Marriott to bring more brands to Africa

Marriott International will debut another of its brands in Africa with the opening of the AC Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront. Photo credit: Marriott International

More than four years after acquiring Protea hotels, Marriott International is still looking to gain ground across Africa.

According to Marriott, strong demand for select-service brands and conversion opportunities are driving growth momentum for the company, which recently announced five new hotel signings across the continent, boosting its presence in Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa and marking the company’s entry into Mozambique. The company estimates the five new projects signed will drive investment of over $250 million by the property owners.

The signings put Marriott International on track to increase its portfolio by 50 percent with more than 200 hotels and 38,000 rooms by 2023.

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“Marriott International’s acquisition of Protea Hotels, followed by the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has given an impetus to our organic growth on the continent," said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa at Marriott International, in a statement. “African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth, which have mainly been driven by a strong domestic demand, improved macroeconomic management and increased political stability. The continent is still under-capacity as far as branded hotel supply is concerned, presenting us with a fantastic opportunity to grow our brands and enhance our footprint.”

Marriott currently has properties in 21 countries in Africa, with locations in: Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. Looking ahead, the company is set to expand into several new markets, including Benin, Botswana, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal.

Conversion strategy spurs growth

Marriott reportedly continues to see increased interest from owners, with many conversion opportunities across Africa. “The increasing demand for conversion deals from new and existing partners is a strong reflection of Marriott International’s powerful network, loyal customer base and commitment to deliver value for owners,” said Kyriakidis. “We've developed a conversion-friendly strategy, which allows us to deliver value to our partners through a flexible, cost-efficient process that yields almost immediate results. That strategy gives our partners access to world-class reservation systems and our loyalty program.”

Recent conversions to the company’s brands include: Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi, Hurlingham; Four Points by Sheraton Arusha; The Arusha Hotel, Tanzania; and the Mena House, Cairo, which joined the Marriott Hotels and Resorts global brand portfolio earlier this year.

Among new conversion deals, Marriott has signed the Marriott Marrakech Hotel in Morocco. With more than 360 rooms, the hotel is slated to be rebranded in 2020.

Select-Service brands in high demand

Marriott International’s select-service brands, including Four Points by Sheraton, Protea Hotels by Marriott and AC Hotels by Marriott, are seeing "vigorous expansion" in both mature and emerging markets.

Marriott International has signed two new airport hotels under the Protea brand: Protea Hotel by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport, Ghana and Protea Hotel by Marriott Nairobi, Kenya. The Protea Hotel by Marriott Accra Kotoka Airport will be a 200-room hotel in the airport residential area of Accra with small-scale conference and meeting facilities, an air crew lounge, a gym and a rooftop pool bar and lounge. The Protea Hotel by Marriott Nairobi, meanwhile, will be located close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Mombasa Road. Expected to open in 2021, the 250-room hotel will include a restaurant, a bar, a fitness center, a pool and 600 square meters of meeting space. Earlier this year, Marriott International signed Protea Hotel by Marriott Pretoria Loftus Park, South Africa, which is slated to open later this year.

The company also signed the Four Points by Sheraton Nampula, Mozambique, which will be Marriott’s first hotel in the country. The hotel, expected to open in 2023, is part of a mixed-use development composed of a shopping center, apartments, residential homes, a hospital, offices and the hotel. The 185-room property includes 100 hotel rooms and 85 extended-stay units, food and beverage facilities, conferencing facilities, a fitness center and a pool. 

Later this year, Marriott will bring the AC by Marriott brand into Africa with the opening of the 188-room AC by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront, close to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and a 25-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport.  The company also has signed its second AC by Marriott hotel in Africa, AC by Marriott Umhlanga Ridge, Kwazulu Natal, Durban. The 205-room hotel will be a part of a mixed-use development comprised of offices and high-end residential apartments and has views of the Indian Ocean. Slated to open in 2023, the hotel is close to the King Shaka International Airport.

The company expects to introduce some of its other select-service brands like Aloft Hotels, Element, Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott, with hotels already under development. It also is looking for opportunities to bring Fairfield by Marriott to the continent.

Speaking on the increased interest in mixed-use development projects, Kyriakidis said that he expects to see a lot of activity in this space as cities evolve and grow. “We believe this also provides an incredible opportunity to develop branded residences with our luxury brands such as The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and W Hotels and we are actively pursuing this. Today, our brands account for nearly 60 percent of the global hospitality-branded residences market.”

Marriott International is enjoying a strong year of new hotel openings in Africa, which includes its first hotel in Mali—the Sheraton Bamako—as well as the first Marriott Hotel in Accra. The company also debuted the Protea Hotel by Marriott brand in North Africa with the opening of Protea Hotel by Marriott Constantine.