Bahrain hospitality, retail sectors hold promise, says CBRE

New retail developments set to enter the pipeline include The Courtyard in Seef District and the 42,000sqm Galleria in Zinj

PHOTO: The second quarter of 2015 was busy for Bahrain’s hospitality sector, says a CBRE report. Credit: CBRE

Bahrain’s retail sector continues to witness development in the destination and community mall segments, while its hospitality market has also been busy in the second quarter, according to a CBRE report.

New neighbourhood retail and food and beverage offerings are set to enter the pipeline in Bahrain, such as Maalem Holding’s The Courtyard in Seef District, due to open in the third quarter this year, as well as the 42,000sqm Galleria in Zinj, slated for completion in Q4 2015.

These will be closely followed in 2016 by the $6.5 million Wadi Al Sail project in Riffa, according to a report by the property firm.

Meanwhile, the second quarter of 2015 has seen the busiest time of the year for the hospitality sector in the country, with the Bahrain Formula 1 Gulf Air Grand Prix taking place in April and hotels reporting 90-100% occupancy over the period across all classes. However, the month of Ramadan has affected occupancy rates, as expected, CBRE said.

“With Ramadan commencing in mid-June this year, the usual challenges of the Holy Month have come early for the industry, with projections of circa 40 to 60% average occupancy for the month, which is an improvement on previous years according to spokespeople for the hotels sector,” said Steve Mayes, director of Middle East research at CBRE Bahrain.

“Despite reported challenges in achieving optimum occupancy levels, the momentum of new proposed developments shows no sign of abating. The Four Seasons at Bahrain Bay and ART Rotana at Amwaj Islands have already launched earlier this year. Rotana: Downtown is also due for completion this year at Bab Al Bahrain, in the heart of Manama,” Mayes added.

According to the report, other upcoming hospitality projects in Bahrain include a hotel development at the master planned Water Garden City, due for completion in 2015. Last month, a management agreement was inked for the hotel with Marriott International, which will operate the project under its Residence Inn by Marriott brand. Moreover, Emaar Hospitality Group will also soon introduce The Address and Vida brands in Bahrain, in associated with Abu Dhabi developer Eagle Hills, further adding to the pipeline in the luxury segment.

Meanwhile, in the budget sector, the Ibis Hotel Sanabis, the first of its kind budget mid-range hotel chain to open in Bahrain, has also entered the scene taking advantage of the limited offerings in the Kingdom for affordable accommodation. Currently, however, five-star brands appear to be leading growth in the hospitality sector, Mayes pointed out.

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