While Morocco, particularly Marrakech, has never lacked for high-end hotels, two notable global brands have announced new properties within the kingdom, bringing more attention to the country's development opportunities.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced plans to open a new property in the resort town of Agadir on Morocco’s Atlantic coast. This will be the brand's third hotel in the country following Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, which opened in June 2011, and the announcement of Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca, which is due to open in late 2014.
The largest seaside resort town in Morocco, Agadir is home to one of the country’s most highly-anticipated resort developments at Taghazout Bay, which will be home to the new Four Seasons Resort Agadir. The Taghazout Bay project will include several hotels, two golf courses, residential properties and a central village and medina – the traditional pedestrian quarter common in North African cities.
Christopher W. Norton, President Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, yesterday signed a formal agreement with Ali Wakrim, Vice President of AKWA GROUP, the development’s ownership group, announcing plans for the new resort, which is expected to open in 2016. The partnership agreement was signed in the presence of Youssef Guennoun, General Manager Development Pole – AKWA GROUP and Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad in Ain Sebaa, Casablanca, where the ownership group is based.
We hear that Four Seasons Resort Agadir will consist of 132 rooms and suites in addition to 56 Private Residences, set on 18 hectares (45 acres) of beachfront within the Taghazout Bay area. “The arrival of Four Seasons…in Agadir signals the growing attraction and importance of this area for both regional and international travelers,” said Ali Wakrim, Vice President of AKWA GROUP. “With an investment of close to $120 million, and the creation of 600 jobs, of which 300 will be direct, this partnership will serve AKWA GROUP’s role and ongoing contribution as a lever of national economic development.”
Meanwhile, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has also latest property in its growing North Africa portfolio: When it opens in late 2016, The Ritz-Carlton Marrakech will be owned by Jnan Amar Company, a subsidiary of Al Amal Investment Company (SIAMA) part of AzmiAbdelhadi Group of Saudi Arabia.
The resort will be developed around the Jenan Amar Polo Fields, 20 kilometers from the city centre of Marrakech and 12 kilometers from the Lalla Takerkoust lake and nature reserve. The fortress-style resort will have 60 hotel suites and 20 hotel villas of two, three and five bedrooms, bars and restaurants, a luxury spa and related leisure facilities.
Godwin Austen Johnson is the lead architect and interior designer, with the project already at the detailed design stage. The master development of the community has been completed including the roads, and the main polo field. Construction of the property is due to commence in the fourth quarter of 2013, with completion of the hotel projected for the third quarter of 2016.
Asked about additional growth in the North African region for The Ritz-Carlton, Herve Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company said, “The Ritz-Carlton, Marrakech will be our fourth property in North Africa, each one offering a different proposition, indigenous to the style and location of the hotel or resort. Expansion in this region is unquestionably an essential part of our future growth strategy.”
Further properties currently under construction in North Africa are The Ritz-Carlton, Rabat, a 120-room hotel within the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam; The Ritz-Carlton, Tunis, a resort with 129 suites close to Carthage and Tamouda Bay; and a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Tamuda Bay, an exclusive upscale resort approximately 60 kilometers east of the city of Tangiers, featuring a 98-luxury room hotel with 35 pool villa suites, a beach club and an 18-hole Nicklaus design golf course.