Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Middle East and Africa (MEA) will unveil a trio of new-to-region hospitality brands at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014 as part of its planned programme of expansion and growth, with a target of 50 properties by 2017.
The three new brands will shortly be making their debut in the region, – Studio M, M Hotel and Millennium Executive Apartments – will each address new and growing market segment needs and help Millennium & Copthorne grow its brand presence throughout the Middle East.
“We see immense scope for development in the region and have identified certain gaps in the market where Millennium & Copthorne’s own unique portfolio of brands will fit perfectly with the target audience whilst bringing different aspects of our brand philosophy to guests across the Middle East from the UAE to KSA,” said Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi, President & CEO, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels MEA.
A contemporary concept created to appeal to smart and trendy corporate and leisure travellers and designed for the young at heart with its chic and contemporary functionality, Studio M’s contemporary conceptual design by world-renowned Italian designer Piero Lissoni delivers a ‘hip and happening’ environment at an affordable price. The first Studio M in the Middle East will open on the King Fahad Road in Riyadh in Q2 2015 with a 145-key property featuring dedicated meeting facilities signature design and an exciting new all-day dining concept called ‘At the M’.
“We are extremely excited about bringing Studio M to the region as there is a clear need for mid-market urban brands with a tech-savvy identity to attract Gen Y travellers who are the corporate decision-makers of the future. We also hope we can build future brand loyalty for our five-star brands,” said Alzaabi.
Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Al Khobar, Riyadh and Jeddah have been identified as prime locations for the innovative mid-market brand with Alzaabi confirming that the Doha and Dubai sites are already at an advanced stage of negotiations, with a total of six properties set to be signed/launched by 2017. “We have also received investment interest to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that could help develop the brand further, and grow the number of Studio M properties in as many as 20 locations within the next five years,” he noted.
M Hotel, with its urban lifestyle concept, is firmly aimed at the business traveller with spacious, stylish design and business-friendly functionality, is set to be initially rolled out into Dubai, Doha, Riyadh and Jeddah by 2017.
“Located in CBD’s or urban hubs, M Hotels are all about smart-tech function with a strong service-focused philosophy; essentially somewhere where business and pleasure meet with a modern, international vibe and the requisite international lifestyle elements that build brand identity and, hopefully, customer loyalty. We have secured a prime Jeddah location and are busy acquiring locations in Dubai while also moving forward with a project in Makkah,” said Alzaabi.
Rounding out the big ATM reveal is the Millennium Executive Apartments concept, which Alzaabi says will specifically address the growing demand for serviced apartments in the region. “This brand is a global first for Millennium & Copthorne and will debut in the Middle East. We see huge opportunity here both from business travellers and contractors/consultants looking for competitively priced mid to long-stay fully serviced options, as well as GCC nationals for whom apartment-style living under a major hospitality brand umbrella is the ideal solution to family travel with all on-hand facilities and spaciously configured flexible accommodation.”
The Millennium Executive Apartments model is also an attractive option for hotel investors looking to secure higher financial returns from a lower cost structure, and incorporating efficient and practical design. The first Millennium Executive Apartment property will open in Muscat by Q4 2014 followed by a second opening in the popular Dubai Marina district in Q4 this year, with 10 stand-alone and mixed-use development-sited properties targeted across key GCC cities within the next three years.
The 115-key Millennium Executive Apartments, Muscat will be connected to the Grand Mall Muscat development where the company recently announced the signing of its Grand Millennium, Muscat Hotel. A Copthorne Muscat Hotel will also open nearby. In Dubai, the Marina property will offer 151 spacious one to three-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments and eight villas with access to a spa, gym and two swimming pools.
“We are looking to maintain our growth strategy for hybrid projects where we can develop both hotels and service apartment properties; however, the stand-alone model is also receiving tremendous interest, especially for Sharia-compliant projects,” said Alzaabi.
Currently Millennium and Copthorne Hotels & Resorts operates 17 hotels, with approximately 5,000 rooms across the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Iraq, with an ambitious expansion plan. As part of their regional expansion plans, the Hotel and Resort group recently announced plans to open a total of 50 new hotels by 2017, this includes 20 hotels in Saudi Arabia.
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