TORONTO — Marriott's Autograph Collection of Hotels is gaining traction in Canada with five open hotels, and four more signed or under construction. CLN sat down with Marriott's Paul Loehr at the CHIC conference to find out more about Autograph in Canada.
Loehr has been in his position as regional vice-president, Canada, Development for just over a year, but he has been with Marriott for 28 years. While his family is based in North Potomac, Maryland, Loehr travels to Canada almost every week.
“I've made seven different moves within Marriott. It's a good fit, a people-first type of company that gives associates opportunities to grow and establish their careers. The job itself is fun, outstanding, with the ability to meet new people in different pockets of the country, and find out how to grow our brand with partners.”
Loehr's mandate includes growing the Autograph Collection, which is a portfolio of 4 and 5 star independent hotels, each offering unique and memorable experiences. Their marketing platform says they are “Exactly Like Nothing Else.”
Launched in 2010, the Autograph Collection's target customer is the Individualist. The standardized look, feel and service of a global chain hotels can feel confining rather than comforting. These travellers seek unique travel experiences that add to their personal and lifelong narrative. They see the hotel as much a part of the travel experience as the destination. Wherever they travel, they seek out hotels like foodies seek out restaurants.
Across the globe, Autograph has 170 open hotels and 118 approved or executed deals.
So far there are five Autograph Collection hotels in Canada, but Loehr told CLN that there are four more with signed deals or under construction:
— There's a 152-room new-build in Burlington, Ont., slated to open in summer, 2020. This property will be branded as a modern lake house property, where each season is embraced throughout the hotel. It will be located at 2040 Lakeshore Road, Burlington, and it will be part of a mixed-use project fronting Lake Ontario. The owner/operator is Pearle Hospitality.
— Another Autograph Collection hotel is expected to opening in downtown Montreal in summer 2020. It will be a 189-rooms new build owned by Cogir Real Estate and operated by Urgo Hotels.
— The existing Delta Bessborough hotel in downtown Saskatoon will soon become an Autograph Collection hotel. The 225 room property is owned by Leadon Investments, and will be operated by Marriott.
— Coming to Calgary downtown in summer 2021, is a 120-room Autograph Collection new build, that will be co-located with a 180-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel. The owner is PBA Hotels and the operator is Concord Hospitality.
Autograph's five open Canadian hotels consist of the following:
— The 233-key Algonquin Resort & Spa in St. Andrews, N.B., is owned and operated by New Castle Hotels. This conversion hotel became an Autograph in 2015, the first in Canada. The Algonquin is a Canadian national treasure, celebrating their 130th anniversary and bringing history and elegance together in a remarkable seaside resort. The golf course was recently redesigned by golf architect Rod Whitman.
— The 227-room Hotel Saskatchewan in Regina, Sask., also joined the collection in 2015. Built in 1926 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the hotel greets guests with historic charm, unmatched sophistication and a commitment to excellence. It is owned by InnVest Hotels and managed by Marriott.
— The Douglas (Vancouver, BC); 188 rooms/New Build; Affiliated 2017; Description: The Hotel is a timeless and engaging space that creates a balanced dialogue between nature and city, desire and necessity. Owner: Parq Holdings Limited; Operator: Marriott.
—The Civic Hotel in Surrey, B.C. is a 144 room new build that joined the collection in 2018. Owned and operated by Century Group Lands, it is the tallest building in Surrey.
— Kananaskis Mountain Lodge in Kananskis Village, Alta., is a 247-room conversion property that became part of the Autograph Collection in 2018. Nestled in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, surrounded by rugged terrain and astonishing views, it is the newest member of the Autograph Collection. The owner/operator is Pomeroy Lodging.
Marriott continues to grow its overall Canadian presence. As of Q1 2019, there were 239 open Marriott Hotels and 65 pipeline Hotels, either signed or under construction. Autograph Collection hotels range from a 15-room boutique hunting lodge in the Colorado mountains to the 3,400-room Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas.