By Sarah Townsend
Parties signed management agreement this week to bring new lifestyle hotel brand to the UAE
AccorHotels has signed a deal to launch boutique hotel brand Mama Shelter in Dubai – the first Gulf debut of one of Accor’s new brands following its acquisition of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI) last year.
The new-build boutique hotel will be situated in Business Bay along the new Dubai Water Canal, AccorHotel’s Middle East and Africa CEO Olivier Granet told Arabian Business.
The deal was signed this week and the hotel is scheduled to open in 2020 with around 200 rooms, Granet said. He added that it would fill a gap in the market for a high-quality, yet affordable, ‘lifestyle’ hotel brand.
Mama Shelter launched in 2008 in Paris to high acclaim as a hip concept created by French designer Philippe Starck in partnership with former Club Med CEO Serge Trigano.
Targeting tech-savvy millennials, Mama Shelter has since expanded in Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Prague, Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, and features free iMacs in every room and lively casual restaurants headed up by well-known chefs including three-Michelin starred Guy Savoy in Paris.
Granet said: “Dubai is a market that is really happening at the moment…Mama Shelter’s strong DNA and lively atmosphere is a fitting concept.”
In an interview with Arabian Business earlier this year, AccorHotels’ global CEO Sébastien Bazin gave a heads-up that the company would look to bring the growing brand to Dubai. “We would love to have a Mama Shelter in the Dubai market to complete the existing offering and to bring something that it not additional room inventory on what already exists,” he said.
Granet said AccorHotels was “actively looking” to bring another brand acquired since the $2.7 billion FRHI deal last summer to Dubai – boutique brand 25hours Hotels, which operates seven hotels in Germany and in which AccorHotels acquired a 30 percent stake last November.
It will also weigh up the potential to bring Jo&Joe, a new brand from AccorHotels that blends private-rental, hostel and hotel formats. The brand is launching its first hotel on the French Atlantic coast near Bordeaux next month and intends to open in Paris by 2018.
“We want to ensure the product is fitting for the [Dubai] market first,” said Granet.
AccorHotels plans to double its Middle East portfolio from 25,000 rooms to 50,000 by 2020 by opening on average 15-20 new hotels across the region each year, and increasing its workforce from 35,000 to 50,000 employees over the same period.
Granet said the group was signing deals for new hotels at a rate of one every two weeks. “We are trying to go quite fast,” he said.