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Four Seasons likely to announce its Ras Al Khaimah Resort and Villa Project

Four Seasons' Ras Al Khaimah Resort Breaks Ground

Discover the exciting plans of Four Seasons to launch a super-luxury resort and villa project in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and the impact it’s set to have on this rapidly growing tourist destination.

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In the world of luxury travel, one name stands out above the rest: Four Seasons. Renowned for its opulent hotels and resorts across the globe, the Toronto-based hotel brand is now making waves in the United Arab Emirates. In a recent announcement, Four Seasons suggested developing a super-luxury resort and standalone villa project in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. In this article, we will delve into the details of this exciting project, its implications for the region, and the broader growth strategy of Four Seasons in the Middle East.

Four Seasons' Ras Al Khaimah Resort Breaks Ground

Four Seasons Eyes Ras Al Khaimah

The Allure of Ras Al Khaimah

Nestled in the United Arab Emirates, Ras Al Khaimah is not your typical tourist destination. However, its appeal has steadily grown in recent years, and for good reason. With stunning natural landscapes, a burgeoning luxury tourism sector, and strategic development initiatives, Ras Al Khaimah is poised to become a key player in upscale travel.

Four Seasons’ Ambitious Plans

Four Seasons, known for its commitment to excellence in hospitality, has set its sights on Ras Al Khaimah. During a recent media roundtable, the president of Four Seasons for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Adrian Messerli, confirmed the brand’s interest in the region. He stated, “Ras Al Khaimah could become the gaming state of the UAE, and we’ve had a lot of requests to enter. We’re exploring one of those developments to open a hotel in Ras Al Khaimah.”

The Wynn Effect

To understand the significance of the Four Seasons move, we must first examine the impact of another luxury resort, Wynn, on Ras Al Khaimah. Since the unveiling of Wynn in 2022, the emirate has witnessed a flurry of luxury development deals, mainly centred around the man-made Al Marjan Island, where Wynn is also set to be.

Marriott and Other Players

Marriott, a hospitality giant, has already announced the arrival of four five-star properties on Al Marjan Island, including Le Meridien, a JW Marriott, a Westin, and a W hotel. Smaller, exclusive operators like Nobu also make their mark on the island. Not to be left behind, Emaar-backed Rove and the home-grown brand Earth are also joining the fray, catering to different segments of the market.

Ras Al Khaimah’s Growing Appeal

The numbers speak volumes about Ras Al Khaimah’s growing appeal. In the first nine months of the year, the emirate welcomed over 904,000 travellers, nearly half from overseas. This represents a remarkable 12.5% increase compared to the previous year. Occupancy rates, a crucial metric in the hospitality industry, surged by 25.4% to reach an impressive 72%.

For comparison, its neighbouring city, Dubai, welcomed nearly 17 million international visitors during its best tourism year in 2019. Ras Al Khaimah is progressing towards becoming a prominent player in the global tourism landscape.

Vision 2030: Ras Al Khaimah’s Ambitious Goals

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has set an ambitious goal for the emirate’s future. By 2030, they aim to attract over three million visitors. However, many industry analysts believe the Emirates’ tourism sector could surpass this optimistic projection.

According to Colliers, a leading real estate services company, Ras Al Khaimah currently has approximately 5,000 hotel rooms in the development pipeline, with Wynn accounting for a significant portion. However, the pace of development is not keeping up with the surging demand.

Bridging the Gap in the Market

As demand continues to rise, a significant gap in the market is expected to emerge. By 2026, experts anticipate a shortfall of 3,500 hotel keys, and this gap is projected to widen to over 6,000 keys by 2030. This presents a golden opportunity for luxury brands like Four Seasons to establish a strong presence in Ras Al Khaimah.

Four Seasons’ Middle East Expansion

The Middle East: A Strategic Growth Market

While the Ras Al Khaimah development is grabbing headlines, it is just one piece of the puzzle in Four Seasons’ broader expansion strategy for the Middle East. Adrian Messerli, who resides in Dubai, revealed that the Middle East is now Four Seasons’ largest growth market. He emphasized the region’s potential to replicate the success story of Dubai, which has transformed from a desert city into a global metropolis.

The Middle East’s Growth Potential

Messerli pointed out, “We have the largest brand recognition in the Middle East. For us, it’s natural to expand in this region. What is encouraging for us: Four Seasons is the brand of choice overseas for Middle East travellers, too.” Indeed, the Middle East’s thriving economy and growing tourism industry make it an attractive market for luxury hospitality brands.

Bill Gates and Saudi Prince: Key Stakeholders

As of 2021, Bill Gates holds a 71% ownership stake in Four Seasons through Cascade Investment, while Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal owns 24% through Kingdom Holding Company. This strong financial backing allows Four Seasons to pursue ambitious expansion plans in the Middle East and beyond.

Saudi Arabia’s Accelerated Growth

Notably, the development of Four Seasons in Saudi Arabia is gaining momentum. The brand is set to open hotels and resorts in each holy city, as well as in Jeddah, Sindalah, the Red Sea region, and more. This expansion in Saudi Arabia is a testament to the growing demand for luxury accommodations in the region.

Preparing for Growth

Four Seasons is establishing a new office to oversee its extensive Saudi operation and accommodate this rapid growth. Messerli states, “We’re preparing for many Saudi openings in the coming years. In Saudi, we also open in Medina, Makkah, Jeddah, Red Sea, Diriyah, Neom, and Al Khobar. It’s exciting. We need to prepare for that growth.” This preparation includes centralizing key functions such as sales, marketing, finance, and reservations in one core office.

Four Seasons' Ras Al Khaimah Resort Breaks Ground


The announcement of Four Seasons’ super-luxury resort and villa project in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, is a testament to the emirate’s rising prominence and a reflection of Four Seasons’ commitment to expanding its presence in the Middle East. As Ras Al Khaimah strives to achieve its ambitious tourism goals, luxury travellers can anticipate a new level of opulence in this charming emirate, courtesy of Four Seasons. The brand’s expansion in Saudi Arabia further solidifies its commitment to delivering unparalleled luxury experiences in the region. With the combined forces of Bill Gates and Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal backing this endeavour, Four Seasons’ Middle East journey is poised for success.

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