I know sincerity sounds like a kooky marker for a brand to use as their guidepost but what I witnessed on a recent visit to a Virginia ranch turned luxury B&B farm was definitely a big dose of sincere inspiration. Back in the early 1950s, hotelier J.W. Marriott sought out a country haven from the stress of everyday life for his family – discovering and purchasing the Marriott family’s vacation home - The Fairfield Farm. It was here the family came together for Thanksgiving and also entertained guests throughout the year. The Marriott’s even hosted the annual company picnic at this exact farm for years. This was the place that the Marriott’s felt most at home, surrounded by family, simple but comfortable accommodations, and a setting that resembled their Utah country roots. The classic picture of the patriarch, J.W. Marriott on horseback was taken at the Fairfield ranch and can still be seen posted in hundreds, if not thousands of Marriott properties worldwide.
As the Marriott Fairfield brand waltzes into their 30th anniversary re-design, it is quite obvious that they took an authentic approach and directed the artistic creativity from the love and respect for the Marriott family traditions and a desire to express their genuine value of comfort and hospitality.
The Marriott ranch, located in Hume, Virginia is Marriott's only bed & breakfast property (now known as The Inn at Fairfield Farm since 1997.) This farm was the inspiration behind one of the most successful Marriott International brands ever – Fairfield by Marriott, and it's clear when you hear them talk about the Fairfield Farm/Marriot Ranch story – this is their truth.
Marriott folklore includes stories of family members distributing turkeys during the holidays to the tales of staff who are employed by the Marriott’s for decades. Key players that started their first job at a front desk or in housekeeping at their local Marriott and rose through the ranks to now run a huge property or head a brand department. This kind of longevity is almost unheard of in today’s marketplace.
This historical significance of the Virginia farm and all the family memories are key components to everyone involved in the rebranding process. This original Marriott ranch unequivocally symbolizes the pivotal jumping off point for the rebranding of this slice of the family run company. Photographs of the property are the new artwork and the fabrics and design of the hotel chain mimic the texture and ambiance of the original Fairfield Farm.
My visit could not have been more fun. Skeet shooting, horseback riding and a bumpy backroad jeep tour was all part of the farm aka ranch experience. While the dining and accommodations are sophisticated, the place has a purposeful relaxed country feel- right down to the front porch rocking chairs and outdoor fire pit.
Large or small, great businesses are fueled by authentic passion and feelings that uplift the spirit. The Marriot Fairfield farm is filled with genuine family feel good memories and a generosity of spirit to family and guests alike. Reflecting these values through the Fairfield re-design is truly a sincere way to honor every guest that steps through their door.