Economy brand Ibis opens first Saudi Arabian hotel

Economy brand Ibis opens first Saudi Arabian hotel

It is possible to go cheap in the Arab kingdom, thanks to plans by Accor's Ibis brand

Ibis Riyadh opened early December 2012. Travelers who want to marvel at the Middle East's lavish luxury hotels without forking out their life savings to stay there now have another option -- stay at nearby budget hotels.

Spurred by the massive domestic tourism boom in the region, Accor hotels is opening a string of Ibis economy hotels in Saudi Arabia. 

The 176-room Ibis Riyadh Olaya Street had a soft opening earlier this month and currently has three floors (78 rooms) open for operation.

The French hotel group is planning four more Ibis launches in the Arab kingdom, to provide an even cheaper option to existing four-star hotels such as Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.

A second Ibis hotel is slated to open in Yanbu in the second quarter of 2013, while two more will be launching in Al Khobar and Jeddah in 2014 and 2015 respectively. 

Saudi Arabia -- home to Islam's holiest sites Mecca and Medina -- is currently the leader in religious tourism in the Middle East, with a yearly tourism income of approximately US$7 billion. 

Accor also plans to expand hotels in Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, bringing the total number of Ibis hotels in the Middle East to 16.

Ibis Riyadh, Al Olaya Street, 11565 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; +966 1 4199995; rates start at 380 riyals (US$101); www.accorhotels.com

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