The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC, will open more than 40 hotels through 2018, mostly outside North America, and including new brands that bring excitement and diversity to the Ritz-Carlton portfolio. Executives shared details of the hotel company’s growth and diversification with attendees at The Ritz-Carlton Insurance Advisory Council meeting in August. And they gave a nod to hotel owners, who are spending some $250 million on renovations through 2014 to keep their hotels “fresh, relevant, and competitive.”

Expanding the Brand
Donna McNamara, senior director, brand management, spoke about Ritz-Carlton’s two brand extensions, Reserve and Edition, and its brand partnership, Bulgari, on the first day of the advisory council meeting, which drew some 70 planners and Ritz-Carlton representatives to The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.

Hallmarks of Reserve properties are a maximum of 100 rooms set on large, remote landscapes. They are private and informal, reflecting a sense of place and culture, but in addition to the physical characteristics, Reserve properties are about “the connections and the cultural immersion,” McNamara explained. “There are no check-in desks. It’s not transactional; it’s about the experience.”

Two Reserve properties are already operating, in Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand and in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico. In all, Ritz-Carlton expects to open 20 Reserve properties.

Bulgari properties, on the other hand, are primarily in city destinations. Again, they are generally 80- to 100-room hotels, with an emphasis on design. Three Bulgari hotels are open now, in Milan, Bali, and London, and hotels in Shanghai and Beijing will open in 2016.

EDITION, a hotel concept created in partnership with Ian Schrager, is Marriott’s answer to a luxury “lifestyle” brand. Characterized by sophisticated yet comfortable design and emphasizing lobbies, nightlife, and public spaces, EDITION will attract younger guests for whom the social aspect of travel is paramount.

The EDITION Istanbul opened this year; next up are the London and Miami Beach hotels. The Miami EDITION is located north of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, and will be the largest of the brand. EDITION hotels in Morocco and Bali Ubud open in 2015, followed by Bali Tanah Lot in 2017.

The 411 for groups at these properties? You’ll find corporate customers doing business meetings at Bulgari, executives changing their perspectives and ways of thinking at Reserve, and younger achievers in the lobby with their iPads at EDITION.

The Miami property will emphasize entertainment (an ice rink and bowling alley are planned), and there will be opportunities for groups based at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, to plan themed events at the Miami Beach Edition, which will have a ballroom and prefunction space.