Marriott JW brand debuts in Big Apple By Jorge Sidron / May 15, 2001 Share 1 -- NEW YORK -- Marriott International last month launched its first upscale JW brand here after it was awarded a management contract for the former Rihga Royal on 54th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. The 54-story hotel, previously owned and managed by Rihga Royal, an Osaka, Japan-based company, was purchased by Thayer Lodging Group of Annapolis, Md.The company tapped Marriott to run the hotel under a long-term management agreement.The 500-room, all-suite JW Marriott New York brings to 11 the number of Marriott properties in New York. In total, Marriott operates more than 6,500 hotel rooms in the Big Apple."We are delighted to bring the first JW Marriott brand hotel to New York," said Roger Borsink, Marriott's regional vice president for the New York market."JW Marriott hotels are the most luxurious properties bearing the Marriott name. They build upon Marriott's reputation for personal care and dependability."The JW Marriott New York is the seventh JW Marriott in the U.S. and the 14th JW property worldwide.Marriott said its strategy is to develop the JW Marriott brand in "established business destinations and emerging luxury markets" worldwide. The company said it expects a quarter of its expansion in 2001 to be through conversions.The former Rihga Royal opened in 1990 and quickly became a favorite of business travelers. All of the hotel's 500 units are categorized as suites, ranging in size from 500 to 1,500 square feet.The suites come with living rooms, mirrored French doors that lead to separate bedrooms, a dressing room and marble baths.In-room amenities include fax machines, three telephones with two separate lines and voice mail, computer connections, minibars with icemakers, in-room safes and two TVs.The hotel has 11 meetings rooms on the mezzanine and top floors, with capacities that range from 10 to 600 people.Among the highlights are the Gershwin and Majestic penthouses, which are located on the 53rd and 54th floors. The rooms have wraparound views of Manhattan, Central Park and the Hudson River.Catering for the meetings spaces is provided by Halcyon, the hotel's restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Three light meals also can be taken in the lounge.Other facilities include a business center and gym.For more information or reservations, call (800) MARRIOTT or visit the company's Web site at www.marriott.com.