NEW YORK and BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-five years ago, when the New York Marriott Marquis opened its doors, no one could have imagined the thriving Times Square neighborhood as it is today, with its many hotels, attractions and the financial businesses that call it home.
Back then, the area was so notorious for crime that even cab drivers avoided it, and the hotel gave away free lunches to cab drivers – just to acquaint them with the neighborhood.
Today, the Marriott Marquis' occupancy runs consistently at 90% or above, almost all year long. It is perhaps the busiest hotel in the city -- and one of the busiest in the world.
"The New York Marriott Marquis is one of the most successful, recognizable and sought-after hotels in our system. I don't know of any other hotel anywhere that has such staying power," said J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Marriott International.
Mr. Marriott applauded the hotel's 2,000-person staff, thanking them for their role in making the hotel a success. He specifically recognized the 200 charter associates who have worked at the hotel since it opened. The hotel has one of the lowest staff turnover rates in the industry, at less than 5 percent.
Planning for the hotel began in 1972, when Mayor John Lindsay approached Atlanta-based architect John Portman to design a major hotel at "The Crossroads of the World." Marriott International was interested in leading the revitalization of Times Square and joined the project, and the groundbreaking was held in 1982.
In October 1985, Bill Marriott and then-Mayor Ed Koch opened the New York Marriott Marquis with a grand opening celebration in the hotel's soaring atrium, amidst much skepticism from the financial community and the city. It was the first major branded hotel to make its debut there. In its first full year of operation, occupancy was 78 percent.
In the past 25 years:
15.5 million rooms have been occupied;
27 million guests have stayed at the hotel; and
21.6 millions guests have eaten a meal there (including the cabbies)
The New York Marriott Marquis is located at 1535 Broadway between West 45th and West 46th Streets in Times Square. The 49-story hotel features 1,949 guest rooms and suites, five restaurants and lounges, and over 100,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space. www.nymarriottmarquis.com
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SOURCE Marriott International, Inc.