Another Accor lifestyle hotel brand is heading to the Middle East, the latest in a wave of activity in the Parisian hotel company’s region even as overall hotel development there has remained almost at a standstill since. a year.
Hyde Hotels, Resorts & Residences plans to open its first hotel outside the United States in Dubai, executives of the brand exclusively at Skift announced on Monday. The 276-room hotel will be located in the city’s Business Bay district, near the Burj Khalifa tower, and will feature many food and experience-focused elements that define hotel lifestyle. The Hyde Dubai Business Bay project is expected to open by the end of this year.
This is the latest in a series of recent announcements in the Middle East region from Accor, which opened its first SLS property in Dubai earlier this year and recently announced plans to open a second Raffles in the city at Palm Dubai development.
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The company has other Raffles projects under development in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Accor also partnered earlier this year with Faena, which is underway with a project in Dubai.
Accor’s construction surge comes as the region seeks to reverse a seven-quarter drop in hotel development with more emphasis on leisure travel.
“You have a big push on leisure in the [United Arab Emirates], Oman and Saudi Arabia, ”said Louis Abboud, deputy director of lifestyle brands at Accor, in an interview with Skift ahead of Monday’s announcement. “All of these markets can have significant growth in leisure. They have amazing beaches, their governments are behind them, and I think that’s why they see significant growth coming on this front. “
Accor’s lifestyle push stems from many of the brands it acquired when it was acquired by SBE, such as SLS and Hyde. The two brands are expected to be integrated into Ennismore, Accor’s planned joint venture with the owner of lifestyle hotel brands like Hoxton.
Hilton has the most development projects in the Middle East, with 93 properties in its development pipeline, according to Lodging Econometrics. But Accor has the largest number of hotel rooms in development with 25,882 compared to 25,200 for Hilton.
Accor anticipates even more hotel growth in the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia is a market that is really driving and will continue to drive growth in the region,” Abboud said. “Saudi Arabia has made a very bold decision to move away from its dependence on oil.”
Tourism is one of the main sectors that Saudi Arabia wants to diversify its economy into as part of its Saudi Vision 2030 plan to go beyond oil. The planned resorts along the Red Sea coast as well as the planned “smart city” in Neom are major growth opportunities for hotel brands. Accor plans to emphasize its lifestyle brands in its growth strategy in Saudi Arabia, Abboud said without disclosing details.
This emphasis on leisure travel in the region has the potential to reverse the nearly two-year decline in hotel development in the Middle East. The Middle East hotel development pipeline was down 12% at the end of the first quarter, the seventh consecutive quarterly decline for the region.
The pandemic and political tensions are the main reasons for the downward trend. But Dubai garnered a lot of interest from travelers during the pandemic due to its open borders, even though doing so put public health at risk.
A new push to attract tourists as the city’s delayed Expo 2020 later this year and Saudi Arabia’s plans for the Red Sea may offset the decline in development.
“[Saudi Arabia is] develop entire smart cities, and they have the means to do it, ”Abboud said. “It’s a big priority for the future.”
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Photo credit: The Hyde Dubai Business Bay project (rendered in the photo) is the latest in a series of branded activities in the Middle East. Hyde Hotels, Resorts & Residences / Accor