KEYS TO THE KINGDOM
Business Traveller Middle East|May - June 2021
New and upcoming hotels to check out when you next visit Saudi Arabia
GEMMA GREENWOOD

While the pandemic has put on the hotel development brakes in many major markets, Saudi Arabia is well and truly bucking the trend. The country is currently leading the world in projected hotel supply growth, according to figures revealed last month (April) by STR, the data benchmarking and analytics specialist for the global hospitality market.

Saudi Arabia has some 73,057 rooms across the three phases of the hotel pipeline with a huge 67.1 per cent increase in room supply anticipated over the next three years.

This increase, which assumes completion of all projects in construction, final planning and planning, is the highest among the world’s 50 most populated countries, STR found.

“Saudi Arabia’s growth aspirations, along with the strength of other Middle East hospitality markets such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is further validation that the region continues to emerge as a global tourist destination,” says Philip Wooller, STR’s area director for the Middle East/Africa. “Such growth is a testament to the strength and prospectus of the nation’s strong cultural and economic resources.”

While a significant portion of Saudi Arabia’s pipeline activity is concentrated in Holy City of Makkah where there are 28,052 rooms under development, representing a 81 per cent surge in hotel supply, several other submarkets are expected to increase supply by 50 per cent or more. They include the capital Riyadh, with 13,165 pipelined rooms (+75 per cent), Jeddah with 11,165 rooms (+97 per cent) and regional areas with 13,996 rooms (+80 per cent).

Of the total rooms in Saudi Arabia’s pipeline as of March 11, 2021, 16,965 were scheduled to come online in 2021. Here, we outline some of those keys and their hotels, as well as properties opening their doors across KSA in the next few years.

Habitas AlUla

Habitas, the sustainable, experience-led hospitality brand known for redefining the concept of luxury hotels, will soon make its regional debut in AlUla. Opening in H2, the property will be nestled in the desert canyons of the Ashar Valley, surrounded by sandstone cliffs and palm groves. The resort’s pathways will lead guests to each of the 100 guest rooms, as well as the yoga deck, wellness and fitness centres, restaurant and swimming pool. Every space is being constructed from ethically sourced organic materials, which blend seamlessly into their natural surroundings. Appealing to responsible travellers, Habitas hallmarks include a modular-build, low-impact design that protects the environment and sustainable construction methods. Habitas AlUla will also immerse guests in authentic experiences based on music, wellness, adventure, culture, learning and food. They will range from Saudi cuisine made from fresh local ingredients and performances by local musicians to cultural film and documentary screenings and a guided walk through the remains of the ancient city where the Nabateans once lived.

Mandarin Oriental Al Faisaliah, Riyadh

The soon-to-open Mandarin Oriental Al Faisaliah, Riyadh, features 321 rooms and suites and is located in the Saudi capital’s Central Business District, providing easy access to corporate offices, government buildings, high-end shopping, restaurants and cafés. It’s part of the mixed-use Al Faisaliah Centre, designed by Foster & Partners. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group signed an agreement with Al Khozama Company to take over the management of Al Faisaliah Hotel in November. The luxury brand will start operating the property soon and continue with an extensive guestroom and public area renovation, which will be completed at the end of 2021, after which it will be rebranded Mandarin Oriental. The new room and suite interiors have been designed by Adam Tihany Design, New York. Also new are a variety of refreshed restaurants, lounges and bars, including the popular top-floor venue, which commands outstanding views of the city. Revitalised function spaces will cater to social events and business meetings, while an indoor swimming pool, male and female spa areas and a fitness centre will complete the leisure facilities

JW Marriott Riyadh

Housed within the city’s iconic 64-storey skyscraper that is home to residential apartments and Saudi Telecom Company’s leadership and technology academy, the upcoming JW Marriott Riyadh (previously Burj Rafal Hotel) is set to deliver an “unprecedented level of service and accommodation in the kingdom’s capital”. The property will be part of the future Capital Gate community, boasting a prime location between the King Abdullah Financial District and Avenues Mall and close to the new Riyadh metro. The hotel is currently undergoing improvements including the introduction of new dining concepts such as Qahwet Al Mandaloun, JW Steakhouse, Tea eighty-eight, Club Fumee and Maze Shisha Garden. The hotel entrance, lobby and reception area are also being heightened to provide guests with surroundings that “reflect their destination”. When works are completed, it will be rebranded as a JW Marriott Hotel.

Renaissance Riyadh Hotel

The first Renaissance-branded hotel in the kingdom will be located in the King Abdullah Financial District, close to Riyadh International Airport. It will feature 266 thoughtfully designed suites, three food and beverage outlets and leisure facilities such as a spa, pool and fitness centre.

The country is currently leading the world in projected hotel supply growth

Aloft Makkah Taysir

Slated to be the world’s largest Aloft property, Aloft Makkah Taysir will feature around 1,000 guest rooms. Located in Makkah’s Taysir district, close to the Grand Mosque entrance, the hotel will be ideally located for guests visiting on pilgrimage and offer signature Aloft amenities including the Re:mix Lounge; Re:fuel® by Aloft, offering a 24/7 grab-and-go gourmet menu; and Re: charge, Aloft’s 24-hour fitness centre.

Courtyard by Marriott Makkah Kudai

Marriott will continue to expand Courtyard by Marriott’s footprint in Saudi Arabia when it opens Courtyard by Marriott Makkah Kudai featuring 438 spacious guest rooms, its signature Grab n’ Go market and a fitness centre. It will be situated 2km from the Grand Mosque entrance.

Hilton Riyadh Olaya

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