Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Azinko Development M.M.C. have signed an agreement for Fairmont to manage a new 347-guestroom luxury hotel property in the sparkling coastal city of Baku, Azerbaijan.
“This agreement allows Fairmont to establish an unmatched presence among the economic rebirth of an historic and important region,” said Thomas W. Storey, President, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “With the acceleration of Baku’s oil and natural gas-rich economy and the growing demand for business and leisure hospitality, we feel Azerbaijan is an ideal fit for the Fairmont portfolio of distinctive properties.”
Fairmont Baku is being developed by Azinko and is located on a prime site next to the Azerbaijan parliament buildings and overlooking the Caspian Sea. This new complex, the Flame Towers, will incorporate hotel, residential and commercial space and will be linked by centrally located retail and leisure facilities. Opening of the Fairmont Baku is planned for early 2011.
The ancient windswept city of Baku, with its wide cypress-lined boardwalk and café filled streets, is experiencing a new influx of business travel due to the resurgence of the oil sector. With a petroleum-based economy, well-developed manufacturing sector and the busiest harbor on the ancient Silk Road trading routes between Europe and Asia, Baku is well-poised to become a major source of oil supply to the world markets.
In ancient times, the coast of Azerbaijan was infused by natural gas beds that would cause spontaneous fires to rise out of the rock and sea. Byzantine manuscripts refer to “the eternal fires of Baku”. Later writings refer to eruptions of oil fountains and mountainous flames that could be seen from a distance of two days’ journey.
In 2000, the Inner City of Baku with the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower was classified as a World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO, “The Walled City of Baku represents an outstanding and rare example of an historic urban ensemble and architecture with influence from Zoroastrian, Sassanian, Arabic, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman and Russian cultures.”