Four years since first opening their doors to the public, Southern Sun’s flagship Middle Eastern properties, Southern Sun Al Manzil and Qamardeen Hotels, have emerged as two of the most popular business hotels in Dubai, paving the way for future growth plans for Africa’s leading hotel operator in the Middle East region.
Both Al Manzil and Qamardeen Hotels are the only 4-star properties to appear in the Top 20 ranking of the Trip Advisor Popularity Index, out of the 377 Dubai hotels listed. The popular travel review website also voted Al Manzil the Best Business Hotel in Dubai, adding the customer vote of confidence to the property’s commercial success, with Al Manzil currently topping its competitor set in terms of RevPAR.
The excellent performance of these two Southern-Sun operated hotels has prompted EMAAR Hospitality Group to sign a master agreement with the hotel operator, granting Southern Sun Hotels Middle East the opportunity to manage future Emaar 4-star deluxe properties. “The signing of the Master Agreement with Emaar Hospitality Group reveals the quality of the relationship built with the owners of Al Manzil and Qamardeen Hotels and their confidence in our operational capabilities – which have been ably demonstrated through the success of these two flagship properties,” said Richard Weilers, Managing Director, Southern Sun Offshore.
“When we opened at the start of 2007, we were the first commercial enterprises operating in the Downtown Dubai district. Four years on, and we have carved a distinctive place for ourselves within this vibrant business and leisure district, and in Dubai’s highly competitive hospitality scene. We intend to leverage this success to grow Southern Sun’s portfolio in the Middle East region,” added Weilers.
The first property in the group’s regional development pipeline is a new 4-star deluxe property in Abu Dhabi, due to open in 2012. Located in Mina Street, the new hotel is close to the Corniche and adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s central business district, placing it in a highly enviable location in the city.
Property developer, United Group, has just broken ground on the 17-storey, 350-room hotel development which is expected to include a configuration of standard rooms and deluxe suites, three restaurants and a coffee shop, a reflection pool on the fourth podium next to key F&B outlets, a modern cocktail beverage facility and specialty restaurant, attractive rooftop pool with F&B facility, and a functional gym on the 17th floor with sweeping views of the city. The hotel will also have well-appointed business facilities, with meeting rooms accommodating between 16 and 80 delegates and a business centre complete with two boardrooms.
Southern Sun’s regional operations are also due to expand further, with a new 4-star deluxe property in Jeddah, the group’s first in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Due to open in December 2012, the new property will comprise 230 rooms and 70 apartments. The hotel will also feature six Food & Beverage outlets and extensive meeting facilities – including seven meeting rooms that can accommodate varying capacities between 50-400 people, and two boardrooms.
The upcoming hotels will join a highly successful portfolio that continues to grow from strength to strength, courtesy of expanding operations and the formation of new strategic alliances by the Southern Sun Group, who recently celebrated its 40th anniversary in August, 2009. A recent alliance involves a partnership entered into with QATARI DIAR Real Estate Investment Company, who purchased a 50% stake in Southern Sun’s MAIA Luxury Resort and Spa on Mahé, Seychelles.
On home territory, Southern Sun’s expansion is also displaying healthy growth with a new deluxe property that opened in Hyde Park in Johannesburg, South Africa followed by the opening of a new 4-star deluxe property in Fourways, Sandton, Johannesburg in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
In addition to these welcome developments and hard-earned achievements, Southern Sun’s recently opened 4-star deluxe property in Lagos, Nigeria, garnered the accolade of “Best Hotel Facility in Nigeria” for 2010 at the inaugural Nigerian Hospitality Excellence Awards, within its first six months of operation. The hotel’s solid performance has also secured Southern Sun a signed agreement with local Nigerian investment companies for a second property in Lagos. Southern Sun’s African expansion is set to continue courtesy of a Development and Management contract signed with Napza for a 130-room budget hotel in Lusaka, Zambia that is planned as part of an integrated Shopping Centre development. Southern Sun has a current portfolio of over 90 properties in South Africa, Seychelles, Dubai, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique and Nigeria.
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