Hilton signs deal for first hotel in Iraqi Kurdistan

Hotel giant to open property in Erbil; DoubleTree Suites set to launch at the end of 2013
Hilton signs deal for first hotel in Iraqi Kurdistan
Hilton Hotels
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 09 Sep 2011 03:57 PM

Hilton Worldwide is set to open its first hotel in Erbil, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan, under a management agreement with New York based real estate developer The Claremont Group.

Comprising 200 serviced apartments, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil is expected to open at the end of 2013.

The new hotel will be strategically located on Erbil's central thoroughfare, close to the recently expanded Erbil International Airport and the Ainkawa district, one of the city's main retail and entertainment centres.

Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton brand said in a statement: "I'm delighted to be bringing our brand to such an important city in the Middle East. DoubleTree by Hilton has built its success on providing high standards of service and quality facilities in gateway cities, which makes it the ideal choice for Erbil's thriving community."

The hotel will feature a business centre, health club, swimming pool, eight meeting rooms, two restaurants and a lobby lounge and bar.

Around 200 jobs will be created at the hotel and the company's focus will be on employing people locally.

"Erbil's commercial status is increasing year on year and the city has a growing reputation as an up and coming tourist destination,' said Rudi Jagersbacher, area president, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide

National Geographic recently listed Kurdistan, Iraq, amongst their Top 20 best trips describing it as 'an oasis of peace and stability with ancient cities, snowcapped mountains and bustling bazaars'.

The New York Times travel section also listed Kurdistan in their 41 places to visit for 2011 saying 'the biggest lure is the opportunity for authentic cultural encounters'.

Stephen Lari, Principal of The Claremont Group, said: "There is so much potential in Kurdistan and particularly the city of Erbil. We've seen travel to the region grow considerably over the past couple of years. If that trend is going to continue then further infrastructure is required to support the industry.

"Hotels are key to that, and with Hilton Worldwide we know we have the right brand and management partner to make this hotel an integral part of the travel industry in the region."

Hilton Worldwide currently operates 53 properties across the Middle East and Africa and has 36 hotels in the development pipeline.

So far this year the company has signed a total of 14 new hotels into the pipeline across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and now Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdistan or the Kurdistan Region is a semi-autonomous region of Iraq. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south.

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