Travel & Hospitality Jumeirah Group adds Swiss hotel to European portfolio By Gavin Gibbon February 6, 2023 twitter.com/Jumeirah Le Richemond in Geneva first opened in 1875 Jumeirah Group has expanded its footprint in Europe by acquiring its first property in Switzerland. Le Richemond, a hotel in in Geneva’s business district, has 109 keys – 87 rooms and 22 suites – as well as panoramic views of Lac Léman and Mont Blanc. Katerina Giannouka, who was appointed chief executive officer of Dubai’s Jumeirah Group last Septembe, said the property would undergo “extensive renovations” ahead of a scheduled reopening in 2025. The hotel, which first opened in 1875, closed in August 2020 because of the Covid pandemic. Swiss Group opens Zurich office to boost trade with UAE “Le Richemond is a legendary property with a 140-year legacy and impeccable pedigree, and we are committed to preserving this heritage as we redesign the hotel,” Giannouka said. “As the gateway to the mountains of Europe, Geneva is strategically significant for us as we look to diversify our portfolio in major cities with both summer and winter resort destinations.” A Jumeirah statement added that the company would be introducing its wellness and fitness concepts as well as “bringing its culinary expertise to the banks of Lake Geneva”. The property is Jumeirah’s fifth in Europe, joining the Carlton Tower Jumeirah and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London, UK; Capri Palace Jumeirah on the Italian island of Capri; and Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Mallorca, Spain. Christopher Lund, executive director and head of Mena hotels at consultancy Colliers, said the acquisition “comes at a time when the Middle East is gaining a lot of interest from the rest of the world, following successful mega-events, the launch of mega-projects, global destination marketing initiatives, and mega-investments, when many other countries are in cautious mode. “Bringing the Jumeirah brand to Geneva will undoubtably benefit its own brand, but will also benefit the wider branding of the Gulf countries.” Ali Manzoor, head of hotels & tourism at CBRE Middle East, said: “Jumeirah has always been a well-respected operator, and their business model has historically favoured asset ownership over management contracts. As such, with acquisitions such as this, Jumeirah continues to expand at a sustainable rate while retaining complete asset control. “Not only does this give them complete freedom in terms of preserving the brand identity, but their role as both asset owner and asset operator incentivises them to operate as efficiently as possible.” Jumeirah Group, a part of Dubai Holding, operates a 6,500-room portfolio across 26 hotels and resorts in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.