An agreement with Accor
This summer, the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates privatized all of the 180 rooms and restaurants of the two luxury hotels in Annemasse (Haute-Savoie). A Mercure and a Novotel, from the Accor group, which will house Al Nahyane staff, ministers and part of the security service. The mayor of the town, Christian Dupessey, did not have a say. Today, moreover, the chosen one no longer comments on this story even if he had found “Shocking (…) that a State privatize the two most beautiful hotels in the city during the tourist season ”, in his words, reported by The Parisian.
A royal boon
Annemasse, 35,000 inhabitants, is not famous for its cultural effervescence. Its location, close to the Swiss border and at the foot of the Alps, makes it more of a starting point for hikes or a stopover on the road to Geneva and Chamonix. Tourists rarely arrive in droves and even less since the start of the health crisis. The arrival of the royal clan personnel does not seem to do too much harm to the city. “It’s rather a godsend, whereas the hotels in the area have less than 40% occupancy in mid-July, explains Patrick Antoine, the president of the Monts de Genève tourist office. We should even receive 20,000 euros thanks to the associated tourist tax. “
A sanitary cocoon
Last summer, pandemic obliges, the royal tribe did not come to enjoy its French villas in Vétraz-Monthoux, 10 minutes from Annemasse. And if, usually, the staff is housed in Geneva hotels, this year the Emiratis have preferred to keep their suite near them, as a precaution. A great first. Each entry and exit of the hotel is carefully controlled to avoid any form of contamination. Impossible then to imagine sharing the hotel with other tourists. A welcome health bubble while, in Switzerland and France, an increase in cases is emerging.
For decades, Mohammed Ben Zayed Al Nahyane and his family have come to spend the summer on the hills of Vétraz-Monthoux, a town of 9,000 inhabitants. The crown prince and minister of defense of Abu Dhabi likes it as much as he asked to build a helipad on his property, to facilitate his movements from Geneva airport. Several members of the royal family also own land in the region. The current president, Sheikh Khalifa Ben Zayed Al Nahyane, for example spends a few months of the year in Maxilly-sur-Léman, a village of 1,300 inhabitants, on the shores of the lake. An estate that his father had acquired in 1991.