US hotelier Hilton Worldwide has signed a deal to take over
operation of the government-owned Al Hamra Fort Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, the
company said Thursday.
The 249-room hotel – one of the emirate’s oldest - will become
part of Hilton’s property portfolio in the first quarter of 2013, the hotelier
said in an emailed statement.
The hotel will see extensive renovation under the deal, with
the addition of a private beach, a health club and other amenities.
“By handing over the reins to Hilton Hotels and Resorts we
hope to benefit from the brand’s experience,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin
Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of the emirate.
Ras Al Khaimah plans to plough $100m into hotel and tourism
projects over the next four years in a bid to quadruple its visitor count, the
COO of its tourism authority said in May.
The northern emirate, whose GDP comprises 1.5 percent of the
UAE’s economy, hopes to see tourism revenues account for 20 percent of its
income by 2021, by positioning itself as a lower-cost destination to its glitzy
The emirate’s government earlier this month inked a deal to
take over the luxury Banyan Tree Al Wadi desert resort.
Hilton is due to open the UAE’s first Waldorf Astoria hotel in
the emirate later this year.
The chain, which operates 49 hotels across 15 countries in
the Middle East and Africa, plans to add six properties to its regional
portfolio this year and is signing properties at a rate of one a month.
The openings are part of a plan to grow the Hilton portfolio
by 80 percent in the next three to four years, Hilton said in May.
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