Tag Archive | "hotels"

74 Hotels Close in Iraqi Kurdistan

By John Lee.

BasNews quotes the Head of the Kurdistan Restaurant and Hoteliers Association, Hersh Ahmad, as saying that 74 of the region’s 2,500 hotels have closed down in Erbil recently:

“The main reason is the fight against the Islamic State (IS) … And those which still operate have fired 50% of their staff, increasing unemployment in the region.”

Nadr Rosti, for the Kurdistan Board of Tourism, said that due to financial and security problems, far fewer fewer tourists are expected to visit this year.

(Source: BasNews)

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A Basra Lunch, with Locally Sourced Truffles?

By John Lee.

As long term observers of events in Iraq, the team at Iraq Business News thought we might have seen just about every unexpected story from a nation that continues to surprise.

We’d heard of the popularity of the Japanese comic character Hello Kitty in Iraq or the trend among some young Iraqis for playing online war-games with levels actually set in Iraq, such as Battlefield 3.

But we were still perplexed to see a genuine story about Basra residents who were sourcing truffles from the desert, despite the risk of unexploded ordinance and land mines, mainly leftover from the Iran-Iraq war. This has been happening for some time near Rumaila.

Odd as it may seem to an outsider, “desert truffles” are in fact as much a delicacy in the Middle East as they would be on the table of a Michelin starred restaurant in Europe.

The recent report on this in The Nation notes these truffles are sold in the markets in Basra, and as more hotels are built in the province, they may already be on the plates of visiting diners.

(Source: The Nation)


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Warwick International Opens First Iraq Hotel

By John Lee.

Warwick International Hotels Group (WIH) has opened its portfolio new 300-room Babylon Warwick Hotel in Baghdad.

The company has entered into a contract with Al Ebaa Company to manage the propertly, located on the edge of the Tigris River opposite of the USA Embassy.

According to an announcement from the Groip, the hotel has been fully renovated to meet the international five stars hotel standards to meet the expectations of international travelers.

Facilities include indoor and outdoor Olympic swimming pools, a spa with a Turkish bath, a fitness center, tennis courts, 3 conference rooms with a meeting capacity of up to 750 guests, 6 restaurants and a Cigar bar.

(Source: WIH)

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New 25-Storey Hotel for Basra

By John Lee.

The Basra Investment Commission has reportedly approved a number of projects including the construction of a 25-storey hotel and a shopping mall.

According to a report from Zawya, Commission Chairman Ali Gasib said the luxury hotel would be located near the Shatt Al Arab river, while the shopping facility would be situated next to Basra Sports City.

The project costs were not revealed.

(Source: Zawya)

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Rotana Opens Second Hotel in Iraq

By John Lee.

Hotel management company Rotana has opened its second property in Iraq.

The Karbala Rayhaan is a five-star property in the tourist city of Karbala, which attracts more than 12 million visitors a year.

Omer Kaddouri, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said:

In 2012 Iraq posted a GDP growth rate of approximate 10.2 per cent, making it one of the most promising emerging markets in the region and one that is attracting a great deal of investment. The market holds immense potential for Rotana across a number of entry points as there is a huge unmet demand for quality accommodation and hospitality offerings.

“The opening of the Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana – our second property in Iraq – paves the way for building a wider footprint in the country. Our Baghdad property in the Iraqi capital is due to be completed in 2014.

“Karbala is one of the busiest tourist sites in the region, but the city currently lacks any hotels that offer international standards of accommodation and service. This is a gap that our new hotel will immediately address.

The hotel is the first of Rotana’s Rayhaan brand to open in Iraq, bringing the Rayhaan by Rotana regional hotel portfolio to five – in addition to three hotels in the UAE and one in Makkah.

The 14-storey hotel features 185 rooms and suites, designed in a contemporary style, each offering a stylish and tranquil abode complete with all the facilities and amenities including high speed wireless internet, in-room entertainment with multi-channel satellite television, complimentary coffee and tea facilities and IDD telephone and voicemail.

Guests can enjoy three food and beverage venues – an all-day dining restaurant ‘Al Fardous’, the ‘Al Noor Café’ at the lobby level and a specialty rooftop restaurant called ‘Al Nakheel.’

The hotel also includes a wellness centre, featuring Turkish bath, steam and sauna, Jacuzzi and massage rooms. It also provides a meeting room, fully equipped with the latest business facilities.

(Source: Trade Arabia)

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First Hyatt-Branded Hotel in Iraq

By John Lee.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced that a Hyatt affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Claremont Group LLC, a New York-based real estate development company, for a Hyatt Regency hotel in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

Expected to open in 2017, Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will be the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Iraq.

Peter Norman, senior vice president, real estate and development, for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said:

Bringing the Hyatt brand to Iraq is one of the most exciting projects we have in development. Kurdistan is a stable and prosperous area of Iraq, and as a result, the economy is growing and demand for lodging accommodations is rising.

“There is great potential for growth in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, and we look forward to introducing the Hyatt brand to guests visiting the region. Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will offer a full range of services, amenities and dining options to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.

Alex Lari (pictured) of Claremont Group added:

We are delighted to work with Hyatt on the first Hyatt Regency hotel in the country. We believe the strength of Hyatt’s service and culture, as well as its depth of operational expertise, will bring great value to the new hotel.

Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will offer 210 guestrooms, as well as an all-day dining restaurant, more than 17,500 square feet (1,660 square meters) of meeting and event space, a fitness center, a five-treatment room spa, and three pools. Located in the city of Sulaymaniyah, 210 miles northeast of Baghdad, Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will be the only hotel in Hawary Shar Park, a 240-acre leisure and entertainment park currently under development, which will include a shopping mall, a golf course and zoological gardens.

(Source: Hyatt)

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Downtown Erbil “a Milestone” for Kurdistan

Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani kicked off the nearly-$3-billion “Downtown Erbil” project on Sunday, calling the venture that is estimated to create 35,000 jobs and transform the face of the Kurdish capital, “a milestone for the Kurdistan Region.”

This project will be a source of pride and a source of income for thousands of families,” Barzani said at a commencement ceremony with Mohamed Alabbar, head of Dubai’s Emaar Properties, which is leading the project and hopes to finish it in around five years.

Barzani said that the 133-acre “Downtown Erbil” — which envisions the capital’s largest shopping mall, five-star hotels, apartment towers, schools and healthcare facilities — “is a milestone for the Kurdistan Region.

He added that the development marks a turn in Kurdistan, a three-province autonomous Kurdish enclave of five million in northern Iraq whose economy is booming and which posted a whopping 12-percent economic growth last year.

Downtown Erbil will be a true hub for business and tourism in Erbil,” Alabbar told a gathering of government ministers, foreign diplomats, Erbil governor Nawzad Hadi and many businessmen attending the inauguration ceremony.

It will touch around $3 billion,” Alabbar said about the cost of the development.

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Rotana Names New Karbala Management Team

Abu Dhabi-based Rotana, a leading hotel management company, announced the general manager and other senior appointments for its new property in Iraq, the five-star Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana.

General manager Nader Mobader, a seasoned hospitality player with 18 years of industry experience in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has been leading the team through the crucial pre-opening phase and will head the operations when the hotel opens its doors to guests next month.

A native of Lebanon, Mobader is a graduate from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland. Prior moving to Rotana, Mobader worked with several international hotel chains.

Rotana also announced other key appointments, including Ali Kamar who has been appointed to the role of Rooms Division manager, and Wissam Injibar who takes on the position of director of Sales, and Hassan Salameh as executive Chef, overseeing the daily operations of the F&B department encompassing the hotel’s four dining outlets and one meeting room.

Mohamad Haj Hassan, Rotana’s area vice president – Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Sudan said:

“Iraq is a market that holds a great deal of interest for Rotana, and we wanted to make sure that the right team was in place to consolidate our reputation for service and excellence when we opened our second property in the country.

The Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana will be the first and only five-star hotel to open in the city of Karbala, which annually attracts more than 12 million visitors.

The 200-room, 14-storey hotel is accessible from both Najaf Airport (80km) and Baghdad Airport (130km).

(Source: Trade Arabia)

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