ECI Development today announced that it broke ground on a new Marriott branded hotel and residences on the island. Designed for travelers seeking a relaxed Caribbean lifestyle, the Belize Marriott Ambergris Caye Resort and Residences will be built on Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island known for its world-class scuba diving, fishing, water sports and white sandy beaches.
“Now that we’ve seen an uptick in travel, we’re excited to begin building the new Marriott branded hotel and residences ECI Development is bringing to Ambergris Caye, one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful island destinations with famed access to the Belize Barrier Reef and dive sites,” said Michael K. Cobb, Chairman and CEO of ECI Development. “ECI has been creating inspired lifestyles for adventurous souls across Latin America for more than two decades, but we are particularly focused on this project and the opportunity to deliver a top-quality hotel and residence option from a treasured global brand.”
The hotel, along with the Marriott Hotels-branded residential component, saw the first shovels of dirt turned January 14. The project will fuse old-world British charm and modern amenities while keeping an eye towards the heritage and history of Belize. ECI plans as many as 70 privately-owned branded residences as a part of the 202-key oceanfront resort.
“We are excited to welcome the first Marriott Hotel to the beautiful shores of Belize,” said Laurent de Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Caribbean & Latin America, Marriott International. “The Belize Marriott Resort and Residences of Ambergris Caye will be a stand out and attract travelers from around the world. As we continue to grow in Latin America, what a stunning location along this beautiful stretch of beach on Ambergris Caye to plant the Marriott Hotels brand flag.”
"We welcome the Belize Marriott Residences of Ambergris Caye to the increasing number of new and modern brand name hotels in Belize. We are confident that the Belize Marriott Residences will be a partner in our sustainable brand of hospitality and sustainable tourism development. It is in partial fulfillment of our Plan Belize agenda, and testament to our promise that Belize is Open for Business," said Prime Minister of Belize, Honorable John Briceño. "I have every confidence that the Marriott will be a tremendous success in Belize."
“Now available to this incredibly diverse and expansive market, Belize’s rich culture and unique attractions will be marketed to a discerning audience seeking both the thrill of a new place and the comforts of the familiar,” said Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism at the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). “Employees will also benefit through training and developing skill sets that will allow them to undertake a greater variety of work. There is always room for improvement and learning, and with specific goals and requirements under a brand, their abilities and skills will flourish.”
Guests will have access to first-class restaurants, a rooftop lounge, conference and event space, a spa, fitness center and retail outlets. Amenities will also include a dive shop to cater to the island’s many visitors who come to explore the Belize Barrier Reef – the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere and a UNESCO World Heritage designated site.
“As Belize continues to emerge as a top tourist and business destination for world travelers, the Belize Marriott Ambergris Caye Resort and Residences will contribute to the positive evolution of one of the jewels of Central America,” said Brian J. King, President, Caribbean & Latin America, Marriott International. “All of the best things seasoned travelers have come to expect from Marriott destinations around the globe will be brought to serve our guests on Ambergris Caye. That’s why we’re very excited to welcome this new hotel into Marriott International’s family of resorts as well as our Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program that boasts more than 160 million members worldwide.”
With tourism accounting for 33.2% of Belize’s GDP, and approximately 40,000 jobs – or 30.1% of total employment, the positive economic impact of tourism from a trusted hotel brand like Marriott extends well-beyond the jobs created at the property.
“The construction of the Belize Marriott Ambergris Caye Resort and Residences is a welcome respite to the Belize tourism industry after the devastation the pandemic has wrought worldwide. An anticipated 100+ jobs will be required during construction, and upon completion, close to 300 full-time employees will be needed for the oceanfront hotel. What’s more, the economic benefits will reach far beyond the hotel property as owners and guests participate in water sports like diving and snorkeling, explore Mayan ruins and shop for art, woodcrafts, and other souvenirs,” said Briceño. “From the farmers deep in the western villages providing fresh produce, to souvenir artists across the country, to the families who receive remittances from direct tourism service providers, the financial benefit to Belizeans will be immeasurable.”
ECI Co-Founder and Chairman of Caye International Bank, Joel Nagel built upon Prime Minister Briceño’s comments stating that the hotel planned to work with local farmers, manufacturers, and craftsmen to supply much of the initial construction and ongoing supply needs for the hotel. “Our company has been a solid corporate citizen in San Pedro for nearly 30 years. We constantly strive to engage the local community in business, philanthropy, and all types of community service and engagement, including the creation and founding of the San Pedro Rotary Club,” said Nagel. “We believe that all ships rise with the high tide and we want the Marriott hotel to be another important engine for economic development and growth for San Pedro and for all of Belize.”
In addition to the many economic benefits this project will bring, corporate social responsibility has been a priority for ECI from its founding. The company works tirelessly to ensure that the communities surrounding each project receive direct support through a variety of initiatives and partnerships. Since 2021, ECI has been directly involved with ACES Wildlife Rescue on Ambergris Caye, championing the wildlife organization’s efforts in the conservation and protection of Belize’s native wildlife and their habitats. Education Directors and Wildlife Rehabilitators Chris Summers and Christina Manzi can often be found rescuing animals, even the tamanuas, as well as rehabilitating mangroves along the coastline.
“In 2021, the mangrove reforestation along stretches of beach and lagoon waters became a priority, as mangroves are critical for marine wildlife. That’s why ECI Development and Marriott International will continue full support of these critical habitat efforts long into the future,” said Ricardo Calo, Area Vice President, Marriott International, who will directly oversee the new hotel and residences.
***Hotel renderings and photos of the groundbreaking event available upon request.***
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About ECI Development
ECI Development is a real estate developer working in Central and Latin America creating inspired lifestyles for adventurous souls. We create value through socially responsible development within our communities in Nicaragua, Belize, Costa Rica, Argentina, El Salvador, and Panama. More info is available at www.belizebrandedresidences.com.
The Belize Marriott Residences Ambergris Caye Resort are not owned, developed or sold by Marriott Worldwide Corporation or its affiliates (Marriott). Grand Baymen Villas, LLC and Exotic Caye Beach Resort Limited use the Marriott marks under a license from Marriott, which has not confirmed the accuracy of any of the statements or representations made herein.