By Andy Sambidge
Minor International, which operates Anantara brand, plans UAE, Qatar, Saudi, Oman growth
Minor International, a Thai hotel group which operates branding including Anantara, is planning to set up new hotel projects in the Gulf region as part of plans to expand its portfolio in the Middle East, its chairman has said.
William E Heinecke, chairman and CEO of the group, said the company is keen to boost its presence in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The company is also building a new resort in Qatar while it is looking at other projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman, Heinecke said in a statement.
He said Abu Dhabi was on the verge of becoming "the capital of high level tourism in the region and the whole world".
"We are interested in having a long-term strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi in the tourism field not only to make profits but because we consider Abu Dhabi a special place," he said.
He added that Minor Group would intensify its activities and operations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in all related sectors, including hotels, resorts and spas.
The company's latest offering - Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort, being developed by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), on Sir Bani Yas Island - will open this month and comprises 30 luxurious beachfront villas.
He also revealed plans for a new project in partnership with Oaks hotels and resorts in Abu Dhabi involving services and supplies for the company.
Heinecke, who also heads Anantara, said the company currently manages 91 hotels and 45 spas around the world, adding that Anantara would pursue plans to expand its presence in the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific region to encompass 50 properties by 2015.
By the close of 2013, Anantara will have a portfolio of seven properties in the region - five in Abu Dhabi, plus the first property in Dubai and one in Qatar.
In Dubai, Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa will be Anantara's first property in the emirate when it opens later this year.
The five star resort is located on the crescent of Dubai's iconic Palm and will offer a total of 293 guest rooms and suites.
In Qatar, Anantara Doha Island Resort & Spa is a new five star resort under development on a 13 hectare island just off the coast of Qatar's capital city of Doha.
The resort will be accessible by speedboat from the city's downtown area and from The Pearl, both journeys taking between 20-30 minutes.
The 141 guest rooms include pool villas and two- and three-bedroom over water pool villas. Anantara Doha Island will open its doors in late 2013.
"We are also carrying out new tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and Oman...we have plans to enter new markets in the Pacific such as Sri Lanka and Mauritius...this will boost our network there to 30 hotels by the end of 2014," Heinecke said.