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Wed 2 May 2007 06:06 PM

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Shaza’s seven stars

New hotel brand announces seven new properties at this year’s Arabian Travel Market.

Shaza Hotels has used this year's Arabian Travel Market to announce seven new properties for the Middle East market, with the first expected to open in Dubai by the end of 2008.

The brand was launched at last year's travel market.

Shaza chief executive Christopher Hartley said the company had identified four sites in Cairo, Bahrain, Jeddah and Marrakech to develop into new hotels, and had organised a further three management contracts for properties in Dubai, Muscat and Doha.

"These seven hotels will open throughout the next two or three years," he said.

"In the next eight years we will have 30 hotels throughout the region." Hartley said the company, a joint venture between Kempinski Hotels and Guidance Financial Group, would then consider an IPO or going private.

Each of the new properties will be alcohol free in compliance with Shaza Hotels' Sharia based business model.

"When a region has some cultural traditions - in the same way US hotels have a sports bar and French hotels have a wine bar - in this region you have a different appreciation of cuisine and beverages, and we will draw on these products rather than Western products," Hartley explained.

"I think people are waking up to the fact this region has a culture and finally brands are responding. The time to thrust Western brands down everyone's throat is over. [It should be] to each region its own brand. In the future we will have many strong Chinese brands and Middle Eastern brands."

Hartley said the hotel company's progress was ahead of its predicted success levels.

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