By Shane McGinley
Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel in Baku will be operator's first property in Azerbaijan
Dubai hotelier Jumeirah Group is set to unveil the world’s largest chandelier when its first hotel in Azerbaijan officially opens later this summer.
The Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel, which has a wave-style design similar to Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Hotel, had its soft opening in May ahead of the Eurovision 2012 Song Contest.
The Dubai hotelier has struck a 25-year deal to manage the Caspian Sea property in the capital city Baku.
The hotel will represent Jumeirah’s first venture into the region and the centerpiece of the five-star property will be the lobby’s chandelier, which will include 72,000 lights and extend the full 18 floors of the hotel.
The property will have 176 sea-facing rooms, 14 three-bedroom cottages, five restaurants, a waterpark, a mini football field and a Talise Spa facility.
A Dubai-based Jumeirah spokesperson would only say the hotel was due to officially open later this summer and refused to confirm media reports it would open this month.
The opening of the Baku hotel is part of Jumeirah’s global expansion, with the hotelier set to grow its staff base from 15,000 employees to up to 30,000 over the next five years as the number of hotels it operates doubles from 20 to 35-40.
The group’s pipeline of hotels expected to open over the coming years includes projects in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Qatar, as well as hotels in Indonesia, Bangkok, Anguilla and five properties in China.
The average occupancy rate for Jumeirah’s beach hotels was 84.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, while the average occupancy rate for the company’s city properties was 85.5 percent, Lawless said on Sunday.
Jumeirah is also in the “final stages” of agreeing three management contracts in Saudi Arabia, he said.