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Ritz-Carlton taps growing Israeli market with new property

August 15, 2013


Hotel chain Ritz-Carlton is entering the Israeli market with a property in Herzliya to capitalize on an increase in the country's tourism and its growing technology sector.

The Herzliya, Israel property will open at the end of 2013 and marks the latest in a string of luxury enterprises that cater to the growing Middle-Eastern and African market. As the first global luxury hotel in Israel, the hotel chain will likely develop enduring brand loyalty among consumers who are drawn to globally-endorsed properties.

"So many factors play into a location’s viability as a tourist destination that it’s extremely difficult to predict trends outside of the near future,"said Taylor Rains, account executive at Rawle Murdy Associates, Charleston, SC.

"That said, there is no denying that the Middle East has experienced and continues to experience unprecedented growth in tourism and, by all measures, will continue to do so for some time," he said.

"While there are clearly elements at play that impede the growth of tourism in the region, there continues to be global interest in the Middle East."

Mr. Rains is not affiliated with Ritz-Carlton, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Ritz-Carlton did not respond by press deadline.

Seafront of technology

The Herzliya property is located on the Marina overlooking the Mediterranean north of Tel Aviv, the culturally vibrant and second most populated city in Israel.

Beach in Herzliya, Israel

Herzliya is home to a growing technology scene, making it a destination for business travelers around the world.

Rani Ziss Architects Ltd. designed the 12-story, 197-room property and New York-based interior design firm Studio Gaia created the interiors with Israeli studio Gad Halperin producing the lobby and restaurant concepts.

Chef Yonathon Roshfeld will lead the Herbet Samuel restaurant using local, seasonal produce and kosher Israeli and international wines. A panoramic rooftop bar will offer views overlooking of the coastline.

Ritz Carlton Herzliya, Israel

The spa and fitness center both have Mediterranean views and outdoor relaxation terraces, while sailing, surfing and other water sports are within a short stroll of the property.

Facilities for business travelers at the property include 4,500 square feet of meeting space and a Business Center.

Shifting borders

The luxury march into Middle Eastern and African markets has remained steady for some time now.

For instance, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is strengthening its ability to serve global travelers by reopening a hotel in Johannesburg that establishes the brand in South Africa.

The Westcliff Johannesburg location will reopen in the second quarter of 2014 with Four Seasons at the helm after signing a long-term management contract with property owners. The hotel brand aims to let guests seamlessly tour the world without having to trade luxury accommodations for authentic cultural experiences (see story).

Furthermore, luxury hotel marketers are opening numerous properties in the Greater Middle East area, suggesting that the region is a new choice destination for in-the-know affluent travelers.

Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels’ Waldorf Astoria and The Ritz-Carlton have recently opened or plan to open new properties in the Middle East. New luxury hotels in this area should prepare for a variety of affluent guests with the influx of business and leisure travelers (see story).

The rise in Middle Eastern luxury travel could be due to the allure of the area's untapped potential.

"As luxury consumers continue to look for memorable experiences from their travel, that fascination is not likely to subside anytime soon," Mr. Rains said.

"From the culture and heritage to the landscape itself, the Middle East offers something unique," he said.

"As long as the infrastructure remains capable to support the influx of tourists, I see the industry staying strong."

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York