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Sun 20 Jul 2014 01:18 PM

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UAE's Cristal Hotels & Resorts to launch budget brand

The first Emerald-branded property is expected to open in Erbil Kurdistan at the end of this year

UAE's Cristal Hotels & Resorts to launch budget brand
Peter Blackburn, Cristal Hotels & Resorts president & CEO.

Having established its four- and five-star brands in the Middle East, UAE-founded hotel management company Cristal Hotels & Resorts is working on the launch of its three-star budget brand, Emerald.

The first Emerald-branded property is expected to open in Erbil Kurdistan at the end of this year.

Already, the architectural and interior design brand guidelines for Emerald have been prepared and its USP, according to Cristal Hotels & Resorts president & CEO Peter Blackburn, will be high quality at a low price point.

“It will be very much in line with our company’s vision,” explained Blackburn to Hotelier Middle East. “While Cristal provides a five-star product and services at four-star prices, Emerald will provide a four-star product and services, with three-star prices.”

The concept includes a valet, and bell boy service, and free wifi throughout, but limited food & beverage facilities. So far the target market has been defined as budget conscious business and leisure travellers.

“We have always believed there is a lack of good budget hotels and that while most GCC countries are focused on four- and five-star products, this will eventually need to be complemented with three-star,” Blackburn asserted.

He explained that the strategy for growth of Emerald is similar to the other Cristal brands in that the objective is to have one in every primary and secondary city in the Middle East, Africa & Turkey.

Cristal group currently has five operating hotels and thirteen pipeline properties for the Middle East region, all of which are due to open by 2016. The company was co-founded in 2007 by Kamal Fakhoury and Peter Blackburn.

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