by By Michael J. Shapiro | November 18, 2009

Last week, Marriott International launched the Autograph Collection, a new brand that will comprise "upper upscale and luxury independent hotels with distinctive personalities in major cities and desired destinations worldwide." Marriott plans to add approximately 25 hotels to the new collection next year. Each will be featured on Marriott's website and included in the Marriott Rewards loyalty program. "The Autograph Collection will take the innovative approach of grouping these iconic hotels according to the unique experience that guests are seeking, whether it's a resort, historic hotel, boutique arts, or urban edge hotel in a dynamic gateway city," said Don Semmler, executive vice president of brand management for Marriott. "Each hotel will be highly unique and distinct with its own identity, appealing to a growing segment of our customers who are looking for an experience that an independent hotel can deliver."