By Shane McGinley
Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott to manage properties in mega project, Hilton to hire 9,000 staff
Saudi’s Jabal Omar Development Company has inked deals with Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International and Hyatt International to operate a slew of hotels at its $5.5bn project in Makkah.
The three hotel chains will operate 12 properties at the mega development, which will house 37 hotel towers up to 48-storeys tall and provide accommodation for 45,000.
Under the terms of the deal Hilton will operate six properties in the development, a move that will triple its Saudi portfolio and call for the recruitment of 9,000 staff in the kingdom over the next three to four years,
“There’s no mistaking the potential for even further growth in the kingdom,” said Ian Carter, president, global operations and development, Hilton Worldwide.
“We are also seeing an increased interest from owners who are developing hotels in the secondary cities… to make the most of the booming market.”
US hospitality chain Marriott International will operate three hotels in the project, bringing the number of properties it operates in Saudi Arabia to 11.
Fellow American hotelier Hyatt International will also manage three hotels in the holy city, which will open over the next three years.
Saudi’s holy cities play host to millions of religious tourists each year, who flock to the kingdom to undertake the pilgrimages hajj and umrah. The number of pilgrims entering the kingdom is expected to grown to almost 14 million by the end of the decade, providing a lucrative market for hoteliers keen to tap into demand for quality accommodation.
JODC agreed in March to pay Saudi Oger more than $157m to terminate its contract on the mixed-use project in Makkah after the two sides failed to agree on a lump sum price.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
It seems that at this rate HAJ will become an even more expensive affair. It seems more like a business than a pligrimage with the focus on 5 star luxury hotels!! It would be nice if the authorities develop an equal no of rooms if not more for the budget conscious pligrims.
It's sad that the area around the Grand Mosque in Makkah is dotted by luxury hotels and can only be afforded by the rich and super rich. The not so lucky pilgrims have to live miles away and make the daily trek a number of times during the day if they want to pray in the Grand Mosque. It defeats the purpose and spirituality of the pilgrimage if one has to relax and rejuvenate in the spa of a 5 star hotel after prayers. The purpose of the 'ihraam' , the simplest of garbs, was for the pilgrimage to be equal before Allah. Unfortunately, the commercial exploitation has made it near impossible for average Muslims to complete that journey of a lifetime.
The spirit of pilgrim is vanishing by such commercialization of the holy place. providing facility is appreciable but it should not be done on cost of suffering of general/poor pilgrims. Makkah need more museum, libraries, universities, cheaper accomodation, simple market than malls and luxury hotels which can be offered by only rich people.
Makkah should not be only place of pilgrims but have also such facilities to purify the heart/Eiman by right education, training, debates so people from worldwide return home with the real spirit of Islam leaving the bad customs/practices spread in all over the world.
I agree with Mr. Seraj's opinion and views about Makkah and Madinah where the pilgrimage has become more comfortable for the rich and miserable for the poor. We should have a debate worldwide on this issue in order to eradicate the class difference among the Muslim Ummah.