In 2018, Accor witnessed an historic year, with a record number of hotel openings and signings and the acquisition of 14 new brands. The augmented hospitality group opened 100,000 guestrooms, including both organic growth and acquisitions, and signed agreements to manage almost 500 new hotels, representing 110 more than in 2017.
Accor not only significantly strengthened its international footprint and crossed the 100-country milestone, but created one of the industry’s largest and most diverse portfolio of brands, covering every segment, from economy to luxury. It also dramatically strengthened its position in the lifestyle sector, global demand for which is robust.
In the Middle East and Africa (MEA), one of Accor’s fastest-growing markets for development, the acquisitions have bolstered its portfolio to more than 260 properties with 60,000-plus rooms across 36 countries region wide (as of April 8, 2019).
They have also provided a springboard for accelerated growth, with more than 20 projects opening in 2019 alone.
Looking ahead, the group is eyeing strong development opportunities for its now unrivalled portfolio of residences, extended-stay and lifestyle brands, and assessing the growth potential for all-inclusive luxury resorts.
“2018 was an outstanding year for Accor with brand acquisitions and new hotel signings consolidating our leadership position in the Middle East and Africa and providing travellers with an unparalleled choice of innovative world-class hospitality concepts,” explains Chief Executive Officer, MEA, Mark Willis
“We continue to build on these achievements in 2019 as we open a raft of new properties and identify opportunities to rapidly expand our portfolio of new and existing brands.”
Willis added; “There is a strong consumer appetite for innovative hotels, residences and resorts that have a distinct lifestyle and entertainment element and pinpointing growth markets for each will become a focal point of our development strategy for the region going forward.”
Lifestyle brands gain momentum
Residences and extended-stay dominate pipeline
Accor’s portfolio also includes 28 residential and extended-stay brands, each of which caters to a specific industry segment.
The MEA accounts for 40% of the group’s residential pipeline of 60-plus projects, with Accor offering 16 brands within its residential portfolio spanning the midscale to luxury segments.
The group also operates the largest portfolio of extended-stay properties outside of the US, boasting a network of almost 300 properties and 60 more under development. In 2018, the group witnessed 100% development growth in the MEA as global demand for this type of product gained momentum. As a result, it is on track to more than triple its portfolio from 10 to 30-plus stand-alone and co-located extended-stay projects by 2022.
With 12 brands in the extended-stay space, Accor is reimagining this product and service offering and eyeing opportunities to leverage its expertise in strategic locations where large infrastructure projects demand this type of hospitality concept.
Pipeline projects include Sofitel Wafi in Dubai, featuring 97 serviced residences (opening in 2020), as well as Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech with 39 private villas, due to launch later this year. Representing the first residences concept of its kind in the Moroccan city, the villas will be fully serviced by the Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech hotel, which opened in 2017.
All-inclusive entertainment resorts
Accor is also championing a hospitality concept that is new to the Middle East market – all-inclusive, all-exclusive and fully-integrated entertainment resorts operated by Rixos, a brand with a unique positioning that has fast gained market traction since the group took a share in the company.
The October 2018 opening of Rixos Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi featuring 366 rooms and suites, 12 four-bed villas with private pools, 10 restaurants and lounges, a water park, spa, kids’ club, water sports centre and much more, tested this new hospitality formula and proved an overnight success, appealing to guests from major regional and global source markets who appreciate luxury, high service standards, value for money and innovative entertainment and dining all under one roof.
Stealing a march on the competition, Accor is now in advanced discussions to manage several more all-inclusive entertainment resorts operated by Rixos in major Gulf markets, as well as leisure destination favourite, Egypt.
Raffles to make its foray in India
Accor has revealed plans to open its first Raffles hotels in India – Raffles Udaipur and Raffles Jaipur. The iconic Raffles brand is synonymous with luxury, glamour and extraordinary adventure and this announcement signals a new direction for Accor in India, with a stronger focus on luxury and premium brands.
The Raffles Udaipur will be set on a 21-acre private island in the midst of Udai Sagar Lake, one of the five prominent lakes of historical Udaipur. The 101 lake-facing rooms will be surrounded by spectacular hill scenery and boast views of a 400-year-old temple and the suites will also feature private pools. It is expected to open by mid-2020.
The Raffles Jaipur is being built at Kukas in the city of Jaipur as a set of secluded private residences and courtyards adjacent to the larger hotel complex that presently houses the Fairmont Jaipur. The development is planned as a discreet destination for guests to "be themselves". The hotel is anticipated to commence operations in 2022 and is located close to key tourist destinations in Jaipur including the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort and Jal Mahal complexes.
Raffles Seychelles – a popular attraction from the Middle East
In the heart of the island of Praslin, Raffles Seychelles offers 86 contemporary and luxurious villas, among the most spacious in the Seychelles. Each villa at Raffles Seychelles features a private outdoor pavilion, plunge pool and balcony to soak up breathtaking views of the opal-hued ocean, white sandy beach and lush green hills, each with its own 24-hours butler service. The hotel is also home to the Raffles Spa, which is the largest spa in Seychelles with 1,234 square meters of space, including 13 treatment pavilions and the largest swimming pool in the Indian ocean.
Raffles Dubai celebrates 11 iconic years
Since it opened in 2008, Raffles Dubai has made its name as a leading international hotel and has maintained its position as one of the top two properties in the United Arab Emirates on TripAdvisor for four consecutive years. The property recently ranked in the ‘Top 25 Luxury Hotels’ worldwide at the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards – a fitting tribute to its 11-year anniversary. Guests enjoy a truly tailormade experience at Raffles Dubai, which counts the city’s most luxurious accommodation offering - the exclusive ‘Dubai Floor’ – as one of its USPs. Spanning some 2,000 sqm, the floor is home to six palatial guestrooms and suites with elegant and contemporary interiors that are out of this world. It is accessed via a dedicated elevator, with guests afforded a range of personal and private services including a butler, chef, limousine service with a dedicated chauffeur and customised linen. Dubai Floor ‘residents’ can even select the floor’s scent. Exceptional dining, wellness and meetings facilities are also part of the Raffles Dubai experience, which takes bespoke hospitality to new heights.
2019 openings and milestones
Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech
Following the success of Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, which opened its doors as one of the Moroccan capital’s most sought-after properties in 2017, the second phase of this prestigious development – Fairmont Residences Royal Palm Marrakech – launched earlier this year. With 39 private villas, each fully serviced by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, it is the first residences concept of its kind in Morocco. Residents will have full access to the hotel’s vast range of facilities and services, which include a spa with hammam, a sports centre with gym, tennis and squash courts, six restaurants and bars, a unique organic farm and an exceptional 18-hole golf course.
The 298-key Fairmont Riyadh is the centerpiece of the city’s Business Gate community and the closest luxury hotel to King Khalid International Airport.
Since its eagerly-anticipated opening earlier this year, the property has established a reputation as a sought-after destination for business and leisure, as well as a design masterpiece, with motifs and bespoke elements created by the world-renowned LW Designer Group and luxurious furnishings and textures that reflect local Arabian culture. Key features include 40 extraordinary suites; the Fairmont Gold experience for Le Club loyalty programme members; enticing open-kitchen dining concepts; and the Fairmont Riyadh Convention Centre with two ballrooms and 10 meeting rooms; a unique Ladies Lounge experience.
Sofitel The Palm takes five
Located on the East Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah, Sofitel The Palm Dubai is a luxury island retreat where chic Polynesian design meets French flair. In 2019, this cosy beachside property, with 361 rooms and suites and 182 serviced residences and private villas, is celebrating five years since it opened its doors. During that time, it has established a reputation as one of Dubai’s leading resorts, popular with holidaying families, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and extensive facilities and services, including 14 restaurants and lounges and a large SoSPA.
Swissôtel marks 12 months of success
Swissôtel Al Ghurair and Swissôtel Living Al Ghurair, located in the heart of historical Deira and linked to the popular Al Ghurair shopping centre, opened in February 2018, marking the lifestyle brand’s debut in the United Arab Emirates. The two properties combined comprise 620 luxurious rooms, suites and apartments that offer a fresh and modern setting for business or leisure stay. Swissotel Al Ghurair is a luxury five-star hotel with 428 rooms and suites, while Swissotel Living Al Ghurair offers 192 well-appointed living apartments tailored to the needs of modern families and extended-stay guests.
Hotly-anticipated 2020 openings
Accor now offers the largest and most diversified portfolio of lifestyle brands in the industry, including Jo&Joe, Mama Shelter, partnerships with 25Hours and sbe Entertainment (including the Delano, SLS, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde brands) and most recently its midscale brand, Tribe, identifying the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman as target growth markets.
Its regional expansion campaign for these brands is gaining momentum with the first Mama Shelter, 25Hours and SLS properties all on track to make their Middle East debut in 2020 with hotly-anticipated launches in Dubai.
SLS Dubai Hotel & Residences, considered the cornerstone of sbe’s Middle East development strategy and set to be one of the tallest hotels and residences in the region, will be housed in a 75-story tower in Business Bay. It will feature 254 design-led hotel rooms, 371 branded residences, 321 hotel apartments, one of the highest swimming pools in the world and sbe’s signature culinary concepts.
25Hours Dubai hotel, the disruptive hospitality brand’s first property outside of Europe and part of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) One Central lifestyle destination, will add 434 keys to Accor's current 1,210-room cluster of economy and midscale brands at the DWTC complex, while Mama Shelter will introduce 201 rooms and 80 hotel apartments crafted by interior designer Thierry Gaugin to Dubai’s Business Bay.
A new perspective in Abu Dhabi
Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina’s two elegant towers will meet in a magnificent arch high above the famous Corniche, revealing breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf on one side and the city’s imposing skyline on the other. This luxury urban resort, set on a private beach in downtown Abu Dhabi, is set to become one of the UAE capital’s most sought-after locations for leisure, dining and events, immersing guests in a world where Arabian culture and heritage meet modernity and luxury. This cosmopolitan retreat will feature 563 rooms and suites with contemporary Arabian design and stunning Gulf or Corniche views.
Extensive leisure facilities will include five swimming pools, Fairmont’s signature Willow Stream Spa with 12 treatment rooms, and a fitness centre, while nine distinctive dining venues will beckon foodies with a range of gastronomic delights and experiences. Family-friendly amenities, a dedicated kids’ concierge and the Fairmont Gold experience for Le Club loyalty programme members will be among the personalised services and for meetings and events with a true difference, the property will offer a grand ballroom, breakout rooms, five outstanding outdoor spaces and a unique sustainability-focused EcoMeet concept.
Sofitel’s largest Middle East property
Sofitel Dubai Wafi is set to be the luxury hotel brand’s largest property in the Middle East with 598 keys spanning 501 luxury rooms and suites and 97 serviced residences. A dining hotspot in its own right, the property will offer an Asian specialty restaurant, gastro pub, a unique destination restaurant, bar and lounge on 43rd and 44th floors, a French lobby café, an all-day restaurant and a pool bar. Guests will enjoy numerous leisure facilities including a So Spa, gym, outdoor pools, private cabanas and a kids’ club. For business, 10 meeting rooms and a 1,115 sqm ballroom will meet a variety of event needs. Sofitel Dubai Wafi will connect to Wafi Mall, considered Dubai’s premium lifestyle and entertainment complex, and is adjacent to the iconic Raffles Dubai, with guests able to share amenities and services at both properties. The hotel is 10 minutes from Dubai International Airport, Downtown Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai World Trade Centre, while Dubai Healthcare City is located just across the road.
Don’t miss at ATM Dubai
Paradise on Earth; it’s SO/ Sofitel Mauritius
Described as a “rebellious lifestyle hotel bursting with local energy”, the SO Sofitel Mauritius Bel Ombre is a serene sanctuary with punch and personality and popular with global travellers looking for luxury with a difference.
The hotel is considered ‘the’ place to stay on this stunning Indian Ocean island, thanks to its edgy design, co-masterminded by architect Lek Bunnag and interior décor specialist Kenzo Takada, as well as its indulgent lifestyle facilities. Guests are spoilt for choice with 84 rooms providing beach access through the shady landscaped gardens; six Beach Suites boasting ocean views and a private garden and a sleeping alcove; and two palatial villas promising resort-style living on the beach. All suite guests are offered the 24-hour So Special butler service, unique to the SO Sofitel brand.
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
With magnificent views of majestic Mount Kenya, the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club Resort's offers 120 luxurious hotel rooms, set in over 100 acres of landscaped gardens, offer a unique blend of comfort, relaxation and adventure. Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the ideal base for a truly superb holiday in Nanyuki, Kenya. With some of the country's finest attractions on the doorstep, visitors to the resort can enjoy an enormous range of excursions and activities without spending hours and even days traveling between each.
Fairmont Mara Safari Club
Surrounded on three sides by the breathtaking Mara River, and on the edge of the world - the Masai Mara - Fairmont Mara Safari Club is the epitome of tented luxury. Each of the 50 tents at Fairmont Mara Safari Club is superbly furnished with its own private, three-piece bathroom, including a number of “outdoor showers” in select tents. The larger-sized accommodations also feature expanded decks which allow for private dining, a new service. The location provides a perfect base for visiting the Masai Mara, one of the world’s richest wildlife reserves, and home to an astounding array of animals including zebras, cheetahs, wildebeests, gazelles and of course the “Big Five”.
Accor is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique and meaningful experiences in more than 4,800 hotels, resorts, and residences across 100 countries. With an unrivalled portfolio of brands from luxury to economy, Accor has been providing hospitality savoir-faire for more than 50 years.
Beyond accommodations, Accor enables new ways to live, work, and play with Food & Beverage, nightlife, wellbeing, and coworking brands. To drive business performance, Accor’s portfolio of business accelerators amplify hospitality distribution, operations, and experience. Guests have access to one of the world’s most attractive hotel loyalty programs—Le Club AccorHotels.
Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation, and plays an active role in giving back to planet and community. Planet 21 – Acting Here endeavours to act for positive hospitality, while Accor Solidarity, the endowment fund, empowers disadvantaged groups through professional training and access to employment.
Accor SA is publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACRFY) in the United States. For more information visit accor.com. Or become a fan and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.