Swiss-BelHotel International will mark its Arabian Travel Market (ATM) debut by announcing the addition of three new Middle East properties to its rapidly expanding regional portfolio.
First off the development block will be The Beach Bay Hotel by Swiss-Belhotel Muscat; a 32-room boutique property located in the heart of the Omani capital’s diplomatic quarter. The property will complete its reflagging programme in June 2012 and will offer two restaurants, meeting facilities and easy access to the nearby Shatti Al Qurum pristine Beaches.
Staying in Oman, a deal to develop a new Swiss-Belexpress Muscat, located in the central business district with 95 guestrooms, has also been signed. The property is scheduled to open in Q1 2013. Just a 15-minute drive from Seeb International Airport, it will offer a deli-coffee shop and express business centre.
Elsewhere in the Gulf States, the group has more recently signed landmark resort property – the Swiss-Belresort & Spa Sharma – located in the emerging Tabuk region northwest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea. The resort is being developed in phases featuring the main hotel building, 27 fully fitted apartments, 17 day-use cabins and the All Day Dining restaurant set to open in late 2012, with phase two comprising 24 apartments Banqueting and Conference centre, SPA & Leisure facilities to be completed late 2013.
The Saudi resort will target the fast growing domestic leisure tourism and will offer a dedicated marina with a comprehensive diving centre incorporated into the resort’s footprint. It will feature a ladies beach club and spa built amidst lush landscaping including private BBQ areas, swimming pool and water features. Complementing facilities and services will also include a permanent conference and banqueting marquee, and a mosque on site.
Gavin Faull, President and Chairman, Swiss-Belhotel International, says both Oman and Saudi Arabia are key growth markets for the brand: “The addition of two new properties in Oman is confirmation of how strongly we believe in the continued economic growth of the Sultanate and the dynamic national programme put in place to promote large scale quality tourism.
“Our first venture into the Kingdom is a direct response to the Saudi government’s significant investment into nationwide tourist infrastructure and targets new emerging regions for tourism and hospitality.
“Swiss-Belhotel International is expanding rapidly on a global scale, with almost 25 new development projects in the Middle East and Asia Pacific and expectations of realising a hotel portfolio of close to 100 hotels by the end of 2012. Based on the success of our existing properties in Kuwait and Qatar, this region is a focal point for the brand moving forward,” he explained.
Completing the quartet of announcements, Swiss-Belhotel’s fourth project in the Middle East is a 108-key town centre property in the rapidly expanding city Erbil, in northern Iraq.
“We have eyed Iraq for quite some time and this hotel is essential addition to our strategic development plans for the Middle East. The team is aggressively focusing on new developments in this region and to soon open our first property in this historic city in Iraq is another milestone for the company,” remarked Faull.
Swiss-Belhotel Erbil, which is due to open in 2013, is a five-minute drive from the city’s international airport, and in close proximity to the central business district as well as major local attractions and retail centres.
Facilities will include an all-day-dining-restaurant and bar, lounge, deli, speciality restaurant, pool bar, rooftop shisha lounge, 300-square-metre meeting space, business centre, boutique and travel agency. Recreational facilities include a swimming pool and 285-square-metre state-of-the-art spa and fitness centre with a hammam facility.
“Erbil is a historic city and the up-and-coming capital of Kurdistan, as well as being home to many government agencies as well as a growing number of international companies involved in the country’s regeneration programme, which presents exciting opportunities within the hospitality sector, and for recognised quality-driven international brands such as Swiss-Belhotel,” said Magdi Samman, Regional Director of Operations & Development, Swiss-Belhotel Middle East.
Swiss-Belhotel International currently manages the Swiss-Belhotel Plaza Kuwait, a four-star 153-room property located in the Safat central business district; and the 165-room Swiss-Belhotel Doha, situated directly opposite the popular Museum of Islamic Art and within walking distance of the city’s vibrant Corniche and Souk Waqif.
Furthermore, the international hospitality company also presently operates six deluxe midscale resorts throughout Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
“Swiss-Belhotel International has grown steadily despite turbulent political and economic times in many of the regions. We have grown by listening to our investors, gauging local issues and opportunities and delivering on our guests’ expectations. Through all this growth our philosophy has been constant: to enfold our guests, exceed their expectations, and drive financial success.” added Faull.