Marriott launches luxury boutique brand

Marriott launches luxury boutique brand

Marriott International has unveiled its long-awaited, luxury boutique brand and will open two properties in the final quarter of this year. Called Edition, the concept is led by style icon Ian Schrager, who is widely credited with popularising the boutique concept.

Edition will debut its first property in Hawaii’s Waikiki Beach in October, and will be followed by a second in Istanbul, Turkey in December.

The brand will position itself as a price leader with its hotels among the most expensive in their respective locations. Marriott hopes this approach minimise its exposure to economic downturns.

It pitches itself as providing a “personal, intimate, individualised and unique lodging experience” where the hotels “will look completely different from each other”.

Marriott will operate the Edition hotels rather than own them, in keeping with its other brands. The properties will be owned by a consortium of real estate investors.

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Marriott originally marked its intention to launch a boutique chain in June 2007 but the global downturn forced it to put the project on the backburner.

However, Bill Marriott, chairman and chief executive of Marriott, said he now sees green shoots of recovery in the global hospitality industry.

He told The Financial Times: “Business is getting better. There was little supply coming on the market over the past few years. Now, as demand rises, room rates are coming up.”

Ian Schrager made his mark as a founder of Studio 54, the legendary New York nightclub. His has since moved into hospitality with projects that include St Martin’s Lane Hotel in London, Gramercy Park Hotel in New York, and the Delano Hotel in Miami.

“The brand doesn’t depend on the cycle. It will do well regardless,” Schrager told the FT.

He expects the brand to appeal to a wide and cross-generational set. He said: “The only demographic is that there is no demographic.”

Planned openings are also scheduled in what Marriott calls “24-hour international gateway cities” including Bangkok, Barcelona and Mexico City.

Edition Waikiki Beach includes a private beach with its own lagoon and imported sand from the neighbouring Hawaiian islands as well as the “largest luxury ballroom” on Oahu for weddings.