By Andy Sambidge
US hotel firm enters into agreement with the Omani Government for the Al Bustan Palace
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company said on Tuesday it has entered an agreement with Oman's Ministry of Tourism to manage the Al Bustan Palace in Muscat.
Starting July 1, 2011, the landmark property, which overlooks the Gulf of Oman, will be rebranded under The Ritz-Carlton portfolio, the company said in a statement.
Herve Humler, president and chief operating officer, said: "The Omani capital has long been a key aspiration for The Ritz-Carlton and we have waited a long time to find the perfect opportunity to add to our collection.
"It is an honour to be selected to manage such an iconic hotel as Al Bustan Palace and we look forward to retaining its premier position in the regional and international marketplace."
To ensure the smooth transition of operations, all the current employees will be retained by The Ritz-Carlton under the new management, Humler added.
Commenting on the agreement, Sheikh Abdul Malik bin Abdullah Al Khalili, the Minister of Tourism said: "Our agreement with one of the biggest and most prestigious hotel management company in the world reflects our total commitment to preserve the position of Al Bustan Palace as one of the most esteemed and luxurious hotels in the region.
"The new management aims at introducing the concept of luxury and hospitality philosophy in our present time while maintaining the prestigious stature of the hotel."
Al Bustan Palace has recently undergone a multi-million dollar refurbishment.
Home to visiting heads of state and members of royalty, the hotel showcases new furnishings that fuse elements from both local traditions and art deco influences, blending the richness of Arabian culture, art and history, Ritz-Carlton said in the statement.
In addition to 250 rooms and suites, the hotel offers meeting and banquet facilities for up to 720 guests, 200 acres of landscaped gardens and the longest beach in the country.
The US-based Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company currently operates 75 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.
More than 38 hotel and residential projects are under development around the globe.