Marriott Rebrands Fairfield Inn, Introduces Muslim Prayer Rooms

Individual hotels may still call themselves Fairfield Inns. Rebranding is expensive and that’s not an expense we’d likely see Marriott push onto owners right away. After all they’re even trying to reduce owner costs for breakfast by 20%.

Yet somehow I missed that Marriott is no longer referring to the Fairfield Inn brand, instead calling it Fairfield by Marriott.

I only saw this in the news that Marriott is expanding Fairfield to Europe and the Mideast, from its existing footprint of more than 1230 hotels. So what is Fairfield, exactly?

Fairfield celebrates the beauty of simplicity with an effortless hotel experience focused on bringing value, productivity, and a great night’s sleep. Inspired by the heritage of the Marriott family farm, Fairfield pays homage to the restorative place built on the feelings of pure joy and natural ease. Fairfield properties globally offer a design aesthetic that is both calm and modern.

Those are certainly words, and someone wrote them. How will this instantiate itself in Europe? “The European design is inspired by Scandinavian style, which offers a light and bright aesthetic” but what about in the Mideast?

Middle East properties are expected to have a layout tailored for the region, including prayer rooms and Qibla directional signage.

After Marriott took over Starwood, they delivered bibles and the Book of Mormon in mass quantities to hotels.

Credit: Tommy777

This major distributor of the Book of Mormon will have properties that feature a musalla. You tailor your hotels for local conditions! At a Hyatt in Reno I found the bible placed in the bathroom. That may seem like an odd place for it, but in the bathroom you do have a rather captive audience for reading.

Already Marriott’s Moxy and Edition hotels don’t get religious materials. In Moxy’s case, hotels that don’t have desks definitely don’t need to offer books.

Bibles have been in hotel rooms for over 100 years, dating back at least to 1908 at the Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. The Gideons, which was formed by two men sharing a hotel room in 1898, give them away for free. The average life of a hotel room bible is six years. Guests take them, even though they say ‘thou shalt not steal’ inside.

I’m not sure how necessary distributing bibles is any longer. You can get the content online for free. People stopped buying in-room porn, too, with the growth of the internet and that’s when Marriott stopped offering it. Two decades ago a Provo, Utah video store successfully beat an obscenity charge by arguing that the Provo Marriott was renting nearly as much porn as the video store did. That argument wouldn’t work today.

But a company built on Mormon values, that distributed the Book of Mormon, will be putting Muslim prayer rooms in hotels in order to gain access to new markets? A huge departure from the days of J. Willard Marriott for this globalized company, but no surprise that they’ll conform to local custom considering they self-report the presence of banned books to the Chinese government.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Airfarer, the article said to gain access to new markets. Perhaps markets that value communal worship. Perhaps markets in predominantly Muslim countries. Imagine a Marriott property in Cairo hosting a business conference. For that property owner, it’s a plus and worth the expense. But, we probably won’t see this in Cincinnati or Denver.

  2. If Marriott is being consistent then there should be chapels in Marriott brands in predominately Christian countries (let alone countries with state churches) for the celebration of the holy eucharist, mass, Lord’s supper, or communion (whatever you call it).

  3. This is just Marriott trying to figure out how to up the resort/destination fee in Islamic countries

  4. Well they are both religions so they share that in common
    What about a Jehovahs Witness or Hare Krishna worship rooms?
    I would drink to that or even get drunk to that
    Sorry no need for any designated religion inside a hotel.It should be open to all faiths unconditionally and all religious matters be kept private to ones own beliefs or lack of them

  5. Nick Thomas, it is individual property owners that elect to do this, not Marriott corporate requiring it. My sense is that individual property owners in the regions you mention will not.

    Interesting that you omit other faiths in your comment.

  6. In the brand description, “….effortless hotel experience…”, translates to “we do nothing for you”.

  7. Hoteliers should avoid sex, politics — and religion. Just like Christians and Jews, Muslims are encouraged by their religion to pray anytime, anywhere — no special room or building, and no hotel provided reading materials required.

  8. I don’t appreciate any hotel putting the bible in my room – it’s shoving religion in my daily life. So whenever I see the bible, i toss it in the garbage.

  9. The Bible, Book of Mormon and Quran were in the nightstand at the Ritz-Carlton in Jakarta, when I stayed in 2019. Indonesia is a Muslim country, where it’s a crime to convert Muslims to Christianity. I have only seen the Bible and Book or Mormon at the Renaissance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is also a Muslim country.

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