By Staff writer
Hotel investment firm also looking to expand brand across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait
IFA Hotels & Resorts is looking to open the Middle East’s first YOTEL property in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, a senior executive has said.
Having recently signed a joint venture agreement with Capitas Group International (CGI) to manage the brand’s expansion, IFA Hotel Investments is now planning to open the first of its cabin-concept hotels in the Gulf kingdom.
Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, IFA Hotel Investments president Joe Sita said: “There is probably more future potential for a concept like YOTEL in a city like Jeddah, but we want to actually start in Riyadh, because I feel that Riyadh is a better initial fit for the product.
“We will therefore initially be working to attract the business traveller market in Riyadh, while in the future we will be looking towards the religious tourism market in Jeddah and Makkah which we feel has a lot of potential.”
Sita also revealed that beyond its initial Saudi expansion, there are also plans to roll the YOTEL brand out across the rest of the GCC, with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait as the most likely first locations.
“We’ve been working very hard in the Dubai market, and we’ve had a number of projects that we’ve got very far down the track but which, for various reasons, we haven’t been able to complete," said Sita.
"But we are still very keen to get a property in Dubai as soon as possible and it’s my hope that we would be able to announce something along those lines within the next three to six months,” he added.
Kuwait-based IFA is the majority owner of YOTEL, the hotel concept which already operates airport hotels in London Heathrow, Gatwick and Amsterdam while there is also a 669-cabin property located near Times Square in New York.
IFA also recently announced a deal to open a 600-cabin YOTEL in Singapore which is scheduled to open in 2018.
IFA will invest seed capital in the projects and asset manage the hotels after development, while YOTEL will be the hotel operator.
Inspired by first-class airline travel, YO! Founder, Simon Woodroffe and YOTEL CEO Gerard Greene conceived the YOTEL cabins to provide uncompromising luxury within a smaller footprint than traditional five-star hotels.