An agreement with Accor
This summer the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates privatized all 180 rooms and the restaurants of the two luxury hotels in Annemasse (Haute-Savoie). A Mercure and a Novotel belonging to the Accor group, which will house the staff of Al Nahyane, the ministers and part of the security service. The city’s mayor, Christian Dupessey, had no say. The elected official no longer comments on this story today, even if he had found it « shocking (…) that a state privatizes the two most beautiful hotels in the city during the tourist season”, in his words, reported by The Parisian.
A royal blessing
Annemasse, 35,000 inhabitants, is not exactly known for its cultural boom. Its location near the Swiss border and at the foot of the Alps makes it more of a starting point for hikes or a stopover on the way to Geneva and Chamonix. Tourists rarely flock, and even less so since the health crisis began. The arrival of the royal clan’s staff doesn’t seem to be doing too much harm to the city. “It’s more of a blessing when the hotels in the area have less than 40% occupancy in mid-July, explains Patrick Antoine, President of the Monts de Genève Tourist Office. Thanks to the associated tourist tax, we should even receive 20,000 euros. »
A sanitary cocoon
Last summer, the royal tribe did not come to use its French villas in Vétraz-Monthoux, 10 minutes from Annemasse, due to the pandemic. And if staff are normally based in Geneva hotels, this year the Emiratis have chosen to keep their suite nearby as a precaution. A great premiere. Each entrance and exit of the hotel is carefully controlled to avoid any form of contamination. Inconceivable to share the hotel with other tourists. A welcome health bubble as cases surge in Switzerland and France.
For decades, Mohammed Ben Zayed Al Nahyane and his family have been spending summers in the hills of Vétraz-Monthoux, a town of 9,000 people. The Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Abu Dhabi likes it so much that he asked for a helipad to be built on his property to facilitate his travels 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 a year in Maxilly-sur-Léman, a village of 1,300 people on the shores of the lake. A property his father bought in 1991.