DUBAI, U.A.E. and MCLEAN, Va. – September 7, 2011 - Hilton Worldwide has announced the signing of a management agreement with New York-based real estate developer The Claremont Group to open the company’s first hotel in Iraq, under its upscale, full-service DoubleTree by Hilton hotel brand. Comprising of 200 serviced apartments, the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil is expected to open in the flourishing capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan at the end of 2013.
Rob Palleschi, global head, DoubleTree by Hilton brand said, “Our company’s founder, Conrad Hilton, passionately believed in a vision ‘to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality.’ DoubleTree by Hilton continues to respect and build upon that legacy today by providing high standards of service and creating rewarding experiences for travellers in more than 265 cities and 20 countries around the world. We look forward to sharing our distinctively welcoming style of DoubleTree by Hilton hospitality in Erbil, which is quickly becoming another world-class business and tourism destination.”
Iraqi Kurdistan or the Kurdistan Region is a semi-autonomous region of Iraq. The ancient city of Erbil (Arbil) is the regional capital and also is considered one of the longest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Travellers can tour significant cultural landmarks like the Citadel of Erbil currently under restoration, which dates to the Assyrian empire and Alexander the Great. Lively bazaars, archaeological adventures and commercial enterprise from more than 100 multinational companies are just some of what awaits Erbil’s visitors. The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil will be strategically located on Erbil’s central thoroughfare, close to the recently expanded Erbil International Airport and the Ainkawa district, one of the city’s main retail and entertainment centres.
“Erbil’s commercial status is increasing year on year and the city has a growing reputation as an up and coming tourist destination. We have every confidence that the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil will prove popular with the growing number of business and leisure travellers,” commented Rudi Jagersbacher, area president, Middle East & Africa, Hilton Worldwide.
Tailored for the needs of long-staying guests, the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil will feature a business centre, health club, swimming pool, eight meeting rooms, two restaurants and a lobby lounge and bar. Approximately 200 jobs will be created at the hotel and the company’s focus will be on employing people locally.
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Erbil guests will benefit from the characteristic qualities found at the brand’s more than 250 DoubleTree by Hilton locations around the world, including the warm welcome of the brand’s legendary chocolate chip cookie presented to every guest at check-in; an array of upscale amenities and guest services; the rewards of the Hilton HHonors guest loyalty programme; and a unique and caring team member commitment to the local community.
Stephen Lari, Principal of The Claremont Group, said “There is so much potential in Kurdistan and particularly the city of Erbil. We’ve seen travel to the region grow considerably over the past couple of years. If that trend is going to continue then further infrastructure is required to support the industry. Hotels are key to that, and with Hilton Worldwide we know we have the right brand and management partner to make this hotel an integral part of the travel industry in the region.”
He added: “We’d like to commend the leadership of the Kurdistan Regional Government for fostering the secure and pro-investment environment that has been the catalyst for the region’s steady growth and prosperity. By making the first major American-sponsored investment in the region’s hospitality sector, we are firm believers in the Kurdistan success story.”
Hilton Worldwide currently operates 53 properties across the Middle East and Africa and has 36 hotels in the development pipeline. So far this year, the company has signed a total of 13 new hotels into the pipeline across the U.A,E., Saudi Arabia, Qatar and now Iraq.