Marriott and KKR team up in Japan and London

Investment company KKR has teamed up with Marriott, launching its Four Points Express by Sheraton brand with the conversion of 14 Japanese hotels, and converting a London hotel to another Marriott brand

Investment group KKR has signed two agreements with Marriott hotels, adding to the global giant’s presence in Japan, and in London, UK. The Japanese deal will see the launch of Marriott’s conversion brand, Four Points Express by Sheraton, across Japan with the addition of 14 hotels.

KKR has been working for some time to restructure the hotel business of Japanese company Unizo Holdings. In April 2023, Unizo filed for bankruptcy and subsequently chose KKR to support it through the unwinding of its financial situation. That led to KKR acquiring 14 hotels across Japan, located in Hakodate, Morioka, Utsunomiya, Yokohama, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Hakata.

Portfolio deal

The investor has now opted to sign an agreement with Marriott which will see all 14 hotels rebranded to the Four Points Express flag, which Marriott launched in 2023 specifically to address hotel conversion opportunities across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. As a result of the deal, Marriott will add more than 3,600 rooms to its presence in Japan. The hotels are all expected to relaunch under their new brand before the end of 2024.

The first Four Points Express by Sheraton hotel is already open in Bursa, Turkey, with five more hotels scheduled to open in Turkey and in London by the end of 2025. The 201 room London hotel is being converted by owner Splendid Hospitality in the city’s Euston district, and is expected to open later in 2024. Splendid, which operates 24 hotels across a variety of brands, will be watching the performance of its newly converted property with great interest.

Marriott previously expanded its Japan footprint with another portfolio deal with local partner Sekisui House. As a result of that project, the group now has more than 30 Fairfield branded hotels across the country.

Marriott is building its interest in the midscale segment of the hotel market, with CEO Anthony Capuano noting at the group’s first quarter results that the group needs to broaden its offering to guests, as not every traveller wants luxury or a full service hotel stay, during every trip they make. The company has promised it will shortly launch another midscale conversion brand; it is already seeing a strong demand from developers and hotel owners for its recently launched StudioRes brand, which is a midscale extended stay offering.

London partnership

And in London, KKR and Marriott are partnering on another conversion project. Working with hospitality partner Amante Capital, it has bought the 132 room Park Grand London Kensington hotel. This time, the hotel will be substantially refurbished and repositioned to create a boutique lifestyle property. The hotel is to be relaunched as part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio, and will be managed by Amante on completion. KKR and Amante say they are looking for further hotel opportunities in Europe.

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