Trump Hotel in Panama taken over by Marriott
Hotel giants Marriott have made a bold move in Panama by taking over a property that was formerly a Trump hotel. The Trump Organisation was fired by the building’s new owner, and Marriott have reportedly signed on to manage the property. We find out more.
Marriott takes over Trump
US president Donald Trump is never out of the headlines. Now his name is hitting the front pages of hospitality industry news outlets because of a Panama property that is changing from his hands to those of Marriott’s. The Trump International Hotel and Tower Panama will now be managed by Marriott, and operate as a JW Marriotthotel after a private equity investor who bought the majority of the tower’s units fired the Trump Organisation, highlighting just how controversial Trump’s name and brand is these days. The imposing property, which is designed in the shape of a giant sail, was bought by Miami-based firm Ithaca Capital, with the deal closing in March. Ithaca Capital is also the owner of Marriott hotels in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, so is familiar with Central America. The new JW Marriott property in Panama will be the 12th in the region.
Blocks, battles and disputes
The Trump brand and organisation is no stranger to legal battles, and this situation was no different. When the organisation was fired by Ithaca, who cited mismanagement and misconduct, the Trump Organisation countersued to the tune of $200 million and stood in the way of Ithaca receiving the financial records of the hotel. According to Fortune.com, Marriott also found itself embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Trump Organisation at the start of this year: “Trump Hotels is contesting its firing, and its staff ran off a team of Marriott executives invited last month to visit the property during a search for a new hotel operator, according to two people familiar with the matter.” Things got so heated that the Trump company’s lawyers asked the Panamanian president to intervene.
It was also reported that a crowbar was used by the opposing party to remove the Trump logo from the front of the property, something which happened with immediate effect when other Trump properties were purchased, showing a clear willingness not to be associate with the president’s brand. Marriott too is having to navigate the tricky waters of doing business with companies related to Trump, and no doubt this won’t be the last scandal to hit the hospitality where the controversial president is concerned.
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