Travel

Marriott plans to open an all-inclusive W Hotel in the Dominican Republic

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The world’s largest hotel company isn’t losing focus on all-inclusive resorts or the Caribbean anytime soon, it appears.

Just days after Marriott International announced a deal to buy an affordable Mexico-based hotel chain (a move that reportedly would make it the largest hotel company in the Caribbean and Latin America), the U.S.-based hotel giant Monday revealed it was throttling its all-inclusive growth strategy forward in the Caribbean.

Marriott plans to open a W-branded all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic via a partnership with hotel developer Grupo Puntacana and MAC Hotels. The adults-only W All-Inclusive Punta Cana in Uvero Alto is expected to be the first W in the Dominican Republic as well as one of the first all-inclusive W properties in the world.

A Marriott spokesperson did not respond in time for publication to TPG’s request for comment as to which other W all-inclusive resorts are already open, as it wasn’t clear on the company website.

The W All-Inclusive Punta Cana is expected to include 349 guest rooms with balconies and plunge pools, as well as multiple suites. The resort is also slated to feature a spa with 11 treatment rooms, a shopping area, three pools with bars and 11 food and beverage outlets.

“Punta Cana is the perfect destination for both the W Hotels brand and an all-inclusive luxury resort,” Laurent de Kousemaeker, Marriott’s chief development officer for the Caribbean and Latin America, said in a statement.

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Marriott’s presence in the all-inclusive resort segment boomed last year thanks to a deal with Sunwing Travel Group’s Blue Diamond Resorts hotel division. However, this was a plan in the works before then, as Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano beat the drum on all-inclusive resort growth potential years before he took over the top job at the company.

When the company officially launched its all-inclusive resort platform in 2019, the plan centered on seven brands: Ritz-Carlton, the Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels, W, Autograph Collection and Delta by Marriott. The company noted at the time that W, in an all-inclusive capacity, would cater more toward adults while the Marriott Hotels brand would tend to attract families.

Related: 5 things you should know before booking an all-inclusive resort stay with points

Why now?

The major hotel companies typically shied away from all-inclusive resorts in the past in favor of chasing more lucrative business travel or luxury travel demand. Brands like Sandals and Club Med dominated the all-inclusive segment until more recently when Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt all made significant plays for the sector.

Why now? Why not? Leisure travel demand skyrocketed during the pandemic, and the rise in flexible work models fuels the potential for leisure travel demand to remain robust.

“How quickly we’ll get there, how big it might be is to be determined,” Capuano told Skift in 2019 of Marriott’s all-inclusive growth strategy. “But it is a strategic imperative to continue to grow our resort portfolio.”

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