Established by Sir Rocco Forte and his sister Olga Polizzi in 1996, Rocco Forte Hotels is a family of 11 individual landmark luxury hotels and resorts, predominantly in European locations.
In March 2017, the family-run company made hospitality industry news with its Middle East debut, the opening of the 210-key Assila Rocco Forte Hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which also offers 94 residential suites. Insiders interpreted the move as intent by Rocco Forte Hotels to expand beyond Europe.
“The opening of the Assila Rocco Forte Hotel, Jeddah is the first Rocco Forte Hotel in the Middle East. It marks the beginning of a period of growth, with the aim of doubling the size of the group in the next five years,” says Forte.
“The Middle East represents a new market and an exciting opportunity for growth in a vibrant and diverse city, which heralds both business travel and the advance of the post-oil tourism in Saudi Arabia. I have personally travelled extensively in the Middle East and have been fascinated and enchanted by its people and landscape, and look forward to discovering so much more about the Middle East with the opening of the Assila.”
Recruited to run the Assila in Jeddah was 14-year Rocco Forte veteran, Harry Fernandes, who moved to Saudi Arabia from the company’s European operations to be the hotel’s general manager.
While the next 12 months will see two new Rocco Forte hotels opening — the group’s second in Rome and its first in China with an opening in Shanghai — it remains to be seen what the Middle East can expect from