AFTER ending its two-decade partnership with the Ayala group last year, international hotel chain Marriott will be back in Cebu.

Marriott International and Intercontinental Resort and Lifestyle Inc., a subsidiary of Cebu’s Tanchan Corporate Group, signed an agreement early this month to open a 241-room Courtyard by Marriott Cebu.

Construction of the new property is expected to begin later this year and will be completed by the second quarter of 2021, in time for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in Cebu.

This will be the second Courtyard by Marriott-branded hotel in the Philippines after Courtyard Iloilo, which is opening this month.

Paul Foskey, Asia Pacific chief development officer of Marriott International, said they are excited about the brand’s return to Cebu, having had a successful run in the past two decades.

“The signing of Courtyard by Marriott Cebu marks an exciting new chapter for us in expanding our presence in the Philippines, adding to our robust pipeline, as we anticipate the needs and expectations of the next generation of trailblazing business leaders and travelers whose work and life are fueled by their passions, and who are always moving forward in pursuing their personal and professional successes,” said Foskey, in a statement.

The new Courtyard by Marriott Cebu will be located in downtown Cebu City.

It will be part of a new, 31-storey mixed-use property with retail and residential facilities, and will have easy accessibility to major corporate demand generators such as business process management (BPM) services, banks and other companies.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Marriott International to bring the Courtyard by Marriott to Cebu,” said Giovanni Carlo Tanchan Ong, in behalf of the shareholders of Intercontinental Resort and Lifestyle Inc.

“In this project, we are combining our decades of experience in the Philippine market with the prestige and global brand recognition of the Marriott International name to offer business travelers to Cebu a hotel like no other. We are excited to be bringing the Courtyard by Marriott brand name to Cebu because of its stellar international reputation as being an established brand that’s fueled by passion,” he added.

The Courtyard by Marriott Cebu will showcase the brand’s signature modern-classic interior design, with spaces and amenities that allow for interaction, collaboration, and exploration.

Guests will enjoy spacious, well-appointed guestrooms and suites, a 24/7 fitness center and seamless, intuitive technology throughout the hotel.

It will also feature an array of food and beverages—the 100-seat Cebu Kitchen / Momo Cafe, which will feature a semi-open kitchen with live stations and a display buffet; The Market that will offer guests the convenience of grab-and-go facilities, and; The Courtyard that will offer traditional dining options.

The hotel will also have a pool bar that will offer refreshments in the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool and sun deck area.

Besides the F&B, Courtyard by Marriott Cebu will also feature a 400-square-meter ballroom, as well as two multi-purpose meeting rooms complete with state-of-the-art facilities for casual and formal events, functions, and business meetings.

The Courtyard by Marriott is a new addition to the growing number of foreign brands that are coming to Cebu—Ascott Limited (Citadines and lyf), Dusit Thani Princess, Radisson Red, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn.

Members of the Hotel, Resort, and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) said they welcome the entry of big hotel players as their presence would lift Cebu’s image in the global map.

“When tourists Google Cebu and see these international hotel chains, it increases the value of Cebu as a destination,” said HRRAC president Carlo Suarez.

Courtyard by Marriott is present in 1,100 locations.