(MENAFN - Arab News) A 500-room five-star hotel will be opened near the Grand Mosque in Makkah before Ramadan as part of Jabal Omar housing project, said Abdul Rahman Faqeeh, chairman of Jabal Omar Development Company's board.
"The new hotel will be managed by Hilton International," the Saudi businessman said, adding that it would be comprised of two tower buildings each with 20 floors. The hotel will be located in S1 area of the project, overlooking the mosque's western courtyard.
The hotel will have prayer areas for both men and women in addition to a four-story shopping mall. The project's first phase includes four more hotels: Marriott Makkah, Hyatt Makkah, Conrad Makkah and Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel, Faqeeh pointed out.
Speaking about Saudization of jobs, he said Jabal Omar would create at least 11,000 jobs for Saudis after completion of its three phases, including 3,800 in hotels. "During the next 18 months we will employ 1,350 Saudis."
Faqeeh said hundreds of Saudis would be trained to work for the first Hilton hotel before Ramadan. The company disclosed plans to employ 4,000 more Saudis within three years, Al-Sharq Arabic daily reported.
Jabal Omar is developing 2.2 million square meters of land near the Grand Mosque. The site was designed to include 38 hotel towers and the country's largest shopping mall. The project will help meet the housing requirements of the growing number of Haj and Umrah pilgrims.
More than 10 million people descend on Makkah throughout the year and about 3 million pilgrims attend the annual Haj event. The 38 hotels under construction will be managed by 28 companies and will add 13,500 rooms to Makkah's hospitality industry when they're completed in five years, a senior official said.
The project is being developed in five phases at a cost of SR 20 billion (5.3 billion). The first phase of the project, which includes 10 towers, is being built by Nesma & Partners. Baytur Construction Co. and Azmeel Contracting & Construction Corp. won the contract for the second phase, which includes four towers.