Meeting Space Explosion Planned for Marriott Marquis San Diego

The 1,360-key Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina will soon boast the largest ballrooms on the West Coast.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina

San Diego—Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina is being positioned to stake claim to a major title. Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., owner of the 1,360-key luxury hotel, is in the midst of boosting the downtown property’s meeting and event space through a $107 million expansion that will yield the largest ballrooms on the West Coast.

Investing the big bucks to increase Marriott Marquis meeting space will likely have its rewards for Host Hotels, as San Diego has proven to be a fruitful market for the lodging REIT. “Our hotels in San Diego produced results that outperformed the average of our portfolio, with RevPAR increasing by 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter,” Gregory Larson, CFO of Host Hotels, said during the company’s fourth quarter 2015 earnings conference call in February. “We expect the trend of our San Diego hotels outperforming the portfolio to continue in 2016.”

Marriott Marquis, boasting a waterfront location at 333 W. Harbor Drive, is no stranger to major growth endeavors. Sited adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center, the hotel debuted as a single 25-story building in 1984, and doubled in size with the addition of a sister tower in 1987. And now the property is undergoing what the ownership describes as a “groundbreaking expansion.”

The project kicked off in December 2014 with the demolition of the existing conference center. In its place, a new building featuring two 36,000-square-foot ballrooms. And they won’t be just any ballrooms. With architecture and design firm tvsdesign at the helm, the premier space will encompass such cutting-edge amenities as a custom 16-screen video wall system and a unique Swarovski crystal ceiling installation.

However, Host Hotels was not content to leave the expansion plan there. The REIT will add Marina Terrace to the offerings, creating 27,000 square feet of paved outdoor event space, and will complete the project with Marina Walk, a landscaped walkway. Ultimately, Marriott Marquis will provide 280,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space.

Host Hotels’ grand expansion of Marriott Marquis wasn’t just to snag ballroom bragging rights; the company sees growing demand in the meetings market, due in no small part to its neighbor, and is responding with more supply. “The upcoming year will be our strongest on record when it comes to attendance and room night generation,” Carol Wallace, president & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corp., noted in the organization’s 2016 forecast. The prediction is for more than 856,000 hotel room nights, which would mark an all-time high in the San Diego market.

The Marriott Marquis transformation is on track to reach completion this summer.