Dohuk First to See International Five-Star Hotel
While construction of international hotels is progressing across Erbil, its neighbor to the west—Dohuk—will be the first to see an international five-star hotel when the Sheraton opens later this spring.
“We believe 100% in Kurdistan development and we are convinced this is a key location to be,” said Antoine Joignant, Sheraton General Manager and Area Manager for Central Asia, Pakistan, and Iraq. “We are happy to pioneer into a new area. Sheraton is often the first international chain to be in a new location, but this was close to our heart because we have been here before so we wanted to be back.”
The Sheraton Dohuk, which offers stunning mountain and city views from its position on Shandouka Hill, features 202 guest rooms, five swimming pools, a state-of-the-art health club and spa, two ballrooms, and a large business center with an auditorium.
“Safety and security is really key for us,” Joignant continued. “You’re expected to have good service, especially when you open a Sheraton, but what’s even more expected, particularly in this part of the world, is that guests feel safe and secure.”
There were some delays in opening because the property, which was originally constructed as a different hotel, did not meet the international safety and luxury standards of the Sheraton brand. For instance, the ceilings had to be completely rebuilt to install a fire sprinkler system in order to reach American safety requirements.
While the comfort and amenities of the hotel will, no doubt, appeal to international travelers, Joignant hopes the local community will enthusiastically welcome the hotel, particularly through its food and beverage offerings, including an Italian trattoria, a seasonal outdoor Lebanese restaurant, a rooftop bar, a sports pub, and an all-day restaurant serving international cuisine with Kurdish inspiration.
“We care very much that the local community feels that this is their home,” he explained. “We hope the community comes here for important life events, like birthdays and weddings. This hotel will be a landmark for the city.”
It’s clear many hotel chains believe in the development of the region, as evidenced by the building of the Marriott, Hilton, and Doubletree hotels in the capital. Yet, Starwood Hotels, Sheraton’s parent company, is leading the way with the opening of the Sheraton Dohuk along with plans for four additional hotels in Erbil, including another Sheraton. However, Sheraton is the only chain with plans for entering Dohuk.
“We hope to put Dohuk on the map and we hope to help the city grow,” said Joignant. “The growth of the city is obvious and we hope to participate in this.”