Marriott International envisages ambitious expansion in South Asia

With 22 new signings in the last 18 months, the chain is all set to add more than 2,700 rooms to its portfolio of hotels.

On the heels of the 16th Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA 2021), Marriott International today announced it has signed 22 new hotel agreements in South Asia – comprising India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Nepal – in the past 18 months, expecting to add more than 2,700 rooms to its fast-growing portfolio. Marriott International currently is the hotel chain with the largest number of rooms in the South Asia region and expects to continue its solid growth with these new signings.

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The Marriott International sign outside the group’s headquarters in Maryland, Washington DC, USA. Image: Shutterstock/JHVEPhoto.

“In a highly unpredictable year, these signings are a testament to Marriott International’s resilience and agility in driving strong growth within a hospitality landscape that continues to evolve,” commented Rajeev Menon – President Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International. “It is a sign of confidence from our owners and franchisees who have been an integral part of our growth journey. We are grateful for their continued support and trust in the power of our brands as we continue to welcome back travellers.”

“These signings reinforce our commitment to South Asia as a high potential region where we continue to grow and engage with an expanding customer base by introducing more of Marriott’s brands and unique experiences in exciting destinations,” emphasised Kiran Andicot – Regional Vice President Development, South Asia, Marriott International. “We look forward to the opening of these new hotels in the future and to exploring future development opportunities throughout the region.”

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An expansion across all multiple hotel categories is on the cards. Image: Shutterstock/ktasimar.

Marriott International is already well-positioned in South Asia with 135 operating hotels across 16 distinct brands in five countries, aimed at providing differentiated experiences across traveller segments. The brands currently operating in South Asia include JW Marriott, St Regis, The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, and The Luxury Collection in the luxury segment; Marriott Hotels, Sheraton, Westin, Tribute Portfolio, Le Meridien, Renaissance and the Marriott Executive Apartments in the premium segment; Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott and Aloft Hotels, in the select-service segment.

Luxury brands in demand

More than a third of the newly signed projects in South Asia in the last 18 months include hotels and resorts in the luxury tier, comprising brands such as JW Marriott and W Hotels. This reflects travellers’ growing demand for bespoke and superb amenities and services.

In India: Travellers can anticipate the debut of the W Hotels brand in Jaipur with W Jaipur in 2024. Expecting to debut across several distinctive locations within South Asia over the next five years, travellers can look forward to JW Marriott Ranthambore Resort & Spa located at one of India’s most prominent wildlife sanctuaries, The Ranthambore National Park; JW Marriott Chennai ECR Resort & Spa on India’s beautiful Southern coastline; JW Marriott Agra Resort & Spa in the land of the Taj Mahal; and the debut of the JW Marriott brand in Goa and Shimla – two of India’s most famous resort destinations – with JW Marriott Goa and JW Marriott Shimla Resort & Spa.

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The JW Marriott Agra Resort & Spa will welcome guests headed to their memorable moment at the Taj Mahal. Image: Shutterstock/leoks.

And beyond: JW Marriott Hotel Bhutan, Thimphu, marking the debut of the JW Marriott brand in Bhutan, is anticipated to open in 2025 and offer curated experiences that celebrate the peaceful spirit of the land. Maldives anticipates its second JW Marriott hotel in 2025, when the JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Embhoodhoo Finolhu – South Male Atoll featuring 80 pool villas is expected to open. The signing follows the newly opened The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, strengthening Marriott’s footprint on the famed leisure destination.

Select brands continue to drive growth

Made up of brands such as Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft Hotels and Moxy Hotels, Marriott’s select brands also continue to resonate in South Asia, representing more than 40 per cent of the 22 newly signed hotel projects. The Moxy brand, known for its experiential, playful style, and approachable price point, is expected to debut in India and Nepal with Moxy Mumbai Andheri West in 2023 and the Moxy Kathmandu in 2025.

Secondary and tertiary markets remain a focus for Marriott International in India, leveraging strong demand by owners and travellers for select brands. Designed for the modern business traveller, the Courtyard by Marriott and Fairfield by Marriott brands are committed to smart and thoughtful guest service, no matter the purpose of their trip. With the recently signed agreements, Courtyard by Marriott expects to add five new properties to an existing operating portfolio of 20 hotels across South Asia. Four of these properties are expected to open in the next five years and will be located in leading tier-two markets within India: Courtyard by Marriott Gorakhpur; Courtyard by Marriott Tiruchirappalli; Courtyard by Marriott Goa Arpora; and Courtyard by Marriott Ranchi. Fairfield expects to add two new properties in Jaipur. In Sri Lanka, the Courtyard by Marriott Colombo expects to mark the debut of the Courtyard brand in the country, slated to open in 2022.

Premium brands cement their foothold

Expected to further the growth of premium brands in South Asia, the recent signings include the Katra Marriott Resort & Spa in India and the Le Meridien Kathmandu, which is expected to be the debut of the Le Meridien brand in Nepal. Additionally, the Bhaluka Marriott Hotel expects to mark the entry of the Marriott Hotels brand in Bangladesh, anticipated to open in 2024.

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