Marriott's Autograph Collection Heading to Belize

Belize is home to lush jungles, spectacular scuba diving, interesting archaeological sites, and acres of picture-perfect beaches. Soon, it will also be home to its Autograph Collection, according to Marriott International, which last week announced plans to open Alaia, a boutique resort on the Belizean island of Ambergris Caye.

Scheduled to debut in 2020 in the historic town of San Pedro, Alaia will offer 35 guest rooms, 56 two-bedroom condominiums with lock-off option, and eight oceanfront villas, for a total of 155 keys. Among the planned accommodations will be private residences available for purchase, whose owners ultimately will have the option to include their units in the resort's rental management program.

Planned amenities include a beach club for guests and residents exclusively, a rooftop suspended pool and lounge, a full-service spa, a fitness center, a kids' club, a dive shop, and a live art gallery.

It's not yet clear whether the resort will include meeting and event space.

"Celebrating individuality by curating one-of-a-kind travel experiences, the Autograph Collection brand continues to experience strong growth globally and in Central America," said Laurent De Kousemaeker, Chief Development Officer, Marriott International Caribbean and Latin America. "The unique Alaia boutique resort is defined by unique design in one of the most desirable locations in the world. We are excited to partner with [developer] Andrew Ashcroft on this Autograph Collection project, which marks an important milestone for the company in Belize."

Alaia will join more than 135 independent hotels that belong to Marriott's Autograph Collection. As the brand's first hotel in Belize, it will be well positioned to take advantage of the country's growing tourism market.

"Belize's tourism is booming, with 2017 being a record year and vastly surpassing the 400,000-annual visitor threshold," said Hon. Manuel Heredia, Belize's minister of tourism. "With the industry playing an integral role on the country's economy, Alaia has the government's full support, as it will take our country to new heights by boosting the employment growth, generating awareness around the destination, and allowing visitors to immerse themselves in Belize's vibrant culture."