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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market News » Marriott International to open its first Sri Lankan hotel in 2014

Marriott International to open its first Sri Lankan hotel in 2014

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Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

East West Properties PLC, owned by businessman Nahil Wijesuriya, has signed a hotel management agreement with Marriott International hotel chain to manage the company’s Rs 3 billion hotel in Weligama, which will eventually go public, officials said.� Mr. Wijesuriya, Chairman East West Properties PLC told the Business Times that Weligama Hotel Properties Ltd., a fully owned subsidiary of East West Properties PLC, began construction of its first resort hotel, Marriot Weligama Resort and Spa in Weligama Bay in March this year and that it will open under the brand category of Marriott Hotels and Resorts in March 2014.

This contract was signed about two weeks ago by Vijitha Wijesuriya, Managing Director East West Properties PLC and Anika Wijesuriya, Director East West Properties PLC for Weligama Hotel Properties Ltd and Kiran Andicot, Vice President Hotel Development India and Subcontinent Marriott International, Inc. He said Weligama Hotel Properties Ltd will go public in due course. “This would be the country’s tallest resort hotel to date with 11 floors being managed by one of the most globally renowned brands,” he added, noting that it’s the tallest building outside Colombo. Mr. Wijesuriya said that choosing Weligama, located 143 kilometers from Colombo to construct this resort hotel, was because it is a popular tourist destination renowned for its sandy stretch of beaches.

He said that the room rate of this 200-room hotel would be around US$ 133. He said that Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) are a potential area they’re targeting for the resort. “We have a 5000 square feet ballroom and we plan to have India as a feeder market in terms of MICE,” he added.

Mr. Wijesuriya said that originally this hotel was slated to be under Marriott Hotels’ ‘Courtyard’ brand, which is placed at slightly lower echelon in their brands, but it ended up in Marriott Hotels and Resorts, which is a higher brand category as they were aiming for ‘higher standards’ with the hotel project.

“The Ritz-Carlton and the Marriott Hotels & Resorts are their highest brands and the rest – Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, EDITION Hotels, Autograph Collection, Courtyard, AC Hotels by Marriott Residence Inn, etc., comes thereafter,” he explained, adding that as they kept on pushing for higher standards, the project faced a brand creep which is a situation where one (generally smaller) brand graduates to a higher brand in the same family.

“For example the ordinary room size wasn’t right so we went for a bigger size,” he explained, adding that ultimately the standards specified for Marriott’s Courtyard brand were surpassed and they managed to touch Marriott Hotels and Resorts brand, which i Marriott International’s signature and most widely distributed brand.

“Earlier Marriott had a franchise with the Galadari Hotel where they lent their name which entails yearly site inspections,” Mr. Wijesuriya explained, noting that what they signed is a management contract where Marriott International will manage the property according to Marriott standards. He added that this project is ahead of its schedule and within the budget. He also said that a team from Marriott will train their staff periodically. He noted that Sri Lanka is becoming too costly as a destination. “The minimum room rates in Colombo guarantee that we’ll be expensive,” he noted, highlighting that it’s important to create a destination and that Sri Lanka needs to be conscious of the regional pricing. “One of the reasons we sold Intercontinental was because of the minimum room charges,” he said.

The company is planning to construct more world-class hotels and resorts in Colombo, Kandy, Hambantota, and Trincomalee as well as in the cultural triangle in the near future. Marriott International currently operates over 3,700 hotels in over 73 countries and territories around the globe.


Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
US based Marriott International is planning to open its first hotel in Sri Lanka, which will be named as Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa.
Towards this, the international hotel operator has entered into an agreement with Weligama Hotel Properties Limited, a firm coming under the East West Properties PLC.

Weligama Hotel Properties will be the local partner of Marriott in opening the proposed resort, which is expected to be operational by 2014.

The 200-room, 11-storey Weligama Bay Marriott Resort & Spa, will be operated under Marriott’s flagship Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand.

“Sri Lanka is a destination that has great potential and opportunity and we hope to capitalize on that and establish a strong presence in the country” Simon Cooper, president and managing director Marriott, Asia Pacific was quoted saying in a statement issued by the firm.

Commenting on the project, Nahil Wijesuriya, Chairman, East West Properties PLC said: “We are among the first companies in Sri Lanka to sign up with an international branded hotel company and to open as early as 2014. The resort is being built according to Marriott International’s five star brand standards, with a beach frontage of 115 meters”

Marriott International is a world renowned operator and franchiser of a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts which include Bulgari Hotels and Resorts and The Ritz Carlton.

It currently operates over 3,700 hotels in over 73 countries and territories around the globe.

Weligama, located 144 km from Colombo capital is a popular tourist destination renowned for its sandy beaches.

It is also famous for its stilt-fishermen perched on a cross bar of a single pole planted into the sea bed.


Equity Analytic
Equity Analytic
EAST is selling their hotel now,will it move up again?

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