Ikea hotel grand opening: Marriott to help world's largest furniture retailer launch budget hotels

Ikea says Marriott International Inc. will help it open its new budget hotels across western Europe during the next five years.

The Swedish company, which first announced last year that it will launch the hotel chain, said Tuesday that Marriott, the operator of luxury hotels across the world, will be its partner.

They will develop some 50 hotels with 150-300 rooms each in major cities. The first is scheduled to open in Milan, Italy, next year.

Peter Andrews, head of Inter Hospitality -- part of Inter Ikea's property division -- said the agreement allows the group "to build a high quality hotel property investment portfolio."

Ikea, the world's largest furniture retailer, already owns a handful of hotels. Marriott International has more than 3,700 properties in 74 countries and territories.

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