels to 18.

Rajeev Menon, area vice president, India, Pakistan, Maldives and Malaysia for Marriott International Inc, said growth is the big focus for his company in India. “We have 12 hotels in the India portfolio and are gearing up to open three more in the next 60 days. These will include a JW Marriott in Chandigarh (165 rooms), a Marriott in Jaipur (365 rooms) and a Courtyard by Marriott City Centre in Pune (178 rooms),” he said.

During October to December 2011 Marriott plans to open three more hotels — JW Marriott in Bangalore (300 rooms), Courtyard by Marriott in Bhopal (150 rooms) and a JW Marriott in Chennai (380 rooms). All the hotels in India so far are under management contracts with different asset owners.

“From growth perspective as one of the fastest growing international brands, we will be in the top league with 18 operational hotels across upscale, upper upscale and luxury brands in India,” said Menon.

While Rahejas own the Bangalore JW Marriott, Viceroy Hotels is the asset owner of JW Marriott in Chennai. Incidentally, Viceroy is in the process of hiving off the two developments to reduce its debt burden.

Marriott, however, is optimistic that JW Marriot Chennai will open this year.

“Delays are quite typical for any new hotel opening in India and may take three to six months more from the original schedule. We don’t foresee any delay but in case there is, the Chennai hotel will start receiving guests early 2012. Our Renaissance Hotel in Bangalore (also owned by Viceroy) is scheduled to open sometime mid-2012 and is not part of the 2011 plans,” said Menon.

Marriott will also introduce its Fairfield Inn & Suites brand of hotels in the mid-market business hotel segment.While management contracts would remain the key driver for Fairfield’s growth in the initial stage, Marriott may to take franchise route to expand its presence at a later stage.

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