My father and I at the first JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC in 1984.
We’re celebrating a big milestone this month – the opening of the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street. This is the 100th hotel of the JW Marriott brand.
Atrium at JW Marriott Tampa Water Street
What is the story of development? I remember when we opened the first JW Marriott in 1984 in honor of my father, JW Marriott, who founded the company with my mother, Alice Marriott.
That first JW Marriott hotel opened in Washington, DC at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue—the same street where we started the company in 1927 as the A&W Root Beer Stand.
It was a complete surprise to my dad who had no idea that we were planning a new luxury brand in his honour. For that first hotel dedication, we collected personal video tributes from Bob Hope, Billy Graham, President Gerald Ford and many others. He was almost speechless.
Most importantly to her, we presented her a 242-foot-tall card that contained the signatures and well wishes of thousands of Marriott colleagues.
It was a beautiful moment for an ordinary man. He was born at the turn of the last century, in September 1900, and even at a young age, he was using his entrepreneurial skills to sell rabbits and chickens.
My dad passed away in 1985, but his incredible legacy lives on through the company and his namesake brand.
Good luck to the team in Tampa as you open your doors.
I know my father will be humble and pleased.
I’m Bill Marriott and thank you Marriott for helping me move forward.