REGENT Hotels, the luxury brand of Rezidor SAS Hospitality, will open its first Middle East property in Kuwait by the end of 2007, as part of a robust growth strategy to develop 700 hotels across the group’s brands by 2015.
“A healthy target for Rezidor would be between three and four Regent properties operational by 2010,” says Jean-Marc Busato, vice-president Middle East, Rezidor SAS Hospitality. “We are looking at destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Beirut.”
The fact that the brand may be in for a legal battle given that there are already several hotels in the region operating under the Regent name goes without saying. Busato, however, refuses to let on any more: “We have the Regent trademark registered in all Middle East countries. We will handle that accordingly.”
The Regent Kuwait will be located on the beachfront of the Messila district. It will feature 310 luxury guestrooms and suites, 84 deluxe serviced apartments and 12 beachside chalets, besides five restaurants, a business centre, an executive lounge, a spa and meeting facilities including eight meeting rooms, two multi-purpose halls and a large wedding hall. Positioned as a five star deluxe experience amongst the Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, and Mandarin Oriental brands, the Regent offers luxury with a contemporary touch.
So why Kuwait for the brand’s regional debut? Says Busato, “When an opportunity such as this arises you grab it with both hands. The local community will appreciate and value the Regent culture as it celebrates East and West heritage with respect to local traditions. Brand awareness amongst this target group and the Middle East as a whole will positively impact the development of Regent hotels worldwide.”
Rezidor SAS currently operates three Regent hotels in Berlin, Almaty and Zagreb, and has announced a fourth in Budapest. This is part of a global deal with US-based Carlson Hotels Worldwide, to expand selected Carlson brands across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, including the Radisson, Park Inn, Regent and Country Inn.
Says Busato, “We will open Park Inns in Al Khobar, Riyadh and Muscat over the next two years. As there is a need for mid-market no-fuss hotels, we see great potential for this brand in this region. Target locations are secondary locations in prime cities and prime locations in secondary cities in the Middle East.” The Country Inn brand will not see a roll out in the Middle East in the near future, he adds.
Carlson operates five Regent Hotels in Asia and the US. It recently announced the merger of Regent Hotels and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises under its global Regent brand, to form a unique luxury master brand. Further growth plans of the Regent hotels include four properties under construction in the Americas, and three in Asia. In the Middle East, Busato says the company is continuously seeking and negotiating potential projects. “With a five-star deluxe product there are strict brand standards in terms of design that the building needs to comply with in order to operate as a Regent Hotel.”
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