Marriott plans to aggressively expand its four-star Courtyard brand in the UK and Ireland, Caterer can reveal.
Fifty new hotels are planned over the next 10 years, with properties in Edinburgh, Guildford, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, London and Belfast to be signed by the end of the 2006.
The company's newly appointed vice-president for hotel development, Timothy Walton, said it would consider contracts for stand-alone properties, mixed-use developments and condo-hotels. He also said Marriott would consider buying and developing properties in order to secure prime locations.
"We are very serious about this roll-out, and despite being mainly a managing and franchise-based company, we may use company capital to get a foothold in key cities," he said.
"The UK midmarket is currently relatively ill-defined and of mixed quality. We are looking to change that."
The announcement follows Marriott's final separation from Whitbread last month. Under the Whitbread-Marriott joint venture set up in March 2005 Marriott was not allowed to expand its Courtyard brand.
By Emily Manson