Marriott International Signs Agreement to Introduce The Ritz-Carlton Brand to Montenegro

USA, Bethesda, Maryland. October 15, 2019

Marriott International, Inc., today announced the signing of a milestone agreement with Northstar D.O.O. to bring The Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro. Under the plan funded by Al Yasra, The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro are scheduled to bring the brand's unrivalled elegance and legendary service to the country in 2023.

"With its striking views of the Adriatic coast, Montenegro has quickly become a favourite Mediterranean destination for global travellers," said Carlton Ervin, Chief Development Officer - Europe, Marriott International. "The signing of The Ritz-Carlton, Montenegro highlights the demand for our luxury brands in this exciting region. Combining the country's serene, natural beauty together with the brand's legendary service makes Montenegro the perfect destination for The Ritz-Carlton guest."

Slated to rise in a prime position on the Western tip of the chic Luštica Peninsula, the hotel and residences are expected to boast panoramic views over the glittering Adriatic Sea. Planned to be accessible by car in 30 minutes from Tivat International Airport or two hours from Dubrovnik International Airport, the coastal property is expected to allow guests and residents to make an unforgettable entrance via the sea at a planned private jetty.

Design plans for the hotel's 120 elegantly appointed guestrooms and suites envision relaxing sanctuaries for guests, with simple local design planned to merge discreetly with contemporary technology, all with the aim of enhancing the natural beauty of the location. The project's plans call for low-rise buildings that would blend into the terrain while maximizing sea and sunset views for guests, residents and visitors alike. The powerful backdrop of the Adriatic is expected to highlight planned recreational amenities, including the property's main restaurant, two specialty restaurants, a beach bar, indoor and outdoor pools, a salt-water Lido pool, a world-class spa and fitness room, and well-equipped Ritz Kids and Teen clubs.

Plans call for expansive outdoor event spaces with unobstructed views to create ideal settings for hosting memorable gatherings, alongside creative pop-up activations offering seasonal bar and restaurant options. Adventurous activities, such as mountain biking and nature trail hikes, are also being planned for guests to enjoy. Ambassadors of the Environment, a hands-on, educational program developed by Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society in collaboration with The Ritz Carlton, is expected to offer programming that highlights the extraordinary natural reserves surrounding the property, striving to encourage guests of all ages to understand how their actions can help preserve natural resources for future generations.

"The success achieved on this project, bringing the legendary Ritz-Carlton brand to Montenegro, is a result of dedicated work by all parties involved, both from our company, Marriott International, and the Government of Montenegro," said Mohamed Al Sager, Chairman, Al Yasra. "This is not only a business success, but a personal accomplishment as well. When I first visited Montenegro on holiday, I fell in love with the natural beauty of the country and knew I wanted to be a part of its future development. What began as just a dream has today become a great project on a clear path of execution."

The hotel and residences are planned as part of a mixed-use development that is poised to include sprawling villas, manicured gardens, a yacht club and a sparkling beach cove. The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Montenegro is expected to offer 180 apartments and 48 villas and is scheduled to complete the first phase of construction in 2023, with the final phase scheduled for completion by 2028. Residential sales are slated to begin in 2020.

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Hotel Law: A Labor Crisis and Cyber Security

According to a recent study, the hospitality industry accounted for 2.9 trillion dollars in sales and in the U.S. alone, was responsible for 1 in 9 jobs. In an industry of that scope and dimension, legal issues touch every aspect of a hotel's operation, and legal services are required in order to conform to all prevailing laws and regulations. Though not all hotels face the same issues, there are some industry-wide subjects that are of concern more broadly. One of those matters is the issue of immigration and how it affects the ability of hotels to recruit qualified employees. The hotel industry is currently facing a labor crisis; the U.S. Labor Department estimates that there are 600,000 unfilled jobs in the industry. Part of the problem contributing to this labor shortage is the lack of H2B visas for low-skilled workers, combined with the difficulty in obtaining J-1 visas for temporary workers. Because comprehensive immigration reform is not being addressed politically, hotel managers expect things are going to get worse before they get better. Corporate cyber security is another major legal issue the industry must address. Hotels are under enormous pressure in this area given the large volume of customer financial transactions they handle daily. Recently, a federal court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission had the power to regulate corporate cyber security, so it is incumbent on hotels to establish data security programs in order to prevent data breaches. The lack of such programs could cause hotels to face legal threats from government agencies, class action lawsuits, and damage to their brand image if a data breach should occur. These are just two of the critical issues that the December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.