Walking through the site of the first Marriott hotel in Adelaide was one of those ‘full circle’ moments for Rajeev Menon, Marriott International’s President of Asia Pacific excluding Greater China (APEC), who, in the early days of his hospitality career, had worked in a buzzing hotel on the outskirts of the city.

“I have always had a special spot for Adelaide, to be honest, because I worked here some 28 years ago,” Menon told HM in an exclusive interview at the soon-to-be-completed Adelaide Marriott.

Adelaide Marriott General Manager Paul Gallop, leading a tour of the hotel involving South Australia’s Minister for Tourism, the Hon Zoe Bettison, Marriott executives and media

“I worked in Glenelg at the Stamford Grand as Director of F&B, when it was the most happening place in Adelaide.”

“In those days”, the city was slower, but Menon said its transformation in recent years and the influx of large events and conferences is “getting investors excited”.

“This is such a beautiful city; it’s got so much history,” he said. “And for years, there was really no hotel infrastructure coming into the city; now there a few new hotels coming up, plus investment in the airport and other areas.

“As cities grow, they go through this transformation, and that’s what Adelaide is experiencing as we speak.”

L-R: Marriott International APEC President, Rajeev Menon; Greaton Managing Director, Nicho Teng; South Australia Minister for Tourism, the Hon Zoe Bettison; Adelaide Marriott General Manager, Paul Gallop; Marriott International Area Vice President ANZP, Sean Hunt

Located at the site of the Adelaide General Post Office, which began trading over 150 years ago, Adelaide Marriott marks a major transformation of an iconic building, cherished by locals, into a contemporary luxury hotel that should be enjoyed for generations to come.  

Menon spoke to HM about the important role that the hotel industry plays in preserving the legacy of culturally significant buildings.

“From my perspective, it’s a very important part of what we do as hoteliers, working with owners, because new hotels can transform cities; and what a beautiful way to have an iconic institution like the GPO be preserved and have visitors to South Australia experience it firsthand,” he said.

An artist’s impression of the lobby at the Adelaide Marriott

“When you walk through those beautiful arches and you look up at the clocktower, you are part of its history.”

“It’s a very meaningful way to salute the history and legacy of a particular building, or city for that matter.”

With a targeted opening of mid-August 2024, the Adelaide Marriott is the first in a pipeline of three Marriott hotels coming to the city, according to Menon – a Westin hotel, slated to open in late 2026 and a third lifestyle hotel – all marking brand debuts in South Australia.

An artist’s impression of the M Club at Adelaide Marriott

“We need to have a flag in each city – this is our first but not our last,” Marriott International Area Vice President – Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Sean Hunt, told HM.

“There’s going to be strong corporate distribution that we currently can’t take care of in Adelaide and this hotel will benefit from that.

“We have a Westin, which will commence construction following this opening in August 2024, and we have a third hotel – a mid-tier lifestyle brand – and another couple of hundred rooms will follow shortly thereafter.

An artist’s impression of a guest room at Adelaide Marriott

“We have other discussions underway in Adelaide and we are also looking at regional South Australia – there’s a real opportunity there for some of our luxury lifestyle brands around vineyards.

Adelaide Marriott represents a partnership with an existing Marriott owner, Greaton under Managing Director, Nicho Teng. Hunt says relationships with existing owners are invaluable and help get deals across the line efficiently.

An artist’s impression of the reception area at Adelaide Marriott

“[Marriott has] nearly 9,000 hotels and 1.35 million rooms – 47% of those hotels are with existing owners. And whilst we’re very open to doing business with new owners, it’s much easier when there’s an existing relationship – HMAs are very quickly negotiated.”

The Adelaide Marriott will have “660 square meters of meeting space, a huge ballroom and several smaller ballrooms”, according to Hunt, allowing the hotel to tap into the city’s burgeoning MICE market.

“Group businesses really drives the economy of the local catchment and the city,” Hunt said.

“We see somewhere between 100,000-150,000 room nights in Sydney and Melbourne; Adelaide won’t get anywhere near that, but a waterfall starts with a trickle.”