Haiti Gets a New Marriott Hotel Thanks to a Surprising Celebrity Benefactor

Two years post the devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that ravaged Haiti’s capital, a noteworthy initiative facilitated by the charitable foundation of former President Bill Clinton is set to bring additional accommodation options to Port-au-Prince – in the form of a $45 million hotel.

Addressing the limited capacity of the city, which currently has only around 500 functional hotel rooms, the future hotel’s owner and operator emphasized the crucial need for space to house aid workers, potential investors, and other visitors, as outlined in a news release on Monday.

The hotel, with 173 new rooms, is owned by Caribbean cell phone provider Digicel and is expected to generate 175 new job opportunities. Upon completion in 2014, Marriott Hotels and Resorts will take over the hotel’s operations, with construction slated to commence in 2012.

Former President Clinton commended the project for its job creation and potential to attract visitors, expressing his appreciation in a statement released by the William J. Clinton Foundation. “My foundation has collaborated with both Marriott and Digicel, encouraging them to forge this partnership,” stated the president.

The collaborative efforts involved the Clinton Foundation visiting proposed construction sites alongside the involved parties, facilitating introductions to the Haitian government and the Haitian Tourism Association, according to statements from Digicel and Marriott.

Haiti’s largest private investor and cell phone provider, Digicel, asserted its commitment to philanthropy, highlighting its charitable contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative.

President Clinton’s involvement in Haiti dates back to shortly after the January 12, 2010, earthquake, where he was appointed as a U.N. special envoy to Haiti. In response to President Barack Obama’s request, Clinton, along with former President George W. Bush, established the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to raise funds for relief and recovery efforts in Haiti.

The earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.0, claimed the lives of approximately 316,000 people and profoundly affected about 3 million out of Haiti’s 9 million residents, according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).