Marriott builds presence in Central and Latin America

Image © Marriott International
Following its 2023 acquisition of midscale Mexican hotel group City Express, Marriott is doubling down on its expansion in Central and Latin America with a raft of new signings across all segments of the hotel space

Global hotel brand giant Marriott is targeting the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA) for growth in 2024, following a strong year of openings and signings in 2023.

In 2023, the group added over 170 properties to its portfolio in the region, putting it in the position of being the largest hotel company in CALA, counted by its combined rooms open, and pipeline properties. The pace of expansion in the region was substantially improved as Marriott acquired Mexican hotel group City Express, immediately adding around 150 properties to its portfolio across Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile.

“We see exceptional opportunities in the region across all segments, but particularly in midscale with the new City Express by Marriott brand, opening up fresh possibilities in this segment throughout the region,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, chief development officer for Marriott International in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Growing luxury brands

While City Express will cement Marriott’s presence in the midscale segment across the region, the group is also pushing hard to grow its luxury brands too. Currently, six of its seven global luxury brands have a presence in CALA. For 2024, it expects to welcome a JW Marriott hotel in Sint Maarten, and the Almare all-inclusive resort in Isla Mujeres, Mexico – which will be joining Marriott’s Luxury Collection. Two W branded hotels will launch in Punta Cana, and Sao Paulo, Brazil, while the St Regis brand will arrive in Aruba and in Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. And in Costa Rica, Nekajui, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will welcome its first guests in Papagayo.

Around one third of Marriott’s 2023 signings in the region were conversions, an acknowledgement that owners and investors see the value in renovating and rebranding under a Marriott flag. Such additions include two properties joining the Autograph Collection: the Villa Lapas in Costa Rica and Las Terrenas in Dominican Republic. And in Mexico, the Aloft brand welcomes the Guadalajara Country Club, a hotel at Guadalajara Expo joins Sheraton, and the third addition is a Delta brand property in Puebla, Mexico.

All-inclusive demand

One characteristic of the hotel market out of the pandemic has been the rise in consumer demand for all-inclusive holidays, and the big brand groups have responded. Marriott has 31 such properties open across CALA across nine markets, including Caribbean islands as well as mainland destinations, and under four brands – Autograph Collection, Delta, Westin, and Luxury Collection. Upcoming signed additions to the offering include two signings in the Dominican Republic, being the second Ritz-Carlton All-Inclusive property, coming to Yanuna, and a Luxury Collection All-Inclusive Resort.

Also on the new openings roster for 2024 are the rebranding of several Elegant Hotels properties (Treasure Beach, The House, and Waves) into the Autograph Collection brand in Barbados.