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Rotana checks in to London’s business hotel market

Rotana is planning up to 1,500 keys over London sites PIxabay/Liushuquan
Rotana is planning up to 1,500 keys over London sites
  • UAE’s Rotana to open two serviced apartment properties in London
  • Deal is part of planned $1bn partnership with developer CNM Estates
  • Hotel company also plans to expand in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Hospitality company Rotana has unveiled a $1 billion-plus plan to enter the London business hotel market, and to expand its offerings in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The UAE-based business – which has more than 100 properties in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe – will begin its UK operation by opening two serviced apartment blocks in south-west London under the Centro brand, which is aimed at business travellers.

Centro New Malden, opening this year, and Centro Kingston, due to open in 2024, are part of an agreement with CNM Estates to develop up to 1,500 keys over multiple sites in Greater London.   

Guy Hutchinson, president and CEO of Rotana, said: “London remains one of the world’s largest business hubs and a key market for us as we continue expanding our footprint globally.”

Centro New Malden will have 70 apartments furnished to a four-star hotel standard while Centro Kingston will house 31 apartments. 

Wahid Samady, chairman of property developer CNM Estates, added: “With the two first projects well under way we have a strong pipeline and are continuing our search for more locations.”  

Rotana’s CEO Guy Hutchinson (left) and vice-president Makram El Zyr (right) with Wahid Samady, chairman of CNM Estates. The two companies aim to develop 1,500 keys in London

Colliers has been retained by the companies to advise on equity and debt funding for the first two sites and for the wider partnership, which is expected to have assets in excess of £1 billion ($1.2 billion).   

John Knowles, head of national capital markets at Colliers, said: “Serviced apartments will be an increasingly important component in the UK residential offer and having an operator like Rotana with international scale and expertise is much needed. 

“We already have initial expressions of interest from both UK and international equity investors and debt providers and will be approaching a wider market over the next few months.” 

Rotana is also targeting growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt as part of its strategy to grow its hotel portfolio to 120 sites, spanning 28,000 keys, by 2030. 

The company currently runs 72 hotels in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey, serving more than 6 million guests per year. 

Rotana said Saudi Arabia was one of the fastest-growing markets in the region. It plans to open seven hotels in the kingdom, including five in Riyadh. 

In Egypt the group is gearing up to open luxury resort Luxor Rotana in 2025. It also has five hotels in the pipeline across Cairo and the North Coast. 

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