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May 25, 2008

Rocco Forte to manage new Jeddah hotel and venue

International hotel group the Rocco Forte Collection is to manage a new luxury hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia due to open in 2010. The contract was signed recently in Rome with Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Al Issa and Abdullah Mohamed Al Issa.

Jeddah is the second largest retail destination in the Gulf after Dubai, and the new-build project will be located in the heart of the city’s fashionable shopping district on Tahlia Road, close to the Corniche, 20 minutes’ drive from the airport and within easy reach of the central business district. The Jeddah property will be the 16th hotel in The Rocco Forte Collection, and will feature a 1,000 square metres of conference and meetings space.

“I am delighted to announce the signing of this property in Jeddah, our second management contract in the Middle East after Abu Dhabi, which we signed in February,” said Sir Rocco Forte, chairman and chief executive of The Rocco Forte Collection. “There is a lot of interest in our brand in this region and we hope to build critical mass in a relatively short time. We are very pleased to be working in partnership with Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Al Issa and his company.”

The owning company is Mohammed Al Issa and Sons (MASC), which is a Saudi holding company created by its founder Mohamed Al Issa more than 35 years ago. It is active in the financial, industrial, food and real estate business. It has recently entered the hospitality business and is a majority shareholder in the only publicly listed company in the hotel business.

The owner believes in the growing hospitality sector and so has taken a new strategic decision to invest directly in several hotels in the Saudi market and internationally. The company currently has five and four-star hotels on its drawing board, some of which are already under construction, with others soon to be in operation.

“We are very pleased to be working with The Rocco Forte Collection, which is already one of the leading luxury hotel brands in Europe and will make a significant impact in the Middle East,” said Sheikh Mohamed Ibrahim Al Issa. “We look forward to working with Sir Rocco to help bring his company’s philosophy of simple luxury to life in Jeddah.”

The two-tower, 19-floor hotel will consist of 159 rooms, with a high proportion of suites, and around 50 serviced apartments. Visitors and locals will have the choice of a 90-seat restaurant and a second 70-seat fine-dining venue. 

Other facilities include a business centre and 700 square metre ballroom, as well as a further 1,000 square metres of conference space. Every room fitted with the highest quality state-of-the-art technology. 

The hotel will also feature a 1,500 square metre health club, including a 20-metre swimming pool.

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