Included in this roundup of news from the MEA region: Saudi Ritz now a detention center; October metrics; and more.
Each week, Hotel News Now features a news roundup from a different global region. Today’s compilation focuses on Middle East/Africa.
Saudi Ritz caught up in political turmoil
The Wall Street Journal reports The Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh has now become essentially “a luxurious detention center for wealthy Saudis caught up in a widening corruption probe.” The hotel has become a frequent landing spot for crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who visits to negotiate with detainees “about handing large chunks of their wealth to the state in exchange for their freedom.”
A brief statement from Marriott International notes only that “The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh and the Courtyard, Diplomatic Quarter are not operating as traditional hotels for the time being.”
MEA pipeline data for October
The number of rooms in construction in the Middle East jumped while the corresponding number for Africa fell during October, according to data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR.
For the month, there were 166,774 rooms in 580 hotels under contract in the Middle East. For that period, the region had 99,790 rooms in 314 rooms in construction, a year-over-year increase of 18.1%.
Meanwhile, Africa had 55,094 rooms in 299 projects under contract in October. A total of 26,599 rooms in 149 projects were in construction, an 11.4% drop.
Turkish infighting sinks lenders
Turkish lenders are getting caught in the middle of a fight between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s central bank that Bloomberg claims could “derail a credit boom.” The fight over handling of interest rates is apparently weighing on banking stocks.
“A falling currency provokes inflation, slows economic activity, causes losses on foreign-exchange loans to be incurred, reduces the value of bond portfolios and hikes the cost of equity,” Julian Rimmer, an emerging-markets trader at Investec Bank Plc, told Bloomberg.
Rate drives growth in Jeddah
Preliminary STR data from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, shows strong rate growth helped the market overcome a fall in occupancy to push up revenue in October. For the month, occupancy fell 3% to 50.4%, but a 13.5% jump in average daily rate to 871.40 Saudi Arabian riyals ($232.35) fueled revenue per available room growth of 10.1% to 439.60 riyals ($117.22).
Deals and development
- Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the opening of the 158-room Hyatt House Gebze, the first property for the Hyatt House brand in Turkey.
- The 172-room Four Points by Sheraton Nairobi Airport opened in Nairobi, Kenya.
- InterContinental Hotels Group announced plans to convert the 242-room Strand Tower Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, into a Holiday Inn. It will be the first property for the brand in the market.
- AccorHotels announced plans for the 200-room Novotel Abidjan Marcory in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The hotel will be part of a dual-branded development with the Adagio Aparthotel brand and is expected to open in 2020.
- The 61-key Time Beach Villas Resort in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is expected to open in December.
- The 241-room Hilton Cabo Verde Sal Resort opened in the town of Santa Maria in the Cape Verde archipelago.
- Sarovar Hotels & Resorts and Espirit Developers signed an agreement for the 130-room Sarovar Portico Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, East Africa. The hotel is expected to open in February 2018.
- The 121-key Bulgari Resort & Residence Dubai is set to open on 7 December.
Compiled by Sean McCracken.