Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE:CHH) has signed an area representation agreement with Windsor Hotels International, a Cairo-based hotel management company and an affiliate company of Abercrombie and Kent (A&K), to develop hotels in Egypt, Africa and the Middle East.
“This deal confirms Choice Hotels International`s commitment to develop its hotel brands in the Middle East and African region, where we aim to have 17 additional properties within three years,” said Bruno Geny, senior vice president, international.
Roy Murray, vice president, international, for Choice`s Europe, Middle East & Africa region, noted, “We believe the combined experience of Windsor and A&K, who operate upscale hotels in the region, will provide the necessary expertise, contracts and professionalism that are needed to make the venture a great success.”
Six years ago, A&K appointed Khaled Abdallah, Windsor`s senior vice president, to establish Windsor Hotels as a management company within A&K to handle the operation of hotels and cruise ships.
Windsor has a portfolio of six properties, including hotels in Rwanda and Egypt, and four luxury cruise ships on the Nile River owned by A&K. There also are five hotels under construction in Egypt, which will be managed by Windsor. Under the agreement, Windsor also aims to manage six additional new properties that are currently under development in the region in conjunction with local hotel developers.
Windsor`s entire portfolio will join Choice`s franchise system and will be re-launched under the international Clarion or Quality brands within the next 18 months.
“We look forward to developing a range of first-class hotels and cruise ships in Egypt and Africa with our new partner,” said Abdallah. “Choice will bring the properties worldwide exposure via its powerful reservations system, CHOICE 2001, and through its international sales and marketing operations.”
Windsor`s existing hotels are a 100-room hotel in Kigali, Rwanda and a 211-room resort in Egypt. Both are to be refurbished and are expected to re-launch as four- or five-star properties. In addition, Windsor has four upmarket Nile cruise ships with a total of 115 luxury cabins, which will re-launch as Clarion-brand hotels.
Properties currently under construction in Egypt are a 540-room five-star hotel at Hurghada, opening in December 1999, a 320-room hotel at Safaga on the Red Sea opening in 2001, a 270-room hotel at Sharm el Sheikh opening in 2001, a 250-room hotel at Marsa Alam opening in 2002 and a hotel at Tarba.
In addition, Windsor plans to develop six hotels in conjunction with local developers during the next 18 months. These projects include two new-build hotels in Cairo (450 rooms), a conversion in Hurghada (250 rooms), a conversion in Sharm El Sheikh (200 rooms), a new-build in Luxor (180 rooms) and a new build in Tarba (240 rooms). It is expected that all six hotels will open as Quality Hotels.
Elsewhere in the region, Choice has three franchised properties: a Comfort Inn hotel in Beirut, Lebanon; and a Quality Inn hotel and a Comfort Inn hotel in Dubai.
Choice Hotels International is the second largest hotel franchisor in the world, with almost 4,000 hotels in 36 countries marketed under the Comfort, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, Rodeway Inn and MainStay Suites hotel brands.