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Sent on Mormon-News: 19Feb01

By Kent Larsen

Marriott, Bulgari Announce New Hotel Chain

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Marriott Corporation announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to start a new hotel brand with the Italian luxury goods maker. The joint venture calls for each company to invest up to $140 million in about a dozen 150 to 200-room Bulgari hotels over the next five years. The chain will cater to 'movie stars and models' according to one report.

While Bulgari will record the chain's sales on its books, Marriott Corp. will run the hotels for a fee, like it does for many of the hotels in its chain, most of which are owned by investors. The real estate for the hotels will cost an estimated $800 million and will be leased from local partners.

The move represents the latest in the expansion of luxury brand names, and Bulgari will be the first luxury brand to lend its name to hotels. In keeping with the brand name, the 'super-deluxe' hotels will be thoroughly Italian in style, including works of art, cuisine and design that fit the brand name. Bulgari expects the hotels to enhance its brand name, instead of detracting from it.

For Marriott, the move increases its presence in the luxury hotel market, and in anticipation, it has formed a Luxury Group for its five-star brands, including Ritz-Carlton in addition to the Bulgari properties. Marriott vice chairman William R. Tiefel, who is also Chairman of Ritz-Carlton, will head the new Luxury Group. He says that the two brands are quite different, with Ritz-Carlton appealing to those that prefer tradition and refined elegance combined with easy luxury. Bulgari, on the other hand, will appeal to those looking for individualized, contemporary Italian style often associated with movie stars and models.

Lehman Brothers hotel analyst Joyce Minor says that while there seems to be a lot of luxury hotels, this brand certainly has a market niche that is not served. "It's a brand that's going to appeal to the moneyed, beautiful people crowd that tote Prada bags and wear Cartier watches. It's a small but lucrative niche."

Marriott is a public company on the Mormon Stock Index that is still run by its namesake Marriott family, including brothers J. Willard Marriott Jr., and Richard Marriott, both of whom are LDS Church members. The company also recently announced that Fortune Magazine had named it the "Most Admired Company" in the lodging industry. That award is on top of Fortune's recognition of Marriott as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" last year and its award as one of "America's 50 Best Companies for Minorities."


Marriott, Bulgari plan super-high-end hotel chain
Reuters 13Feb01 B4
By Doug Young

Bulgari, Marriott to create deluxe hotel brand
Reuters 13Feb01 B4
By Trevor Datson: European Consumer Goods Correspondent

Marriott International Joins Bulgari to Launch New Luxury Hotel Brand
PRNewswire 13Feb01 B4

Fortune Names Marriott 'Most Admired Company' in the Lodging Industry
PRNewswire 9Feb01 B4


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