Marriott has won support for new hotel projects in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok that will carry its boutique-style 'Edition' brand name, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal.
The deals come as Marriott is investing as much as $800 million of its own money to develop three additional Edition hotels—in New York, London and Miami Beach—in a break with its typical practice of managing properties for third-party owners.
Arne Sorenson, Marriott's chief operating officer, said Marriott's decision to invest in three Edition hotels on its own has helped attract third-party owners to the brand, including the investors developing the Bangkok and Abu Dhabi properties.
"To sit and show a prospective hotel owner the Clock Tower building [in New York] and tell them we're buying it and putting in hundreds of millions is a very comfortable thing for them," he said.
Marriott announced the Edition brand four years ago, saying it would open as many as 100 hotels in 10 years. However, the growth has been much slower than expected, with only two being built – in Honolulu and Istanbul. Owners of the Honolulu Edition subsequently sued Marriott, saying the company had not developed the brand as much as promised.
The Abu Dhabi Edition will be in a residential-and-retail development by Bloom Properties, an Abu Dhabi real-estate company.
The Bangkok Edition is part of a mixed-use skyscraper, with residential and retail space, which was put on hold during Thailand's financial and political crisis but now is moving forward.
To develop the Edition brand, Marriott teamed with Ian Schrager, the godfather of boutique hotels. Each boutique-like, 'lifestyle' property is designed to have its own character.
The brand specialises in boutique-style propert, with an emphasis on lively lobbies and restaurants, popular with affluent young travellers.
Marriott is also planning to announce potential deals in Los Angeles and Gurgaon, India, the report said.