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Monday, September 29, 2008

Johor Corp unit to manage 5 Saudi hotels

JOHOR Corp's hospitality arm, Puteri Hotels Sdn Bhd, has signed to manage five luxury-class hotels in Saudi Arabia beginning September 2009.

The hotels, with a room inventory of between 270 and 350, will be located in Medina, Mecca, Riyadh and Jeddah.

"All of the new five-star hotels are being built," managing director John J. Roozemond said.

The first hotel, with a 267-room inventory, is scheduled to open in Medina in September 2009.

All hotels in Saudi Arabia are automatically syariah-compliant, which means, among others, that they will not serve alcohol, have a floor specially for women and serve halal food.

"There will be no entertainment except in-room entertainment," Roozemond told Business Times.

A second such hotel is set to open at the end of 2009 either in Medina or Mecca.

"We will manage the hotel and at the same time we will have a 50 per cent stake in the management company," he said.

Even prior to the opening of the hotel, Puteri Hotels has been involved in the provision of technical assistance.

The Saudi partner, Arab Resorts Areas Co (Arac), is wholly owned by one of the largest conglomerates from the Middle East - the Taiba Investment and Real Estate Development Corp.

Through this partnership, The Islamic Hospitality Management Corp was created to build and manage hotels and resorts throughout Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, London and other Islamic countries.

Puteri Hotels, which is best known for the five-star Puteri Pacific Hotel in Johor Baru, will leverage on this opportunity to expand this hotel chain for the niche market even outside of Saudi Arabia, including Malaysia.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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