With construction of a Marriott Fairfield Inn scheduled for Hailey in 2020, the approval of yet another Marriott is pending in Ketchum. Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott International, told Reuters during the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin that his company expected to open a new hotel “every 15 hours in 2017.” With revenues in 2018 that exceeded $20.7 billion, Marriott International is the largest hotel brand in the world, outstripping earnings of its competitors by billions. If the variances proposed by this Goliath are any indication, this is a corporation whose negotiators sit at a table to talk, not to listen.
The variance requests reveal a profound indifference to the laws political leaders and residents of this valley worked decades to set in place; and the work continues. It also reveals a lack of sensitivity to the environmental impact that a hotel of this scale will have in this location, both during and after construction, for years to come. Preservation—of our natural resources, mountain views and ease of living—is essential to the quality of life we have and for which we are known. We want it to continue, and there are laws in place to ensure it does.
This valley has flourished in recent years and the economy has picked up. New businesses have moved in to create an exciting array of options for residents who live here both full and part time. Compliance should be a nonissue. The Marriott should support, not ask to bend, the laws and regulations in place. It is the only way to save our valley from becoming another “Anytown U.S.A.,” where residents live in a shadowland of huge hotels, catering to a transient cliental with no memory of the beauty that once was; just one more corporate asset on the Marriott highway.
“Change is good, but good change is better.”
Anndel Kininmonth, Ketchum