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Marriott has just announced the newest brand in its portfolio: Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy for apartment-hotels in North America. This new brand is similar to Marriott Executive Apartments overseas. And Marriott describes them as premium and luxury. So what does that mean?
New Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy Brand
The new Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy brand is different than any other brand in the portfolio. Homes & Villas by Marriott consists of available vacation rentals which are marketed under the Marriott brand. On the other hand, Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will be a collaboration with developers to build, convert and design independent premium branded residential units. These will not just be marketed by Marriott, but are directly integrated into the loyalty program (apparently more than Homes & Villas is).
With a premium and luxury design, future Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will offer the following facilities:
- One to three bedrooms
- A full kitchen with a large fridge, oven, stove, dishwasher, etc.
- A washer and dryer unit in the apartment
- Common areas such as a welcome lounge, gym, etc. Traditional hotel facilities such as food and beverage, meeting spaces, and retail are not part of the design.
- Minimal staffing (housekeeping, host, etc)
Developers have the option of converting existing structures or building new ones up from the ground. This makes the brand different from other serviced apartments and suites which provide multiple rooms but still exist within a hotel.
How do Aparthotels Compare to Hotels?
Aparthotels, apartment hotels, or serviced apartments provided a different experience to traditional hotels, and yet aren't quite the same as Airbnbs (for the most part). Some aparthotels show up on Airbnb, but so do hotel rooms, depending on which country you're in.
The lure of aparthotels is the home-away-from-home aspect of them. With multiple rooms, the whole family can relax without everyone crammed into the same room. With a kitchen, guests can choose to eat out, or save money and cook at “home.” Essential facilities are provided, such as a washer and dryer, but you're not paying for the maintenance of other traditional hotel facilities.
Aparthotels have a huge appeal for long-term travelers who want a place to set up as their home-away-from-home. I've personally used many aparthotels in my 8 years of traveling around the world, most recently Isla Bonita Suites in Ushuaia, Argentina. I love having all the facilities of home — especially the kitchen, considering how much I love to cook. And I prefer to make my own bed each day, rather than relying on housekeeping.
As much as you might love your kids, having them share your room while on vacation might not be the most pleasant. Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy will solve this dilemma by having up to three bedrooms, plus a kitchen, etc. We have yet to see if any of the apartments will have pools.
Often, digital nomads and location-independent professionals need a proper workplace. I prefer recording Youtube videos in the living room rather than the bedroom. And I really don't like eating in bed. Having a kitchen and dining room is so much nicer…unless it's breakfast in bed in a cabana on the beach.
Yet another brand might not be the best news to some Marriott Bonvoy members, especially those more interested in getting better benefits with the elite statuses. Marriott is already the largest hotel chain in the world with 1,423,044 hotel rooms in over 8,000 properties spread between 30 brands in 131 countries. But Marriott has lacked many aparthotel options so far.
It will be interesting to see how Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy compares to Airbnb, Vrbo, and other similar booking platforms. How will the prices compare? When will the first ones open? How exactly do the rentals tie into the Bonvoy rewards program? These questions have yet to be answered by Marriott.
We will also wait to see if the apartments will only be available through Marriott, or if they will also be marketed on other search platforms, as Homes & Villas properties are. Airbnb is usually my go-to for long-term stays when I travel, so I'll be interested to see if these tempt me to switch.
Are you looking forward to Apartments by Marriott Bonvoy, or will you give them a pass?
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