Briefs: Hotel pipeline activity up in the Middle East & Africa; first Ritz-Carlton in South America

GLOBAL HOTEL PIPELINE UPDATE: Overall hotel pipeline activity picked up only in the Middle East & Africa at the end of Q4, according to STR’s December 2022. Percentage changes in comparison with December 2021:  


  • In construction: 189,698 rooms (-14.5%) 
  • Final planning: 140,663 rooms (-14.1%) 
  • Planning: 153,587 rooms (-3.6%) 
  • Total under contract: 483,948 (-11.2%) 

Germany (36,162) and the UK (28,426) lead Europe in total rooms in construction.   

Asia Pacific 

  • In construction: 476,942 rooms (+0.6%) 
  • Final planning: 108,955 rooms (-36%) 
  • Planning: 305,339 rooms (+2.6%) 
  • Total under contract: 891,236 rooms (-5.4%) 

China and Vietnam have the most rooms in construction —300,163 and 31,570, respectively.  

Middle East & Africa 

  • In construction: 122,686 rooms (-5.8%) 
  • Final planning: 41,086 rooms (+6%) 
  • Planning: 74,863 rooms (+11.5%) 
  • Total under contract: 238,635 (+1.1%) 

Saudi Arabia (40,742) and the U.A.E (27,456) lead construction activity.      


  • In construction: 207,112 (-2.1%) 
  • Final planning: 244,982 (+11.3%) 
  • Planning: 284,829 (-13.6%) 
  • Total under contract: 736,823 (-3.2) 

The U.S. holds most rooms in construction (159,344) and showed its first YOY increase in the phase since late 2020. Mexico (11,398) and Canada (6,752) have the highest number of rooms in construction. 

RITZ-CARLTON TO SOUTH AMERICA: Marriott International has signed an agreement with MARAEY to debut the Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand in South America. MARAEY, the tourist-residential sustainable project in Brazil, is in Costa do Sol (Sun Coast). The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in MARAEY will be part of an exclusive collection of five global Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties (in destinations like Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico). Construction on the project will start in the second half of the year. The property will have 58 fully sustainable villas built from naturally certified wood and elevated from the ground to enable natural vegetation and wildlife to thrive. The villas will offer two- to five-bedroom units with private pools, gardens, staff quarters and two to four garage spaces. Other amenities at the resort include a spa, pools, dining venues, a dedicated leisure and sports area, and an environmental reference center. The MARAEY development will also include a JW Marriott All-Inclusive resort and the first Autograph Collection Rock in Rio. 

ASPEN SKIING CO.’S HOSPITALITY UNIT REBRANDS: The hospitality division of Aspen Skiing Co., the Colo.-based operator of ski resorts in North America, has rebranded as Aspen Hospitality to highlight the scale and breadth of this expanding vertical. The company is growing The Little Nell and Limelight Hotel brands, which are located in mountain resort communities, into new urban and resort communities. Alinio Azevedo, the group’s current MD and COO, has been promoted to CEO of Aspen Hospitality. Aspen Hospitality’s owned and operated properties include The Little Nell in Aspen, Colo.; Residences at The Little Nell in Aspen; Limelight Hotel Aspen in Aspen; Limelight Hotel Snowmass in Snowmass, Colo.; Limelight Hotel Ketchum near Sun Valley, Idaho; The ASPENX Mountain Club in Aspen; and The Snowmass Mountain Club in Snowmass. The company has two properties presently under development — Limelight Hotel & Residences Mammoth in Mammoth, Calif. (slated to open in late 2024) and Limelight Hotel Boulder in Boulder, Colo. (to open in early 2025).  

HILTON ALEXANDRIA COMPLETES RENOVATION: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, the 35-story, 428-room hotel in Alexandria, Va., has completed its first multi-million-dollar renovation. The refurbishments included the launch of a new sushi bar and Marketplace, enhanced lobby and public spaces, rooms, and meetings and event rooms. The hotel features more than 48,000 square feet of refreshed event space and 37 meeting rooms. The hotel is owned by a private investment fund advised by Crow Holdings Capital Partners, L.L.C and managed by Davidson Hotels.  

HOLIDAY INN DEBUTS IN PAKISTAN: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed its first Holiday Inn hotel in Pakistan. The company has signed a management agreement with Pakistan-based real estate development company Delta Centauri Pvt. Ltd. for the hotel in Lahore. The 220-key hotel is scheduled to open in 2026 and will include a specialty restaurant, café, branded retail options, MICE facilities with two function rooms, two meeting rooms, a business center and a boardroom; it will also feature a lobby lounge, a spa and a health club.