By Shane McGinley
Group previously bought the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square
A subsidiary of Qatar’s Al Faisal Holding Company has added another international hotel property to its growing portfolio, this time in the US city of Chicago, the conglomerate confirmed on Sunday.
Al Faisal, which last year bought the W Hotel in London’s Leicester Square for a reported US$313m, acquired the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago through the US development arm of its subsidiary Al Rayyan Tourism and Investment (ARTIC).
The Chicago hotel opened November 1 last year and is operated by Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. Located in the 86 storey Aqua Tower, the hotel has 334 rooms and is located in the heart of Chicago, near the financial district.
"This acquisition is a major step forward in realising Al Faisal Holding s vision of increasing its investments in the hospitality sector and accumulating a portfolio of 25 hotels in prime cities around the world by 2020," the company confirmed in a statement to the Qatar News Agency.
Al Faisal Holding Company Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani said: “We are delighted to forge this partnership for the acquisition of the Radisson Blu Aqua in Chicago. This hotel is Carlson's flagship hotel in the US and is the first Radisson Blu in North America.
The latest move increases the number of hotels Al Faisal has under operation or under development to 18 properties, the statement added.
ARTIC last week announced the signing of agreement with Hilton Worldwide for two new DoubleTree by Hilton branded hotels in Doha.
As the world's fastest growing economy, Qatar is experiencing a surge in visitor numbers, particularly business travellers, as the country embarks on a record number of construction and infrastructure developments.
Headline plans include a new airport capable of handling 50m passengers, a US$5bn deepwater seaport with large cruise ship terminal, a causeway linking Qatar to Bahrain as well as a network of projects required to support the staging of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Sheikh Faisal previously told Arabian Business he is planning to double the company’s investment in the hotel sector.
“One of the specialties of this company is that we have a hospitality division and Qatar needs hotels,” he said.
“We have so many hotels now and definitely with 2022 [FIFA World Cup] we are to double the investment in the sector, not just in Qatar but all over the world and we have big plans for our hospitality division.
“Where there is demand we are interested in potential opportunities. We are looking for investment opportunities in many countries… Egypt and Algeria we have big plans for. In Asia, we are interested in China,” he added.