Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is the latest hotel brand to commit to the Jabal Omar Development, the massive project in the holy city of Mecca.
Starwood will open three hotels in the 230,000-square-meter project, a mixed-use development located a few meters from Islam's most sacred site, the Masjid al Haram. The $5.3 billion project includes 38 high-rise buildings with more than 11,000 hotel rooms, making it one of the largest hotel developments in the world. Part of the modernization of the area is the Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, the world's second tallest building.
The Saudi-listed Jabal Omar Development Company is developing the central area around the holy mosque in Mecca in five phases. The first phase includes hotel towers to help accommodate the millions of people who travel to Mecca on religious pilgrimages.
Under the Sheraton, Westin and Four Points brands, Starwood will add 1,496 rooms to the city, according to a company announcement.
"We believe the addition of these hotels is in line with the goal of the Jabal Omar Development to improve and urbanize the central area surrounding Al Haram and provide much needed facilities and accommodations for pilgrims," Abdul Rahman Abdul Qadir Fakieh, chairman of the board for Jabal Omar Development Company said in the announcement.
The Sheraton Makkah Hotel will offer 532 guest rooms and suites with two large buffet restaurants. The hotel will also include a social and communications hub, separate gym and training facilities and more than 2,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The 513-room Westin Makkah will also have two large buffets, a specialty restaurant, two lounges and 2,500 square feet of modern meeting and function space.
The Four Points by Sheraton Makkah will feature 451 guest rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a lounge, a business center and over 1,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
The deal will bring Starwood's hotel count in the kingdom to 10, making it the chain's second largest market in the Middle East, after the U.A.E.
With more pilgrims expected in the holy city, Hyatt Hotels entered Saudi Arabia in 2011 with an agreement to manage three hotels in the Jabal Omar development.