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Tue 24 Apr 2007 04:33 PM

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No-frills (but 'sexy') hotels to hit ME

A low-cost hotel brand from Coral International promises 'trendy' rooms for "less than $100 a night".

Coral International Hotels, Resorts and Spas has jumped on the budget hotel bandwagon and revealed plans for a new no-frills chain called Ecos Hotels.

The new chain will fit into the new low-cost, low investment category being introduced to the region by the likes of easyHotels and Premiere Travel Inn.

"There's an urgent need to address the soaring demand for budget hotels in not just the UAE but the entire Middle East and we are proud to announce the creation of Ecos Hotels - an innovative venture which for the first time in the region combines sound economic reasoning with ethical ecological practices," said Ralph Noblet, director, Ecos Hotels.

The brand will be promoted as an "economically sensible and environmentally responsible" two-star chain, with prices starting from "much less that US $100 per night", according to Noblet.

Although Coral has not reached any agreements with investors or decided on a location or launch date for their first property, Noblet hinted that the first UAE property would feature 150 rooms and be part of a bigger complex housing other hospitality and commercial entities.

"At the moment in the hospitality sector, the pyramid is very much upside down," Noblet explained.

"Contrary to the market requirement there are too many luxury/five-star hotels which leaves a huge gap in the budget segment."

Noblet promised that although the hotels would offer no-frills value, the chain would be futuristic, trendy, "and a little bit sexy".

As well as ongoing talks with potential investors in the UAE, Ecos Hotels is also in negotiation with investors in Oman and Saudi, with a view to opening properties there in the near future, with short-term goals to operate up to 50 hotels within three to five years.

Long term, the chain hopes to expand the brand throughout the rest of the world, with properties ranging from 100 to 200 rooms.

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