Fairmont plots aggressive Middle East expansion

Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai will provide the locations for the Candian chain's expansion in the region

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By  Robbie Greenfield Published  May 26, 2005

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts (FHR) has earmarked new ventures in Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of an aggressive regional expansion spearheaded by the Canadian chain’s recently formed Europe, Africa & Middle East division (EAME). The focus on the Middle East as a key global market has resulted in the company setting up office in Dubai as it seeks to energise the Fairmont brand from a regional base. “This is a natural evolution for our brand,” says William Fatt, Fairmont’s CEO. “With a number of existing projects ongoing in the region and many of our key strategic partners located in the Gulf, it was only a matter of time before Fairmont established a corporate presence here.” The Fairmont Abu Dhabi Resort & Villas, located on the breakwater island development opposite the Corniche and comprising 265 rooms and 50 villas, is scheduled to open early 2007. The chain will manage the resort on behalf of Abu Dhabi based National Investment Corporation. The project architect is local company Dewan Architects & Engineers, while Singapore firm Wilson & Associates will handle interior design. Also slated for an early 2007 opening is the Fairmont Cairo, which will be part of the Nile City office and retail development. The 552-room hotel is a joint venture with Nile City Investment Company and the Kingdom Hotel Investment Group, both of whom will invest approximately US $10 million for an equity interest of around 15% each in the property. Last of Fairmont’s three-pronged Middle East venture will be the 2008 opening of the 400-room Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort. A strategic alliance with Kuwait based IFA Hotels & Resorts; FHR and the Kingdom Hotel Investment Group will both invest about US $15 million for a 10% equity interest each in the project. IFA itself will invest US $450 million in the Fairmont Palm project.

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