There is always room for more hotels in Riyadh – when I travel there, the choice has always been limited of international hotels where I could stay and move around comfortably for meetings and meals. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) has announced the signing of an agreement with Saudi Real Estate Company (Al-Akaria) to open two new hotels in Riyadh. Scheduled to open in 2022, The Westin Riyadh and Element Riyadh will feature a combined 632 rooms which should give travellers like us more choice.

These signings mark the return of the Westin flag to Saudi Arabia and the first Element in the country. The properties will be a part of a mix-use development in the vicinity of the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD), in the heart of Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia remains one of our strongest growth markets in the region and we are thrilled to be strengthening our presence in the country with two new hotels together with Al-Akaria,” says Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “As one of the Middle East’s key business hubs, Riyadh is an increasingly popular destination for regional and international travellers and a great choice for the expansion of our Westin and Element brands.”

“This development gives us the opportunity to showcase the Westin and Element brands in the country and also illustrates the strong demand for high-caliber global brands in this market, “said Neil George, Senior Vice President, Acquisitions & Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Africa and Middle East. “We are on track to more than double our presence in Saudi Arabia in the next five years and continue to further explore growth opportunities across the country.”

The Westin Riyadh
With 388 exquisitely designed rooms and serviced apartments, The Westin Riyadh will feature the brand’s signature amenities and services, including the world-renowned Heavenly® Bed and invigorating Heavenly® Bath experience. The hotel will also bring to life all of the brand’s unique wellness programming throughout its guestrooms and public spaces. Guests will enjoy the hotel’s extensive leisure facilities, including the WestinWORKOUT® fitness studio, a swimming pool and the Heavenly® Spa, which offers the brand’s specialty wellness and beauty treatments. The hotel will also feature four food and beverage outlets, providing a variety of healthy culinary options alongside the brand’s nutrient-rich and delicious SuperFoodsRx™ menus.

Element Riyadh
A recognized industry leader in the eco-space, Element offers travellers a fresh interpretation of the traditional hotel experience with natural light, modern design, healthy options and eco-minded sensibilities. Guests can enjoy a modern design and green choices while not compromising a great extended-stay experience, whether they are staying for a few days or for a few weeks. Element Riyadh will feature 244 spacious studios and one & two bedroom suites, with fluid design of modular furniture, fully equipped kitchens, the signature Heavenly® Bed and spa-inspired bathrooms. The hotel will also feature an all-day dining outlet. Guests of Element Riyadh will also have access to all leisure facilities available at the Westin Riyadh.

The Westin Riyadh and Element Riyadh will be a part of a mix-use development which will also feature over 4,000 sqm of retail space. The hotels are located in close proximity to the upcoming King Abdullah Financial District, which is being developed as the city’s central business district and will house all major banks and businesses, as well as the Saudi Stock Exchange. The area will also feature residential and retail space.

Starwood operates 53 hotels and resorts across the Middle East under eight of the company’s ten distinct lifestyle brands including: The Luxury Collection, St. Regis, Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft. With a pipeline of over 40 hotels, the company is on target to operate 100 hotels in the Middle East by 2020. Saudi Arabia remains Starwood’s second largest market in the region with 10 operational hotels and 13 properties in the pipeline.

Al-Akaria was established by royal decree in 1976 and has been a leading Saudi real estate development company since its inception. During the past 34 years Al Akaria has designed, constructed, maintained and managed various residential and commercial buildings and are developing international hotels across the country.

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