Marriott, Melia Hotels race to expand Vietnam footprint

By Tuong Thuy
Wed, May 25, 2022 | 4:53 pm GTM+7

Marriott International Inc. and Melia Hotels International are pursuing vigorous expansion in Vietnam in a neck-and-neck race.

World-leading hotel chain Marriott expects to add nearly 9,000 rooms within the company’s portfolio in the tropical country and see the debut of key brands including Ritz-Carlton Residences, Marriott Hotels, Westin, and Courtyard by Marriott.

"Vietnam experienced impressive pre-pandemic economic growth driven in part by coordinated development policies and the strong investment in infrastructure," Rajeev Menon, President, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Marriott International, said in a release announcing the group’s Vietnam expansion plans in April.

"Our growth in Vietnam reflects the trust our local owners and franchisees continue to have in Marriott International, and we look forward to presenting them with opportunities to leverage our comprehensive portfolio of 30 brands, as well as our strong distribution network," he added.

Tea served at the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Sheraton.

Tea served at the Sheraton Hotels & Resorts Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo courtesy of Sheraton.

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, a brand in the portfolio, expects to make its debut in new destinations across Vietnam, including on the Emerald Island of Phu Quoc, the world-famous UNESCO world heritage site of Ha Long Bay, the “City of Eternal Springs” Dalat, and the shores of Binh Chau in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

U.S.-based Marriott also said a new Renaissance hotel is planned to open in the seafront city of Danang, while Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts plans to debut in Danang and Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa province. The flagship Marriott Hotels brand is expected to debut in Hanoi and Hoi An, while Westin is set to open in Hanoi and Cam Ranh. Marriott Executive Apartments, the longer-stay brand, is also slated to start welcoming guests in Danang.

Fairfield by Marriott in Marriott's select service portfolio is slated to be introduced in northerm locations like Vinh Yen, Ha Long and Hanoi, while several Courtyard by Marriott hotels are expected to open in Danang, Ha Long and Nha Trang.

Burgeoning branded residences market

Marriott continues to lead the branded residential segment with nearly 190 projects open or in development worldwide. Asia Pacific (excluding China) is one of the world’s fastest growing regions for branded residences, led in part by significant growth in Vietnam where Marriott International anticipates opening several Marriott branded residences over the next four years.

Marriott International also said it anticipates opening several Marriott branded residences in Vietnam over the next four years. The company last year announced a branded residential project that is expected to include almost 4,200 dual-branded residential and officetel units in Ho Chi Minh City. The project, with the name undisclosed, is slated to open in phases in late 2024.

Meanwhile, Ritz-Carlton Residences, Hanoi also expects to make its debut in Vietnam in 2024, according to Marriott.

"Vietnam is a vibrant destination and has over the years experienced record levels of tourism as international travelers flocked to the country and domestic travelers began to discover the many wonders available in their own backyard," said Jakob Helgen, Area Vice President - Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, Marriott International.

"With the recent reopening of borders, we are hopeful for Vietnam to rebound rapidly, and we are excited to expand across even more parts of this captivating country," he said in the release.

Marriott International currently operates ten properties in Vietnam, spanning six of the company’s brands. These hotels and resorts are in Hanoi, HCMC, Danang, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Binh Duong.

In a neck-and-neck race with Marriott, Melia Hotels International is in the process of taking over the management of 12 hotels and resorts already opened and in operation in Vietnam, which saw full tourism reopening in mid-March.

Located from the north to south, the 12 properties are expected to help the Spanish hotel group bolster its footprint in Vietnam, which it first entered in 1999 with the opening of the five-star hotel Melia Hanoi in the heart of the capital.

The Spanish group’s bold move comes through a partnership with Vinpearl, the hotel and resort arm of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest listed conglomerate, Melia Hotels International said in February. Both sides did not disclose any investment value for the deal, but Melia said the agreement would make it the second largest hotel group in Vietnam in terms of number of rooms.

"We believe in creating strong and strategic regional partnerships with companies that have a deep connection to the locations they serve," Gabriel Escarrer, Vice Chairman and CEO of Melia Hotels International said in a release. "The Vinpearl properties and destinations at the heart of this agreement are a wonderful complement to the roots we've already established in Vietnam."

Ignacio Martin, Managing Director Southeast Asia at Melia Hotels International, said: "We see a huge potential for growth in Vietnam, particularly in the luxury hospitality industry. While Covid-19 may have brought international travel to a standstill, we are confident that the country will see growth in tourism in the future, as well as a rise in domestic travel."

Prior to the deal, Melia had six properties in operation in Vietnam and another six hotels in the pipeline. Therefore, the new partnership increases its room count in the country to 24 hotels and resorts.

In addition to Melia Hotels and Resorts, the portfolio includes two other brands, Sol by Melia and INNSiDE by Melia. In this new arrangement with Vinpearl, the properties will be renamed as Melia Vinpearl hotels, all five-star.

The 12 five-star Melia Vinpearl properties will complement Melia's existing portfolio by expanding into new locations. The first hotel is Vinpearl Quang Binh in Quang Binh province, home to Son Doong, the world's biggest natural cave when measured by cross-section. Son Doong is nestled in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which houses some of the world’s largest caves.

This hotel has been rebranded as Melia Vinpearl Quang Binh, followed by Vinpearl Hotel Hue in Hue, Vietnam’s former imperial capital in the central region.

Melia Vinpearl Quang Binh in Quang Binh province, central Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Melia Hotels International.

Melia Vinpearl Quang Binh in Quang Binh province, central Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Melia Hotels International.

The other hotels under the new partnership include ones in Thanh Hoa and Hai Phong near Hanoi, Nghe An and Ha Tinh near Quang Binh province, and Tay Ninh in the south, which borders Cambodia.

Melia Hotels International said it would later expand the Melia Vinpearl brand to Danang city, and cultivate new destinations where the group currently has no presence.

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