Mandarin Oriental eyes MidEast expansion plan

Hong Kong hotel operator keen to open seven new properties in region by 2017
A bar in the luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental in Paris. Mandarin Oriental group is a Hong-Kong based chain.
By James Clarey
Tue 22 May 2012 06:04 PM

Mandarin Oriental has announced that it is looking to expand in the Middle East and open seven hotels in the region by 2017.

The group is eyeing opportunities in key markets including Dubai and Muscat, as well as other cities, such as Al Ain.

“I think in total six or seven hotels in total in the next five years would be reasonable,” said Christopher Mares, director of operations for EMEA in comments published by Hotelier Middle East.

“We have two already announced [Abu Dhabi and Doha], so another four or five.”

“We are actively looking and negotiating in Dubai,” Mares said. “Within 12 months we should be able to come forward with a specific announcement. We are looking at a few options but we are getting ever closer.”

The group is also looking at Saudi Arabia, with Jeddah and Riyadh in particular, as well as Beirut.

Mares said of opportunities in Al Ain: “Al Ain is a very traditional and exciting little city in the middle of the desert with a great climate. It provides the untouched Arab desert cultural experience.”

“If one marketed or developed Al Ain cleverly, one could make a real difference to the Dubais or Abu Dhabis of this world and create a niche which would be quite interesting to some people,” he added.

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