“It is the group’s aim to have a hotel in every international gateway city”, Stuart explained. Guoman’s six hotel’s in London are about to have $150,000,000 spent on them to bring them further up towards the group’s benchmark standard hotel, The Cumberland, which is featured on these pages.
“We are currently building new hotels in the Far East - Malaysia and China - right now, and we will open a property in Shanghai next year”, he continued.
The Middle East appeals to Guoman Group due to the fact that 25% of guests at The Cumberland originate from this region. The property has a justifiably strong reputation amongst these travellers, and the group feel sure that were a hotel to be established in the Gulf with the same key DNA it would prove an instant success in the region.
“The GCC in particular is a focus for us, although our first venture in to the Middle Eastern market will be in Cairo where we are about to sign an initial agreement to run two new Guoman hotels”, Stuart says.
In such a venture investment will be incoming from both sides.
Doha will most likely be next. It is one of the most dynamic cities in the region, and one where, unlike Dubai, there is considerable scope for wise investment to be able to produce healthy returns.
Guoman Group recognizes Kuwait as currently being the most important market in the Middle East based on sheer weight of numbers of guests staying with them in London.
“Without a doubt, once we have found the right partner in Kuwait”, Stuart explained, “and set up the most appropriate financing package for a new property, we’re quite sure that Kuwait will establish itself as being one of the jewels in the Guoman Hotels crown”.
Although a quick scan of the skyline and streets of Kuwait might lead one to believe that Kuwait is already well-stocked with hotels, Guoman believes that there is still ample room for someone to come in to the market and offer something unique. They believe that they themselves are indeed the company to do this.
We may very well soon be seeing a property on the scale of London’s Cumberland, with a lobby full of contemporary art, and a top-hatted doorman there to greet you and welcome you in.
Whilst Guoman Hotels do not currently have properties in the Middle East, they come to region already fully acquainted with the needs of Middle Eastern travellers.
“We come to the region for the first time, but we come fully prepared and aware of what will satisfy the demanding traveller in the area”, Stuart said.
Guoman Hotels, in partnership with local companies, will establish themselves in the Middle East. Whilst doing so they will cause some of the existing properties in the region to examine themselves a little more closely.
Anyone who has ever stayed at one of Guoman’s London properties will attest to their high levels of service, and those same travellers will be thankful for anything which makes those standards the benchmark for all hotels in the Middle East.
You can find out more about Guoman Hotels at www.guoman.com
First Published in Men's Passion Issue #18 Dec.09