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French Version

Le Royal : An investment landmark

With over $190 million in constructing expenses, Le Royal serves as an artistic monument that associates the authenticity of the past with the genuineness of the present.

What do the following numbers have in common: 286 rooms and suites, 32 floors, 14 restaurants and entertainment outlets, and three five-star cinemas? These are all the main features of Le Royal Hotel in Amman, Jordan's latest feat to offer state-of-the-art comfort and amusement services.

The hotel was officially inaugurated on 3 September under the Royal patronage. Over four years ago, the Luxembourg-based General Mediterranean Holding Co took the initiative to build the inclusive hotel in Amman as a gesture to the request of His Majesty, the late King Hussein, who laid the hotel's cornerstone in May 1998.

The company's main objective is to enhance tourism in Jordan through customer satisfaction and quality of service. The new establishment is under the control of the Hotel and Leisure Dept in the company.

Nadhmi Auchi, the company's chairman, noted the real reason behind his decision to set up the hotel in Jordan was to take advantage of the strategic position the Kingdom has in the Middle East, serving as the crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia. Auchi praised the facilities available to foreign investors in the tourism sector.

He admired His Majesty King Abdallah's support and dedication for the project, which was obvious through the government's assistance to transfer this facility into reality.

"Touristic investments in Jordan are bearing good fruit noted Auchi whose company was established in 1979 with $225 million in paid up capital. "The potential here is to make tourism in Jordan a wealthy business in the long-run." The company's total assets in 2000 were $1.8 billion. The wealthy businessman made it clear such big projects require dedication and effort from the public sector.

With over $190 million in constructing expenses, the hotel serves as an artistic monument that associates the authenticity of the past with the genuineness of the present. An innovative architectural design, it offers breathtaking views over Amman. Its exterior was from Islamic and Arab architecture, a reflection of Babylon times.

The hotel functions as an all-encompassing small city with all facilities in one-stop. Auchi suggested the hotel can stand a 14-point earthquake, despite the fact that the Richter scale only has 9.5 point, he added amusingly.

He was responding to the fact the hotel basement has 4000 tons of steel, something which makes the hotel, 'the world's most secured place." Funding for the project was provided through the General Mediterranean Group, which has some 30 offices around the world, including Jordan.

Besides its luxurious rooms and suites, the hotel serves its residences with five-star-plus services. A short visit to its commercial center or the spa health and fitness center is certainly a landmark. The hotel also serves as a premier multi-functional conference center with full audio-visual services. The health center covers 7000 square meters, serving all fitness facilities, ranging from massage, thalasso therapy and Dead Sea products, arranged through the hotel's 7th and 8th floors.

Located on the Third Circle in Jabal Amman, the hotel serves as a towering overview of Amman. "We believe the hotel is a benchmark for all those interested in the tourism sector," Auchi pointed out. "It should be clear we put our experience and faculties under the request of anyone wishes to improve the quality of hotel services in the Kingdom." Le Royal Hotel's General Manager Thomas Crowley told The Star the hotel in Amman plays a key-role in developing the local tourism sector. "We are moving towards a national hotel destination," he stressed, adding the hotel provides a basis for tourist attraction to Jordan and the region as a whole. The hotel is member of the distinguished "The Leading Hotels of the World" group. Crowley said Jordan, and the hotel in particular, will be promoted through this group.

"We have to look at the hotel's potential for Jordan in the long-term basis." Headquartered in New York City, the Leading Hotels of the World maintain a network of 18 regional offices in key international cities, providing global distribution, reservation, and luxury marketing support to the world's finest five-star independent hotels and hotel groups.

Auchi, meanwhile, reiterated the tourism sector in the Kingdom requires more efforts and adjustments to make it attractive enough for foreign tourists and businesses. He noted more than 200,000 Jordanians worked on the project since its launching. Auchi revealed his group has paid more than $116 million for 17 Jordanian companies to set up the hotel's facilities. "I believe the hotel's entire employees will eventually be Jordanians. It is an added-value facility for all the national human resources."

One of the ideas Auchi focused on is operational costs in Jordan, including electricity costs. The hotel's electricity bill is about JD 1.5 million per year.

"The public and private sectors in the Arab world should work together to enhance the potential economic opportunities that are found in the region," said Auchi, adding Jordan still has potential for economic growth despite the current political instability in the region. Auchi's company has shareholdings in many local companies, including Fastlink, one of Jordan's two GSM providers and other banks.

"The chance is still there for Arab investors and businessmen to return and employ their resources in the Arab economies. But the Arab governments should offer more facilities to attract these investors," he concluded.

Ghassan Joha
The Star

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