‘Headquarters of your life’ coming to Saudi Arabia, says Wyndham Hotels regional president

RIYADH: HQ, the new hospitality brand launched by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and renowned hotelier Sam Nazarian, is set to arrive in Saudi Arabia by the end of 2025, Arab News has been told.

Dimitris Manikis, president of Europe, the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, at the hospitality group, unveiled the company’s ambitious plans for the Kingdom – including the launch of HQ – at the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh.

Speaking to Arab News, Manikis shared insights into Wyndham’s steadfast commitment to Saudi Arabia’s flourishing hospitality landscape, saying: “We are very serious and very bullish about our presence in the Kingdom.”

He added: “We’re really excited to bring this new brand into Saudi Arabia as well, because it’s about smart luxury. It’s about F&B (food and beverage), entertainment, music, and it’s about smart hospitality as well.”

Manikis went on to say: “In the next 18 months, you’re going to have the first HQ brand in Saudi Arabia.”

Dimitris Manikis, president of Europe, the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Citing Nazarian’s track record of success with brands like Mondrian, Delano, and SLS, Manikis said: “Sam is notoriously famous for bringing up new concepts and ideas. So when I asked him:  ‘What exactly is HQ and why would you call it brand HQ?’, he said: ‘I want the brand to be the headquarters of your life.’”

The President added: “I have no doubt whatsoever that HQ will be an amazing brand to grow in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular.”

Manikis reflected on Wyndham’s impressive footprint across the Kingdom, which includes a robust pipeline of 20 upcoming projects. Notable among these ventures are the imminent openings of the Ramada hotels.

Additionally, the introduction of Wyndham Garden last year marked a significant milestone in the company’s strategic expansion efforts.

The optimism surrounding Saudi Arabia’s tourism prospects was palpable in Manikis’ remarks, citing the Kingdom’s remarkable achievement of surpassing the Vision 2030 tourism target of 100 million visitors in 2023.

“The bar has gone to 150 million tourists,” he remarked, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s accelerated progress towards becoming a global tourism destination. 

However, he cautioned against neglecting the crucial role of infrastructure development in sustaining this growth momentum.

“Infrastructure, planes, airports, railways, roads, highways,” Manikis said, stressing the necessity of robust infrastructure to accommodate the influx of tourists. 

Commending the government’s proactive measures, including the launch of a new airline and airport expansions, he expressed confidence in Saudi Arabia’s readiness to meet escalating demand.

“I do believe that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is actually going to fulfill the promise. And they’re going to have an amazing Expo (2030). I don’t think there’s going to be any doubt about that,” he said.

As anticipation mounts for marquee events like the Expo and the FIFA World Cup in 2034, Manikis underscored the importance of post-event planning. 

“It’s not just about the event, it’s about what you do after,” he cautioned, advocating for sustainable strategies to leverage event infrastructure effectively beyond the festivities.

In addition to the HQ brand, Wyndham is poised to capitalize on the burgeoning extended stay segment. 

“We are very bullish on extended stay,” Manikis stated, recognizing its potential to cater to diverse clientele, including families, business travelers, and digital nomads.

He added: “We added 11 beautiful luxury, extended stay products. And hopefully we’re going to extend the extended stay concept here in the Kingdom as well.”

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