Ritz-Carlton Launches New Luxury Brand

According to the WSJ

Upscale-lodging operator Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.,
hoping to take further advantage of the booming luxury travel business,
will launch a new hotel brand called "the Reserve" that the company
hopes will attract guests to smaller resorts and more out-of-the-way
locales.

Ritz-Carlton, a subsidiary of Marriott International
Inc. of Bethesda, Md., is planning to open the 125-room "Molasses Reef"
on the island of West Caicos in the Caribbean sometime next year.

Unlike the majority of its current 62 hotels and
resorts that generally exist in popular tourist and business
destinations, the locations for the offshoot brand will likely be
focused in largely undeveloped areas — "places in the world where not
everybody has been," says Vivian Deuschl, Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman.

To that end, the company will continue to compete with
longtime rival Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts Inc. and other luxury
operators that run small, expensive resorts like Kerzner International Ltd.’s
"One&Only" brand. But the new brand’s focus will shift away from a
heavy focus on corporate travelers and group-meeting business that many
of the existing Ritz-Carltons depend on for a large chunk of their
business.

While the company uses the word "boutique" to describe
the Reserve brand, Ritz-Carlton officials insist that the service
element — long decried as the Achilles’ heel of the boutique hotel
industry — will, in fact, be enhanced. Indeed, as the luxury travel
industry has remained strong in the past few years and shows few signs
of cooling, the highest-end travelers continue to look for more
exclusive options outside traditional resort destinations. Ritz-Carlton
officials say they hope to open new Reserve properties elsewhere in the
Caribbean and in Asia.

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