Makkah Real Estate Company has signed a deal with the UK’s InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to build the world’s largest Holiday Inn in Mecca.

The 1,238-room hotel will be the first Holiday Inn on the pilgrimage route and will be located in Al-Aziziyah near Mecca’s business centre. It is due to open in 2016. 

There are a number of other major schemes currently under way in Mecca as the city builds new facilities for visiting pilgrims.

Earlier this year, the local Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) won the estimated SR13bn ($3.5bn) contract to build the Abraj Kudai mixed-use development. The deal involves building 12 towers ranging in height from 30 to 45 storeys. The towers will house 10,150 residential units and hotel rooms.

In July, Indonesia’s state-controlled construction company Wijaya Karya said it was considering plans to build a $1.1bn real estate development in Mecca. The seven-tower hotel complex will be developed with a local partner. Each tower will have 1,000 rooms.

Also in July, the Mecca Mass Rail Transit Company (MMRTC) awarded US-based consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff the project management contract for the city’s metro scheme, also known as the Mecca mass rail transit project (MMRT). The MMRTC is a subsidiary of Al-Balad al-Ameen Company, an entity created by the Mecca municipality to develop the transport programme.

Consultants and contractors also recently gathered in Jeddah for an industry open day on the proposed Mecca transport plans and the metro scheme. Early plans for the mass rail transit project include four main lines and more than 114 kilometres of track. The programme will also contain a bus network, which will have a total length of 123km and feature 147 stations, covering major highways and smaller local roads. 

Mecca has a population of about 1.5 million and accommodates 2.5 million Hajj pilgrims and another 2.8 million Umrah visitors annually.