Marriott makes its mark in Adelaide with three hotels to open from August

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(L-R) Raj Menon, Marriott’s Asia Pacific President, Nicho Teng Managing Director of Greaton Group, Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison, Marriott Hotel Adelaide GM Paul Gallop and Sean Hunt, Marriott’s area vice president Australia, New Zealand and Pacific.

Marriott International’s regional top brass was in Adelaide recently to give Tourism Minister Zoe Bettison a hard hat tour of the $200 million Marriott Hotel in the historic General Post Office building.

It was a full circle moment for Raj Menon, Marriott’s Asia Pacific president, who got his big break in the city some 28 years ago as the F&B manager at The Grand hotel in Glenelg.

“I have always had a special spot for Adelaide,” he said. In those days, it was the beach that drew people, not the CBD, he says. But that has also come full circle, with Marriott only months away from debuting its flagship brand in the heart of city and two more hotels under construction.

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“It’s amazing how the transformation is taking place and I think much of the credit goes to the current government bringing in special events like LIV Golf and AHICE, it really creates a buzz,” Menon said.

“And Adelaide is such a beautiful city. It’s got so much history.”

History is the selling point of the soon to open Marriott Hotel in the GPO building which will celebrate 175 years when the first guests arrive in August.

A huge amount of care is going into the hotel’s development which keeps as much of the history alive as possible including the grand hall which will house a food & beverage and retail space.

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On the second level, 10 rooms will be converted into luxury stays, with names such as the postal room and the money counting room.

The number of rooms, 285 altogether has been dictated by the size of the conference and events spaces, which will play an integral part of the hotel’s occupancy.

Paul Gallop, the hotel’s general manager, has given around 40 event planners a hard hat tour of the 660sqm of meetings space which includes a huge ballroom.

“There are people that have written bookings on seeing a concrete structural wall,” he said.

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Gallop is aware of the responsibility of opening the first of any brand in a city, let alone a Marriott Hotel, but says it is exciting.

“From day one coming here, I was very focused on ensuring we were very local and that we celebrated the very best of South Australian produce, food and wine,” he said.

With the hotel’s proximity to the iconic Addelaide Markets, Gallop is keen to tap into that depth of produce.

“This is a city of people that understands food and beverage,” he said. “They have high expectations.”

Sean Hunt, Marriott’s area vice president Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, says establishing a significant presence in Addelaide was a priority.

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“We have the largest loyalty programme in the world, north of 200 million members,” he said. “We need to have a flag in each city.”

A new build Westin hotel will follow the Adelaide Marriott Hotel, with a new lifestyle hotel to follow. Hunt also says a play in regional South Australia is not off the cards.

“Maybe some of the luxury lifestyle brands around vineyards… we’ve done that in the Margaret River,” he said.

Hunt says the Marriott ethos is about having the best hotels in the best locations.

“I think King William Street is an amazing location here, with the GPO building a quite incredible heritage component,” he said.