By Sarah Gain
ATM Special: One year on from its launch at ATM 2006, Shaza Hotels announces its first seven properties in the region.
Shaza Hotels, which launched at last year's ATM, has this year announced plans to open seven regional properties in as many countries, with its first opening in Dubai as early as the end of 2008.
The product of a partnership between Kempinski and international financial firm Guidance Financial Group, the Shaza Hotels group will own and operate properties in gateway cities around the region.
Four projects - in Bahrain, Cairo, Jeddah, and Marrakech - will see the Shaza Hotels group play an owner-operator role, while projects in Doha, Dubai and Muscat will be operated under pure management contracts.
"Shaza is moving quickly to establish a unique position in the region's fast growing five-star hospitality sector" said Christopher Hartley, chief executive officer of Shaza Hotels.
"The product offering will meet the aspirations of culturally-discerning regional and international travellers, families and business groups," he added.
"Shaza's funding is completely Sharia-compliant and the hotels won't serve alcohol. The brand is designed specifically to meet the needs of this region," he explained.
To ensure the successful construction, design and opening of its new hotels, Shaza has assembled a team of more than 15 professionals. Most recently, Henk Bruggeman, formerly of Kempinski, has been named vice president of operations for the group, while Mila Troytsky, formerly of Hyatt, has been selected as vice president of design and technical services and Lamya Kolthoum, formerly of Dubai Festival City, will act as director of marketing.
In addition, Shaza Hotels has reached agreement with leading partners and consultants to finalise brand-differentiating product concepts, such as those relating to spa operations, interior design, food and beverage and children's facilities.
"In two to three weeks we also hope to be able to announce the full details of our first management for the Shaza Hotel in Dubai, which will be located on Sheikh Zayed Road," said Hartley.