Bahrain draws $394m in hotel investments
Manama, September 22, 2013
By Sree Bhat
Bahrain has attracted an investment totalling BD150 million ($394 million) in the kingdom's hotel sector this year, said a senior official.
The kingdom's tourism sector is growing and ready for further expansion, said Shaikh Khalid bin Humood Al-Khalifa, acting assistant undersecretary of tourism.
He was speaking at a press conference held to launch the Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa, the first five-star hotel of the Ramee Group. The $53 million “Luxury by Ramee” property joins the regional group’s bouquet of more than 35 hotels and apartment hotels in the GCC and India.
Shaikh Khalid said Bahrain has been able to establish itself as a cultural tourism destination in the region. "We are confidently entering a new era. We have a new strategy in place that is based on cultural tourism. The quality of our tourism is improving," he said.
"We have already hosted more than 60 cultural events of international repute so far this year. These have been well received," he said.
The recently concluded Summer Festival has been a big success with tourists staying in the kingdom an average of nine days compared to the usual two days. The festival attracted about 20,000 visitors, he said.
He said the Tourism Affairs was formulating a strategy to fix hotel rates so there is no unhealthy competition in the industry. It will also formulate a more detailed hotel evaluation system, said Shaikh Khalid.
He said the focus of the tourism strategy is Saudi Arabia and to provide quality experience to the visitors.
In this respect, he noted that Ramee Grand will be offering special prices for guests from Saudi Arabia and will also offer trips to some of Bahrain’s well-known historical and cultural attractions. "We are proud of Ramee's support to the tourism sector in the kingdom," he said.
Shaikh Khalid also revealed that the new Ramee Grand Hotel & Spa is the kingdom's first hotel to get 97 points out of 100 in the quality standards index.
The press conference was also attended by Salahuddin Ali Alireza, chairman of Alirezha Group; Faisal Salahuddin Ali Alirezha, owner; Raj Shetty, Ramee Group chairman and managing worker; Shantharam Shetty, Ramee group general manager, and Salavtore Romano, general manager of Ramee Grand.
Raj Shetty said there is a lot of positive energy in Bahrain and the kingdom is a great place to invest. "The infrastructure is good here and laws are well defined. Bahrain is a very investor friendly country," he added.
Speaking on the service standard of the group and its efforts to promote Bahrain, Shetty said the moment a tourist arrives in Bahrain and gets into the hotel's vehicle, he/she will be introduced to the cultural diversity of Bahrain and what the kingdom offers.
The 24-storey Ramee Grand Hotel and Spa is situated close to the Seef Mall, Bahrain City Centre and the Bahrain Mall, is just 15 minutes’ drive from the airport.
The hotel offers 166 suites and rooms. “We offer the largest room size for any five-star hotel in Bahrain,” said Shantaram Shetty. “While the international standard is 35 sq m, our rooms start from 48 sq m.”
The hotel’s facilities and staff are geared towards providing a top-class experience to the guests, he said.
The hotel will be home to some of the biggest F&B and entertainment venues in the kingdom. It will house three Club floors, 800 sq m of conference/banqueting facilities; a whole floor of recreation facilities including a spa, a swimming pool and a fully equipped gym; and space for 180 cars across three basement levels. The 5,000 sq ft spa features 12 plus treatment rooms with a unique selection of facials, massages and treatments.
On the food front, Ramee Grand will serve up a delicious fare with the all-day dining Lemon Tree restaurant; the Rialto, an authentic Italian restaurant; Rasoi, the Indian restaurant with live ghazal music; Ruka, the Japanese restaurant on the 24th floor with spectacular views of the Manama skyline; Tea Garden, a specialist tea lounge; and the Three Lions sports bar.
The hotel will also house the Ibrida Club, set to be Bahrain’s biggest. -TradeArabia News Service
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