FRENCH-MANAGED Accor Hotels & Resorts is the largest international chain in Yemen with four properties: two in Taiz, one in Sana’a and Aden, respectively.
Sheraton has two properties and Taj, Holiday Inn, Movenpick and Golden Tulip have one each.
“We are the first hotel chain to establish ourselves in Yemen with this number of properties and we plan to expand into other cities,” said Farajat. “Six years ago we opened the Mercure Sana’a, now extended and refurbished to include 12 additional bedrooms, a new reception, restaurant for 100 people, banqueting hall for 120, two meeting rooms and a fitness centre.”
Jordanian-born Farajat is an ardent fan of the country and believes that it has great opportunities to benefit economically from tourism, particularly cultural and eco-tourism rather than catering to the masses.
“Yemen has the most spectacular landscape in the Arab world; endless beaches, soaring mountains, huge deserts, amazing architecture, unique bird and wildlife, all of which should be developed sensitively. The Yemenis are the friendliest, most hospitable and loyal people of Arabia but their opportunities are limited,” he said. “Accor’s policy in new markets is to focus on raising employees’ standards to meet the high demands of today’s guests. We employ almost 95 per cent Yemenis in our hotels here. It takes time and patience but the locals are keen to learn and to adapt. I predict a huge focus on Yemen in future.”
Travelling over thousands of kilometres across amazing landscapes in just five days, it was bliss to enjoy delicious meals and a good nights’ sleep in Yemen’s Accor’s properties, each of which is different although all rooms are equipped with satellite TV, international dialling, hairdryer and air conditioning.
Mercure Sana’a is centrally located, midway between the airport and old Sana’a. It will benefit enormously on completion of the new extension.
Mercure Aden overlooks the pounding seas of the Gulf of Aden and has 50 panoramic apartment suites with balcony and kitchenette and 76 sea view rooms. As well as a business centre and shops, the hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, seaview restaurant and ballroom.
Sofitel Yemen is perched atop a 1700-m hill above the city with panoramic views of the spectacular 3200m Jebel Saber. It has 135 rooms, nine suites and one presidential suite, a panoramic restaurant, 400-pax banqueting hall, sauna/gym for men and women, a swimming pool and tennis court.
By Maeve Kelynack Skinner
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