By Staff writer
InterContinental Hotels Group inks deal for 5,154-room property in holy city; to open in phases over next 3 years
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) on Monday announced the signing of a management agreement with Al Majd Al Arabiah Company to operate the world’s largest Holiday Inn hotel in Saudi Arabia.
Holiday Inn Makkah Abraaj Al Tayseer is due to open in The Holy City of Makkah and will comprise 5,154 rooms across five towers, the company said in a statement.
Holiday Inn Makkah Abraaj Al Tayseer will take the site of the current Abraaj Al Tayseer pilgrim accommodation and open in phases.
Nearly 1,650 rooms across two towers are due to open its doors to guests by the end of this year. The remaining 3,500 rooms are slated to open over the following three years.
The opening of Holiday Inn Makkah Abraaj Al Tayseer will cater to the growth in pilgrim visits to Makkah. Hajj visit numbers are expected to more than double, growing from 2 million in 2013 to exceed 5 million by 2025.
Located just 900 metres from the Grand Mosque, Holiday Inn Makkah Abraaj Al Tayseer will offer guests privileged views of the The Grand Mosque. Each tower will house one large all day dining restaurant, where menus will be tailored for guests travelling in groups. The two towers opening this year will also feature meeting spaces, fitness centres and a medical clinic.
Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, said: “As we celebrate our 40th year in Saudi Arabia, we are all the more focused on continuing our expansion in this key market.
"With religious travel growing, and the Government set to improve infrastructure in line with this, there is a need for more branded accommodation in the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah. IHG is looking to play its part by opening more quality hotels to cater to the ever-growing number of pilgrims undertaking Hajj and Umrah each year.”
Selman Al Fares, representing Al Majd Al Arabiah Company, added: “Saudi Arabia has a distinctive tourism landscape and Makkah is at the core of this for both local and international travellers. IHG as an operator understands the market, and during our years of partnership they have demonstrated their credentials as a strong partner with whom we are happy and comfortable to embark on this ambitious project.
"This is a milestone development for us and we’re confident Holiday Inn Makkah Abraaj Al Tayseer will bring The Holy City’s hospitality to another level. We look forward to the opening of the first two towers later this year.”
IHG is one of the largest international hotel groups in Saudi Arabia with 25 hotels (5,900 rooms) operating across three brands. The company has nine properties in the pipeline due to open in the next three to five years, including Hotel Indigo Riyadh King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), the first Hotel Indigo property in the Middle East and the world’s second largest Holiday Inn – also due to open in Makkah in 2016.
Globally there are nearly 1,200 Holiday Inn hotels and resorts (220,000 rooms) open and 267 hotels (53,000 rooms) due to open within the next three to five years.