Mövenpick set for 13 properties by 2008

An artist’s impression of Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Hotel

MÖVENPICK Hotels & Resorts (MH&R) have found the winning formula encouraging the Swiss hotel chain to continue their ambitious expansion strategy within the Middle East.

The success of the dynamic strategy of MH&R proves the group’s ability to recognize the ever-changing needs of customers within the increasingly sophisticated hospitality industry, says Jean Gabriel Pérès, president & CEO.
Carefully selected locations for its properties, together with core brand values, consistent high quality and excellent gastronomy, which is a hallmark of the group, have built an enviable portfolio of city and resort hotels in  key tourist and business destinations.
With contracts already signed and the completion of individual properties in various stages of construction, 13 new hotels or resorts are scheduled to open by the end of 2008.
Jean Gabriel Pérès, President & CEO of MH&R, explains: “With the support of like-minded investors and owners with similar goals, it is our strategy to undertake flagship and first-class new projects to strengthen MH&R's position in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Gulf States. Furthermore we expanded our brand into the Indian subcontinent having recently signed a management contract for a five-star business hotel in Bangalore that is scheduled to open in 2008.”

Nine in the UAE
An indication of the confidence in MH&R shown by owners is reflected in the contract signed last autumn with Seven Tides, through Asteco, the UAE’s largest property management company. The agreement is for the management of four new properties in Dubai: Mövenpick Hotel Deira, scheduled to open in March 2007, the Mövenpick Resort Oceana Palm Jumeirah (April 2007), the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Palm Jumeirah located on the outer crescent of Palm Island (May 2007) and Ibn Battuta Hotel Dubai operated by MH&R at the Ibn Battuta Mall (September 2007).
All are five-star properties and each one will be different from the others, says the group’s Thomas Tapken, general manager and regional manager, Dubai Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, in-charge of four new Dubai properties. “We believe strongly in Dubai. The potential of Dubai has not been realised yet, there still aren’t enough rooms,” he says when asked whether the properties would cannibalise each other. “The city will divide itself into destinations as we are already seeing – if you are coming here to do business at Dubai Media City, you will not want to drive to Deira.”
The first management contract for a property in the UAE came in November 2002 as plans for the flagship Mövenpick Dubai Pearl Hotel were announced. The 720-room hotel boasts an ideal location for the business traveller within the Media City Free Trade Zone and is opposite Palm Island. The Mövenpick Resort in the northerly emirate of Ajman is under construction with the opening date planned for 2008.
MH&R has also signed an agreement with IFA Hotels & Resorts to introduce a five-star branded hotel residence in Dubai. It is the first independent hotel investment project in the Middle East. The Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Laguna Tower Dubai is scheduled to open in April 2008 and offers a total of 120 rooms together with 296 suites and apartments. By 2008, MH&R's portfolio in the United Arab Emirates alone will offer a choice of nine properties.
Says Tapken, “There is much more potential for the Emirates. Dubai’s World Trade Centre, for instance, could do more shows on a bigger scale if there were rooms to house the delegates.” And as Emirates and Etihad fly ever further, he says, more leisure visitors, too, will arrive. “China is still an untapped market, as is Japan.”
Adds Pérès, “Expansion in the United Arab Emirates is one of the cornerstones of our strategy, and we’ll continue to examine other projects closely in the future.”
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, MH&R already manage four prestigious properties in Jeddah and Madinah with the fifth, the Mövenpick Hotel Al Khobar, designed to become a landmark in the Eastern Province due to open in March 2007. In March 2006, the management contract was signed for a the Mövenpick Hotel & Residence Hajar Tower Makkah.
Showing confidence in the future development of the area, MH&R is opening the 220 room Mövenpick Hotel Gaza in December 2006 with the 187 room Mövenpick Hotel Ramallah scheduled for the following summer. Also due to open by the end of the year is the 344-room Mövenpick Residence & Suites, Doha. Among the hotels upgrading their facilities are the Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea Jordan.