AC Hotels by Marriott is the newest hotel brand in the Marriott Family and leaps ahead of JW Marriott, Marriott Vacation Club and Ritz-Carlton in number of hotel properties. The branding partnership with Madrid-based AC Hotels gives Marriott an expansive footprint in Spain where Marriott’s existing portfolio of 8 hotels, primarily beach and golf resorts, will grow to more than 80 hotels over the next two months. AC Hotels also has 10 properties in Italy and two in Portugal.
Update May 3, 2011: Marriott will begin taking reservations for AC Hotels on May 19, 2011.
AC Hotels were founded in 1998 by Antonio Catalán. These hotels are mostly upscale urban properties in Spain.
The co-branding partnership with AC Hotels by Marriott establishes a Spain-based foothold for Marriott’s European and Latin American expansion through a distinctively European hotel brand.
AC Hotels by Marriott is already listed on Marriott’s UK website as a Marriott hotel brand. There is also a placeholder webpage for the AC Hotels by Marriott brand. Press reports indicate these hotels should be available for booking through Marriott by May 2011. The question on some Marriott members minds is whether the current free mini-bar privilege at AC Hotels will be retained?
AC Hotels main website in Spain differentiates the AC hotel brand with an upper-tier subset of 10 Selection Hotels that also includes four Luxury Selection hotels. Marriott has branded the four AC Luxury Selection hotels as the first international members of the Autograph Collection brand.
- AC Santo Mauro, Madrid, Spain – 51-room 5-star hotel in central Madrid housed in 19th century former residence of Duke de Santo Mauro.
- AC Palacio del Retiro, Madrid, Spain: 50-room 5-star hotel at the Paque del Retiro and located near the Art Triangle of Madrid.
- AC Palacio de Santa Paula, Granada, Spain – a 75 bedroom hotel housed in the former Santa Paula Convent (16th century) and Casa Morisca (12th century) historic and artistic monuments in central Grenada.
- AC Baqueira Hotel & Spa, Baqueira, Spain – Pyrenees 5-star ski resort and spa.
Brand Acquisition as the new international trend
Marriott is the first major hotel company to make a significant brand acquisition of an independent hotel chain in the past couple of years. Hotel industry news indicates consumers will see this development as a growing trend in the next couple of years.
Starwood Hotels is currently seeking privately owned hotels in Europe. (Bloomberg News-March 18, 2011)
InterContinental Hotels Group wants to acquire a new midscale brand and a new luxury brand. (HotelNewsNow – March 14, 2011). IHG’s InterContinental Alliance brings the Venetian and Palazzo Las Vegas resorts into the IHG chain with benefits for InterContinental Ambassadors effective April1, 2011.
Carlson Hotels is seeking to expand with one or two hotel brand acquisitions.
Choice Hotels even has its Ascend Collection as a brand seeking distinctive independent hotel properties.