In 2019, Marriott announced plans to significantly grow its portfolio of all-inclusive properties. With this initiative, we’ll see new properties built, and also see existing properties converted into Marriotts.
All-inclusive properties will span many of Marriott’s brands, including Ritz-Carlton, Luxury Collection, Marriott, Westin, W, Autograph Collection, and Delta by Marriott.
Well, Marriott has just announced its most significant all-inclusive expansion yet, and I have some questions…
Marriott’s Blue Diamond Resorts franchise agreements
Marriott’s collection of all-inclusive resorts will be more than doubling, thanks to a new franchise agreement that will see 19 properties added:
- This is being done thanks to a new agreement with Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts; yes, that’s the same Sunwing as the Canadian ultra low cost carrier
- With this, we’re going to see 19 new all-inclusive properties totaling nearly 7,000 rooms across six destinations
- With this agreement, Marriott will be one of the 10 largest all-inclusive players in the world
- The majority of these properties are expected to be converted into Marriott Autograph Collection properties by mid-2021
The Planet Hollywood Costa Rica is joining Marriott
The 19 hotels joining Marriott Autograph Collection
With this agreement, we’re seeing 19 hotels joining Marriott’s Autograph Collection.
This includes the following five hotels in Mexico:
- 840-room Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
- 343-room Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun
- 566-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun
- 332-room Planet Hollywood Adults Scene Cancun
- 457-room Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort & Spa
This includes the following five hotels in the Dominican Republic:
- 730-room Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa
- 320-room Royalton CHIC Punta Cana Resort & Spa
- 525-room Royalton Splash Punta Cana Resort & Spa
- 317-room Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino
- 168-room Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana
This includes the following four hotels in Jamaica:
- 352-room Royalton White Sands Montego Bay
- 228-room Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay
- 140-room Hideaway at Royalton Negril
- 407-room Royalton Negril Resort & Spa
This includes the following two hotels in St. Lucia:
- 290-room Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa
- 166-room Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia
This includes the following hotel in Antigua:
- 294-room Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa
This includes the following hotel in Costa Rica:
- 294-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica
The Royalton Bavaro Dominican Republic is joining Marriott
Does Marriott have no brand standards?
Everything about this deal reinforces the extent to which Marriott is focused on growth over quality. Let me be clear, I think it’s fantastic in general that Marriott is adding affordable all-inclusive properties to its portfolio.
However, can anyone explain to me how it makes sense that these properties are joining Autograph Collection? This is allegedly Marriott’s upper upscale luxury brand of independent hotels.
Here are a few of the ways Marriott describes Autograph Collection on its website:
“We handpick boutique hotels from around the world that share a passion for originality and a philosophy of attention to detail in their every expression.”
“Each hotel in our collection is inspired by a clear vision, soul, and story. These visions power elements so impactful that you can feel the devotion in every sinew of the experience.”
“We believe that beauty without heart is meaningless. This is why our hotels bring a thoughtfulness and purpose to their design. In each of our spaces, these elements come together to tell the story of the hotel, bringing a tactile and emotional satisfaction about it too.”
“You won’t need to leave your hotel to feel a sense of time and place. We handpick hotels that are intimately connected to their surroundings – and, in turn, become part of the locality’s fabric.”
I have some questions:
- Are Planet Hollywood all-inclusive resorts considered upper upscale and luxury?
- Is an 840-room all-inclusive in Cancun considered boutique?
- Please tell me more about Planet Hollywood’s “soul and story,” and about the elements that are “so impactful that you can feel the devotion in every sinew of the experience”
- Tell me more about how “you won’t need to leave your hotel to feel a sense of time and place,” and how these hotels have been handpicked because they are “intimately connected to their surroundings”
- How do owners of Autograph Collection properties that are actually boutique, independent, and upper upscale, feel about now being part of the same collection as these all-inclusive properties?
The Planet Hollywood Cancun sure has a sense of place!
Again, let me emphasize that I’m all for Marriott expanding into the affordable all-inclusive market, since it will appeal to many, and will be a good opportunity to earn and redeem points. What I can’t wrap my head around is why this can’t be done in a more honest way.
Marriott is adding 19 all-inclusive properties to its portfolio, thanks to a new franchise agreement with Sunwing and Blue Diamond Resorts. These mega-resorts will no doubt appeal to many, and I’d consider it a net-positive that Marriott Bonvoy members will be able to earn and redeem points here.
I wouldn’t expect much in the way of consistent elite perks, between Marriott’s general issues with consistency, plus these being franchise properties.
My biggest issue here is how Marriott chooses to brand these as Autograph Collection properties. Marriott has over 30 brands already, and somehow it still can’t actually brand new additions in an honest way.
What do you make of Marriott’s all-inclusive expansion?