ASIA Travel

Marriott Signs its First Two Hotels in Iraq

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Marriott International has signed agreements with Empire Iraq to manage two hotels in Erbil, Iraq.

The 200-room, upscale Marriott Hotels & Resorts-branded hotel and a 75-unit deluxe Marriott Executive Apartments property are scheduled open simultaneously in 2014.

The addition of these two hotels, Marriott's first in Iraq, extends the company's hotel portfolio to 74 countries around the world.

The hotels will be part of a large mixed-use project called Empire World, now under construction, that includes residential towers, private villas, office towers and retail and leisure space.

Located in Kurdistan in the northern part of Iraq, Erbil is the gateway to the region and is served non-stop from Europe and the Middle East by a number of international air carriers including Lufthansa, Etihad, Turkish, Royal Jordanian and Fly Dubai.

“Erbil is an encouraging destination with a lot of economic and commercial opportunity. Believed to be one of the oldest, continuously inhabited communities in the world, Erbil dates back to around 6000BC,” said Ed Fuller, president & managing director of international lodging for Marriott International. “The city serves as a gateway to a region with vast deposits of oil and gas, fertile soil for agriculture and antiquities. We are pleased to be working with Empire Iraq on this prestigious project and look forward to doing what we can to help instill a sense of market confidence in terms of the area’s security. We are confident that this significant development will help the people of Erbil and Kurdistan achieve their positive visions of the future.”

The 200-room Erbil Marriott will provide a range of amenities, connectivity and services to help business travelers achieve their objectives. Recreational amenities will include an extensive fitness facility, an on-site spa and an outdoor swimming pool.

The hotel’s four restaurants and lounges will include a casual all-day dining experience and two specialty restaurants, one of which will offer seasonal outdoor terrace seating. A lobby lounge, also offering seasonal terrace seating, will be part of a versatile, multi-purpose space that will serve as a social center for guests and local residents to meet with friends and colleagues, relax, or plug in their electronic devices any time, day or evening. Other amenities will include an executive level, a business center, a lobby gift shop, 24-hour room service, in-room mini-bar and safes, flat screen TV, and internet connectivity.

For social events and conferences, the hotel will have 11,400 square feet of meeting space comprised of an 8,000 square-foot ballroom which will be divisible into three sections; three 800 square-foot interconnecting meeting rooms and two 500 square-foot board rooms.

Designed for extended stay travelers, the 75-unit Marriott Executive Apartments Erbil will offer the convenience of a five-star, full-service hotel with the space, ambience and privacy of residential living. It will be located in a separate building adjacent to the hotel and, although its residents will be able to avail themselves of all the services and amenities offered by the Erbil Marriott, they will have their own leisure facilities, lobby and a residents’ lounge.

The property will offer a mix of studios, and one and two-bedroom units, each with a fully equipped kitchen, contemporary furnishings, state of the art connectivity, flat screen television, a washer-dryer, maid service, on-site storage and other services.

“We are very excited to welcome Marriott to Empire World,” said Peshraw Agha, chairman of the board of Empire. “Marriott is the first truly global hotel brand to recognize the potential of Iraq and establish not one but two properties in Kurdistan. Empire World is an upscale, unique live, relax and work destination and we think that the Erbil Marriott and the Marriott Executive Apartments Erbil are true jewels in the development. Erbil is the center of growth in the area and Marriott’s commitment to these projects clearly indicates that Erbil has arrived as an international city befitting such prestigious and quality brands.”

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