The bidders are Besixof Belgium, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), Cyprus-based Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&POverseas), and Lebanon’s Arabian Construction Companywith Interbetonof the Netherlands. France’s SAE International, which refurbished the existing 588-room hotel in the mid-1990s, had entered preliminary negotiations over the contract before the client opened the project up to international competition. Despite being prequalified for the contract, SAE declined to submit a bid.

Scheduled for completion in 2004, the new building will have a built-up area of 51,000 square metres and contain an additional 285 rooms. Designed by the UK office of Wimberly Allison Tong& Goo, the rooms will be arranged over six storeys around a glazed atrium with gardens, water features, restaurants, bars and a healthclub. Other facilities will include a new ballroom, conference halls and parking for 200 cars. Toronto-based Yollesis structural engineer for the project.