A Salute to the 100th Hotel of the JW Marriott Brand

February 3, 2021
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My father and I at the first JW Marriott hotel in Washington, D.C., in 1984.

We’re celebrating a big milestone this month – the opening of the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street. It’s the 100th hotel of the JW Marriott brand.

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Atrium at JW Marriott Tampa Water Street

What a growth story. I remember when we opened the first JW Marriott in 1984,  in honor of my father, JW Marriott, who founded the company with my mother Alice Marriott.

That first JW Marriott Hotel opened in Washington, D.C. on 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue – the same street where we started the company as an A&W root beer stand in 1927.

It was a total surprise to my dad, who had no idea we were planning a new luxury brand in his honor. For that first hotel dedication, we lined up personal video tributes to him from Bob Hope, Billy Graham, President Gerald Ford and so many others. He was nearly speechless.

More importantly to him, though, we presented him with a 242-foot-long card containing the signatures and well wishes of thousands of Marriott associates.

It was a beautiful moment for a man from a simpler time. He was born at the turn of the last century, September 1900, and even at a young age, he was using his entrepreneurial skills to sell rabbits and chickens.

My dad passed away in 1985, but his incredible legacy lives on – through the company and his namesake brand.

Best wishes to the team in Tampa as you open your doors.

I know my father would be humbled and delighted.

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.

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