Growing to Compete

Amman’s Kempinski is undertaking a major expansion to take on growing competition in the capital.

By Elisa Oddone

A string of new five star hotels are due to open in Amman in the near future, sharply raising the competitive stakes in the capital’s high-end hospitality sector.

Maissoun Sarraf represents Al Rabya, the Jordanian owner of Amman’s five-star Kempinski Hotel. She’s confident the hotel’s new JD25 million extension will leave it well positioned to take on the opposition when it finally opens for use early next year.

Why is this annex so important to the future of your hotel?

As a five-star hotel, we need to cater to the needs of our clients while keeping up with the market demand. This is where our new 13,000 square-meter annex comes into play. The projected cost estimate is over JD25 million and the new wing’s opening is expected in early 2016. The space will boast a new main lobby, a 1000 square-meter ballroom, and a 750 square-meter multipurpose hall that will serve as a convention center with cutting-edge acoustic technology, among other services. It will be the hotel’s new venue for receptions and banquets. Plans include the construction of four new floors, which will host a restaurant and a 750 square-meter terrace, in addition to three meeting rooms of 200-square meters each.

Several new luxury hotels are under construction in Amman. Is there really enough demand at this end of the hospitality market?

For the time being, the construction of several luxury hotels is a positive addition to our national economy, which will provide a range of new choices and facilities to the travelers’ needs. Hosting major conferences spanning different sectors in the capital’s new and already established hotels will attract multiple economic activities to our country.

How much are you factoring in current regional instability into your future plans?

There is no doubt that the political situation which has been affecting Jordan’s neighboring countries in the past three years has negatively affected the country’s tourism sector in a significant way. We hope for a quick end to this crisis, which will also enable us to reach out to the market once more, thus attracting an increased flow of tourists to Jordan. Travelers see the Middle East as an insecure destination, including Jordan, so we need to change this idea and have them consider our country as an exception.