Sir Rocco Forte, chairman of the European luxury hotel
brand, plans to add more Middle Eastern hotels to the five properties his
company currently has in the pipeline.
The chain will open its first regional hotel in Abu Dhabi
during the last quarter of the year. It will also add properties in Jeddah,
Marrakech, Cairo and Luxor.
“There’s a Beirut property which will be announced shortly,”
Sir Rocco told Arabian Business. “In Doha, again, there are so many hotels with
the World Cup coming up. I’ve looked at one or two things there, but the right
thing hasn’t come up.”
The chairman said that Oman was “a possibility”, as was
Riyadh and further hotels in Egypt.
“The thing about Dubai is that there are so many hotels
already here,” he added. “There were one or two things that I looked at, but
the right opportunity didn’t come along. “I think, in due course, there’s no
reason why we shouldn’t come to Dubai.”
Rocco Forte Hotels currently runs 12 hotels in Europe,
including Brown’s Hotel in London and the Hotel Savoy in Florence.
Sir Rocco said he was also looking to add to his European
portfolio, but ruled out the possibility of expanding into Asia.
“I still want to finish off Europe – there are a number of
cities I’m not represented in there,” he said. “Like Madrid, Paris, Milan,
Venice, Moscow, Amsterdam, to name but a few. I’d also like to go to the US,
particularly in New York.”