October 24, 2005

Marriott to close Cancun hotels through year’s end

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marriott International Inc. has closed
its three resorts in Cancun, Mexico, through the rest of the
year after Hurricane Wilma caused severe damage to the beach

The decision to close the resorts, announced on Sunday, was
the first substantive move among U.S. hotel chains that own or
operate properties in the "Maya Riviera" as analysts sought to
access the storm's long-term impact on the popular spring break

Marriott spokesman John Wolf said on Monday that the
company was still assessing the damage at the three resorts.
Marriott is the No. 1 U.S. hotel operator.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the second largest, said on
Sunday that its two hotels in Cancun had been evacuated, but
that it was too early to tell how badly they had been damaged.

The hotel did not immediately return a call seeking comment
on Monday.

Both hotels' shares were up more than 1 percent and Calyon
Securities analyst Smedes Rose said both hotel chains'
insurance would likely cover any damage or lost business from

David Katz, an analyst at CIBC, said it was too early to
tell what kind of impact Wilma would have, though he noted that
in the United States, lower priced hotels had seen "some
incremental benefit" from higher occupancy rates after
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.