Renowned international hotel owner, operator and investor, Minor Hotels, led by US-born Thai billionaire William E Heinecke, is to develop two upscale hotels at Bilaj Al Jazayer.

The announcement follows a partnership agreement signed with Bahrain Real Estate Investment Company (Edamah), the real estate arm of the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat.

In attendance at a recent signing ceremony in Bahrain were Formula One enthusiast and Minor International chairman and founder Mr Heinecke and Edamah chairman Khalid Al Rumaihi, amongst other officials.

“Minor Hotels’ entry into Bahrain is of key importance strategically for the group, strengthening our portfolio in the region and continuing to grow the footprint of the Avani and Tivoli brands,” said Mr Heinecke.

“The country is well positioned with high-quality infrastructure and services, and an engaged and highly energetic leadership.


“I have visited a few times over the years and have especially enjoyed my time as an F1 fan. I’m very happy to have visited once again, this time touring Bilaj Al Jazayer and the site of our future Avani and Tivoli hotels.”

Ranked 21st in the Forbes list of Thailand’s 50 richest, with an estimated fortune of $1.85 billion, Mr Heinecke came to Thailand as a child and started his first business before he turned 18, hence naming his company ‘Minor’.

A Thai citizen since 1991, his Minor International has almost 530 hotels and resorts, 2,300 restaurants and 470 retail stores, spread across 63 countries.

He tripled the size of his hotel portfolio by acquiring Spain’s NH Hotels for $2.6bn in 2018, the year of Minor’s golden anniversary.

Minor also has franchises for such brands as Swensens, Sizzler, Dairy Queen and Burger King.

In January 2020, Heinecke ceded the CEO’s position to a Minor veteran. In 2021, Minor expanded into China, partnering Funyard Hotels & Resorts.

Scheduled to open in 2024, Avani Hotel and Tivoli Hotel at Bilaj Al Jazayer will be the first hospitality offerings in the area, which is undergoing a comprehensive redevelopment.

This marks Minor Hotels’ entry into the Bahrain market and supports the growth of the kingdom’s tourism and hospitality sectors. Edamah’s chairman Mr Al Rumaihi described the partnership as ‘a key milestone’.

The GDN reported in June that two four-star boutique hotels and a beach club were going to be developed at Bilaj Al Jazayer as part of a plan to create a new leisure and entertainment destination in Zallaq.

The plan to build the hotels was first revealed exclusively to the GDN in January 2020.

Located on Bahrain’s south-west coast, Bilaj Al Jazayer encompasses 1.3 million square metres of land with a 3km beachfront. Manama is a 25-minute drive, and Bahrain International Circuit and Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark are located nearby.

The new mixed-use development will also feature resorts, residential villas and apartments, food and beverage outlets, offices, and retail and entertainment offerings.

“We welcome this partnership with Minor Hotels to develop the two new hotels,” said Mr Al Rumaihi.

“This is a key milestone that complements our broader developmental goals for the Bilaj Al Jazayer masterplan. The new hotels will play a key role in attracting tourism to the south-west coast of the kingdom and will offer a unique experience for both the community and its visitors.”

Edamah was incorporated in 2006 to manage and expand an assorted portfolio of real estate in Bahrain and has established itself as one of the kingdom’s leading property developers.

Striving to transform the kingdom’s diverse and dynamic property sector, Edamah’s portfolio also includes projects in the leisure and entertainment and industrial sectors. Delighted Edamah CEO Amin Al Arrayed added: “Bilaj Al Jazayer is one of the most exciting projects in our portfolio, which will transform Bahrain’s much-loved beach into a world-class waterfront destination.

“Having the right partner is crucial to achieving these goals and we are pleased to work alongside Minor Hotels on this project.”

Dillip Rajakarier, group CEO of Minor International and CEO of Minor Hotels, was equally excited. “We’re delighted to announce these two new hotels which will represent Minor Hotels’ debut in Bahrain and will grow our presence in the GCC,” he added.

“The addition of the Avani and Tivoli hotels in the kingdom demonstrates our continued commitment to operating in the Middle East and to growing these two brands in the region.

“It is an honour to be partnering with Edamah to bring these first hotels in the Bilaj Al Jazayer masterplan development to fruition and we look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership in the years ahead.”

The new Avani and Tivoli hotels, each with 110 keys, will be located along the main boulevard of Bilaj Al Jazayer, on the waterfront. Avani Bilaj Al Jazayer will offer a selection of guest rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, an Avani Pantry, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, and a meeting space.

Tivoli Bilaj Al Jazayer’s facilities will include guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, a café, an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, a spa and wellness facilities. In addition, the hotels will share a beach club within the Bilaj Al Jazayer development.

Minor Hotels has a diverse portfolio of 527 hotels and resorts it says is ‘designed intelligently to appeal to different kinds of travellers, serving new passions as well as personal needs’.


Through its Anantara, AVANI, Oaks, Tivoli, M Collection, NH Collection, NH, nhow, Elewana, Marriott, Four Seasons, St Regis, Radisson Blu and Minor International properties, Minor Hotels operates in 54 countries across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian Ocean, Europe, South America and North America.

With ‘dynamic plans’ to expand existing brands and explore strategic acquisitions, Minor Hotels’ management says the company pursues ‘a vision of a more passionate and interconnected world’.

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