Region overview: 500 hotel projects planned across the GCC [Infographic]

One of the current hotel projects in the GCC region: the Mama Shelter Bahrain

The TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database suggests the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC’s) hospitality sector will see impressive growth in the coming years, especially in the UAE.

Over the next few years, 499 hotels and 168,416 rooms will open throughout the GCC, which comprises the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. We take a closer look at the region’s ambitious pipeline.

Years of steady growth lie ahead

In the last few weeks of 2020, 51 hotels with 14,580 rooms are due to launch in the GCC. A further 175 properties with 61,049 keys are pencilled in for 2021, making it the busiest year in the near future, while 114 projects and 35,635 rooms are earmarked for 2022.

The development slate for 2023 looks a bit empty by comparison; it currently only has 41 properties with 15,843 rooms. For 2024 and beyond, 118 hotels with 41,309 keys are planned.

Somewhat surprisingly, the split between four- and five-star hotels is almost even, with 256 projects falling into the four-star category and the remaining 243 aiming for five stars.

Ongoing hotel projects in the GCC

The UAE tops the list of member states when it comes to development activity, with 218 hotel schemes and 66,632 rooms due to be added to an already well-developed market. Saudi Arabia comes in second with 172 planned openings and 74,694 keys. This impressive room count shows that forthcoming properties in the kingdom will be comparatively large on average.

Qatar takes third place with a pipeline of 49 hotels, Oman follows with 34 projects, and Bahrain and Kuwait conclude the list with 14 and 12 launches respectively.

Top urban hotel markets in the GCC

Dubai tops our list of urban markets with 153 hotels and 48,410 rooms on its books.

Riyadh follows in a distant second place with 42 properties and 9,638 keys, just ahead of Jeddah with 40 new hotels and 10,374 rooms. Doha is next in line with 38 upcoming launches and 11,388 keys, whereas Makkah will get 30 additional properties with an impressive 33,282 rooms between them.

Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Ras al-Khaimah will see 21, 29 and 18 hotels open respectively, meanwhile, before Sharjah and Medina complete the top ten with 15 and 13 new properties each.

Key brands expanding in the GCC

Millennium Hotels is really pushing for growth in the region, with 14 planned launches and 4,662 additional rooms. Hilton Hotels & Resorts and DoubleTree by Hilton are hot on its heels with 13 new hotels each, and 5,496 and 3,015 keys respectively.

Elsewhere, both Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts and Novotel will grow by 12 properties, while Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts will expand its footprint by 11 hotels. Further down the rankings, The Address Hotels & Resorts and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts have ten projects in their respective pipelines, while both Radisson Blu Hotels & Resorts and Courtyard by Marriott will expand their offering by nine hotels.

Noteworthy hotel projects in the GCC

As you might expect, the GCC is home to some of the world’s most impressive hotel projects. We take a look at a few showstopping schemes that you may have missed in this fast-developing region.

The 434-key 25hours Dubai Hotel will be part of a premium mixed-use lifestyle destination next to the Dubai World Trade Centre. When it launches in early 2021, this new hotel will offer guests a range of unusual amenities and facilities, including pottery and artist studios, a calligraphy bar and an outdoor cinema. The property’s room categories are also likely to raise some eyebrows – instead of the usual ‘standard’ or ‘superior’ categories, guests can choose from Bedouin, glamping, farmstay or artist village rooms.

For a very different experience, set in the rolling hills of Oman, Dusit D2 Jebel Akhdar Mountain Adventure Resort will offer guests 188 elegant rooms only a five-minute drive from what’s been named the Grand Canyon of the Middle East. Jebel Akhdar’s stunning natural landscape offers a welcome break from hectic city life, while an 8,000 sq m adventure park will doubtless delight thrill-seekers. The grand opening is planned for late 2022.

Lastly, the popular Mama Shelter brand will make its debut in Manama, Bahrain in Q3 2021. This property, a result of Accor partnering with GFH Financial Group, will be part of the latter’s Harbour Row project. The hotel will boast 160 rooms in the brand’s signature light-hearted minimalist style, alongside a rooftop pool offering exceptional views of the city.

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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