EXCLUSIVE: Millennium & Copthorne has launched a new brand, Millennium Executive Apartments, to cater to the demands of longer-staying guests in the Middle East.
The brand will debut in the UAE with the 198-key Millennium Executive Apartments Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open by the end of quarter one, 2013.
“It’s a new brand that was born in the Middle East region. There are very few operators now operating solo executive apartment brands so we saw a niche. The brand has derived from the Millennium brand, it’s the same DNA,” said Millennium & Copthorne Middle East and Africa manager — development planning and asset management Ramsay Rankoussi.
Millennium Executive Apartments will comprise mostly large studios and one-bedroom apartments incorporating kitchenettes, luxury furnishings and high technology, alongside communal facilities such as meeting rooms, restaurants and gyms.
A second, 150-key Millennium Executive Apartments property is expected to launch in Dubai Marina before the end of the year, with further plans to roll the brand out across the Middle East.
The group is eyeing the launch of 10 to 15 Millennium Executive Apartment properties in the region within the next two years.
“We’re executing final agreements in Jeddah for one Millennium Executive Apartments tower. We’re also looking at Riyadh, Doha and other key cities,” revealed Rankoussi.
“We’ve seen the potential from existing properties that have a component of serviced apartments, they’re working very well. In Abu Dhabi, for example, the market is slowing down as a lot of inventory comes up, but we’re seeing occupancy and average rates sustain at the serviced apartments components of our hotels,” he added.
Rankoussi expects the new brand will be popular with GCC nationals, travelling alone or with families, and staying for several days to six or 12 months.
Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc was formed in 1996, the same year it was floated on the London Stock Exchange, and began expansion in the Middle East with several management contracts signed in the UAE in 2001. Its brands include Millennium Hotels, Grand Millennium Hotels, Copthorne Hotels, Grand Copthorne Hotels, Kingsgate Hotels, M Hotels, Biltmore and Studio M.