Benjamin West has completed FF&E purchasing services on its landmark 500th Marriott-branded property with the anticipated completion of the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, Calif.
The company has been involved in the construction or refurbishment of more than 100 Courtyards by Marriott, over 100 Fairfield Inns & Suites and more than 100 Residence Inns, in addition to numerous hotels under the flags of Springhill Suites, JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels, TownePlace Suites, Renaissance Hotels and more than a dozen Ritz-Carlton hotels.
The largest single project under the Marriott flag was the 2,002-room Marriott Marquis in Times Square and the 1,081-room renovation of the Renaissance St. Louis for the Renaissance brand. The firm has led FF&E purchasing for LEED-certified Marriott-branded properties, as well, including the first gold LEED-certified Courtyard (Portland, Ore.) and Springhill Suites College Station (Atlanta), Ga., in addition to a number of LEED-certified, full-service Marriott Hotels.
“FF&E has changed dramatically since we completed our first Marriott-branded project, the Marriott Boulder in 1998,” said Alan Benjamin, Benjamin West president. Bemjamin outlined three key changes:
· Technology and innovation in the vendor world allows better products at the same price point— “Hoteliers are paying less than they did more than a decade ago for comparable lighting, carpeting and case goods, for example,” Benjamin said. “Products are better made and have a longer life. There simply is no comparison to the quality of FF&E today than a decade ago.”
· Design is much more tasteful and homelike—“A decade ago, hotels followed home design trends,” he noted. “Today, hotels set design trends—we work with over 40 different leading global design firms a year.”
· The percentage of internationally produced products now dominates purchasing—“In the late 90’s, offshore manufacturers made only about 10 percent of hotel FF&E. In 2011, that percentage will be in the 65 to 75 percent range by total FF&E spend. In case goods alone, for example, there is not enough North American production for Benjamin West, let alone the entire industry.”
Benjamin said Benjamin West had worked on all Marriott brands as well as more than 1,500 others, including some 300 Hilton, Starwood and InterContinental brand family projects, as well as many independent resorts and hotels, aggregating more than $1 billion of FF&E in more than 15 countries in the last four years alone.