TTN

Kuwait calling

Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott make their move on Kuwait this year. Two luxury hotels, both connected to leading lifestyle destinations, are set to open, while a grand dame emerges from a priceless facelift 

 

Major luxury brands are making their Kuwait debut this year. Between them, new builds Waldorf Astoria Kuwait and Grand Hyatt Kuwait will add about 500 keys to Kuwait’s luxury portfolio when they open their gilded doors. On the other hand, Mariott International’s existing Sheraton Kuwait has been partially revamped and upgraded to debut The St. Regis Kuwait.

 

WALDORF ASTORIA KUWAIT
Connected to Kuwait City’s retail, entertainment and lifestyle destination, The Avenues, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton’s top luxury offering, is all set for its official opening in the third quarter.


The 200-key Waldorf Astoria Kuwait is owned by Mabanee, a leading real estate developer known for its modern vision and excellence in innovation projects. The property will feature 200 contemporary deluxe rooms and suites with panoramic views of the vibrant city skyline. Guests will enjoy a transformative journey of the senses at this ultra-luxurious property, from exquisite dining venues to the awe-inspiring 13,560 sq ft Waldorf Spa. Beautiful meeting and event spaces – including a spectacular Grand Ballroom – will provide idyllic venues for unforgettable celebrations or tailored corporate events.

“ Kuwait is a pretty strong market from a brand’s perspective. Every time a new brand comes into a city, it contributes to occupancy in a big way"

– Kemal Sirtikirmizi

Kemal Sirtikirmizi, General Manager, Waldorf Astoria Kuwait, tells TTN: “Kuwait is not a tourism destination yet, but Kuwait Vision 2035 is committed to change that. For now, the Kuwait market is mainly driven by corporate travel, and local and regional leisure. A lot of the GCC residents and locals have family ties in Kuwait.”


Sirtikirmizi says that locals from neighbouring GCC countries, especially the UAE, visit Kuwait to enjoy the ‘local feel’ of Kuwait City. “It is a sort of escape from the hustle and bustle, and we love that we will provide that escape, while being directly connected to The Avenues with our Peacock Alley.


“The moment you step into our hotel, you will see so many pieces of art, designed especially for us. They are in every corner, you feel like you’re in a gallery and not a hotel.”

 

KUWAIT OCCUPANCY
Sirtikirmizi gives us some insight into the Kuwait market. “While the occupancy is not the same as before,” he says, “it’s ramping up. There is a great pent-up demand just like everywhere else. During Covid-19, although the occupancy dropped drastically, the rates went up. It’s unbelievable. This is the Kuwait market for you.”


Kuwait has Four Seasons, Jumeriah has an outpost here, St. Regis has just come online and Grand Hyatt is coming soon as are we, says the general manager. “Kuwait is a pretty strong market from a brand’s perspective. Every time a brand comes into a city, it contributes to occupancy in a big way. So I’m very optimistic about Kuwait.


“I know that we will be the market leader, so that’s what we’re preparing for ourselves for,” Sirtikirmizi.


Philma Gomes, Cluster Director of Sales & Marketing, Grand Hyatt Kuwait, tells us: “Kuwait is rich in history and culture. It is one of the oldest countries in the GCC and so it has a lot of traditions. At the same time, Kuwaitis are very well travelled and incredibly sophisticated. They come from an environment of luxury, they understand what it is and so, when they check out of their homes and into a hotel they want that luxury experience.


“Kuwaitis are a community and reputation is absolutely everything,” Gomes tells us. “This being a flagship hotel for our owning company, who are Kuwaitis, we are certainly gearing ourselves up to make this an incredible, enviable product to experience.
“And not only through the hotel, but also the food and beverage, because the food is just so important.”


Both Sirtikirmizi and Gomes mention that the food and beverage scene in Kuwait is incredible. In fact, Sirtikirmizi goes on to say: “The food scene in Kuwait is the most advanced in the GCC – it’s true. The food quality is superior as is the creativity and entrepreneurship around it, concepts are creative and vibrant.”

 

GRAND HYATT KUWAIT
Meanwhile, Grand Hyatt Kuwait is gearing up for its much-anticipated launch, set to take place after summer 2022.


Located at 360 Mall as part of the nation’s most immersive luxury, leisure and lifestyle complex, Grand Hyatt Kuwait grants direct access to one of the country’s most captivating mixed-use social, retail and entertainment destinations. The renowned 360 Mall comprises 130,000 sqm of retail space, the 5,800-seater multi-purpose Arena Kuwait, a tennis academy which includes a 1,600-capacity arena and 15 tennis courts operated by the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait.


The 302-key luxury urban escape is located just 9km away from Kuwait International Airport – making this social, entertainment and retail hub the closest five-star hotel to the airport.


“At Grand Hyatt Kuwait, you will experience entertainment from Arena Kuwait and the concerts that are being held there. You can also be a spectator to a tennis tournament, you could learn world class tennis coaching techniques, indoor and outdoor sports. And then, of course, the mall itself lends to that incredible retail experience,” says Gomes.

 

ST. REGIS KUWAIT
St. Regis Hotels & Resorts has completed the first phase of an extensive, three-phase transformation that will see two of the three towers currently occupied by Sheraton Kuwait Hotel reimagined under the iconic St. Regis brand.

The first phase of the transformation introduces The St. Regis Kuwait to the city with its collection of newly debuted refurbished guestrooms and suites. The third tower will remain home to the historic Sheraton Kuwait Hotel. Both brands are part of Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s extraordinary portfolio of 30 hotel brands.


The 102 exquisitely appointed guestrooms and suites at The St. Regis Kuwait feature timeless design and modern technology. All guestrooms and suites enjoy the signature St. Regis Butler Service, providing around-the-clock anticipatory service that ensures every guest’s stay is carefully considered.

The next two phases of the comprehensive transformation, expected to complete next year, will include the property’s public spaces, culinary offerings and recreational facilities. Plans also include an extensive makeover of the hotel’s function spaces. The St. Regis Kuwait will remain operational during this period.

 

By Rashi Sen

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