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JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts brand, one of the world class luxury brands of Marriott International, Inc. (MAR - Analyst Report), recently announced the opening of its debut hotel - Marriott Essex House New York - in New York City. The hotel opening marks Marriott’s major achievement of re-adding the prestigious hotel in its extensive luxury hotels portfolio.

The hotel opening is at par with the company’s recently signed 50-year management agreement with Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (BEE - Snapshot Report) to rebrand The Jumeirah Essex House under the JW Marriott brand. Strategic Hotels has invested around $18.3 million towards renovation and redevelopment, and for branding purposes of the hotel. As a matter of fact, the hotel was previously owned by Marriott from 1969 to 1985, before changing hands to a subsidiary of Strategic Hotels.

Located on Central Park South in the midst of Midtown West, 509-rooms hotel is a 40-storey luxurious hotel property. The hotel features world-class amenities for business and leisure travelers. Since its inception in 1931, The JW Marriott Essex House New York has been one of the most recognized and iconic hotel of New York.

JW Marriott brand consists of luxurious properties and distinctive resort locations across the world. The brand, which mainly has hotels in international locations, also has properties in major U.S. states like California, Texas and Arizona. As of now, there are 56 JW Marriott hotels in around more than 20 countries and Marriott expects to expand the brand to 78 properties in 28 countries by 2015.

New York City, which is new to company’s JW Marriott brand, already boasts more than 100 Marriott branded hotels. With its flourishing tourism industry, New York City welcomes around 50 million foreign and American visitors each year. However, the company should be wary of its competitors -- such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (HOT - Analyst Report) -- which already have a strong presence of luxury brands in the city.

To beef up its portfolio with the addition of iconic hotels, Marriott also recently inked a deal with The Marcus Corporation (MCS - Snapshot Report) to re-brand one of the oldest and most prominent hotels of Lincoln, Nebraska -- The Cornhusker Hotel -- as ‘The Cornhusker Marriott Hotel’.

The company is likely to release its third quarter 2012 earnings on October 2, 2012. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the third quarter is pegged at 40 cents per share. We presently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on Marriott. Also, it carries a Zacks #3 Rank (a short-term Hold rating).

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