Tue | Dec 6, 2016

The Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown opens its doors and invites guests to Travel Brilliantly, Guyanese style

Published:Monday | April 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera
President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar (second right), cuts the ribbon with Brenda Durham (right), Marriott’s executive vice-president, while chairman of Atlantic Hotel Incorporated, Winston Brassington (left), and Guyana’s Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh share in the occasion officially opening Guyana’s first Marriott hotel.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Marriott Hotels made history in Guyana last Thursday with the opening of its first property in the South American country.

The international chain is the first major brand to come to Guyana in more than 45 years.

Operating under the flagship brand Marriott International, Inc, the 197-room Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown opens at a time when investor confidence is at an all-time high and with the country turning out a balance sheet of a 10-year growth trajectory of four per cent per annum.

"We have had uninterrupted positive growth since 2006, the longest period in the history of independent Guyana. The economy has been performing in a robust way," said the country's finance minister, Dr Ashni Singh.

Built at a cost of US$58 million, the new investment is expected to realise returns of 11 per cent per annum, Singh said during a press briefing at the hotel.

The property is owned by Atlantic Hotel Incorporated, a government agency. The private sector has shied away from the project because of legal wrangling between the opposition and the government, which remains before the courts.

However, Marriott's entry is just the tip of the iceberg.

Another major chain, Ramada, has announced plans to rebrand the current Princess Hotel, while the runway at the Cheddy Jagan International Airport is to be expanded to accommodate larger aircraft, Singh revealed, admitting the difficulties a destination faces without the availability of air seats.

Marriott will also oversee the construction of a 20,000-square-foot entertainment complex and a casino in Guyana. Both entities will complement the hotel.

Marriott says it is catering to the meetings and incentive markets, business and leisure travellers, wedding and event groups.

According to Marriott, it was a very exciting time for its brand.

"Expanding into Guyana with our new partners, not only are we bringing more hotel rooms to the Guyanese market, but also elevating the standards of hospitality in Georgetown, which is experiencing a large growth in tourism," said Rahul Vir, area vice-president of South America at Marriott International.

Confident that the hotel will be highly successful, opening the doors of opportunity for the Guyanese workforce, Roberto Grisi, general manager at the Guyana Marriott Hotel Georgetown, said the hotel has more than 200 Guyanese associates who have been through more than 300 hours of Marriott's world-class training to prepare them to receive guests.

The hotel debuts technology throughout the property, starting with offering the fastest wireless Internet available on the market, making it easier for travellers to stay connected through email, social media and video streaming. Recognising that guests are dependent on their mobile devices, the group said it would offer the company's innovative mobile check-in service for a seamless arrival process for guests.

The property will also feature Red Coat Direct, a first-of-its-kind app that allows meeting planners input and adjusts meeting requests with the swipe of a screen.

Business travellers will appreciate the state-of-the-art fitness centre, complimentary for hotel guests only. Built for the athletic guest in mind, the fitness facility features the latest equipment and tech for cardio, strength and core training.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com