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Saudi Arabia plans lifestyle hotels in new $400m deal

The Delano is among the hospitality brands in Ennismore's hotel portfolio
  • Ennismore is the world’s largest lifestyle hospitality company
  • Agreement to provide 2,000 hotel rooms plus training for Saudis

Lifestyle hotel brands such as Mama Shelter, The Hoxton and 25hours are set to debut in Saudi Arabia as part of a new $400 million deal.

The kingdom’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF) today announced the signing of a tripartite deal with Ennismore, the world’s largest and fastest-growing lifestyle hospitality company, and Saudi-based asset manager Al Rajhi Capital. 

The agreement aims to establish a hospitality investment fund that will advance lifestyle hotels with a capital of $400 million in various destinations across the kingdom.

Under the deal, the parties will identify locations and provide financing options for projects across Saudi Arabia.

TDF will invest in the new fund, while Ennismore will lead on developing and operating the projects under the umbrella of its lifestyle brands. Al Rajhi Capital will manage the investment fund and attract investments.

TDF CEO Qusai Al Fakhri said: “Joining forces with both Ennismore and Al Rajhi Capital is yet another positive step towards realising our ambitions to advance the tourism sector.

“We seek to continuously deliver new and diversified options, enabling the private sector to invest in the growing hospitality sector, with a view to enrich visitors’ experiences while achieving sustainable tourism and economic development.”

Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO of Ennismore, said: “Our partnership with TDF and Al Rajhi is a significant part of our growth strategy for the region.

“Ennismore is pleased to further cement its commitment to the growing Saudi hospitality sector through employing, training, and advancing national competencies, as well as providing tourism services that would build closer connections with international and local tourists.”

Waleed AlRashed AlHumaid, CEO of Al Rajhi Capital, said: “The agreement reflects the importance of partnership between the private and public sector, and opens up lucrative investment opportunities where capitals can be invested in national programmes geared towards the tourism industry.”

Through the agreement, TDF aims to provide around 2,000 hotel rooms as well as training opportunities for Saudi nationals.

Ennismore is a joint venture between Sharan Pasricha, founder & co-CEO, and Accor, bringing together a lifestyle powerhouse of 14 brands with 101 operating properties globally, and 137 in the pipeline. 

The Ennismore brands include 21c Museum Hotel, 25hours, Delano, Gleneagles, Hyde, JO&JOE, Mama Shelter, Mondrian, Morgans Originals, SLS, SO/, The Hoxton, TRIBE and Working From_.

TDF was established in June 2020 with a capital of $4 billion to drive tourism growth in Saudi Arabia. According to its website, TDF has 23 major projects in the pipeline worth about SR16 billion ($4.3 billion).

The hospitality market is set to be transformed under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, with 310,000 new hotel rooms due for completion by the end of the decade according to research by global property consultancy Knight Frank.

Knight Frank also found that Accor Group would be Saudi Arabia’s largest hotel room operator by 2030, doubling the number of rooms it manages to almost 28,000.

Hilton hotels will leapfrog from fifth place to emerge as the country’s second biggest brand, with almost 19,000 rooms under management by 2030.

The concept of the lifestyle hotel has been trending over the past few years and has traditionally been clustered in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, London and Miami.

The concept first emerged with ‘W’ opening the first Kimpton decades ago and has since become mainstream.