50 Years Ago, We Opened Our First International Hotel

June 19, 2019
The Paraiso del Pacifico was Marriott International's first hotel outside of the United States.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Marriott International opening its first hotel outside of the U.S.

Back in 1969, we operated ten properties in the U.S We were also catering for airlines. And the Hot Shoppes restaurant chain – the first business my parents, JW and Alice Marriott, launched in 1927 – was going strong.

I was looking around for opportunities to grow and, in the ‘60s, Acapulco, Mexico, was the glamour spot of the Americas. Everybody wanted to go down there.

Braniff International Airways was flying to Acapulco and we were catering its airplanes. At the time, two friends of mine -- Harding Lawrence, Braniff’s president and chairman, and his wife Mary Wells, an advertising executive -- were making headlines with their flashy pastel-colored airplanes – orange, turquoise, yellow, lavender. They looked like Easter eggs out on the runway.

People wanted to fly to Acapulco on those planes. I figured we should provide hotel rooms. We made a deal to manage the newest and tallest property there, the Paraiso del Pacifico. It was a hit, and the start of so much more.

We now have 88 properties in Mexico, and we expect to expand our footprint in the country with 44 signed projects in the pipeline. Mexico continues to be our biggest and most successful market in the Caribbean and Latin America region.

Looking back, I think that famous Chinese proverb is true: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Thank you, Acapulco, for starting us off on a great adventure.

I’m Bill Marriott. Thanks for helping me to keep Marriott on the Move.

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