Ever working to boost the country’s hotel portfolio, Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) is on track to deliver three new hotels, providing more than 900 additional rooms, in 2017/18.
These hotels include the five-star W hotel, which is currently under construction, the five-star JW Marriott and four-star Crowne Plaza, to be located at the country’s upcoming flagship master development, Madinat Al Irfan Urban Centre.
Chief project officer, Omran, Eng. Said bin Mohammed Al Qasmi, who is also the head of Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, commented: “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.”
Al Qasmi continued: “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.”
Referring to the 304-room JW Marriott, Al Qasmi explained that the property will be the most exclusive of all planned hotels on the OCEC site, while the Crowne Plaza will be positioned as a four-star hotel with 296 rooms, various F&B outlets and a health and leisure club.
Meanwhile, the W Hotel, to be situated next to the Royal Opera House Muscat, will contribute a further 290 rooms to Muscat’s hotel supply.
“The proximity to the Royal Opera House will give visitors a fantastic way to experience the vibrancy of Muscat,” explained CEO, Bunyan (Omran’s project development subsidiary), Nasser Bin Mohammed Al Maqbali.
“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 the art, culture and lifestyle district of Muscat.”
Al Maqbali further noted that the three new internationally branded hotels represent the first stage in Omran’s reinvigoration of the segment as it works 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 stabilising of prices, bringing hotel rates in-line with other regions and incentivising 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 concluded.