Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE:HOT) has signed an agreement with Jabal Omar Development Company to open three new hotels in the Holy City of Makkah. As part of the Jabal Omar Development project, Starwood will add 1,496 rooms to the city under the company's Sheraton®, Westin® and Four Points® by Sheraton brands when the hotels open in 2015. Starwood currently operates 10 properties in Saudi Arabia, the second largest market for the company in the Middle East behind the UAE.
"We are delighted to work with Jabal Omar Development Company as we introduce the Sheraton, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton brands to the holy city of Makkah," said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. "As business travel and religious tourism continue to expand in Saudi Arabia, we believe the time is right to expand our portfolio in the country."
H.E. Abdul Rahman Abdul Qadir Fakieh, chairman of the board for Jabal Omar Development Company commented, "We are excited to partner with Starwood to bring three of their world-class brands to Makkah. We believe the addition of these hotels is in line with the goal of the Jabal Omar Development to improve and urbanize the central area surrounding Al Haram and provide much needed facilities and accommodations for pilgrims."
Al Haram, the Jabal Omar Development, is a 230,000 square meter mixed-use development in Makkah comprised of 38 high-rise buildings. With 26 hotels and over 11,000 rooms, the complex is one of the largest hotel developments in the world.
Sheraton Makkah Hotel
With a long history in the Middle East, spanning more than 50 years, the Sheraton brand continues to be one of the most sought-after hotel brands in the region. Offering a warm and lively ambience, the Sheraton Makkah Hotel will boast 532 guest rooms and suites featuring the all-white Sheraton Sweet Sleeper® Bed. The hotel will also feature five food and beverage venues, including two large buffet restaurants to suit the schedules of guests.
Other signature offerings at the Sheraton Makkah Hotel include the Sheraton Club Lounge and Link@Sheraton® experienced with Microsoft® in the lobby, a unique social and communications hub delivering the technology guests expect and require while on the road. Sheraton Fitness Programmed by Core® Performance will feature separate gym equipment and training facilities. The hotel will also offer over 185 square meters (2,000 square feet) of meeting and event space.
Westin Makkah Hotel
Offering a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere, Westin Makkah will feature 513 guest rooms and suites outfitted with the renowned Westin Heavenly® Bed and the Heavenly® Bath. Westin Makkah will offer two large buffet restaurants for guests, as well as a specialty restaurant and two lounges.
Signature experiences such as the Heavenly® Spa by Westin and the WestinWORKOUT®, offering fitness facilities with state-of-the-art equipment, will help create a revitalising stay for guests. The hotel will also offer more than 232 square meters (2,500 square feet) of ultra-modern meeting and function space.
Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Hotel
With more than 170 hotels around the world, the Four Points by Sheraton brand has solidified its place as Starwood's third largest brand with the second-biggest global pipeline.
With a modern design and an uncomplicated friendly approach to hospitality and service, Four Points by Sheraton Makkah will offer guests a compelling blend of comfort, style and affordability. Four Points by Sheraton Makkah will feature 451 comfortable guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a lounge, a business center and over 92 square meters (1,000 square feet) of meeting and event space.
Starwood in the Middle East and Saudi Arabia
"This landmark project, featuring three of our lifestyle brands, marks an important milestone for Starwood in the Middle East," said Bart Carnahan, Senior Vice President Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. "With eight hotels in the pipeline in the next three years, we are set to nearly double our portfolio in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."
Starwood currently operates 10 hotels in Saudi Arabia under the Sheraton and Le Méridien brands. This includes two Le Méridien hotels in Makkah, Sheraton Riyadh Hotels & Towers, Le Méridien Medina, as well as hotels in the cities of Al Khobar, Taif and Dammam. Most recently, Starwood opened Four Points by Sheraton Riyadh Khaldia and the company will open the Sheraton Medina Hotel and Four Points by Sheraton Medina Hotel later this year. With the signing of three new developments in Makkah, Starwood now has over 3,000 rooms in its Saudi Arabia pipeline.
Starwood operates close to 50 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company's nine distinct lifestyle brands including: The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft.