Saudi Arabia will see a record 68 new hotels and 29,033 hotel rooms open across its major cities in 2017, a new report has revealed.
Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar and Makkah are set to be the Kingdom’s busiest areas for hospitality development, according to the Saudi Arabia Hotel Construction Overview carried out by TOPHOTELPROJECTS and prepared exclusively for The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2017.
Major new hotels forecast to open throughout the Kingdom this year include Assila Hotel Rocco Forte (Q1 2017), TIME Qurayyat Hotel (Q2 2017), Nobu Hotel Riyadh (Q2 2017), Swiss-Belhotel Al Khobar (Q4 2017) and the highly-anticipated Abraj Kudai Towers, which will become the world’s biggest hotel when it opens its 10,000 rooms in Q4, 2017.
“The hospitality landscape in Saudi Arabia is developing at pace, and this is a particularly exciting year with the world’s largest hotel – Abraj Kudai – due to open in Makkah,” said John Suzara, event manager of The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2017, which takes place in Jeddah in April.
“A wide variety of international brands are also now entering the market, including Nobu Hospitality and Rocco Forte, who open their first properties this year. This surge in hospitality projects is a clear signal of the growth and potential of the Kingdom’s tourism, leisure and hospitality industries, which are being spurred on by ever increasing visitor numbers and the launch of Saudi Arabia’s National Vision 2030.”
Nobu Hospitality and Rocco Forte Hotels are international brands that will enter the Saudi Arabian market for the first time this year.
Rocco Forte Hotels’ Assila Hotel, opening on 12 March 2017, is the luxury hotel group’s only property in the Middle East. Located in the heart of Jeddah it boasts 147 rooms, 63 suites, and a further 94 residential suites, spread across two large towers. The residences are the first fully serviced residential apartments in Saudi Arabia.
The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia team spoke with Christian Renz, vice president sales at Rocco Forte Hotels on the world-renowned hotel group’s decision to add Jeddah to its impressive roster of international properties, which includes hotels in cities such as London, Edinburgh, Munich and Rome.
Tell us more about your new hotel – what is it bringing to the Middle East that is unique? What can domestic and international tourists look forward to upon arriving there?
The newly launched Assila Hotel is located in the heart of Jeddah on Price Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Street, also known as Tahlia Street, in the main shopping area of the city. The hotel was designed by the award winning Olga Polizzi and Martin Brudnizki, who really give a sense of the city through the design with over 2,000 artworks by Arabic artists displayed in the hotel. It has 147 rooms and 63 luxurious suites, as well as 94 amazing residential suites, all spaced throughout two large towers. The residences are the first fully serviced residential apartments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The hotel has five restaurants and cafes, ranging from fine dining in Twenty Four, coffees and patisseries in Il Caffe. Our Argentinean restaurant PamPas – that has a huge open grill in the middle of the restaurant where guests can watch the action – serves steaks and seafood of the highest quality. One of the restaurants, Aubergine, is on the 20th floor next to the 25m rooftop pool, with views overlooking the city and out to sea. Assila also has expansive spas, with several treatment rooms, relaxation areas and high tech gyms, as well as state of the art meetings and events spaces including a 600 person capacity ballroom. It is the perfect melange of European and Arabic hospitality.
Why did Rocco Forte select Jeddah, Saudi Arabia as its next destination for a new hotel?
Jeddah is a key destination for us in Saudi Arabia. It is only a 40 minute journey from the holy city of Makkah, so much religious tourism passes through the city. In addition, it was important for us to have representation in the Middle East, as we have such a large client base coming from this region, particularly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Jeddah itself is also a very fast developing city, we have seen much growth over the last few years.
How do you view the city of Jeddah and the wider Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a destination for tourism and hospitality development?
We have seen a huge amount of growth and development within the Kingdom over the last few years, and naturally with this, the tourism industry grows too. We see a lot of domestic travel, with large, multi-generational families often travelling within the Kingdom for leisure, perhaps visiting Jeddah from Riyadh. There is also the concept of religious tourism, which draws both domestic and international tourists into Saudi Arabia. As Jeddah is such a short journey to Makkah, we see many guests using the city as a stop off during their trip. As the second city in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah has become a business hub, so there is a large volume of business travellers, many of which will come to the city for the working week, who do not have residences in the city and prefer to stay in hotels which has meant an increase in demand.
Where do you see the Kingdom’s hospitality industry in five years’ time? What are the key growth areas, opportunities and trends?
Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer and I hope that the country will further open itself for international tourism. The incredible history, art, culinary culture and friendliness of people is an experience which I am sure a lot of travelers would and will appreciate. We are always looking for opportunities. We have started to take our first steps in the Far East, signing a management contract for a hotel in Shanghai which is due to open at the end of 2018 and we continue to look further afield in this area, in addition to sites in the US and Europe. We also recently announced the opening of Hotel de la Ville in 2018, which will become our second property in Rome, situated in a unique location right at the top of the Spanish steps.
THE HOTEL SHOW SAUDI ARABIA: What to look out for in 2017
The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia (4pm-11pm, 4-6 April 2017, Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events) is entering its 5th edition this year. The annual event provides industry professionals working on the hundreds of ongoing hospitality projects across the Kingdom with the ultimate opportunity to source everything needed to build, develop and maintain a hotel or restaurant.
Popular sectors this year have been identified by the show’s organisers MICE Arabia and co-organisers dmg events as technology, interiors, and HORECA. Exhibitors are set to descend on Jeddah from across the Kingdom and around the world. Big names already confirmed include Spanish providers of electronic locking and guest access systems, Onity, Cisa from Italy, Kuwaiti furniture specialists Banta, and Saudi Arabia’s Juffali Technical Equipment Company.
The three-day event is co-located for the first time in 2017 with Stone & Surface Saudi Expo, the Kingdom’s only exhibition dedicated to connecting interior and exterior surface material with the decision makers responsible for specifying and procuring them.
It is also set to launch a new feature endorsed by WORLDCHEFS through the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association (SARCA) and the Saudi Arabian Chefs Table Circle (SACTC). The inaugural ‘Inter-Hotel Culinary Competition – Mystery Box Challenge’ will showcase the culinary talents of hotel chefs across the Kingdom.