St. Regis Mauritius “Downgraded” To A JW Marriott

St. Regis Mauritius “Downgraded” To A JW Marriott

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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.

The St. Regis Mauritius is now a JW Marriott

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.

This is one of the more unusual hotel rebrands we’ve seen

Bottom line

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)

Conversations (31)
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  1. Ronald Hall

    The Marriott chain has become nothing more than an expensive Motel 8. The service, perks and raising the points required for a stay all stink! No breakfast, no room service yet no reduction in price!

  2. Simon

    I may be wrong, but isn't the St Regis service more in your face than the JW service? I've been more comfortable with the JW service style, but curious to get your view.

  3. Lijo John

    Its not only a rebranding but also a move from Management property to a franchise property. So lets not only focus on brand name but also on the substantial change from Marriott managing under it's standards to giving a license to operate under the ownership with an annual fee.

  4. Aleja

    They tought they could be better with all the additional brands but Luxury is not a brand is Lifestyle and Marriot was not ready.
    As a St. Regis Brand connoisseur is deeply sad

  5. Faroukh

    Ben Schlappig’s analysis on Rebranding St. Regis Mauritius though well-articulated, is completely off the track. Ben seems to have stayed in St Regis Mauritius but not in JW Marriott Mauritius which I believe is yet to open after a couple of months. It would be more prudent if he experiences the Marriott hospitality under a different name and then make factual comparisons ‘before vs. after’.
    From my past knowledge in Mombasa Kenya, a group...

    Ben Schlappig’s analysis on Rebranding St. Regis Mauritius though well-articulated, is completely off the track. Ben seems to have stayed in St Regis Mauritius but not in JW Marriott Mauritius which I believe is yet to open after a couple of months. It would be more prudent if he experiences the Marriott hospitality under a different name and then make factual comparisons ‘before vs. after’.
    From my past knowledge in Mombasa Kenya, a group of hotels on the same island did a similar rebranding exercise. I was amazed to find the services, amenities, loyalty programs, etc etc far more superior than its original high-end luxury brand. This has affirmed my belief that Brands don’t make People, it is People which makes the Brand.
    After all, William Shakespeare had also quoted “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…”

  6. iamhere

    Your expectations are in some way offensive for luxury brands in other parts of the world. Context is important.

  7. Robert

    Saint Regis Princeville in Kauai was re-branded to a Westin.

    1. DN10

      There's a Westin nearby and the St Regis was initially a Sheraton (I think?), but it is now renovated to be a One Hotel.

  8. ejg239

    I am guessing this has to do with a PIP (property improvement plan) issued by Marriott. Property looks very underwhelming with respect to finishes, furniture, etc. for a St. Regis. And while the same could be said for a JW Marriott, Marriott is probably willing to be more generous and let a lot of the items slide. Thus, the cost of a renovation will be significantly less. Add in the ability to provide less benefits...

    I am guessing this has to do with a PIP (property improvement plan) issued by Marriott. Property looks very underwhelming with respect to finishes, furniture, etc. for a St. Regis. And while the same could be said for a JW Marriott, Marriott is probably willing to be more generous and let a lot of the items slide. Thus, the cost of a renovation will be significantly less. Add in the ability to provide less benefits during stay (breakfast, etc.) as noted by others and this was likely a no-brainer for the owners.

  9. Eskimo

    The biggest question is, will the Category or Price also be downgraded?

  10. Santastico

    Ouch!!!! There is no comparison between a St Regis and a JW. At least there wasn’t prior to Marriott acquiring SPG.

  11. dn10

    I had a good experience as well a few years back. Butler service wasn't as dedicated as St Regis Maldives, etc, but overall the staff was kind and attentive and many knew us by name at the restaurants and knew what wine we liked and stopped by at dinner / breakfast to give us free drinks, etc.

  12. Andrew

    Bummer. I will always have a soft spot for the SR Mauritius, as my wife and I were there in March of 2020 while the world shutdown. It was an odd stay; only about 20 rooms were occupied (even less by the time we checked out).

    The staff was great and did the best they possibly could given the strange circumstances. As far as the hard product, it was definitely time for a refresh...

    Bummer. I will always have a soft spot for the SR Mauritius, as my wife and I were there in March of 2020 while the world shutdown. It was an odd stay; only about 20 rooms were occupied (even less by the time we checked out).

    The staff was great and did the best they possibly could given the strange circumstances. As far as the hard product, it was definitely time for a refresh (the beds were worn out), however I wouldn’t say anything at the resort was bad or poor quality.

    Anyway, I hate to see any St Regis disappear, especially to be replaced by a legacy Marriott brand.

  13. UA-NYC

    Marriott Inc. should be rebranded as Courtyard by Marriott Inc. given the drop in benefits, customer service, business ethics, etc.

  14. DN10

    Surprised they picked Jw Marriott. Is that a popular brand in Asia and Africa?

  15. Mark

    Doesn't St. Regis require butlers and such? This could be to reduce staffing costs.

  16. Lukas

    Last three reviews on TripAdvisor talk about not getting a refund 1+ year later, FWIW.

  17. Michael

    I have a banal, bean-countery, theorie: St. Regis offers more amenities like free breakfast for elite members than JW Marriott (10$ voucher). Amenities they can now charge for.

    1. Peter

      Exactly what I thought! No more free breakfast for Elites!

  18. Etravelstheworld

    Stayed here for part of our honeymoon(pre-covid).

    The property and hard product is worthy of the St. Regis brand. However even back then the service, quality of food, butlers, management, were nowhere close to the St Regis brand standards. As an example, the cocktails that cost $20+ were made with kool aid mixers. They refused to provide butler service for my luggage.

    This was a ST Regis being run with Courtyard standards. I...

    Stayed here for part of our honeymoon(pre-covid).

    The property and hard product is worthy of the St. Regis brand. However even back then the service, quality of food, butlers, management, were nowhere close to the St Regis brand standards. As an example, the cocktails that cost $20+ were made with kool aid mixers. They refused to provide butler service for my luggage.

    This was a ST Regis being run with Courtyard standards. I can only imagine this situation got worse after covid.

    My take is they are not able to staff butler service and want to remain at the same tier hotel. Also JW Marriott’s have more hotel friendly elite benefits.

    1. ECR

      Interesting... I stayed there ~3 years ago and had a very different experience. In our five night stay, we had great experience with our Butler and the only issue we had was one night the restaurant we wanted to eat at was full.

      I probably wouldn't have returned even if this downgrade hadn't happened, merely because there's so many Islands/countries out there that I'd rather try something new if I'm going to fly ~20 hours or so, but we had a really nice stay.

  19. Stuart

    Interesting as I was supposed to arrive there today as it’s one of the world’s best kiteboarding spots. I had to cancel though when they were not included in the early opening list of hotels and would be forced to wait until October. Instead I did a last minute change of plans to Morocco. Would have loved to have seen how they would have handled my award booking though. I was paying 60k a night...

    Interesting as I was supposed to arrive there today as it’s one of the world’s best kiteboarding spots. I had to cancel though when they were not included in the early opening list of hotels and would be forced to wait until October. Instead I did a last minute change of plans to Morocco. Would have loved to have seen how they would have handled my award booking though. I was paying 60k a night based on St Regis levels, butler service etc. which may be the reason why they changed brands…to avoid the signature staffing of Butlers. They have barely been open the past year and one of the staff who was working on my reservation mentioned that there are just a couple of people working now and most others have moved on. During the plan to reopen in August they had informed me that only one restaurant would be open with limited menus. I imagine this hotel is under a lot of financial stress at this point. The Lux property next door will clearly be a winner in this as it’s lovely as well and often at much better rates (which may be another reason).

  20. pstm91

    I would guess part of the reason they aren't rebranding to a "soft" brand such as Autograph Collection is that generally speaking, people traveling all the way to Mauritius are spending $$$. They do not want to go all the way there to stay at the local Marriott. They want to stay at a luxury resort as this is a huge trip for 99% of people; even those who are a bit closer coming from Europe.

  21. DN10

    Really liked this hotel. Strange that it's switching brands. Although maybe the "Marriott" part of the JW Marriott will resonate more with the target audience here?

    1. Stuart

      It’s possible. The majority of tourism to Mauritius comes from France and the UK. That spot is also one of the top five kiteboarding beaches in the world and draws hordes of kiters - from France especially. However LUX Le Morne right next door is much better known by the French and usually 20%-30% cheaper. So it may be just to reduce costs of branding and services so as to better compete with them.

    2. DN10

      Makes sense. It’s a beautiful resort and spot.

    3. Andrew

      I'm curious who Marriott resonates with, specifically. Seems like a strong verb.

  22. JL

    Hopefully the points category will also decrease accordingly.

  23. zubair mostafa

    With all the new normal travel rules, regulations and restrictions around the world in the last one and half plus year has been really harsh for many if not most industries but particularly the travel industry and Mauritius being a small island has probably suffered immensely due to the same reasons.
    Perhaps or most probably St Regis Mauritius being one of the most upscale properties on the island didn't have a solid healthy period...

    With all the new normal travel rules, regulations and restrictions around the world in the last one and half plus year has been really harsh for many if not most industries but particularly the travel industry and Mauritius being a small island has probably suffered immensely due to the same reasons.
    Perhaps or most probably St Regis Mauritius being one of the most upscale properties on the island didn't have a solid healthy period of occupancy and returns because of the same reasons, the hotel management reconsidered the Plus and minus of keeping the luxury resort with the same brand or changing it with a wider range of guets portfolio and a point lower category brand but keeping it under the same umbrella.

  24. Wilhelm

    Corporate BS at its best. Maybe they’ve realised guests feel like they’re missing limbs after staying at a St Regis?

  25. D3kingg

    Ewww. I wouldn’t be seen caught dead at a JW Marriott. I’d lose a thousand followers.

Featured Comments Load all 31 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.

UA-NYC

Marriott Inc. should be rebranded as Courtyard by Marriott Inc. given the drop in benefits, customer service, business ethics, etc.

Michael

I have a banal, bean-countery, theorie: St. Regis offers more amenities like free breakfast for elite members than JW Marriott (10$ voucher). Amenities they can now charge for.

D3kingg

Ewww. I wouldn’t be seen caught dead at a JW Marriott. I’d lose a thousand followers.

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