It’s not that unusual for hotels to change their branding, though this is an odd one.
Mauritius hotel goes from St. Regis to JW Marriott
As of August 1, 2021, the St. Regis Mauritius has been rebranded as the JW Marriott Mauritius. Here’s how the hotel describes what will be changing:
Areas throughout the property will be ready soon to deliver an on-brand luxurious JW Marriott experience in Mauritius. The hotel will remain open to guests during this period.
Following the completion of the rebrand to a JW Marriott resort, the property will provide an environment allowing guests to focus on feeling whole — present in mind, nourished in body, and revitalised in spirit — through programs and offerings that encourage them to come together and experience every moment to the fullest.
The 172-room resort initially opened in 2012, and at the time was the first St. Regis property in all of Africa.
For context, Marriott considers both St. Regis and JW Marriott to fall in its “classic luxury” category, though St. Regis is definitely a more premium brand. Generally St. Regis properties are known for being a bit smaller and more luxurious, with more personalized service, while JW Marriott properties are often larger, often even being convention hotels.
To compare it to other brands, I’d say that St. Regis vs. JW Marriott is like Park Hyatt vs. Grand Hyatt.
Why this rebranding is unusual
Generally speaking, there are a few different reasons hotels may choose to rebrand, especially as it relates to the major global hotel groups:
- An independent hotel may choose to join a major hotel group; this is done when it’s believed that the revenue potential from that affiliation exceeds the costs associated with this
- A hotel belonging to a major hotel group may choose to go independent; this is done when a hotel believes it doesn’t need the loyalty program or global distribution of a major hotel group to fill rooms at decent yields, so it might as well lower costs
- A hotel belonging to a major hotel group may “upgrade” from one brand to another; this is typically done when a hotel is planning a major renovation, and it wants a return on that investment, since you can typically command more for a room at a Ritz-Carlton than a JW Marriott, for example
- A hotel belonging to a major hotel group may “downgrade” from one brand to another; this is typically done when a hotel doesn’t want to invest in a renovation or in maintaining brand standards, so thinks the best solution is to just switch brands
So, what’s going on with the St. Regis Mauritius? I’ve stayed there before, and I thought the hotel was fairly good in absolute terms, but one of the less impressive St. Regis properties out there. With that in mind, I have a few thoughts:
- Does hotel management think that JW Marriott has better brand recognition globally and will fill more rooms than St. Regis? I doubt it, but it can’t be ruled out
- It seems to me like the hotel may in some ways no longer be meeting St. Regis brand standards, and the hotel didn’t want to spend the money to fix that, and is instead rebranding
- If that’s the case, what surprises me is that the hotel isn’t rebranding as one of the “soft” luxury brands, like Luxury Collection or Autograph Collection, but is instead joining JW Marriott, which will take a branding investment as well
- The explanation by the hotel is funny here — it’s suggested after the rebrand the hotel will provide an environment that allows guests to feel whole, present in mind, nourished in body, etc., so is that suggesting that guests couldn’t feel that way when it was a St. Regis?
This is definitely one of the more unusual hotel rebrands we’ve seen. To my knowledge this is the first St. Regis to be rebranded as another Marriott brand, so that’s pretty noteworthy in and of itself.
As of August 1, 2021, the St. Regis Mauritius has been rebranded as the JW Marriott Mauritius. It’s anyone’s guess what exactly is going on here. There’s no denying that this is a brand downgrade, which leads me to believe that the hotel somehow wasn’t up to St. Regis “standards” anymore, and didn’t want to invest the money to maintain that.
What do you make of this St. Regis rebranding?
(Tip of the hat to ECR)