Movenpick in negotiations for debut Oman hotel
Swiss operator also has sights set on more Saudi & Qatar properties
Swiss hotel operator Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is looking to boost its regional portfolio with a debut hotel in Oman and the addition of two more hotels in Doha, as well as more properties in Saudi Arabia.
During an interview with Hotelier Middle East, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts president & CEO Jean Gabriel Peres said: “We definitely benefit from the fact that we’re the second brand in terms of brand awareness in the ME and we feel that there’s definitely room for growth particularly in places we’re not present such as Oman.
“Right now we’re looking at a hotel that would not have immediate beach access but would be close to the beach. It’s located in the city – a top location but I can’t tell you as it’s not yet signed but there are lots of Omani investors that are very interested in the brand.
In terms of location and type of property, Peres revealed a resort in Muscat would be “just right”, while Salalah still has to grow as a destination before Movenpick considers a property there.
“[Salalah] will take a little more time to develop because it’s the kind of destination that needs a number of resorts to be self-sufficient. I’m sure the market will mature but it will take a bit of time.”
In Qatar, where Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts currently has two properties, Peres reveals that he would like to have at least two more by 2020.
“I’m absolutely convinced we can have three or four very fine properties in Doha by 2020 – I would like to have at least one or two additional hotels if we could. Doha is expanding and I’m sure with the soccer world cup there will be more development.
“We’re extremely happy with the numbers being delivered by the hotels we have there today and we need to continue to build that and make sure that the comp set that we develop would not cannibalise the current hotels that we have but when the right opportunity comes we’ll be ready for that.”
Saudi Arabia is also in the Swiss brand’s spotlight, with two properties opening in the Kingdom this year: one in Jeddah and one in Riyadh. A third hotel in Al Khobar will open in 2016.
“In Saudi we have nine hotels – we’re opening Riyadh soon, Jeddah also and there will be at least 12 hotels in Saudi by 2020 and probably more,” said Peres.
The brand, which currently operates 30 hotels in the region, has more properties coming up in Dubai.
The group also recently announced plans to open a 246-key Mövenpick Hotel Apartments Downtown and the 251-key Mövenpick Hotel Dubai Media City, both of which are set to open in 2017.
Further expansion plans in the wider emirates are also on the radar, and Peres admits he would like to see Dubai have a Movenpick beach resort.
“There are lots of places such as RAK where we’re not yet present. We don’t have a resort hotel in Dubai yet for instance, and we feel we could do a great job so there’s great potential for us,” Peres commented.