Luxury hospitality group Oberoi has announced plans to open a hotel in Doha’s financial district, as well as serviced apartments in Lusail City in three year’s time.
In a statement yesterday, the India-based Oberoi Group confirmed it would operate a 250-room luxury hotel in Dafna/West Bay and a tower with 148 serviced apartments in the under-construction Lusail, to the north of Doha.
“Planning of both the above projects is well under way and construction will commence early next year with completion of both projects in mid-2018,” Oberoi said.
Established in 1934, the hotel chain operates more than 30 hotels and cruise ships in six countries under its Oberoi and Trident brands. Its Mumbai hotel the Oberoi Trident was one of the sites of attacks across the city in 2008.
Here, the Oberoi projects are being led by Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company (QGIRIC).
The Oberoi’s West Bay hotel, located behind the Gate Mall, will be part of a four-tower Mozoon Towers complex, which is being developed by QGIRIC subsidiary Mozoon Real Estate.
The 29,375 sq meter site will include hotels and apartment blocks, as well as 3,485 sq meters of retail space with a value of around QR2.5 billion, industry website Gulf Construction Online said.
It could have up to 46 floors and five basement levels, says Bauer Spezialtiefbau, which is tasked with establishing the foundation and conducting enabling works.
The hotels and apartments will be operated by Oberoi Group and Marriott International, while the project is being managed by General Real Estate Company (GREC), which is owned by QGIRC.
Foundation and enabling works were due to start in April and initial designs are already done, GGIRC said in a statement issued earlier this year.
Tenders for the main construction contract are set to be released early next year, Gulf Construction Online said.
The project previously involved a partnership with Ezdan Holding for a complex of four, 55-story buildings named Asia Towers, but Ezdan pulled out in November last year, and the site was handed over to GREC to run.
This will Oberoi’s first foray into Qatar, but its third hotel in the Gulf.
The group opened a 252-room Dubai hotel last year. It also has a hotel in Medina, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the region, two in Egypt.
Oberoi had previously planned to open a hotel in Al Waab City, and in November 2009 signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a resort with 225 room and suites and 30 serviced apartments on the site, Travel & Tourism News Middle East reported at the time.
That complex had been earmarked for completion by 2014 and was supposed to serve as one of the focal points in the district’s retail, leisure and entertainment area Barahat Al Wa’ab.
Due to numerous issues, construction on the mixed-use site was halted for years before it restarted in 2012, with the first luxury villas opening last year.
Qatar is in the middle of a hotel boom in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup. Some 80 new hotels and apartment-hotels are expected to be built in the country over the coming five years.
However, some analysts, including PwC in a report issued in May this year, have warned that the country could face an oversupply of hotel rooms after the tournament and that operators may need to consider lowering their room rates to keep occupancy figures up.
Still, one of Qatar’s most prominent figures in hospitality argued that he does not agree with the pessimistic forecast of analysts.
Alfardan Group president and CEO Omar Hussain Alfardan said in an interview earlier this year with Oxford Business Group that he believes there is enough demand coming from rising visitor numbers to take up the increasing supply.
“The market is still flexible enough to absorb new hotels and extra room keys, especially with Qatar scheduled to host international events,” he added.