Rotana sets sights on London

5 Nov 2014 by GrahamSmith

Rotana intends to expand into Europe, starting with a property in London, the hotel group's president and chief executive has revealed to Business Traveller.

Speaking at this week's World Travel Market trade show, Omer Kaddouri told us that while he is in the capital he is having "lots of meetings to discuss possible opportunities for us here".

He added: "We've got our eye on a few projects in some good locations in central London. I'd like to think that we’d be in Europe within the next five to six years."

Kaddouri said he wanted to take the Middle East-based group global and that the plan was to open properties in major cities such as Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, New York, Shanghai, Sydney and Melbourne "in the medium to long term".

In the meantime, Rotana will be opening 12 new hotels between now and the end of next year, boosting its current portfolio of about 50 properties.

It has confirmed deals in place to take the portfolio to 105 hotels. Kaddouri said of the pipeline goal: "A hundred hotels by 2020 is how we're coining it but I think we'll be able to do better."

The group is due to open its first two Turkish properties in Istanbul in the second quarter of next year, both under its Arjaan serviced apartment brand.

Kaddouri said: "We have also just signed a new Centro [its four-star brand] in Istanbul to open in 2016. It's very much on our agenda to try to get a five-star hotel in the downtown area of Istanbul in the European area."

It will make its Jordan debut with an Arjaan property in Amman by the end of this year, with a Rotana Hotels and Resorts hotel to follow in the capital in the third quarter of next year.

Two five-star properties are to open in Bahrain by the second quarter of 2015. Three will open in Doha under its Hotels and Resorts, Centro and long-star Residences brands by the same time. Abu Dhabi will get two more properties next year, and Riyadh will get its first.

Kaddouri said: "Another first for next year is Kinshasa – that should open towards the end of next year. We recently signed a beautiful five-star hotel in Dar es Salaam in a top location downtown, which will open by early 2017.

"Africa is definitely a target for us and we hope to be able to sign some more deals next year in places like Angola, Mozambique and Ghana. We will hopefully soon sign our first deal in Nigeria."

He added that from the middle of this month, members of the Rotana Rewards scheme booking through will receive free wifi, while a promotion running until the end of this year will see non-members booking through the site also receiving it for free.

Michelle Harbi

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