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Starwood to open two new hotels in Riyadh

Starwood to open two new hotels in Riyadh

The properties will be located close to the King Abdullah Financial District

US-based Starwood Hotels and Resorts has reached an agreement with Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Akaria) to open two new hotels in Riyadh.

The new hotels, one a five-star property under Starwood’s Westin brand and the other a four-star Element hotel, are scheduled to open in 2022 and will bring Starwood to a total of 18 hotels in Saudi Arabia.

Westin Riyadh will feature 388 rooms and serviced apartments, a gym, swimming pool, spa and four food and beverage outlets.

Element Riyadh will include 244 studios and one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchens and an all-day dining restaurant.

Both will be part of a 4,000 sqm mixed-used development next to King Abdullah Financial District, a financial zone created in 2006 to house banks and the country’s financial.regulator.

After years of little progress, the government now hopes to transform the district into an international business zone. Policies including visa exemptions for foreign workers, more competitive regulation and a direct connection to Riyadh’s airport are being put in place to attract foreign investment.

Read: Saudi aims to salvage delayed $10bn financial district

Starwood hopes the properties will accommodate the increasing number of regional and international travellers coming into Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia remains one of our strongest growth markets in the region and we are thrilled to be strengthening our presence in the country with two new hotels together with Al-Akaria,” said Starwood Hotels & Resorts Europe, Africa and Middle East president Michael Wale.

“As one of the Middle East’s key business hubs, Riyadh is an increasingly popular destination for regional and international travellers and a great choice for the expansion of our Westin and Element brands.”

The company currently operates two hotels in the Saudi capital with a third, the Aloft Riyadh, set to open on July 1. An additional two hotels, Le Méridien Riyadh and Aloft Riyadh King Fahd Road, are currently underdevelopment, expected to open by March 2017 and January 2018, respectively.

“We are on track to more than double our presence in Saudi Arabia in the next five years and continue to further explore growth opportunities across the country,” said the company’s Africa and Middle East president of acquisitions and development Neil George.

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