by Sarah J.F. Braley | February 23, 2016

Marriott International has signed an agreement with Japan lodging company Mori Trust Group to convert five hotels to the Marriott Hotels brand, bringing the U.S. company's total to 20 properties in the chain's eponymous brand.

The five hotels have until now carried the Laforet name and will be renovated over the next two years as part of the rebranding. The renamed properties, all in resort areas, are the 272-room Lake Biwa Marriott Hotel, northeast of Kyoto; 182-room Nanki-Shirahama Marriott Hotel in the resort town on the Pacific; 104-room Fuji Marriott Hotel near the foot of the mountain; 131-room Izu Marriott Hotel Shuzenji in a spa town with an ancient Buddhist temple; and 153-room Karuizawa Marriott Hotel, in a region known for hot springs and wooded surroundings.

"As the world's third largest outbound travel destination and a key source market for Marriott International, Japan is very important for us," said Craig S. Smith, president and managing director of Marriott International, Asia Pacific, at the signing ceremony in Tokyo. "Marriott Hotels is our company's flagship brand and most suitable for such a venture. The agreements not only boost our footprint by one-third, but also cater to the next generation of travelers, especially those who are increasingly interested in exploring beyond the traditionally popular cities of Japan."

"Following the success of the Tokyo Marriott Hotel, Courtyard Tokyo Station and Courtyard Shin-Osaka Station, we are delighted to see our strategic collaboration with Marriott International grow even stronger with this new partnership," added Miwako Date, executive managing director of Mori Trust Group, and president and CEO of Mori Trust Hotels & Resorts Co. Ltd. "Mori Trust Group hopes to add value to each destination by merging the essence of Marriott Hotels with the regions' natural resources, culture and history, to better showcase them to both domestic and global travel markets."