Riyad REIT has signed a contract with Marriott International for the latter to operate its Burj Rafal Hotel in Riyadh. The operation of the hotel will be handed over to Marriott in Q1 2020 and will remain open for guests until then. Following a renovation period, the property will be rebranded as a JW Marriott hotel — marking the debut of the brand in Saudi Arabia.

Abdul Aziz Al-Mousa, Riyad REIT fund manager, said: “We are excited to work with Marriott International to operate Burj Rafal Hotel — the tallest operational building in Riyadh. Marriott International will take over the operations of the hotel in Q1 2020 and will undergo an improvement plan during the year, which includes the introduction of new dining concepts such as Kahwet Al-Mandaloun and JW Grill.

“The combination of one of the largest hotel operator’s luxury brands (JW Marriott) in a flagship property with new lifestyle dining options achieves our objective of positioning a destination in the northern growth corridor of Riyadh. Riyad REIT has been a proponent of the Kingdom’s tourism drive and expanded business potential, and has been one of the only REITs with a strong focus on hospitality.”

Jerome Briet, chief development officer, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Riyad Capital on this landmark project. Saudi Arabia remains an important growth market for the company and we continue to see opportunity to further diversify our footprint in the Kingdom. We are also seeing an increasing demand for conversion deals in the country, which is a strong reflection of Marriott’s powerful network, compelling brand portfolio, loyal customer based and commitment to deliver value for our owners.”

The property is part of a 64-story skyscraper, which is home to residential apartments, and STC Academy, the Saudi Telecom Company’s technology and leadership academy. The hotel will be also part of the future Capital Gate community, which is strategically located between King Abdullah Financial District and Avenues Mall, expected to be the largest shopping mall in the Kingdom.

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