Accor & GFH announce iconic Raffles brand in Bahrain following landmark agreement for ultra-luxury retreat

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Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is set to debut the iconic Raffles brand in Bahrain after signing a milestone agreement with GFH Financial Group (GFH) to manage the Kingdom’s first ultra-luxurious retreat.

The management agreement for Raffles Bahrain marks the start of a growing partnership between the two entities and consolidates Accor’s presence in the Kingdom where it currently operates six properties.

Raffles Hotels & Resorts is renowned for bringing old world elegance, first class travel experiences and genuine charm to the world’s most fascinating cities and desirable holiday hot spots since 1887. Raffles Bahrain will continue this legacy with a landmark takeover of the Al Areen Palace & Spa.  This highly anticipated private resort features 78 pool villas as well as the region’s largest spa and hydrotherapy facility and landscaping inspired by the Arabian palace gardens. Major enhancements will transform the property into an exclusive and opulent oasis that immerses guests in Raffles’ bespoke well-being experiences.

“We are delighted to partner with GFH Financial Group, one of the leading investment houses in the Gulf region, to debut the Raffles brand in Bahrain, a destination which has emerged as a sophisticated option for discerning travellers from the Gulf and all over the world,” said Mark Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Accor Middle East & Africa.

“This continued growth signals a remarkable new chapter in the success story of Raffles, a revered global luxury brand with an illustrious history and a reputation for extraordinary properties in the world’s best cities and most sought after resort locales; the Kingdom is a natural fit for the exclusive Arabia-meets-Asia palatial retreat experience that we have planned.”

Hisham Al Rayes, CEO, GFH, said: “It is a privilege to forge a long-term partnership with Accor, a world-leading hospitality group with an unrivalled portfolio of brands. Launching the globally-revered luxury brand Raffles is a major achievement for Bahrain, elevating its status as a lifestyle destination and significantly enhancing GFH’s fast-growing collection of prestigious real estate projects.”

Major enhancements will transform the property into an exclusive oasis for the well-travelled, promising guests hand-crafted personalised experiences, with a focus on health and well-being, thoughtful and discreet service, unparalleled culinary expertise and an ambiance of timeless elegance for which the Raffles brand is globally renowned.

Following its takeover of Al Areen Palace & Spa, Accor will conduct an extensive refurbishment program with a view to repositioning the property as the ultimate luxury retreat, complemented by its proximity to major venues and attractions including Bahrain International F1 Circuit, the new Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Centre, Al Areen Wildlife Reserve, Bahrain Sailing Club and the Lost Paradise of Dilmun Waterpark.

Property enhancements attuned to Raffles brand standards will include the refurbishment of the 56 one-bedroom Desert Pool Villas and 22 two-bedroom Royal Pool Villas, which feature open-air swimming and jet pools, and converting its four F&B outlets to six.

With guest fitness and well-being central to the Raffles experience, the resort’s 10,000 sqm spa and hydrotherapy area, one of the Middle East’s largest and featuring 16 spa pavilions, the world’s first garden hammam and a hydrothermal garden, will be renovated and upgraded.  Moreover, extensive health facilities including separate male and female gymnasiums, the kids’ club and indoor and outdoor swimming pools will see uplift and refurbishment.

Raffles Bahrain will also introduce signature wellness experiences to the Kingdom, including Raffles Sleep Rituals, designed to help guests unwind, get a peaceful night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed and part of the brand’s well-being strategy.

Once renovations are complete, the property will then be re-launched as Raffles Bahrain – a luxurious, all-pool-villa retreat in a serene location, complemented by the legendary Raffles service.

Bahrain-headquartered GFH is a renowned financial group in the GCC with a diversified offering. Accor is currently discussing further opportunities to manage the entity’s multiple upcoming hospitality projects in the region and internationally.

Raffles Bahrain joins a collection of 14 properties across 12 countries, with a carefully curated list of distinguished addresses in leading markets around the world. With a storied history spanning more than 130 years, Raffles is currently experiencing a renaissance, with a robust project pipeline that will see the portfolio add an additional eight hotels over the next few years.

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