Moroccan move sees Forte expand into resorts

Rocco Forte Hotels has signed a management contract for a Marrakech property, marking its first expansion outside Europe and part of first forays into the resort market. The group’s contract with Assoufid Hotels will see it manage the new 225-hectare, five-star golf and spa resort in the Moroccan resort when it opens in December 2009. This will follow the construction of a Rocco Forte golf resort in Sicily due to open in the summer of the same year. Rocco Forte Hotels currently has 10 properties and managing director Richard Power said the group aimed to expand its portfolio to 25-30 in the next decade. “A proportion of them, going forward, could be resorts,” said Power. “We are not going to grow a huge resort portfolio, we want them to be very individual and have a very hands-on management style.” Rocco Forte chairman and chief executive Sir Rocco Forte said expanding into resorts was a timely move. “We feel the time is right to extend our brand into luxury resorts,” he said. “We have built a strong brand with good sales, marketing and reservations infrastructure and believe we are in a good position to win more management contracts both in city centres and resorts.” • Meanwhile, Power added that said Rocco Forte has been consulting with its contacts in the conference market to determine their venue needs and, as a result, the group is in the process of recruiting a specialist conference sales director.

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