DUBAI: Dubai-based Jumeirah Group will operate its first hotel in Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to open by early 2019.
Jumeirah Group’s five-star hotel, within walking distance of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, will have 1,033 guest rooms housed in four towers as well as an executive lounge, a gym and more than 90 retail units. It would also operate 93 villas housed with the hotel compound.
Jabal Omar Development Company will develop the five-star Jabal Omar Jumeirah Makkah Hotel under the terms of the agreement with Dubai Holding, Jumeirah Group’s mother unit.
With the Makkah hotel deal, Jumeirah Group will now have 22 hotels under its wing, housing some 7,164 rooms.
Dubai’s Emaar Properties last month also signed an agreement to open an Address Hotels + Resorts-branded property in Makkah, with 1,490 hotel rooms and suites, and is scheduled to start operations in 2019.
Edris Al-Rafi, the chief executive of Dubai Holding, said, adding the Makkah hotel in its portfolio was a “key milestone” in the company’s global ambitions.
“As the company embarks on its next phase of growth, adding such a strategic and large hotel to the portfolio is a key milestone in our ambitious international expansion strategy. Jabal Omar Jumeirah Makkah Hotel will significantly boost its growth in the coming years. It will also mark the group’s first presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Makkah, one of the holiest sites in the world and the highest in real estate value.”
Yasser Al-Sharif, the chief executive of Jabal Omar Development Company, meanwhile said it was “pleased to work with an established global hospitality brand” such as Jumeirah Group.
Jabal Omar Development is the firm responsible for developing more than 2 million square meters of hotel and residential tower clusters overlooking the Grand Mosque.
A JLL report last year noted that Makkah was one of the biggest hotel markets in the Kingdom with 27,000 rooms, compared with 11,000 in Riyadh and 9,400 in Jeddah. It is estimated that around 75 percent of the demand from pilgrims is accommodated in hotels, with the remaining 25 percent in other forms of accommodation.
Many hotels in Makkah have traditionally only operated during peak months, but the JLL report revealed that with the entry of more international operators, this pattern is now changing, with more hotels operating throughout the year.
There are plans to roughly double the capacity to accommodate both Umrah and Haj visitors to around 15 million and five million respectively by 2020.