International hotel brands expand in Saudi Arabia

According to a Hotelier Middle East, Hyatt is set to bring its Hyatt Place and Hyatt House brands to the Saudi Arabia city of Jeddah as part of an agreement with Abdulelah Mohammed Ali Maghrabi Commercial Est.

The properties will join the resort Park Hyatt Jeddah Marina, Club and Spa, bringing the Hyatt’s total properties in the Saudi city up to three. When they open in August 2015 and Q4 2016, respectively, the hotels will be within one mile of each other. Both will be designed by Samuel Creations, a Dubai-based architecture and interior design firm.

The Hyatts are only the most recent major announcements for Jeddah. Last month, Ritz-Carlton announced plans to open the doors of its new hotel in the city this summer, marking the brand’s second property in Saudi Arabia. 

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A recent report from Jones Lang LaSalle noted that major Saudi cities, including Jeddah and Riyadh, are expected to see an increase of 16,000 new hotel rooms by 2018. According to the Saudi Gazette, the number of rooms in Jeddah is expected to increase by 2,700 in 2015 alone. Of that total goal for 2018, more than 50 percent will be part of new five-star hotel developments, as international hotel brands put in place ambitious expansion plans. 

AccorGroup has plans to open nearly 10 hotels by 2018, while current market leader InterContinental Hotels Group, which has 24 hotels throughout the Kingdom, has announced the opening of a further nine outlets including the world’s largest Holiday Inn in Makkah.

“Saudi Arabia has been one of our strongest markets and a key focus for us within the region since we entered 40 years ago,” said Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Office, India, Middle East & Africa at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

“Our largest presence in the Middle East is in Saudi Arabia where we have 24 hotels open across our InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, and a further nine in the pipeline due to open in the next three to five years,” he said.

In recent years an ambitious plan to bring in more foreign investment has led to various industrial areas including the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), alongside large-scale expansion projects currently being carried out at the Holy Mosques, especially in Makkah.

It is no surprise that most of the private sector development in Makkah is focused on hospitality with more than 22,000 keys expected to enter operation by the end of 2016, said Ismail AlAkamal, Director at AlKamal International Saudi Arabia.