New flagship Kempinski hotel in Makkah

Kempinski Hotel Makkah will be the flagship edifice within the new boulevard on King Abdul Aziz Road megaproject.
Updated 09 October 2019

New flagship Kempinski hotel in Makkah

Kempinski Hotels has announced a new luxury project in Makkah. The signing ceremony with the partnering company, Umm Al-Qura for Development and Construction Company (UAQ), took place last week at the Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai. The property will entail a luxury hotel and will be the flagship edifice within the new boulevard on the King Abdul Aziz Road (KAAR) megaproject. 

The Kempinski Hotel Makkah will include 380 rooms and suites, each of them offering at least 42 net square meters. The hotel will be equipped with plenty of top-notch amenities catering for a luxury pilgrim experience. An all-day dining restaurant, a restaurant specializing in Levantine cuisine and a coffee lounge will offer guests a variety of culinary experiences. A ballroom and conference rooms will address the needs of the most discerning clients.

The KAAR project is directly linked with the Haramain High-Speed Railway station that links Makkah to Jeddah and Madinah.

“With our newly signed hotel project in Makkah, we will be present in the most important destination within Saudi Arabia and the world’s holiest city of Islam. We are proud that together with UAQ, a locally very well-established and highly respected real estate company, we will play a major role in shaping the all-new KAAR boulevard, which links our new project in Makkah with our previously signed property in Madinah. A presence in the two cities will allow us to boost exponentially the performance of both hotels while merging very well with the country’s Vision 2030,” said Martin R. Smura, chief executive, Kempinski Hotels and chairman of the Kempinski Management Board.

Yasser AbuAteek, managing director and chief executive of Umm Al-Qura, said: “We are proud to announce that we will build up the Kempinski Hotel Makkah as one of the major milestones we are taking toward our vision to serving the people of Makkah and its visitors ... it will be an icon within our envisioned 1.25-million-square-meters New Makkah District. What counted most for us was the expertise of managing hotels and residences from a European perspective integrated with local and cultural refinements and considerations. Kempinski has not only proven on a global scale, but specifically in the Middle East, where the company’s reputation is impeccable.” 

Both Kempinski and UAQ leadership agreed on exploring the possibilities of integrating sustainable and green building requirements to ensure that the hotel is in line with global standards of sustainability and is environmentally friendly. 

Currently Kempinski manages six properties in the Gulf, the most recent of which is Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai.

The Kempinski Hotel Makkah is scheduled to open in 2023.

New IHG office, leadership to drive growth in Saudi Arabia

Updated 26 January 2020

New IHG office, leadership to drive growth in Saudi Arabia

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), a global hotel company, has announced plans to open an office in Riyadh in March. The news comes as IHG continues to expand its portfolio in the Kingdom in response to Vision 2030 and the opportunities it presents to the tourism and hospitality sector. The new office will also drive the performance of IHG’s existing estate further in the country and simultaneously support the expanding portfolio, as well as the company’s ambition toward leading Saudization efforts in the industry, a statement said. 

To lead IHG’s business in Saudi Arabia, Bastien Blanc has been appointed as managing director, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, effective March 1. In his current role with IHG, Blanc is responsible for leading the operations across IHG’s portfolio of hotels in the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia. He will also be responsible for driving both growth and performance for IHG in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. With extensive experience of working in the Kingdom, Blanc has been deeply ingrained into the market. He has also been leading IHG’s Saudization efforts, which he will continue to drive further in his new role. Blanc will continue to report to Pascal Gauvin, managing director, IMEA, IHG. 

IHG has also appointed Saad Al-Ahmari as director of HR and government affairs, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Al-Ahmari joins IHG from Boeing, Saudi Arabia where he served as the head of human resources. As a senior HR practitioner and Saudi national, he is well versed with the transformation taking place in the Kingdom and has expertise in HR strategy, Saudization, change management, employee engagement, government relations, employment law, and talent management. 


The Riyadh office will be further supported by new roles, across functions including commercial, financial and procurement, learning and development and IT. 

Managing director Gauvin said: “Saudi Arabia is a key market for IHG in the Middle East. With Saudi Vision 2030 and the rapid socioeconomic transformation in the country, we believe the tourism and hospitality industry will continue to be presented with unparalleled opportunities. We are therefore, pleased to solidify our presence in the country with the opening of a new office in the capital city, and appoint a talented team led by Bastien, to drive our growth and performance in the market. We also have strong commitment and an ambition toward leading Saudization in the industry and the new structure will help us engage with and facilitate the development of Saudi talent.”

He added: “This is an important next step in our growth in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is a truly significant move to solidify IHG’s position as one of the leading hospitality companies in the country.”