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Marriott Expands Into Latin America

September 23, 2011 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent



Casamar Marriott Panama Resort
A rendering of the spa at the the Casamar Marriott Panama Resort, which will open in 2013.


For Marriott International, Latin America is no longer just Mexico as it was in 1990, when it opened a pair of Marriott CasaMagna Resorts—one in Cancun and another in Puerto Vallarta.

The company now has 65 hotels in 24 countries and territories in the region, including the Caribbean, offering more than 17,000 rooms and spanning nine lodging brands: The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts in the luxury tier, the upscale deluxe Marriott Hotels & Resorts and Renaissance Hotels & Resorts, the moderately priced Courtyard by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments and Residence Inn for extended stays, and the economy Fairfield Inn. In addition, Marriott Vacation Club International, the chain’s timeshare ownership division, has three resorts in two countries.


Marriott’s Hotels-To-Be

Where the hotels under development are and when they will open:


160-room JW Marriott Hotel Cusco, Peru

100-room Residence Inn by Marriott Panama City Albrook, Panama

125-room Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Airport, Costa Rica


220-room Ritz-Carlton, Panama City

225-room JW Marriott Hotel San Jose, Costa Rica

201-room Marriott Hotel Georgetown, Guyana

278-room Cartagena Marriott Hotel, Colombia

180-room Casamar Marriott Panama Resort, Panama

300-room Renaissance Panama City Financial District, Panama

120-room Residence Inn by Marriott Guayaquil, Ecuador



“We have developers and regional vice presidents deployed in the region with responsibility for specific countries, who look at locations and partners that offer the best opportunities for our portfolio of brands,” says Nancy McHenry, regional vice president of sales and marketing. “There must always be a business case which factors in location, business generators, partners, competition, etc.”

Marriott International (including Ritz-Carlton) has 29 hotels under development, all of which will open by 2016, raising the count to 94 hotels and 22,000 rooms, including its first foray into Guayana. And, also by 2016, with 10 properties slated to open in Central and South America alone, Marriott is growing into a Latin American giant.

“Central and South America offers so much to the customer,” McHenry says. “Whether you are planning a business trip, an incentive trip or an adventure vacation, we have a solution. With Marriott, your customers will always know they can count on U.S. safety standards, top-quality accommodations and outstanding service. ”

Latest Properties

Marriott Hotels & Resorts recently announced plans to develop the 180-room Casamar Marriott Panama Resort within the Casamar master-planned resort community on Panama’s Pacific coast. The five-star resort, under a franchise agreement with Casamar Development, S.A. and Corporación Turística del Pacífico, S.A., will open in 2013 and be a significant addition to the country’s Pacific resorts.

The Casamar Marriott Resort will be situated on a beach near the town of San Carlos, around 55 miles from Panama City. The Casamar resort community will include condominium and villa clusters, tropical gardens and walking trails, free-standing restaurants, retail units, a sports club and a beach club. The country’s Pacific coast, traditionally a weekend retreat for wealthy Panamanians, is fast turning into a high-profile resort destination with quality hotels. From 2002 to 2010, tourist visitation more than doubled, to 1.7 million.

Casamar Marriott will have 180 guest rooms in a series of interconnected buildings surrounding the hotel’s public and recreation areas, which include a large free-form swimming pool and extensive deck areas. The hotel will also have two restaurants, two bars, meeting space, retail outlets and a full-service spa. Zurcher Architects has been tasked with the project. The firm was behind the Bristol Buenaventura Resort, as well as all of the Marriott Hotels & Resorts and JW Marriott properties in Costa Rica.

Marriott International also announced that the luxury JW Marriott Hotel Cusco will open in 2012. Cusco, Peru, is the gateway to Machu Picchu, making the hotel a logical base for archaeology buffs. Built around Inca remains found on a site in the heart of the city’s historical district, it will have a highly customized design. The boutique-style, 160-room hotel will also have a museum of the more prominent artifacts.

At 11,200 feet above sea level, the JW Cusco will be the first Marriott International property with an in-room supplemental oxygen system to relieve altitude sickness. The property will be operated under a management agreement with Inversiones La Rioja, S.A., owner of JW Marriott Hotel Lima.

The Current Portfolio

Costa Rica leads the way in Central and South America with five Marriott International resorts, including the 310-room JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa, the 248-room Costa Rica Marriott Hotel, the 125-room Courtyard by Marriott San Jose, and the 109-room Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Escazu.

Brazil boasts four Marriott properties: the 245-room JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro; 245-room JW Marriott Hotel Rio de Janeiro; 445-room Renaissance Sao Paulo Hotel, and 114-unit Marriott Executive Apartments Sao Paulo. Marriott also has properties in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Panama and Honduras.

For more information on Marriott’s Latin American projects, agents should contact Nancy McHenry (847-922-4048, [email protected]).


JW Marriott Hotel Cusco
JW Marriott Hotel Cusco, near Machu Picchu, is being built around Incan relics.


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About the Author

Joe Pike
Joe Pike is Travel Agent's senior editor covering the Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda; Hawaii; Central & South America. Previously, Pike was a newspaper reporter for The Asbury Park...

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By Joe Pike | September 23, 2011
The company has an aggressive agenda for new properties in Latin America. Travel Agent offers a look at the latest properties and developments in the region.