InterCon continues expansion plans

Holiday Inn Sharjah opens and Express names architect for Saudi

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By  Sarah Gain Published  September 4, 2006

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) continues to expand its Middle East presence with the opening of the Holiday Inn Sharjah, the appointment of Zuhair Fayez Partnership (ZFP) as architect and engineering design consultant for its Express by Holiday Inn properties under construction in Saudi Arabia, and the promotion of Pascal Gauvin to director of operations, UAE and Qatar, InterContinental Hotels Group. The new Holiday Inn Sharjah is located in the emirate’s Central Business District, 15kms away from Dubai International Airport and 20kms away from the Dubai World Trade Centre, a location that Gauvin claims will be instrumental in the hotel’s success. “The location is great; it is next to the airport and will attract weekend business from Abu Dhabi, because of its facilities, Gauvin told Hotelier Middle East. “Sharjah Holiday Inn has just soft opened. That is a superb product and a great opportunity for us. I am very confident and I see big demand there,” he claimed, pointing out that there is a “need for more hotels and diversity in Sharjah”. Offering 139 studios and 41 one- and two-bedroom apartments, the property includes conference facilities providing state-of-the-art video, audio and telecommunications equipment for corporate visitors to take advantage of, and is bound to tap into the lucrative MICE market in the UAE. Meanwhile, the group has cranked up its Express by Holiday Inn development in Saudi Arabia with the appointment of Zuhair Fayez Partnership (ZFP) as architect and engineering design consultant for the SR 400 million nationwide Express by Holiday Inn Hotel Program. Assaudia Real Estate Development is the company developing the 15 Express by Holiday Inn properties across the kingdom, while ZFP will develop the architectural designs of the branded three-star hotels. “The appointment of ZFP is in line with Assaudia’s strategy of appointing technical service providers with proven expertise and superior levels of professional standards,” said Motasim Hajaj, general manager of Assaudia Real Estate Development. “We are honoured to be associated with this project which will add value to the Saudi Arabian economy and significantly address the existing gap in the availability of quality three-star hotels,” said Abdullah Alsaady, executive VP of Zuhair Fayez Partnership. “The Express by Holiday Inn Hotel Program will develop 15 hotels over the next five years in strategic locations across the Kingdom. Each hotel will be licensed by IHG. In addition to the 15 Express by Holiday Inn properties being developed in Saudi Arabia, IHG is preparing to open 20 additional Express properties across the GCC. Hospitality Management Services Middle East Ltd (HMS), the master franchise developer and operator of Express by Holiday Inn in the Gulf will operate the 20 properties. The first GCC property will be built at Knowledge Village, part of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), and is scheduled to open at the end of 2006. The additional 19 properties will come on line by 2010.

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