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Our Story

At Marriott, we never stop searching for inventive ways to serve our customers, provide opportunities for our associates, and grow our business. The company that began as a nine-seat A&W root beer stand is recognized today as a top employer and for its superior business operations, which it conducts based on five core values: put people first, pursue excellence, embrace change, act with integrity, and serve our world.

The Early Years

1927-1956

It all began with an A&W root beer stand. Founder J. Willard Marriott and his wife, Alice, got their young business off the ground by quenching people’s thirst during Washington D.C.’s hot, muggy summers. Good food and good service at a fair price became a guiding principle for Hot Shoppes restaurants--and for Marriott International as it grew.

1927

1927

Newlyweds J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott, along with business partner Hugh Colton, open the first A&W root beer franchise in Washington, D.C.

1927 Hot Shoppes

1927

The Marriotts add hot food items to their menu--a first for A&W franchises--and the name "Hot Shoppes" is born.

1928 Hot Shoppes

1928

The Marriotts open two more Hot Shoppes, including the East Coast's first drive-in restaurant.

1937 Hot Shoppes

1937

"In-flight" airline catering debuts when Hot Shoppes begins delivery of boxed lunches to passengers at Hoover Airport, south of Washington, D.C.

1953 Hot Shoppes

1953

Hot Shoppes, Inc. stock becomes public at $10.25/share and sells out in two hours of trading.

The Growth Years

1957-1985

Marriott made a historic shift into the hotel business in 1957. The world’s first motor hotel opened in Arlington, Virginia, under the management of J. Willard Marriott’s son, Bill. Over the next 25 years, Marriott became a diverse global enterprise, and Bill Marriott became a visionary CEO whose leadership transformed the hospitality industry.

Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel 1957

1957

The 365-room Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel, the first and largest motor hotel in the world, opens in January.

Acapulco Marriott 1969

1969

Marriott opens its first international hotel in Acapulco, Mexico.

Sun Line 1972

1972

Marriott partners with Sun Line, becoming the first lodging company to enter the cruise business.

J.W. Marriott, Jr. 1972

1972

J.W. Marriott, Jr. is named Chief Executive Officer of Marriott.

Courtyard by Marriott 1983

1983

Marriott debuts lodging for business travelers with the first Courtyard hotel.

JW Marriott 1984

1984

The first JW Marriott, named in honor of founder J. Willard Marriott, opens in downtown Washington, D.C.

J. Willard Marriott, Sr. 1985

1985

J. Willard Marriott, Sr. passes away, and J.W., Jr. is elected Chairman of the Board.

The Modern Years

1986-2011

One company, many brands--that's the innovative model that Marriott began building in the late 1980s. From pioneering the extended-stay business to launching distinctive brands geared toward the business traveler to increasing its presence overseas, Marriott International broke new ground in its quest to become the #1 hospitality company in the world.

1987 Fairfield Inn

1987

With the opening of the first Fairfield Inn and Marriott Suites hotels, Marriott becomes the first lodging company to offer a portfolio of brands.

1987 Residence Inn

1987

Marriott acquires Residence Inn and pioneers the extended-stay lodging business.

1988 500th Hotel Warsaw

1988

Marriott opens its 500th hotel in Warsaw, Poland, the first western-managed hotel in Eastern Europe.

1995 The Ritz-Carlton

1995

Marriott brings a historic brand into its portfolio when it acquires a 49% interest in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

1997 Renaissance

1997

Marriott acquires Renaissance Hotel Group, doubling Marriott’s presence overseas.

1997 TownePlace Suites

1997

Marriott launches TownePlace Suites.

1998 SpringHill Suites

1998

Marriott launches SpringHill Suites by Marriott.

Execustay 1999

1999

Marriott acquires ExecuStay corporate housing company.

Alice Marriott 2000

2000

Marriott International co-founder Alice Sheets Marriott passes at the age of 92.

Bulgari 2004

2004

The first Bulgari Hotels & Resorts property opens in Milan, Italy.

2008 Edition Hotels

2008

Bill Marriott and Ian Schrager officially announce the EDITION brand.

2009 Autograph Collection

2009

Marriott launches Autograph Collection, a new brand of upscale and luxury independent hotels.

2011

AC Hotels by Marriott brand formally launches.

Looking Ahead

2012 & Beyond

Today we are on a mission to shape the future of travel through technology and innovation. From mobile check-in and lobby Greatrooms to transforming the meeting experience with our Red Coat Direct app, we are making travel more brilliant for our guests. Use the circles below to explore milestones in this era.

Arne Sorensen 2012

2012

Arne Sorensen becomes President and CEO of Marriott International.

2012 Gaylord Hotels

2012

Marriott acquires Gaylord Hotels Brand adding five hotels and approximately 2 million square feet of meeting and event space.

2013 MOXY HOTELS

2013

Marriott debuts MOXY HOTELS – The new brand is the company’s first entry into the economy tier, three-star hospitality segment in Europe.

2013 AC Hotels

2013

Design-focused AC Hotels by Marriott brand is imported into the Americas.

2014 Protea Hotels

2014

Marriott nearly doubles distribution in Africa to more than 23,000 rooms with its acquisition of Protea Hotels’ Brands.

2015 Delta Hotels and Resorts

2015

2015: Marriott International acquires Delta Hotels and Resorts®; Becomes the Largest Full-Service Hotelier in Canada.

Classic Photos

J. Willard and Alice Sheets Marriott
J. Willard and Alice Sheets Marriott

Early 1930's

1950 J. Williard and Alice Marriott
J. Willard & Alice Marriott

1950

John, Stephen & Debbie Marriott
John, Stephen & Debbie Marriott

1963

Clockwise, J. Willard, Alice, richard, Duke & Bill
Clockwise, J. Willard, Alice, richard, Duke & Bill

1945

1954 Bill and Donna
Bill and fiancée Donna Garff at Fairfield Farm

1954

Marriott Family, ca. 1973
Marriott Family, ca. 1973

Left to right: Bill, Debbie, John, Alice, J. Willard, Richard, Stephen, Donna, David, Karen, Sandy, Nancy, Mary Alice & Julieanne

1948 Hot Shoppes
Bill at the Bethesda, Maryland Hot Shoppe

1948

1954 Jaguar
Ensign J.W. Marriott, Jr. with his Jaguar XK-120

1954

J. Willard & Alice Sheets Marriott at Fairfield Farm
J. Willard & Alice Sheets Marriott at Fairfield Farm

ca. 1978

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