Local contractor Al-Kokache Enterprises is scheduled to complete the first phase of the SR200m ($53m) South Wing expansion of Riyadh’s Al-Faisaliah Hotel in June this year.

Construction began on the project in May 2009 and 39 of the 106 planned rooms will be ready for delivery in June this year, with the remaining 67 rooms to be finished in July. The South Wing of Al-Faisaliah Hotel will also include Riyadh’s only women’s spa affiliated with an international hotel. The spa and wellness centre will be completed in October this year.

The South Wing expansion has been built to take advantage of a gap in the Riyadh’s hotel market. “We recognise the importance of being able to accommodate meeting and conference tourists. There is a significant need to increase four and five star accommodation for business travellers right now, particularly in Riyadh,” said Peter Finamore, managing director of Al-Faisaliah Hotel and Hotel Al-Khozama.

By adding 106 rooms, Al-Faisaliah has increased its visitor capacity by 32 per cent. “With King Abdullah Financial District coming online in the next three or four years, the need is medium-term. But hotel operators know that major brands are coming into the city and the existing hotels need to upgrade their products,” said Khaled al-Idrissi, director of marketing for Al-Faisaliah and Al-Khozama hotels.

Al-Faisaliah and Al-Khozama are both owned by the local Al-Khozama Management Company which is the property investment and management arm of the government’s King Faisal Foundation. Al-Faisaliah’s South Wing expansion was designed by Princess Al-Anoud bint Khalid al-Saud. The hotels are managed and operated by Canada’s Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.