Ascott Accelerates Growth In The Middle East With Three More Contracts And A New Property Opening In Saudi Arabia
Singapore, 17 October 2016 – CapitaLand’s wholly owned serviced residence business unit, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), continues to extend its footprint in the Middle East to capture a bigger share of the market, by clinching contracts to manage another three properties in Saudi Arabia, including its first in the Islamic holy city of Makkah. The 280-unit Ascott Makkah, 92-unit Ascott Villas Riyadh and 69-unit Spectrums Residence in Jeddah are all slated to open in 2017.
In addition, Ascott is set to open Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh, its first serviced residence in the Kingdom’s capital, as the company affirmed its leadership position in the Middle East with three wins at the recent World Travel Awards, including being named Middle East’s ‘Leading Serviced Apartment Brand’.
Mr Lee Chee Koon, Ascott’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Religious tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry. In Saudi Arabia, religious tourism is valued at US$5.68 billion, with 19 million pilgrims having visited Makkah and Madinah in 2015, and this is further expected to reach 30 million by 20251 . The strong partnerships we have forged in the Middle East have enabled us to accelerate Ascott’s expansion in the region to tap this growing market. Saudi conglomerate Abdul Samad Al Qurashi has entrusted Ascott to manage six serviced residences, the latest being Ascott Makkah and Spectrums Residence in Jeddah. We will further expand via management contracts in these gateway cities where we will continue to build scale. We aim to double our portfolio in the Middle East to 5,000 units by 2020.”
The latest contracts increase Ascott’s portfolio in the Middle East to more than 2,700 apartment units in 19 properties across 10 cities in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Mr Lee added: “Our partners recognise Ascott’s extensive capabilities in operating serviced residences and our global network of properties. Ascott has presence in eight of the top 10 destinations popular with Muslim travellers – Malaysia, UAE, Turkey, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Singapore2 . We will be able to tap into our network easily to crosssell our properties catering to this niche market.”
The number of business and leisure travellers visiting the Middle East is also increasing, driven by government measures to diversify the region’s oil-based economy, attract foreign investments, develop tourism and infrastructure, and host large-scale international events such as the Dubai World Expo 2020 and FIFA World Cup 2022. This year, Ascott has added five properties with more than 700 apartment units in the Middle East. It opened Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah, the first Citadines-branded property in the region, Somerset Panorama Muscat and will soon open Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh. Over the next three years, 11 more Ascott properties will come into operation in Dubai in UAE; Istanbul in Turkey; Al Khobar, Jeddah, Makkah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Muscat and Sohar in Oman.
Mr Tony Soh, Ascott’s Chief Corporate Officer who oversees the company’s business in the Middle East, said: “As the first international branded serviced residence in the holy city of Makkah, Ascott Makkah will set a new benchmark for quality accommodation by marrying the comfort and privacy of an apartment with hotel services in a prime location. We will also offer a new type of serviced residence through Ascott Villas Riyadh, which combines luxuriously furnished villas with Ascott’s award-winning hospitality service, to cater to the growing demand from relocating expatriates, families as well as project groups.”
Affirming its leading position in the region, Ascott was recently named Middle East’s ‘Leading Serviced Apartment Brand’ at the World Travel Awards. The Awards is considered the Oscars of the travel industry and winners are voted by travellers and travel professionals worldwide. Ascott also won in two other categories. Ascott Park Place Dubai was named Dubai’s ‘Leading Serviced Apartments’ while Somerset West Bay Doha was selected as Qatar’s ‘Leading Serviced Apartments’.
Besides Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh, Ascott Makkah, Ascott Villas Riyadh and Spectrums Residence, Ascott will open Citadines Culture Village Dubai and Somerset Maslak Istanbul in 2017. Ascott Culture Village Dubai, Ascott Corniche Al Khobar, Citadines Al Ghubrah Muscat, Somerset Corniche Jeddah and Sohar Garden Residences are slated to open in 2018 while Somerset Downtown Al Khobar will be ready in 2019.
Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh (Opening in November 2016)
Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh is located close to the upcoming King Abdullah Financial District, the prime financial centre of Saudi Arabia’s capital. It is a 20-minute drive from the Riyadh King Khalid International Airport. An exclusive serviced residence providing efficient business support services and lifestyle facilities, Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh offers 234 luxurious studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, catering to both short, medium and long-stay guests. Each apartment has contemporary furnishings, fully-equipped kitchen, spacious dining, lounge and bedroom areas that allow residents to live comfortably. Business facilities comprise meeting rooms and business centre while recreational facilities include children’s playroom, gymnasium, steam and sauna room, swimming pool and residents’ lounge. A selection of restaurants, café and boutiques are also available for residents’ convenience within the property.
Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh is offering attractive rates starting from 700 SAR from now to 31 December 2016. The rates are inclusive of complimentary wireless Internet connection, daily breakfast, daily housekeeping and parking.
Ascott Makkah (Opening in 2017)
Ascott Makkah is located on Masjid Al Haram Street in the Al Aziziyah District, within walking distance to the Grand Mosque and Mina in Makkah – two main sites visited by pilgrims to perform the rituals of Hajj and Umrah. The serviced residence will have 280 rooms, studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments as well as facilities such as a fully-equipped gymnasium, conference rooms, business centre, restaurant, residents’ lounge and playroom for children. The surrounding area has shops, supermarkets and the Umm Al-Qura University.
Ascott Makkah is in close proximity to the Mina train station. Upon the completion of the Haramain High-Speed Rail connecting the cities of Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah in 2018, the property can be reached in 30 minutes from Jeddah and King Abdul Aziz International Airport and 90 minutes from Madinah
Ascott Villas Riyadh (Opening in 2017)
Situated in the prestigious Hittin District, north of Riyadh, Ascott Villas Riyadh is a fiveminute drive to the King Abdullah Financial District, which has been billed as Riyadh’s new central business district and is the future home of the Saudi Stock Exchange, Capital Markets Authority and a host of other financial and professional services firms. Ascott Villas Riyadh is well connected to all parts of Riyadh, with easy access via King Fahd Road and Northern Ring Road as well as the upcoming metro station.
Ascott Villas Riyadh will feature 92 luxurious serviced villas with two or three bedrooms, dedicated business and leisure facilities including a business centre, fully-equipped gymnasium, swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, restaurant, residents’ lounge and children’s playground. With its location in one of Riyadh’s most sought-after areas, near luxury residences of some of Riyadh’s most prominent personalities, the property will offer an unrivalled lifestyle amidst a variety of fashionable shopping centres, trendy restaurants and cafés.
Spectrums Residence (Opening in 2017)
Spectrums Residence will offer 69 large two-bedroom apartments and facilities such as a kids’ playroom, breakfast area and residents’ lounge. It is conveniently located in Al Salamah District on Prince Sultan Road, right opposite the Centerpoint shopping centre in the north of Jeddah.