Marriott International announces expansion of extended-stay brand
In 1932, Nobel prize-winning American writer, Ernest Hemingway, checked in to the Hotel Ambos Mundos on the Calle Obispo in Old Havana, Cuba. Hemingway’s room, a modest suite on the fifth floor, was to become the writer’s home for seven years, making it one of the most iconic public residencies in popular culture. The same year marked the birth of Bill Marriott who, in 1987, leveraged the boom of hotel residences, giving life to the Residence Inn by Marriott and commercialising the extended-stay hotel experience. Now, as the brand doubles its European portfolio, the Residence Inn prepares to open its doors to London.
The Residence Inn model of hotels offers a more unorthodox hotel experience however, as extended-stay clients, often travelling on business, form the bulk of its revenue. Catering to this, the two new London locations replicate the wider Residence Inn model, with the hotel taking on the more kindred mantra of, ‘It’s not a room, it’s a Residence.’ The two sites are situated in London Bridge and Kensington, near a large portion of London’s top attractions.
Showcasing the London Bridge development earlier this week alongside appointed hotel management company, Cycas Hospitality, Marriott offered an exclusive tour of the 87-suite hotel. With rooms featuring a more apartment-like arrangement such as kitchenettes, the Residence Inn’s extension into the London market will also leverage a more localised geography. In collaboration with global sports company, Under Armour, the Residence Inn will also offer a customised ‘MapMyFitness’ feature custom running routes around the area. In addition, the hotel will feature a 24-hour market, on-site fitness facilities and complimentary breakfast.
Carlton Ervin, chief development officer Europe at Marriot International, says, ““Residence Inn is already the global leader in the extended-stay lodging segment, and we’re excited that 2017 is set to be a pivotal year for the brand in Europe. We see these latest signings as a fantastic opportunity to grow the brand in such a strategic global destination, and we’re excited to be working with Cycas Hospitality, which has a strong history of hospitality expertise.”
The hotel industry in London has suffered recent setbacks since the EU Referendum, with not only Brexit fuelling an uncertain socioeconomic landscape, but also security a widespread concern. Tourism remains on the rise in the capital however, with 2017’s tourism numbers forecasted at 38.1m, up 4% from last year’s record of 36.5m visits. Multinational professional services network, PwC, predicts that the UK’s slowed economic growth and weakened pound will contribute to an 80% occupancy rate this year, with a room rate averaging at £142.
Yet for Marriott International, a brand that operates in over 110 countries, pushing its name beyond the comfort of its native US territory has long been a successful brand strategy. Today Marriott not only operates globally, but offers a mixture of sub-brands that diversify the hotel experience. With 30 brands under its subsidiary umbrella, including hotel and leisure chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Marriott looks after popular names such as the Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels and Le Mèridien. Aiming to establish a key footing in the UK capital, the Residence Inn is set to open on July 20 in London Bridge, with the Kensington location scheduled to follow in Q4.