Al Ain-based Ayla Hotels on track with international openings

Ayla hotels are scheduled to open in Ibri, Oman and Djibouti within the next 12 months

Ayla Hotels & Resorts group general manager Mohamed Soussan.
Ayla Hotels & Resorts group general manager Mohamed Soussan.

Ayla Hotels & Resorts is on track with expansion plans outside the UAE, with openings in Djibouti and Ibri, Oman due within the next 12 months, the company's group general manager Mohamed Soussan revealed to Hotelier Express.

"We are looking very much at growth," Soussan confirmed.

The Al Ain-based hotel management company currently operates three properties in its home base city. Ayla Hotel and Ayla Bawadi Hotel are both four-star hotels while the group opened its first five-star property, Ayla Grand Hotel, in April 2017.

"We have two in the pipeline outside the UAE. One of these is Ayla Ibri, Oman, which is due to open in mid-2018, about a year from now," Soussan said. "Ibri is located about 120 kilometres from the Oman-Al Ain border and is a popular stop-over destination for Saudis who are on their way to Salalah."

Soussan added that the 85-key Ayla Ibri, which is tentatively planned to be a four-star property, will be housed within a multi-use building which will also comprise a shopping mall.

The group's Djibouti property, which will mark Ayla's international debut, is on track for opening in the latter half of this year, he said. The 220-key property, along with an adjacent shopping mall, is being built on reclaimed land in the city popularly known as the "Horn of Africa".

"Djibouti is very promising," Soussan enthused. "The city is full of Europeans. And there is, at present, a lack of hotels there. There is only a Kempinski and a Sheraton, both of which have been there for ages."

"The ROI for this hotel is projected to be very good, with an average rate from US$ 250 upwards," he added.

Back in the UAE, Soussan said that the group's plans for a resort in Hili, Al Ain are temporarily on hold, with the project's site already earmarked but just "waiting for the right time." He also strongly hinted of the group's desire to open in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"We are still hunting to go to Dubai and Abu Dhabi," he said.

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