Starwood Signs Deal to Open 1,500 Guestrooms in Makkah

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has entered into an agreement with Jabal Omar Development Co. that will result in the opening of three new hotel properties in the Holy City of Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

Michael Wale, of Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has entered into an agreement with Jabal Omar Development Co. that will result in the opening of three new hotel properties in the Holy City of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The partnership will bring an aggregate 1,496 guestrooms to the market under the Sheraton, Westin and Four Points by Sheraton brands.

The demand is there, and the numbers tell the story. The average hotel occupancy level in Makkah from January through April 2013 was 85 percent, ranking the city second in the Middle East only to Dubai, where the occupancy level was 88 percent, according to a report by Ernst & Young. 

Starwood’s new entries will be erected within Jabal Omar’s 2.5 million-square-foot Al Haram mixed-use development. The Sheraton Makkah Hotel will be the largest of the three lodging destinations, with 532 guestrooms; although, the other two properties are not far behind in size. The Westin Makkah Hotel and the Four Points by Sheraton Makkah Hotel will offer 513 and 451 guestrooms, respectively. Together, the hotels will also deliver a total of 6,500 square feet of meeting space to the market. 

“As business travel and religious tourism continue to expand in Saudi Arabia, we believe the time is right to expand our portfolio in the country,” Michael Wale, president, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East, said in a prepared statement.

Other U.S.-based hotel companies clearly share Starwood’s views on Saudi Arabia, and Makkah in particular. And perhaps three is the magic number. Marriott International will open three hotels in the Holy City in a partnership with Jabal Omar beginning in 2014. Additionally, also working with Jabal Omar at Al Haram, Hyatt Hotels Corp. is making its entrée into Makkah with three lodging facilities, the last two of which will open in 2014. 

Starwood’s Makkah properties, which increase the hospitality company’s Saudi Arabia development pipeline to 3,000 guestrooms, will debut in 2015.