High-end hotelier Autograph lands in Europe

Marriott's new Autograph brand is to appear in Europe for the first time within months, the firm said March 7.

Autograph, an upscale brand which brings together independent hotels and resorts under the Marriott name, will appear first in Spain, where the company plans to add four properties currently owned by AC Hotels into the exclusive group.

The hotels include the historic AC Santo Mauro and AC Palacio del Retiro buildings in Madrid, which have been converted from houses into five-star properties offering 50 rooms.

The 75-room AC Palacio de Santa Paula, a former convent in Granada, will also join the collection, as well as the AC Baqueira Hotel & Spa, a ski resort in the Pyrenees.

The debut of Marriott's new brand in Spain opens a new front against the country's homegrown hotel chains NH Hoteles and the Paradores group, a state-run enterprise which operates similar luxury properties in converted historic buildings - Marriott is already rebranding AC properties to become 'AC by Marriott'.

The Autograph chain was created last year with a selection of seven properties and now consists of 14 properties, all in the US, although it expects to operate 40 by the end of this year, operating the same booking and hotel points system as other Marriott brands such as JW Marriott, Renaissance and Courtyard.

It is Marriott's answer to Starwood's Luxury Collection, a string of top-end properties in 30 countries, originally founded in 1906 in Europe.

In January Starwood announced that the 300-room Liberty Hotel in Boston, a US National Historic Landmark built in 1851, as the 100th property under its Luxury Collection and St Regis premium brands.

http://www.autographcollectionhotels.com/

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