Marriott Acquires Mexico’s City Express Hotels

Marriott Acquires Mexico’s City Express Hotels

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Marriott has announced its latest expansion, which also marks the company’s 31st hotel brand.

Marriott acquiring City Express brand portfolio

Marriott has reached an agreement with Mexico’s Hoteles City Express, to acquire the City Express brand portfolio for $100 million. This portfolio currently consists of 152 hotels, including 17,356 rooms across 75 cities in Mexico. On top of that, there are a limited number of properties in Chile, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Once the deal closes (expected in late 2022 or early 2023), the brand and hotel portfolio will become part of Marriott’s franchise system. With this becoming a Marriott brand, you can expect that these properties will be branded as “City Express by Marriott.” The company’s brands include City Express, City Express Plus, City Express Suites, City Express Junior, and City Centro.

Annual franchise fees are expected to be approximately $10 million based on the existing portfolio. Marriott hopes to use its global distribution power and Bonvoy program to grow the brand over the coming years.

Marriott anticipates that this acquisition will make it the largest hotel company in the Caribbean and Latin America, growing its presence by 45%, to 486 properties across 37 countries.

Here’s how Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano describes this acquisition:

“This transaction with Hoteles City Express is a strategic win for Marriott and our customers, associates and owners and franchisees. We’re excited to enter a new lodging category – the popular affordable midscale segment where we see significant potential. With City Express by Marriott, we will be providing our customers with more choice through a new, approachable, moderate-priced offering, increasing opportunity for owners and franchisees as well as associates.”

Hotel portfolio growth is good, but…

Marriott is already the world’s largest hotel group, and I’d say Marriott growing further is good news. City Express has hotels in all kinds of smaller markets where Marriott doesn’t currently have a presence (and neither do most other global brands, for that matter), so it’s nice that Bonvoy members traveling to these destinations will have new opportunities to earn and redeem points.

So this is absolutely good news, make no mistake about it. That being said, I really hope these properties start to get a redesign as they join Marriott. The City Express properties I’ve looked at online mostly look bland and borderline hideous.

My issue isn’t that these aren’t luxury properties — after all, there are lots of cool and quirky budget hotel brands out there. I’m trying to give the brand the benefit of the doubt and find some pretty pictures of City Express properties, but I’m not having much luck. Then there’s the logo, which feels like some sort of a strange cross between CarMax and Blockbuster.

City Express property exterior
City Express property exterior
City Express property exterior

In fairness, the interiors largely look generic, clean, and modern enough, unlike the exteriors.

City Express property guest room

Bottom line

Marriott is acquiring City Express, a Mexican hotel franchise company with over 150 properties in Latin America. Once this transaction closes in late 2022 or early 2023, Marriott will be the largest hotel brand in Latin America.

Growth is great in terms of opening up new markets for Marriott Bonvoy members. However, don’t expect that this acquisition will open up any new aspirational properties.

What do you make of Marriott’s acquisition of City Express?

Conversations (16)
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  1. Nightliner Guest

    Gives me the same (utilitarian get-the-job-done) vibes as "hop inn" in the Philippines...unremarkable in any way you could think of ;)

  2. Anthony Joseph Guest

    What total disappointment. The Marriott Brand continues to be tarnished, where a consistency of product and service should be paramount. I realize you can have different tiers of hotel offerings, but I am more and more shying away from the Marriott website as I worry about the level of product , service and amenities rhat will be provided since Marriott management seem to be soft on brand enforcement with the franchisees operating a lot of the properties..

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Many properties haven't updated their websites on Marriott.com since May 2020 to reflect what services or amenities are open. Marriott says hotels are back to normal but in practice even JW Marriott properties in the United States aren't providing housekeeping and haven't brought back room service. Marriott is not a hotel company anymore. It is now just a booking platform with a small minority of luxury or near-luxury hotels outside the United States still managed...

      Many properties haven't updated their websites on Marriott.com since May 2020 to reflect what services or amenities are open. Marriott says hotels are back to normal but in practice even JW Marriott properties in the United States aren't providing housekeeping and haven't brought back room service. Marriott is not a hotel company anymore. It is now just a booking platform with a small minority of luxury or near-luxury hotels outside the United States still managed by Marriott. Worse yet, it's not even the exclusive booking platform for Marriott properties. Some hotels use Airbnb to avoid Marriott fees.

  3. Jerry Diamond

    I think most non-Mexico based Bonvoy members will be very disappointed when they check in to these properties. I stayed at the one in Chetumal, and while clean, it was very spartan. It reminded me of business hotels in Asia you'd book for $30/nt. Small pillows, thin sheets, very basic bathroom, few employees, no real amenities to speak of.

    If Marriott intends to improve the quality of these properties this could be a major...

    I think most non-Mexico based Bonvoy members will be very disappointed when they check in to these properties. I stayed at the one in Chetumal, and while clean, it was very spartan. It reminded me of business hotels in Asia you'd book for $30/nt. Small pillows, thin sheets, very basic bathroom, few employees, no real amenities to speak of.

    If Marriott intends to improve the quality of these properties this could be a major win, but as it stands, this isn't win at all. It actually seems to me that OYO would have been a better brand for these hotels.

  4. Avi Guest

    I'm just hoping most of these are less than 10k/night to redeem (and closer to 7 or 8). If that's true, this is great news!

    1. Robert D Guest

      Why would you waste points at a hotel you can book for $40?

  5. EndlosLuft Guest

    If feels like Marriott's strategy is to buy up as many Hotel chains as possible so that you have no choice but to stay at a Marriott. That's how they hope to get away with Bonvoy and all the cuts in Elite perks.

    Fortunately there are so many other chains and great individual Hotels to stay at. I just regret that I've stayed so many nights with their Hotels in the past.

  6. StarGoldUA Guest

    I have stayed at CityExpress a few times, in the middle of nowhere in Mx.
    Oh I wish they were acquired by Hyatt. Would have been a cool way to run up nights. But Marriott is better than nothing

  7. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    It will be interesting to see if this brand is exported beyond Latin America. The fact they are not re-naming it tells me they will grow it. Maybe we will see it in parts of the US with high Mexican populations.

  8. AnitaCK3 Guest

    More like sh!tty express!

  9. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    This brand looks equivalent to Red Roof Inn or Quality Inn.

  10. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Great. Another crappy 100% franchised brand that makes the dumpy old Sheratons look like the St. Regis. In all seriousness, at least eliminate this brand and make the existing properties part of Towneplace or Fairfield or Courtyard. Marriott does not need 31 brands.

    1. Dan Guest

      Ctrl-v "Marriott's customers are hotel owners not guests.txt"

  11. Eskimo Guest

    Another Brand with 5 sub brands.

    Legacy Starwood would hate this but someone at Marriott really needs to consolidate and simplify their brands.

  12. AA70 Diamond

    I stayed at City Centro Mexico City. Fantastic location in the historic district, friendly staff and was overall a nice hotel. Marriott platinum here but wanted something different. No regrets staying there at all. I have great pictures of the hotel too if you reach out to my email :)

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Nightliner Guest

Gives me the same (utilitarian get-the-job-done) vibes as "hop inn" in the Philippines...unremarkable in any way you could think of ;)

0
FNT Delta Diamond Guest

Many properties haven't updated their websites on Marriott.com since May 2020 to reflect what services or amenities are open. Marriott says hotels are back to normal but in practice even JW Marriott properties in the United States aren't providing housekeeping and haven't brought back room service. Marriott is not a hotel company anymore. It is now just a booking platform with a small minority of luxury or near-luxury hotels outside the United States still managed by Marriott. Worse yet, it's not even the exclusive booking platform for Marriott properties. Some hotels use Airbnb to avoid Marriott fees.

0
Anthony Joseph Guest

What total disappointment. The Marriott Brand continues to be tarnished, where a consistency of product and service should be paramount. I realize you can have different tiers of hotel offerings, but I am more and more shying away from the Marriott website as I worry about the level of product , service and amenities rhat will be provided since Marriott management seem to be soft on brand enforcement with the franchisees operating a lot of the properties..

0
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