Autograph Collection is the Marriott brand for independent hotels who desire the marketing services and resources of a big brand name. The latest hotel to join the Autograph Collection is Hotel Punta Islita on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. The hotel has 57 guest rooms on an 85 acre property overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Hotel Punta Isleta was named one of the Top 100 Hotels of 2013 by Travel & Leisure magazine.
January is one of the best weather months for Costa Rica.
Hotel Punta Isleta room rates show $330 per night for January 13-16, 2014. Two-bedroom villa is $688 and 3-bedroom $792. Full breakfast is complimentary.
Hotel Punta Isleta is a Marriott Rewards category 6 hotel at 30,000 points per night. That makes the reward night a good redemption value with room rates over $300 per night.
Owned and operated by Grupo Islita, the secluded sanctuary specializes in sustainable tourism and programs involving guests on items including reforestation, animal protection and water conservation, Support for local arts and education are signature elements of the Hotel Punta Islita experience, and the hotel’s Villafranca-Zurcher Foundation (Fundacion VZ) has championed ground breaking programs including the Islita Contemporary Art Museum and the Islita Creative Center. With a passionate dedication to help alleviate poverty and reverse environmental degradation in the region, local residents comprise more than 85% of the hotel’s staff, resulting in a deep and heartfelt connection to the local community.
Hotel Punta Islita is one Costa Rica’s most awarded, off the beaten path destinations, catering to sophisticated travelers who value authenticity, uniqueness and connection to the local community. Amenities include a nine-hole executive golf course, two swimming pools, Spa, a secluded beach front with beach club, two restaurants, and small group meeting space. The hotel also has a private landing strip for small commuter aircraft, with commercial flights operating from San José on a regular schedule throughout the year.
Autograph Collection Hotels reaches 50.
Marriott’s Autograph Collection has reached 50 hotels in under three years with Hotel Punta Isleta.
Introduced in 2010, the vision behind the Autograph Collection is to offer an evolving group of passionately independent hotel experiences ranging from a 15-room boutique hunting lodge in the mountains of Colorado to a 19th century neoclassical palace in the majestic city of Prague. Exactly like nothing else, each hotel is thoughtfully chosen for its quality, originality, bold character and capacity to offer today’s modern traveler a range of unique experiences suited to their individual sense of style and adventure. While still relatively new, the distinct portfolio has proven to be a highly successful venture due to its discerning selection process and unique ability to create memories through enriching travel experiences.
Co-opting independent hotels
One of the most common complaints I hear about hotel travel is from people who think that major brand hotels lack the character of independent hotel properties.
The fact is the global recession made it much harder for many independent hotels to keep room occupancy and rates up during the 2008-2010 recession years. Independent hotels have been flocking to brands like Marriott Autograph Collection, Starwood Luxury Collection and Choice Ascend Collection in recent years.
Marriott is currently in a deal with the Protea hotel chain in Africa to add 116 hotels and in 2011 Marriott acquired 80 AC Hotels in Spain. Smaller boutique luxury brands like six Boscolo hotels in Europe became part of Autograph Collection in 2011-2012.
Hyatt picked up Avia, four boutique hotels in the USA and turned one of these into Andaz Napa, and Hyatt purchased all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and Caribbean for their Zilara and Ziva brands. Acquisition of small brands has allowed Hyatt to quickly expand its portfolio over the past few years.
Marketing partnerships like InterContinental Alliance Resorts and Hyatt-MGM partnership added Las Vegas Casino Resorts to the major hotel chain marketing programs. Some of these newly branded hotels are major convention hotels like Marriott’s acquisition of Gaylord Resorts and some are luxury boutique hotels like the Kessler Collection properties in the USA which were one of the early members of Autograph Collection.
What these hotels are not! Cookie-cutter hotels.
The basic business model for major hotel brands is to set brand standards so a guest walking into a Residence Inn or Courtyard in Los Angeles is going to have similar facilities and amenities as a person checking in to a Residence Inn or Courtyard hotel in Kansas City, Chicago or Orlando. Hotel owners pay franchise fees and the hotel brand has property checklists and inspections to maintain standards.
A brand like Holiday Inn has shed hundreds of hotels in the past few years as IHG seeks to modernize the hotel brand to younger generations of travelers. A hotel owner unwilling or unable to invest to upgrade a hotel to current brand standards is forced out.
The marketing and advanced reservations and booking software provided to a Marriott hotel brand are the drivers of business from independent hotel owners to the hotel chain brand model of business.
Brands like Marriott Autograph Collection allow hotels in the brand more flexibility and a lower fee to participate in the hotel brand than required to be a brand like Marriott or Renaissance. Autograph Collection at 50 hotels is comprised of high-value boutique, resort and urban hotels in the Upper Upscale and Luxury market segment.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.