Four Thai hotel groups expanding in the Middle East

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Anantara Jabal Akhbar
One of the most anticipated new Thai hotel openings in the Middle East: Anantara Jabal Akhdar, located on top of a rugged mountain range southwest of Muscat, Oman, with spectacular views. Picture: Minor Hotel Group

With tourism on their home turf slowing, four Thai hotel companies are now expanding in the Middle East to tap the high-end hospitality market there.

One of Thailand’s largest hotel operators, Centara Hotels & Resorts, announced on April 28 that it has signed a management contract with Al Bandary Hotel Management to set up the Centara Grand West Bay Hotel Doha in the city’s newly-developed West Bay district. The hotel, slated to open in the first quarter of 2016, is part of the Qatar government’s World Cup 2022 project list and the second of the Centara group to open in the Middle East after the Centara Muscat Hotel in Oman whose opening is expected to take place on June 1, 2015.

“The Middle East region is a strategic one for us, and we deeply appreciate the trust that international investors are placing in our unique Thai style of hotel management,” said Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat.

Apart from its 46 hotels in Thailand and counting in the two new Middle Eastern properties, Centara now has 21 resorts abroad, in the Maldives, Vietnam, Shanghai, Bali, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Laos, which makes a total of currently 67 properties which it either owns or manages. Hospitality experts expect Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be next on the list of Centara’s hotel launches.

Another large hotel chain from Thailand to expand deeper into the Middle East is Dusit International. The company, known for its iconic Dusit Thani hotels and two Dusit Residences in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said it will add at least six more properties to its Middle East portfolio, three of which will be managed by the Dusit group itself, namely one in Doha and one in Jeddah under the dusitD2 brand, and one in Jeddah under the Dusit Thani branch. The dusitD2 Salwa in Doha is slated to open in 2018 and follows the new Dusit Residence & Suites Doha. The other hotels will be also in Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina) and managed in partnership with local hospitality Dyar Hotels and Resorts.

According to Dusit International CEO Chanin Donavanik, the group will open an additional office in Saudi Arabia this May besides its existing sales office in Dubai to kick off regional marketing for the new properties. He also said that more dusitD2 hotels are planned in the UAE where Dusit is partnering with investment company Al Masar Holding: The dusitD2 Tecom Dubai and the dusitD2 Residence Al Manzel Abu Dhabi, both set to open in 2016.

Minor Hotel Group, which runs one of the most luxurious Thai hotel brands, Anantara, and is renowned for its exceptional Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort in Abu Dhabi, has announced that it will enter Oman with an Anantara mountain resort in Jabal Akhdar some 200 kilometers southwest of Muscat later this year and open another Oman hotel in Salalah in 2016. The expansion comes after the group opened its Banana Island Resort Doha earlier this year, which brought its current properties in the Middle East to eight. In April this year, Minor Hotel Group also announced that it has entered a partnership with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company to build two hotels in North Africa – one in Tangier in Morocco and one in the southwestern Tunisian oasis city of Tozeur.

The Middle East market has also grown in importance for Bangkok-based Onyx Hospitality Group, best known for its flagship brand Amari which is already present in Doha. While there are currently no new hotels planned in the region, the company is intensifying its marketing in the Middle East which has become its third-largest source market for Thailand-bound travelers, according to Peter Henley, president and CEO of Onyx Hospitality Group.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

One of the most anticipated new Thai hotel openings in the Middle East: Anantara Jabal Akhdar, located on top of a rugged mountain range southwest of Muscat, Oman, with spectacular views. Picture: Minor Hotel Group

With tourism on their home turf slowing, four Thai hotel companies are now expanding in the Middle East to tap the high-end hospitality market there.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anantara Jabal Akhbar
One of the most anticipated new Thai hotel openings in the Middle East: Anantara Jabal Akhdar, located on top of a rugged mountain range southwest of Muscat, Oman, with spectacular views. Picture: Minor Hotel Group

With tourism on their home turf slowing, four Thai hotel companies are now expanding in the Middle East to tap the high-end hospitality market there.

One of Thailand’s largest hotel operators, Centara Hotels & Resorts, announced on April 28 that it has signed a management contract with Al Bandary Hotel Management to set up the Centara Grand West Bay Hotel Doha in the city’s newly-developed West Bay district. The hotel, slated to open in the first quarter of 2016, is part of the Qatar government’s World Cup 2022 project list and the second of the Centara group to open in the Middle East after the Centara Muscat Hotel in Oman whose opening is expected to take place on June 1, 2015.

“The Middle East region is a strategic one for us, and we deeply appreciate the trust that international investors are placing in our unique Thai style of hotel management,” said Centara Hotels & Resorts CEO Thirayuth Chirathivat.

Apart from its 46 hotels in Thailand and counting in the two new Middle Eastern properties, Centara now has 21 resorts abroad, in the Maldives, Vietnam, Shanghai, Bali, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Ethiopia and Laos, which makes a total of currently 67 properties which it either owns or manages. Hospitality experts expect Dubai and Abu Dhabi to be next on the list of Centara’s hotel launches.

Another large hotel chain from Thailand to expand deeper into the Middle East is Dusit International. The company, known for its iconic Dusit Thani hotels and two Dusit Residences in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said it will add at least six more properties to its Middle East portfolio, three of which will be managed by the Dusit group itself, namely one in Doha and one in Jeddah under the dusitD2 brand, and one in Jeddah under the Dusit Thani branch. The dusitD2 Salwa in Doha is slated to open in 2018 and follows the new Dusit Residence & Suites Doha. The other hotels will be also in Saudi Arabia (Mecca and Medina) and managed in partnership with local hospitality Dyar Hotels and Resorts.

According to Dusit International CEO Chanin Donavanik, the group will open an additional office in Saudi Arabia this May besides its existing sales office in Dubai to kick off regional marketing for the new properties. He also said that more dusitD2 hotels are planned in the UAE where Dusit is partnering with investment company Al Masar Holding: The dusitD2 Tecom Dubai and the dusitD2 Residence Al Manzel Abu Dhabi, both set to open in 2016.

Minor Hotel Group, which runs one of the most luxurious Thai hotel brands, Anantara, and is renowned for its exceptional Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort in Abu Dhabi, has announced that it will enter Oman with an Anantara mountain resort in Jabal Akhdar some 200 kilometers southwest of Muscat later this year and open another Oman hotel in Salalah in 2016. The expansion comes after the group opened its Banana Island Resort Doha earlier this year, which brought its current properties in the Middle East to eight. In April this year, Minor Hotel Group also announced that it has entered a partnership with Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company to build two hotels in North Africa – one in Tangier in Morocco and one in the southwestern Tunisian oasis city of Tozeur.

The Middle East market has also grown in importance for Bangkok-based Onyx Hospitality Group, best known for its flagship brand Amari which is already present in Doha. While there are currently no new hotels planned in the region, the company is intensifying its marketing in the Middle East which has become its third-largest source market for Thailand-bound travelers, according to Peter Henley, president and CEO of Onyx Hospitality Group.

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