What Arab Spring? Five five-star hotels set to open in Bahrain
Hundreds of millions of dinars are being invested in Bahrain's tourism industry with five new luxury hotels set to open in the next six months.
Adding to the 14 already in existence, they are all expected to be fully up and running by April and will create hundreds of jobs across the country.
The Four Seasons Hotel and Resort, in Bahrain Bay, is thought to represent a substantial investment in Bahrain's tourism industry, although the exact costs of the property have not been made public.
The five-star, 201-metre-tall, 50-storey hotel complex is due to open in the $2.5 billion Bahrain Bay waterfront development in April, creating 700 permanent jobs.
The Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, in Seef, has already opened to guests and will be officially launched next month.
The luxury multimillion dinar five-star hotel boasts a spa and wellness centre spread over an entire floor.
The 318 room five-star Renaissance Bahrain is due to open in Amwaj Islands in January, while leading international hotel chain, Rotana, also plans to build a new five-star hotel in 2014 following the opening of the BD22 million dinar Majestic Arjaan in Muharraq earlier this year.
The new Rotana Hotel will be built near Bab Al Bahrain.
The Swiss-Belhotel International will also open next March and is a four-star hotel promising to offer good value for money luxury accommodation.
Marriott International is also building Bahrain's first JW Marriott Hotel in Bahrain Bay. The 50-storey property will have 274 rooms and suites and 102 residences and is set to open in 2016.
The luxury Domain Hotel opened earlier this year in the Diplomatic area. The sleek 36-storey boutique hotel includes nine different social spaces and has the most expensive suite in the country, from between BD2,500 to BD4,230.
According to Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism committee chairman Nabeel Kanoo, the growth of the five-star hotel market is a sign things are looking up economically after the recession and political unrest of the last few years.
"The feeling was that things had to get better eventually and developers would carry on with their plans to build these luxury hotels, no matter what," he said.
"Despite the troubles, the belief was, things should carry on as normal.
"The numbers of people visiting from neighbouring GCC countries are increasing; it may take a while for that to filter through to the rest of the world as we get negative Press which doesn't help but it is all a matter of time.
"For the hotel companies I suppose it is a bit of a gamble at the moment, most of them are not being filled to capacity and before February 2011 most of the hotels were getting packed out during the weekend and holidays, but the fact that they are up and running can only be a good thing in the long-term as things begin to improve.
"We have to plan for the future and the good times that are ahead."
Salvatore Ramano, managing director of the recently opened Ramee Grand Hotel and Spa in Seef, said he was confident that his new five-star hotel, which boasts the country's biggest hotel room at more than 45sqm, would attract plenty of customers.
"The Ramee Grand has 18 years of experience in the hotel industry in Bahrain and we know exactly what our clients are looking for," he said.
"We have something special and unique to offer and that will always attract guests, whatever the climate, if you have a good name for yourself then people will come to you.
"In the last year there have been a lot of developments in Bahrain, people are investing and we are starting to see a return to how it was in 2005, 2006 and 2007."
Five-Star Hotels executive committee chairman Abdulnabi Daylami said there had been a 35 per cent improvement in the occupancy of the seven five-star hotels under the umbrella of the committee, which includes the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa and the Sheraton Hotel.
"Compared to last year we are faring much better. The current year so far has been much better than 2012 going by the occupancy levels of these hotels which we monitor on a daily and monthly basis," he said.
"As well as weekenders and travellers from other parts of the GCC we are getting more conventions and seminars taking place in Bahrain.
"More companies are using Bahrain as a place to conduct business. This means they are not just occupying the rooms but there are also restaurants and outlets so our five-star hotels are doing well."
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