Oman’s continued growth as a tourism destination is set to receive another boost as The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is on track to deliver three new hotels, providing more than 900 additional rooms, in 2017/18.
The hotels include the five-star W hotel currently under construction alongside the expansion of the Royal Opera House in the heart of the capital, as well as the five-star JW Marriott and 4-star Crowne Plaza located at the country’s flagship upcoming master-development; Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre. These hotels are set to increase the Omran’s business and luxury room supply, supporting the Sultanate’s strategic expansion of its leisure tourism and MICE industries, especially focusing on the country’s new iconic business hub; the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC).
Commenting on the significance of the new hotels, Eng. Said bin Mohammed Al Qasmi, Chief Project Officer, Omran and Head of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre development, said: “The new business hub at Madinat Al Irfan Urban development is going to be extraordinary – a new urban fabric will be introduced into Muscat, offering a multitude of opportunities in Oman for residents and visitors alike. The opening of both JW Marriot at Crowne Plaza next year will continue the initial stage of phase one of this development, adding another dimension to the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.”
He added: “By having these fantastic hotels on-site to complement the world-class OCEC facility, it means there are already assets on the ground at the Madinat Al Irfan Urban development. Projects of this size often focus on doing a lot off-plan, but this is not the case with Al Irfan. We’ve begun phase one, and investors can see great progress and tangible top-class facilities already in place. Additionally, the combination of new hotel rooms and the exhibition and conference facilities so close to Muscat International Airport underlines the prominent role the MICE industry is going to play in the mixed-use vision for Madinat Al Irfan.”
The OCEC and the wider Madinat Al Irfan development are central to the Oman Government’s strategy to diversify the national economy. By creating a comprehensive mixed-use business and urban city, the Sultanate will create a major venue for regional and international events, developing Oman’s business tourism offerings and also providing the perfect place to support developing local talent. A mix of hotels are an integral part of this.
“The 304 key JW Marriott will be the most exclusive and prestigious of all planned hotels on the OCEC site, with the five-star property providing the height of luxury and top service to visitors to OCEC and Madinat Al Irfan. The Crowne Plaza will be positioned as a four-star hotel with 296 rooms, offering visitors a comprehensive experience including varied F&B outlets as well as a health and leisure club. The two hotels will provide a dynamic choice for visitors, complementing the top level conference and exhibition facilities at OCEC with the outstanding hospitality expected of Oman,” Eng. Said Al Qasmi added.
The two properties on the OCEC site, the JW Marriott and the Crowne Plaza, are being built to the highest environmental sustainability standards and as with all projects under construction by Omran and within OCEC, are designed to meet the criteria for the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Also conforming to LEED certification is The W Hotel, a high-end contemporary property located next to the Royal Opera House Muscat. Delivering a further 290 rooms to Muscat’s hotel supply, The W is part of Starwood Hotel Group’s portfolio and will bring the brand’s signature of combining the energetic, vibrant, forward-thinking and artistic attitude with the unique individuality of the destination.
Commenting on the new W Hotel, Nasser Bin Mohammed Al Maqbali, CEO of Omran’s project development subsidiary, Bunyan added: “The proximity to the Royal Opera House will give visitors a fantastic way to experience the vibrancy of Muscat. The W’s ethos is to integrate facets of the destination into the feel of the hotel, and Oman’s rich cultural heritage and renown for hospitality means the new property will truly be a place to immerse yourself in Muscat’s charms. Twinned with the cultural experience of the Opera House, this will be a unique way of enabling Shatti Al Qurum’s development into an the art, culture and lifestyle district of Muscat.”
- Al Maqbali commented on what the additional hotel keys meant for the sector: “These three international brand hotels coming online imminently is welcome. They are the first stage in Omran’s reinvigoration of the segment as we work with the public and private sectors to establish a robust platform for Oman to grow steadily and sustainably.
“The long-term benefit is going to be a much needed stabilizing of prices, bringing hotel rates in-line with other regions and incentivizing the hotel market in the Sultanate to be much more efficient. Short term pressure is a possibility, but Omran is looking to build a long-term, sustainable industry, and these new hotels are critical to achieving that,” he added.
The three new properties are set to open in 2017 and 2018, following the exhibition halls opening of the OCEC latter this year.