Second Ritz-Carlton for Bahrain in growth plan
Ritz-Carlton Middle East is on the expansion track.
Following the opening of the Sharq Village and Spa in Doha this quarter, the group has plans for a second property in Bahrain, said Pascal Duchauffour, who took charge recently as area vice-president for the Middle East and general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Resort and Spa.
“We are planning to open the second property in Bahrain in the next 24 months. It is located close to the current property,” he told TTN in an interview, speaking of the new property in Bahrain. He said an area of reclaimed land for the property has already been identified.
However, he could not discuss the finances behind the deal, saying it was yet to be finalised. “But I can assure you that it will be an astounding property. Due to the current nature of competition in the market we want the fast track its completion.”
Other plans in the region include work on The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, which will also see a major renovation and expansion over the next 12 to 18 months, he said.
The expansion follows a year of ‘tremendous growth’ for the brand in the Middle East. This is against a backdrop of double-digit revPAR growth for hotels regionally. “Looking at each market on its own, Dubai and Doha are characterised by very strong growth and we are the leader in terms of revPAR. In Dubai we clearly lead the market. Similarly in Doha and Bahrain. Occupancy rates have shot up. In 2005, guestrooms at our Bahrain property were closed for six months, but comparing full operational months in 2005 and 2006, we experienced a 20 per cent plus growth in revPar. Our prediction for 2007 is to see continuous growth in revPar of over 10 per cent.”
To take that growth forward, Duchauffour said, the brand is looking at a presence in other markets. “We would like to get into the Saudi market. Currently we are working to establish some presence in Jeddah,” he said.
With private equity players being the biggest single buyers of existing hotels in 2006, he said that trend would continue following industry-wide good results. “As long as hotels continue to perform well investments are there up for grabs. Overall there is a lot of confidence; therefore the investments will keep coming. But let me caution that investments should be made prudently so as to ensure that not one area is oversupplied,” he concluded.
by K S Sreekumar