The city of Muscat is best known to travellers as ‘a very elegant town with very fine houses’ due to building policies that enforce cleanliness and traditional design elements. Portuguese 16th-century admiral Afonso de Albuquerque, to whom the quote is attributed, would agree with international hotel owner, operator and investor Minor Hotels that the Omani capital would be the best site for a 250-room hotel.
The Thailand-based company recently joined forces with Safari International Group to develop the new AVANI Muscat Hotel under its vibrant, upscale AVANI Hotels & Resorts brand. Minor’s initial properties in Oman opened in late 2016 under the luxury brand Anantara: Anantara Jabal Al Akhdar Resort on the Saiq Plateau in the north, and Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara in the Dhofar region in the south.
AVANI Muscat Hotel will rise at the progressive residential area of Seeb, a 15-minute drive from Muscat International Airport, in 2020. The hotel will connect via sky bridge to the Al Araimi Boulevard Mall, which opens in 2018 with more than 250 retail and dining outlets, a medical centre and a 10-screen cinema complex.
The new property will unfold in two phases at a total development cost of US$50 million. The first phase will be the main hotel, with 160 guest rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, an AVANI Pantry, a 1,000m² ballroom, eight meeting rooms, a rooftop lounge, a swimming pool and health club. The second phase will open two years later to offer a total of 90 serviced apartments, including studios, one- and two-bedroom units, plus two 175m² three-bedroom apartments.
‘We are delighted to be partnering with Safari International Group to develop this exciting new addition to Muscat’s hotel scene,’ shared Dillip Rajakarier, chief executive officer of Minor Hotels. ‘Seeb will become a significant hub as Muscat grows westwards. We are confident AVANI will represent a great fit in this fast developing neighbourhood.’
Ramzy Fenianos, vice president for development in EMEA of Minor Hotels echoed this, adding: ‘We are pleased to be partnering with Safari International Group on the new AVANI Muscat Hotel as they already have experience in the hospitality sector in Oman, specifically in Muscat where they own and have operated another property since 2012. We will be able to leverage on the group’s existing market knowledge and expertise.’
‘The Sultanate of Oman is witnessing a major growth in the tourism sector,’ explained Ismail Al-Tubi, owner of Safari International Group. ‘Located in a lively commercial area, the new AVANI will be the gateway to the vital tourism and entertainment sectors that the country needs, especially with the opening of the new Muscat International Airport, which is expected to receive more than 12 million passengers a year.’