First Marriott hotel opens doors in Makkah

Hospitality chain has 19 more projects in the pipeline for Saudi Arabia

PHOTO: The new Makkah Marriott Hotel is a 426-room property with an arabesque theme. Credit: Marriott Hotels

The US hospitality company Marriott International has opened the Makkah Marriott Hotel, its first property in Saudi Arabia’s holy city.

The arabesque-themed 426-room hotel sits on a hilltop in Makkah, providing views over the city and the Sacred Mosque.

Signature features at the new hotel include a ‘Greatroom’ lobby, part of a Marriott Hotels initiative to make hotel lobbies less formal and a place for guests to relax or socialise, according to a company statement. The property will also offer a mobile check-in and check-out facility through the Marriott Mobile App.

Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector is expected to expand in the coming years, with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) forecasting that domestic tourism will grow to 128 million trips and 640 million nights by 2019. Religious tourism is a key driver, as millions of Muslims make their way to the Holy cities each year for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

“It’s very fitting that our flagship brand, Marriott Hotels is seeing a rapid expansion in the Kingdom. The opening of a Marriott Hotel in Makkah is part of our commitment to fill a growing gap in the religious tourism sector in the region, which experts estimate will exponentially increase as the population of the Islamic faith grows,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president of Marriott International in the Middle East and Africa.

Marriott International first began operations in the Middle East with the opening of the 411-room Riyadh Marriott Hotel in Saudi Arabia in 1980. In addition to the newly opened hotel in Makkah, the hospitality company says it has a further 19 properties in the pipeline for Saudi Arabia.


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