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The Paraiso del Pacifico was Marriott International's first hotel outside of the United States.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Marriott International opening its first hotel outside of the U.S.

Back in 1969, we operated ten properties in the U.S We were also catering for airlines. And the Hot Shoppes restaurant chain – the first business my parents, JW and Alice Marriott, launched in 1927 – was going strong.

I was looking around for opportunities to grow and, in the ‘60s, Acapulco, Mexico, was the glamour spot of the Americas. Everybody wanted to go down there.

Braniff International Airways was flying to Acapulco and we were catering its airplanes. At the time, two friends of mine -- Harding Lawrence, Braniff’s president and chairman, and his wife Mary Wells, an advertising executive -- were making headlines with their flashy pastel-colored airplanes – orange, turquoise, yellow, lavender. They looked like Easter eggs out on the runway.

People wanted to fly to Acapulco on those planes. I figured we should provide hotel rooms. We made a deal to manage the newest and tallest property there, the Paraiso del Pacifico. It was a hit, and the start of so much more.

We now have 88 properties in Mexico, and we expect to expand our footprint in the country with 44 signed projects in the pipeline. Mexico continues to be our biggest and most successful market in the Caribbean and Latin America region.

Looking back, I think that famous Chinese proverb is true: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Thank you, Acapulco, for starting us off on a great adventure.

I’m Bill Marriott. Thanks for helping me to keep Marriott on the Move.

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Fairfield by Marriott was inspired by my family’s weekend retreat – a cattle ranch called the Fairfield Farm in Hume, VA.

Fairfield by Marriott announced today the opening of its 1,000th hotel location: the Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Denver Tech Center North.

It’s the second Marriott International brand to reach this milestone out of the 30 brands we have in our portfolio. Courtyard by Marriott was the first.

I’ve always loved the Fairfield brand, and not just because it’s a great value for guests. The brand was inspired by my family’s weekend retreat – the Fairfield Farm in Hume, VA. My parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, bought the farm in 1951. It was a place we’d go as a family to escape the noise of the city, to reflect on the beauty of nature, and to spend quality time together. The Fairfield brand today embraces that same calming sensibility of warm hospitality and treating our guests like they’re family.In the 1960s and ‘70s, when the company was much smaller, we would host company picnics at the farm. We’re too big for that now but people can still visit.

Fairfield Farm was a place we’d go as a family to escape the noise of the city.

Back when my children were young, my parents would take them to the farm at least once a month. It’s a working cattle ranch, with Quarter horses and a herd of more than 1,000 cattle on about 4,200 acres. In the spring, the flowering dogwood trees bloom in spectacular fashion. My dad loved it because it reminded him of his boyhood days riding horses on the family farm in Utah.

There are a number of buildings open to the public, including Marshall Manor House, a beautiful 12-bedroom home built in 1814 by James Marshall, the brother of former Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. My dad spent years restoring that home and today, the company makes it available as a bed-and-breakfast called The Inn at Fairfield Farm.

My father J.W. Marriott enjoyed riding horses with my daughter Debbie Harrison.

Fairfield by Marriott is growing rapidly in China, Mexico, India, and the U.S., with plans to open in Japan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile.

To celebrate our 1,000th hotel milestone, every Fairfield in the U.S. and Canada is offering guests complimentary brownies at check-in during the month of May, inspired by my mom’s famous brownie recipe.

Take it from me, you’ll want to check in soon.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Celebrating my 86th birthday with my daughter, Debbie Harrison.

I turned 87 years old this week and I have to say, I feel great.

I spent the day, as I always do, with my family at Camelback Inn in Arizona. We’ve been going there for more than 50 years. I have 21 great-grandchildren now, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 12 years old. Eighteen of them were able to attend. We were all dancing and singing and having fun. It was a real thrill to be part of it. Family is really what life is about.

Of course, as I reach this milestone, I can’t help but look back at my 60-plus-year career. I am truly grateful for the success of Marriott International. There are more than 700,000 people around the world who wear a Marriott name badge today and if you think about it, we’ve hired millions of people in our 92-year history, providing opportunities for advancement for them and their families. That’s a real source of pleasure for me.

People ask me all the time what leadership advice I have for the next generation. I would say surround yourself with good people. Do the best that you can. And don’t study things to death. Move ahead and make a decision. Don’t take months and years to develop a perfect solution.

I’d also argue that while technology has become a huge part of all of our lives, nothing beats a clean, fresh room. Take care of the basics. It all comes down to taking care of the customer. I continue to run into guests who have frequented the same hotel for 10 or 20 years all because of the people who work there. My parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, started our people-first culture when they first opened their doors as a root beer stand back in 1927. My dad would tell me almost daily: Take care of our employees and they will take care of our guests and our guests will keep coming back. Nine decades later, that is still our philosophy.

So, what is the secret to longevity? Don’t ask me. I try to walk on the treadmill five days a week. But I eat all the wrong things – too much beef and too many desserts.

I can’t help it. I grew up in the Hot Shoppes, my family’s restaurant business. I ate cheese burgers and drank chocolate shakes practically every day.

It’s hard to give that up. 

But as I’ve often said, success is never final.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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My father (left) in front of the first Hot Shoppes in 1927.

Tomorrow is National Chili Day, a great day to celebrate one of my favorite dishes.

Chili Con Carne was always a big seller at the restaurant chain my parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, started in Washington, D.C., in 1927. When they first opened their doors that year, they operated as an A&W Root Beer franchise selling cold drinks for 5 cents each during the summer months. Business was brisk, until the season changed. My parents quickly realized they needed hot food on the menu for the cold winter.

A Utah native, my dad loved spicy Southwestern/Mexican food. My mother, with a college degree in Spanish, knocked on the door of the Mexican Embassy in Washington and asked the chef there for some help and he shared his chili con carne and tamales recipes.

With those menu items and a few other staples like hamburgers and hot dogs, they launched The Hot Shoppes. At the time, some of the ingredients, such as Mexican beans and peppers, were hard to come by. My parents had to special order them from a supply house in San Antonio, Texas, suggested by the embassy chef.

Chili Con Carne was advertised on the window of the first Hot Shoppe. I have an old menu where The Hot Shoppe Special was Mexican Chili Con Carne, a small for 15 cents; a large for 25 cents.

Priorities changed and we eventually moved into the hotel business exclusively. We closed the last Hot Shoppe in 1999.

For old times’ sake though, my daughter, Debbie, still follows the Hot Shoppes Chili Con Carne recipe and will occasionally make a batch. It’s delicious. How good? Just last month, her entry won an internal chili cook-off here at Marriott – and I wasn’t even voting! 

I’m curious, did you ever eat Chili Con Carne at The Hot Shoppes? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy National Chili Day.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

 

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Donna married me "for better and for worse ... but not for lunch."

I proposed marriage to the love of my life, Donna Garff, by long-distance phone call – if you can believe it – in 1954. I was in Navy Supply School in Athens, Georgia, at the time, just starting my two-year stint as a ship’s supply officer aboard the USS Randolph.

Donna and I met as undergraduates at the University of Utah. I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. She was standing at a bus stop. I was riding by in my friend’s car. I said, “Who is that?” She definitely caught my eye – but it was when I got to know her that I saw what a beautiful person she is inside and out.

Fast forward one year, I am standing at a pay phone about to change my life in the most wonderful way possible. Before I proposed, I made sure that I had a stack of quarters ready. I started telling Donna how much I loved her, and the operator kept interrupting, asking me to deposit more money in the phone.

After I popped the question, Donna told me I’d have to call back! She wanted to talk it over with her father.

It was worth the wait. In June, we will celebrate 64 years together. Our union brought us four beautiful children and their spouses, 15 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren … and counting.

Donna has been by my side through the good times, as our family and company have thrived, and the tough times, like my long hours on the road.

Without a doubt, that was the most important phone call of my life.

Donna, happy Valentine’s Day.

Lots of love,

Bill

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Marriott on the Move | Bill Marriott by Marriott On The Move Admin - 1M ago
The ice-skating rink at the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington, VA.

It’s below freezing today in Washington, D.C., which makes it a perfect day for some outdoor ice skating, don’t you think?

In the winter of 1958, we covered the swimming pool at the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel and turned it into an ice rink. See the photo above.

We turned on a loudspeaker and played “The Skaters’ Waltz,” among other popular songs.

We charged $1, at the time, and I tell you, the rink was a hit. People turned out in colorful sweaters and fur coats. Even my dad laced up some skates and got out there.

I firmly believe, if you’re going to live in a cold climate, you need to have fun in it!

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Today marks the 62nd anniversary of Marriott’s shift from the restaurant business to the hotel industry. On this date, January 16, 1957, my parents cut the ribbon on the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. See photo above.

We were in a hurry to accommodate all the crowds coming to Washington, D.C., for the second inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

I talked my dad into letting me manage Twin Bridges. I was 26 years old at the time, with no experience in the hotel business. My dad worried because I had never run a hotel before. I told him, “No one else around here has either. Let’s roll the dice.”

It worked out okay. We now have more than 6,700 hotels spanning the globe and 30 brands.

Twin Bridges closed in 1988.

It is gone but not forgotten.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Marriott on the Move | Bill Marriott by Marriott On The Move Admin - 1M ago

Aidan (pictured above), a banquet server at one of our properties in Naples, Florida, was home with his family when Hurricane Irma struck the city in October 2017.

He watched in disbelief as 145-mile-an-hour winds struck his house, ripping off shingles and causing a tree and multiple tree limbs to punch holes in his roof.

Aidan and his family hid safely in a closet. But when the storm passed, they were forced to move to a hotel. He had no power for three weeks and his roof and ceilings needed extensive repairs.

My heart goes out to Aidan and anyone else who has suffered such a terrifying experience.

I’m grateful that, at Marriott International, we are able to help our associates at managed properties, like Aidan, who are affected by such emergencies and natural disasters. In fact, we have several tools to assist communities and all of our associates in times of need. What helped Aidan and his family was the TakeCare Relief Fund.

The fund offers need-based financial grants due to certain personal hardship events or natural disasters, year-round. The fund is modeled after a similar program that originated at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide in 2006. When Starwood became a part of Marriott in 2016, we embraced its innovation and expanded it.

To date, the fund has helped more than 6,000 associates around the world with $10.5 million in grants for unexpected expenses stemming from tragedies and other family crises.

In the last year alone, the fund has assisted thousands of associates, including dozens of displaced associates who reached out for help with home repairs in the wake of a devastating earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia. Another associate, whose family was rendered homeless by five feet of water in his house due to a massive flood in Kerala, India, needed assistance purchasing virtually everything -- clothing, mattresses, kitchen appliances, furniture, electrical repairs, and even a door.

As part of the integration of Starwood into Marriott, we incorporated this great idea into TakeCare, our company’s commitment to culture and wellbeing, which aims to help associates nurture their bodies, minds, and careers, while also building supporting relationships on the job and doing good work in the communities where we do business.

What I love about the TakeCare Relief Fund is that it’s not just supported financially by the company. Associates make voluntary donations to help their fellow associates. It’s the Marriott way.

As part of our core values, which my dad, J.W. Marriott, established back at our founding in 1927, we have always believed in putting people first. He instilled this notion in us: take care of the associates and they will take care of the customers and the customers will keep coming back.

I’m so proud that almost 100 years later, that mindset is still thriving. We genuinely care about one another.

In this season of love and giving, but also hardship for many, I hope the TakeCare Relief Fund can inspire others to lend a hand. Sometimes the smallest effort can transform a life.

Aidan is still with us at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The grant from the fund covered part of the down payment of a new roof.

His work isn’t over. But I’m glad Aidan, and our other associates, can take comfort in knowing their fellow associates will be there for them when the storms come.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move!

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Fairfield by Marriott was inspired by my family’s weekend retreat – a cattle ranch called the Fairfield Farm in Hume, VA.

Fairfield by Marriott announced today the opening of its 1,000th hotel location: the Fairfield by Marriott Inn & Suites Denver Tech Center North.

It’s the second Marriott International brand to reach this milestone out of the 30 brands we have in our portfolio. Courtyard by Marriott was the first.

I’ve always loved the Fairfield brand, and not just because it’s a great value for guests. The brand was inspired by my family’s weekend retreat – the Fairfield Farm in Hume, VA. My parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, bought the farm in 1951. It was a place we’d go as a family to escape the noise of the city, to reflect on the beauty of nature, and to spend quality time together. The Fairfield brand today embraces that same calming sensibility of warm hospitality and treating our guests like they’re family.In the 1960s and ‘70s, when the company was much smaller, we would host company picnics at the farm. We’re too big for that now but people can still visit.

Fairfield Farm was a place we’d go as a family to escape the noise of the city.

Back when my children were young, my parents would take them to the farm at least once a month. It’s a working cattle ranch, with Quarter horses and a herd of more than 1,000 cattle on about 4,200 acres. In the spring, the flowering dogwood trees bloom in spectacular fashion. My dad loved it because it reminded him of his boyhood days riding horses on the family farm in Utah.

There are a number of buildings open to the public, including Marshall Manor House, a beautiful 12-bedroom home built in 1814 by James Marshall, the brother of former Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. My dad spent years restoring that home and today, the company makes it available as a bed-and-breakfast called The Inn at Fairfield Farm.

My father J.W. Marriott enjoyed riding horses with my daughter Debbie Harrison.

Fairfield by Marriott is growing rapidly in China, Mexico, India, and the U.S., with plans to open in Japan, Columbia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Chile.

To celebrate our 1,000th hotel milestone, every Fairfield in the U.S. and Canada is offering guests complimentary brownies at check-in during the month of May, inspired by my mom’s famous brownie recipe.

Take it from me, you’ll want to check in soon.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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Celebrating my 86th birthday with my daughter, Debbie Harrison.

I turned 87 years old this week and I have to say, I feel great.

I spent the day, as I always do, with my family at Camelback Inn in Arizona. We’ve been going there for more than 50 years. I have 21 great-grandchildren now, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 12 years old. Eighteen of them were able to attend. We were all dancing and singing and having fun. It was a real thrill to be part of it. Family is really what life is about.

Of course, as I reach this milestone, I can’t help but look back at my 60-plus-year career. I am truly grateful for the success of Marriott International. There are more than 700,000 people around the world who wear a Marriott name badge today and if you think about it, we’ve hired millions of people in our 92-year history, providing opportunities for advancement for them and their families. That’s a real source of pleasure for me.

People ask me all the time what leadership advice I have for the next generation. I would say surround yourself with good people. Do the best that you can. And don’t study things to death. Move ahead and make a decision. Don’t take months and years to develop a perfect solution.

I’d also argue that while technology has become a huge part of all of our lives, nothing beats a clean, fresh room. Take care of the basics. It all comes down to taking care of the customer. I continue to run into guests who have frequented the same hotel for 10 or 20 years all because of the people who work there. My parents, J.W. and Alice Marriott, started our people-first culture when they first opened their doors as a root beer stand back in 1927. My dad would tell me almost daily: Take care of our employees and they will take care of our guests and our guests will keep coming back. Nine decades later, that is still our philosophy.

So, what is the secret to longevity? Don’t ask me. I try to walk on the treadmill five days a week. But I eat all the wrong things – too much beef and too many desserts.

I can’t help it. I grew up in the Hot Shoppes, my family’s restaurant business. I ate cheese burgers and drank chocolate shakes practically every day.

It’s hard to give that up. 

But as I’ve often said, success is never final.

I'm Bill Marriott and thank you for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.

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