Qatar Holding Announces Harrods Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

Qatar Holding, a Qatar-based investment company, founded by the Qatar Investment Authority, has announced the development of new Harrods brand hotels at prime locations worldwide.

In 2010 the company bought the London-based, Harrods department store, for a price of around GBP1.5 billion. The recent launch of the hotel brand is part of the company strategy to develop and expand The Harrods Group portfolio.

The company intends to open Harrods hotels in key cities around the world, including Kuala Lumpur, New York and Paris, and certain major cities in China. Preference will be given to construct on sites already owned by Qatar Holding or its affiliates, for example at Chelsea Barracks in London or Costa Smeralda in Sardinia.

The company has recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Malaysia, with property developer, Jerantas Sdn Bhd, to study the possibility of developing a GBP406 million Harrods Hotel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. The new development is likely to include a 300-room hotel, residential apartments, and retail spaces.

Dr Hussain Ali AI-Abdulla, vice-chairman of Qatar Holding, said, ‘Qatar Holding will invest more, especially in Malaysia’s natural resources, due to the country’s political stability and economic growth expected to average 5 percent.’

Qatar Investment Authority, the autonomous wealth fund of the natural gas-rich state of Qatar, has invested heavily in western assets, that include iconic names such as Porsche, the Germany-based car manufacturer, Barclays, the UK-based bank, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the France-based luxury design company, and Tiffany, the US-based jeweller.


St Regis Doha Announces Opening of First Remede Spa in Middle East

St Regis Doha hotel, in Doha, Qatar, has opened its new Remede Spa, the first from the spa brand in the Middle East.

The new spa is offering an Olympic size swimming pool, luxurious pool cabanas and a private beachfront. The spa covers an area of around 1,400 square metres, and includes 22 treatment rooms, before and post-treatment lounges, as well as male and female steam rooms.

Tareq Derbas, the general manager at The St Regis Doha, said, ‘The opening of our Remede Spa is an important milestone for the hotel. We aim to offer guests an unprecedented level of bespoke experiences in everything we do at The St Regis Doha, and our Remede Spa treatments are no exception. It is the first time the customised treatments are brought to the Middle East, and the response we received so far from both Doha residents and hotel guests is very promising.’

The hotel is offering 336 guest rooms and suites; a business centre; concierge service; tennis courts; fitness facility; and wireless internet access in all guest rooms.

The hotel has recently opened two new Ramsay restaurants, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Doha and Opal by Gordon Ramsay Doha, by the famous chef.

Earlier Derbas said, ‘A great deal of effort and detail has been put into perfecting these culinary experiences for both casual diners and gourmet enthusiasts, and we are confident that these restaurants will elevate Doha’s fast-growing dining scene to the next level.’

Qatar Prepares for FIFA World Cup With New Tourism Law

The government of Qatar is preparing to issue a new tourism law as part of its preparations for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The new tourism law is designed to enable the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to develop the country’s tourism infrastructure so that it can cope with the demands that the influx of visitors for the competition will put on it. Take a look at the FIFA world cup guide.

The QTA is aiming for a 20 percent increase in tourism to Qatar in the next five years, assisted by the development of new hotels and infrastructure. Currently, most visitors to Qatar come from other Gulf Coast countries, with tourist numbers from the region growing by 22 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2012, to 845,000. Recent road shows in Al Khobar, Riyadh, Kuwait, Muscat and Abu Dhabi and Dubai were intended to promote Qatar as an ideal destination.

QTA’s director of tourism, Abdullah Mallala Al Badr, said, ‘Qatar has everything a high-end traveller needs, stunning hotels, cultural icons and many leisure activities. In 2011, we received 845,000 visitors from the GCC. The first quarter this year, saw tourist arrivals from the GCC jump 22 percent, year-on-year.’

Qatar was considered a controversial venue to host the 2022 World Cup, having little heritage where the sport of football is concerned and an exceptionally hot climate that many commentators doubted was conducive to playing top-level matches. Questions were also raised over the Muslim country’s attitude to alcohol, the consumption of which is synonymous with supporting football in many parts of the world, and how visiting female supporters would be tolerated.

Doubletree by Hilton Announces New Properties in Doha

Hilton Worldwide, a global hospitality company and a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group, has announced two new hotels to be built in Doha, Qatar, under its Doubletree by Hilton Brand.

The two new hotels will be known as the Doubletree by Hilton Doha Al Sadd, and the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Doha, and both are expected to open in 2014. They are in addition to a further three Hilton Worldwide properties due to debut in Qatar within the next three years.

The smaller of the two is the Doha Al Sadd, which will be situated in Doha’s main business and commercial district and have 145 rooms. It will also benefit from a health club, an outdoor pool, two restaurants, a bar, two boardrooms, four meeting rooms and a business centre.

The larger, Doubletree Suites by Hilton Doha, will be located in Doha’s West Bay district. It will have 240 rooms, offering one, two or three bedroom accommodation in a fifty-two-floor complex. The hotel intends to cater for longer-term guests, providing them with a function room, four meeting rooms, two boardrooms, a business centre, a health club and spa, an outdoor pool, two restaurants and two bars.

The hotels will reportedly be managed by Al Ryyan Tourism Investment company, a part of Faisal Holding Company, with whom Hilton Worldwide has signed a management contract.

Hilton Worldwide’s investment in Qatar comes at a time when the country is seeing a dramatic increase in visitor numbers. These are mostly from the business sector at present, with numbers expected to grow still further as Qatar prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.