UAE-backed Viceroy to announce new hotels this year

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Abu-Dhabi backed luxury hotel group Viceroy will announce at least two new projects, with at one likely in the Gulf area, by the end of the year, the regional president has revealed to Arabian Business.

Anton Bawab said the LA-based company was scouting for locations in GCC capitals such as Doha and Riyadh and was in line to make several global announcements by December.

“Another Viceroy in the Gulf, definitely. Our hotel group has been actively looking for projects in the region,” Bawab said.

“Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, the capital cities basically. As long as we tick some of those boxes ... that justify the business case.”

Viceroy, which already has a hotel on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi and is 50 percent owned by the government’s investment fund Mubadala, has partnered with Dubai developer SKAI to establish its first project in the emirate, on Palm Jumeirah.

The sold-out $1bn project will have 481 hotel rooms and suites, 221 apartments and ten restaurants. Investors have been able to buy the hotel rooms, which will be put into a pool and revenue split between investors.

Bawab said the company had been so impressed with SKAI it hoped to work with the developer – owned by Indian developer Kabir Mulchandani - on any future projects in the region.

However, Mulchandani said his sights were set on Dubai, where he has worked hard in recent years to re-establish himself following the financial downturn.

“I would love to work with them but I’m very Dubai focused. For me it would have to be something tremendously appealing to get out of Dubai,” Mulchandani told Arabian Business.

Viceroy has 15 hotels and resorts either operational or under construction, across Europe, the Americas, the UAE, Turkey and in the Maldives.

Bawab would not reveal the location of the soon-to-be-announced locations but said the company was starting to heavily focus on Asia.

“We will be in a position to announce a few before the end of the year, stuff that’s already been signed, that’s already been agreed,” he said. “Not only in the GCC but as part of our global operations.

“We’re in very active discussion all over the place. We are in advanced discussion with a number of them.”

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