19 All-Inclusive Resorts Join Marriott Autograph Collection

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

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.

Bottom line

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?

Comments
  1. Ignoring questions over how elite status benefits will work I don’t understand why Marriott would brand conversion all-inclusive hotels as Autograph Collection. I could see Delta which was its big conversion brand. Perhaps Marriott Vacations Club as I imagine some all-inclusive properties have a timeshare component to them. It just seems to confuse the Autograph Collection brand, which in many cases had been four-star boutique hotels. I imagine there will be confusion from guests who become accustomed to all-inclusive Autograph Collection hotels only to find properties elsewhere that aren’t all-inclusive.

  2. Definitely not autograph collection. Agree if I had an autograph collection hotel I’d be frustrated. Mass tourist hotels that are essentially stationary cruise ships, are definitely not what autograph collection meant to convey

  3. Ben – the answer is easy man! No one wants to hear about the 31st brand of Marriott. The fact that they advertise 30 brands is mind boggling, and as someone who is over 1,000 nights at Marriott post-SPG merger, there are many brands I have never stayed at and probably never well.

  4. I guess Autograph Collection isn’t as unique as I thought it was.

    The Planet Hollywood franchise does not instill a sense of elevated experiences, more like kitschy, saccharine experience.

  5. This reminds me of all the Sheraton and Westin timeshare hotels that are exempt from Bonvoy elite benefits despite being branded as Sheraton and Westin when they should be reflagged as Marriott Vacations Club. Maybe those Marriott owners in Thailand or wherever it was that sued Marriott over the dilution of brands and properties were right. I would be pretty mad right now if I was an upscale Autograph Collection owner.

  6. Such an odd choice for brand, Tribute probably would have been a better option if they didn’t want to add their own brand.

    The biggest issue is that these all-inclusives are generally meh for all-inclusives – not bad by any stretch, but they are middle of the road overall. Looking at the list, I could think of other AIs that would be more deserving of the Autograph Collection name. Excellence and Karisma being two other resort companies that would likely fit the bill for that.

  7. Dear God, talk about destroying the one interesting brand Marriott had. I actually enjoyed most all of the Autograph hotels around the U.S. But this is insanity. Planet Hollywood Resorts? Are you kidding me? I really hope that the many great Autograph properties out there refuse to be associated with this hot mess and defect to one of the Hyatt Portfolios.

  8. Yikes. I actually came around a little on all inclusives but they are hard to pull off without being trashy. Even the Zilara at 600+ a night struggles to not become a free for all (I mean, they have a foam party in the pool, so….). I went ver to the Hard Rock last time I was in Cancun just to see the vibe and damn, it was super trashy. I think of the time I stayed at the Autograph Collection in Venice and struggle to see how this decision was made. But Marriott has really destroyed SPG and even though I am lifetime Plat I never stay there anymore, having switched over to Hyatt and then Hilton as a second choice. How to kill brand loyalty in 3 years, starring Marriott Bonvoy.

  9. Autograph Collection was already more varied in quality than SPG’s Luxury Collection, so it does make a little bit of sense at least. Tribute would make the most sense but there are still a handful of elite treatments where the former SPG brands are more generous, so maybe they wanted to do Autograph rather than Tribute for that reason.

    The Planet Hollywood in Vegas used to be an SPG property for a bit, though IIRC it was officially categorized as a Sheraton rather than a Luxury Collection, despite having no sign of the Sheraton brand standards at all.

  10. This is the equivalent of painting your home pink in a nice neighborhood and driving down neighbors home values. Hopefully Marriott has a plan to renovate and upgrade these properties. Maybe? Lol

  11. Marriott has been busy devaluing and diluting their loyalty program since they introduced Bonvoy and recategorized.
    I am not putting a single cent of my own money on Marriott unless there is no other choice!

  12. @Bgriff: I never considered Autograph Collection as a whole to be equivalent to Luxury Collection. Until now, I thought Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio were largely equivalent to each other, though I think Marriott intended Autograph Collection properties to be full-service whereas SPG allowed Tribute Portfolio to include some limited-service boutique properties that didn’t even have a gym or restaurant.

  13. I knew you were going to call out that “sinew” line. I could feel it in my bones (and connective tissue).

  14. I guess I considered the Autograph collection more on the level of the Design Hotels rather than Luxury Collection, but with all of these there is variability since there is no brand standard.

    Planet Hollywood joining the Autograph collection does seem like a bad fit. I also find it odd that some Planet Hollywood locations are part of Marriott and others are not. Though the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas is now part of the Hilton Curio collection, while the other Virgin Hotel sites are not, which I also find a little odd. I would rather stay at Virgin Hotels than Planet Hollywood, though.

  15. Who cares what brand they are under, everyone looks at tripadvisor anyways to see pictures and reviews, no one sees the name Westin or Autograph Collection and automatically assume its nice, everyone is gonna look at pics and reviews anyways so who cares what it is called. I dont book hotels on names alone i need to see pics and reviews so given that the name and brand is rather meaningless if you have actual data points, photos etc on the hotel. If you dont have photos and reviews then yes name matters but its 2021 there are a minimum of 100 photos of every hotel on earth haha.

  16. Lucky, thank you. Just another sign for the direction Bonvoy is going. A minute ago I had two reservations in Seattle in two weeks. Now Sheraton was cancelled and but Hyatt stays.

  17. @Steve_CC The professional hotel photos aren’t reflective because older, tired properties use photos from when the hotel first opened or was last renovated. You need to look for actual, recent, guest-taken photos.

  18. Can we collectively agree that Marriott has no real strategy and is just winging it and seeing what sticks?

  19. As others touched upon, with Marriott taking over SPG’s Luxury Collection, it has enabled them to allow Autograph Collection to be more of a catch-all label more than a defined brand. I would have hoped that Marriott would have tried to slot these into a few different brands like Delta, LeMeridian, Renaissance that are a bit lost and vague in their branding and could use a “signature” property.

  20. Lucky, think the timing of this has anything to do with the unsolicited take over offer for the airline division of Sunwing??

  21. The issue for genuine quality hotels already with the Autograph brand is someone assuming all within the brand are the same quality as the Planet Hollywood ones

  22. Autograph Collection used to be most hotels with distinctive history value, nowadays filled with boring business hotel have no idea why it’s in it.
    Just call it Sheraton resort blah blah or give them a new brand.

  23. I am not sure Marriott Plans to list them exclusively as Autograph. I noticed about a month ago that the Barbados Resorts are just now coming online or about to (no telling how long this will take) be part of the “All-Inclusive by Marriott International”.

    https://all-inclusive.marriott.com/our-resorts

    Checking there I see the new 19 have been added plus a couple more such as “GRAND LIDO NEGRIL AU-NATUREL ALL-INCLUSIVE SUITES RESORT”

    Thats a new one for Marriott.

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