This has been a very exciting week for Marriott in Europe! First, we celebrated 35 years since we opened our first European hotel, the Amsterdam Marriott. I remember that opening so well. We had a large barrel of water on the ground and we had diver who dove off the top of the hotel into the barrel. As soon as he hit the barrel, it broke and the water went all over the street, but fortunately, he survived and wasn’t harmed. That’s what you remember about some of these openings a long time ago.
On Monday, we celebrated 35 years in Europe at the Amsterdam hotel, which just finished a huge renovation. We were joined by U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Fay Hartog Levin and the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen. Also in attendance were 6 of our associates who worked at the hotel since the day it opened! Since that hotel opened its doors in 1975, we have expanded into 23 other European countries with 174 properties.
We plan on continuing that expansion at a rapid pace as we announced this week that we expect to double our number of guest rooms in Europe in the next 5 years, which will bring us to a total of 80,000 rooms! We currently have seven Marriott brands in the region, and will add three more to that list. We’re expanding to include a European Residence Inn, which will open in Munich in 2012. We’re also going to add hotels from our two new brands, Edition and the Autograph Collection.
Europe is the largest lodging market in the world and we’re moving full speed ahead to increase the number of hotels there to provide travelers with even more options. We have some great projects coming down the pike like the Renaissance Moscow Monarch Center Hotel, a new Courtyard in Budapest and the Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club in the UK. All will open this year.
I can’t wait to get your feedback about these hotels and the many others opening throughout Europe in the near future.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.