Hotelier Billionaires and Politics

“If I had a Billion Dollars”

Perhaps it is the AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament in Pebble Beach that has me thinking about other people’s money today. Hoteliers and politics have been on my mind due to a number of stories in the news this week.

Take This Law and Shove It

California’s Proposition 8 passed in November 2008 banned same-sex marriage in California. The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional this week.

There was a long-term boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. The former hotel owner Doug Manchester gave $125,000 to support the Prop 8 voter initiative.

The Manchester Grand Hyatt is a huge convention hotel with 1,675 rooms. Business was hurting after more than two years of a public campaign by LGBT groups to boycott the hotel.

In March 2011 Doug Manchester sold the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego to Host Hotels & Resorts. This is the real estate investment trust headed by Richard Marriott, brother of Bill Marriott of Marriott International.

Doug Manchester now owns the daily newspaper San Diego Tribune. Laurence Watts published a piece in the Huffington Post this week with more details about the boycott of Manchester Grand Hyatt.

The sale of the Manchester Grand Hyatt for $570 million was the highest price paid for a U.S. hotel in 2011.

Bill Marriott had a piece on his blog ‘On the Move’ November 11, 2008 claiming Marriott International did not support the passing of Proposition 8 in California.

Bill Marriott and Richard Marriott together gave the Super PAC “Restore our Future” one million dollars in support of Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Bill Marriott #331 on Forbes 400 and Richard Marriott, #312 on Forbes 400 are not the only hotel billionaires on Forbes list.

Penny Pritzker of the Pritzker family, founders of Hyatt Hotels, has strong ties to President Obama. She served as 2008 campaign finance chair for Obama. Penny Pritzker is #263 on Forbes 400 list 2011.

Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego is a Hyatt Gold Passport category 5 hotel at 18,000 points per night.


Minnesota Star

Marilyn Carlson Nelson, co-owner of Carlson Inc. (Radisson and Country Inn hotel brands and TGI Fridays restaurants), and #117 on Forbes 400 list along with her sister, publicly expressed her opposition last month to a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota. She and her husband have contributed $50,000 to defeat the amendment, the largest contribution by any single private donor.

Groups for and against the amendment have raised more than $1 million on each side of the campaign.


“Trouble in Paradise or when a coup requires a probe”

The president of the Maldives resigned last week. The United States quickly recognized the new government, then backtracked and sent an envoy to investigate allegations the former president was ousted in a coup. Washington Post Feb 11, 2012 story.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports today the former president claims luxury hotel resort owners aligned with the conservative islamists to remove him from office to prevent rising resort taxes.

They had led street protests against his government’s decision to allow massage and health spas to proliferate.

”I was ousted for bringing a Western conservative vision to the Maldives,” he said.

After he came to power in 2008, advised by a team of British Conservative Party campaigners, Mr Nasheed privatised the country’s main airport, introduced compulsory private health insurance, and imposed a tax system to make the country self-reliant.

”The coup was financed by resort owners … not just one but many,” he said. ”They liked the old order of corruption. We were rocking the boat, taxing them. ”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/resorts-accused-in-maldives-coup-20120211-1sy9f.html#ixzz1m5XO3I9C

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

More articles by Ric Garrido »


  1. Come on, I don’t really care about your political view…

    But really, how long have you lived in this country? It’s LGBT, which is an acronym for ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender’.

    If you don’t even care to get the acronym right, then I don’t know what to think of the rest of your post. Yes, actually I do: Keep posting on travel (only) please! Your connection of this to the hotel industry is tenuous at best…

  2. Hey Ric –

    I may have been a little harsh with my first reaction… I really like your site and I guess at the core I feel that diverging into borderline travel topics (especially such politically charged ones) is not where I would like to see you go. Just my opinion.

    I really enjoy the area you live as well – you are lucky. Spent a couple of nights at the Ritz Half Moon Bay a few weeks ago (also beautiful weather) and at times like that it seems like there is no better place to be on earth! Like you mention above, kind of like Pebble this week.

    Keep up your great service to the traveling community!



  3. From HotelNewsNow Feb 15:

    Marriott International announced Monday the relaunch of http://www.marriott.com/gaytravel. The company reports the page is the first hospitality portal tailored for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers worldwide in English and four other languages: French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.

    First developed in 2010, the “redesigned website is our way to express Marriott’s loyalty and commitment to all our guests,” Randy Griffin, VP of global sales for Marriott, said in a statement. “In 2012, our aspiration will be to ensure http://www.marriott.com/gaytravel is the trusted and welcoming source for leisure, business and group travel for the LGBT community as we do for all our customers.”

  4. Thank you for posting this Ric! I love your blog and reading how you relate politics with the hospitality industry is both unique and interesting. Thanks again … and keep up the good work!

  5. Yeah, lets have the Gs and the Ls battling over who gets top billing. Once we settle this, the Bs and Ts can object to however it works out.

    That’s why I read Travel Blogs, to find out where the PC political activists want me to spend my travel money. sarc/

    Seriously, do the politics in the political arena, and the travel in the travel arena. Holteliers have enough to worry about without trying to figure out whether the Gay boycott or the Social Conservative boycott will hurt their business the most.

    I choose to stay in a hotel based on value and quality of room and service. I don’t want this McCarthy type political witch hunt hurting the business prospects, and thus the ability to maintain quality standards, of my favorite hotels based on battles over political affiliation. When it comes to hotels, I’m Pro Choice.

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