With a firm belief in their country and the region's growth potential, the late Khalil Talhouni and Chairman of the Board Sabih Al Masri, along with a group of independent investors, local banks, and investment companies, founded Zara Investment (Holding) Co. Ltd. in 1994 with one clear goal: to provide tourists with a network of first class hotels and services throughout the Kingdom.
Zara has firmly established itself as the linchpin of Jordan's tourism industry with its network of 5-star hotels and resorts that perfectly complement Jordan's sites and attractions.
A pioneer in its approach, Zara chose the legendary Nabatean City of Petra as the site of its first venture with the Mövenpick Resort Petra in 1996.
This Arabesque hotel, with its Islamic motifs, inlaid marble works, handcrafted oriental wood, gold-leafed and hand-painted walls and ceilings, has become a haven for tourists coming to visit the ancient old red-rose city of Petra.
Zara then moved north to the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea of Jordan. Named by Conde Nast as one of the finest resorts in the world, the Mövenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea is an oasis of pure luxury.
The world-class Zara spa is the largest and most advanced in the Middle East, and is unique for making use of the Dead Sea’s natural therapeutic ingredients, providing a myriad of treatments to soothe the body, relax the mind, and seduce the soul.
In December 1998, Zara unveiled a new landmark on the hills of Amman, amidst the financial and business district of the city: the Grand Hyatt Amman. Its distinctly modern design, world-class restaurants, Art Gallery, and one of the largest ballrooms in the country have made it one of the most popular hotels in Amman. In fact the Grand Hyatt Amman was rated the most successful hotel in Amman for the year 2002 and ranked one of the top 75 hotels in the world by BILANZ magazine.
The hotel enjoys a direct link to Hyatt Tower offering beautifully furnished and serviced apartments ranging from 1 to 4 bedrooms. The hotel is also linked to Zara Expo, Jordan's finest exhibition and conference venue. In addition, Zara Expo boasts a world-class auditorium.
Also linked to Zara Expo is Zara Centre, the first modern entertainment and shopping complex in Jordan, arranged over four flours of mixed retail and leisure space, containing a food court and a five-screen multiplex led by the world renowned Grand cinemas.
The founding of the Grand Hyatt Amman, the Hyatt Tower, Zara Expo, and Zara Centre has created an important physical landmark, as well as a cultural milestone in the capital.
InterContinental Jordan Hotel, the oldest 5-star hotel in Jordan since 1963, has long been the choice of visiting dignitaries, discerning guests, and Arab intellectuals. It has maintained its reputation for luxury, quality, and style for almost four decades. The Hotel is presently undergoing a JD14 million renovation project that will lead towards a trendier, more fashionable and stylish hotel scene, blending traditional Jordanian hospitality with modern day, contemporary design.
In the year 2000, Zara expanded its hotel portfolio in Jordan to build the Mövenpick Resort Aqaba on the shores of the Jordanian Red Sea. As the first 5-star hotel of international standards in the port city of Aqaba, the resort is located near the archaeological site of the Islamic city of Ayla. The unique building, which blends the spirit of ancient Ayla and modern Aqaba, connects two pieces of land with a bridge.
During the same year, Zara bought and remodeled the Mövenpick Nabatean Castle Hotel in Petra. Located on a hillside at 1400-meter altitude, the hotel reveals a spectacular view over the Great Rift Valley, only 10 minutes from the entrance to Petra. The renowned Jordanian architect, and winner of the Agha Khan Award for Islamic architecture, Mr. Rasem Badran, designed this magnificent edifice. This hotel was also awarded the HCE (Hygiene Conscious Establishment) trophy of SGS (SocieteGenerale de Surveillance) for the year 2002.
In 2009, Zara completed its 7th 5-star Hotel branded as Mövenpick Resort Tala Bay. The Hotel is situated at the southern shores of the red sea at the Gulf of Aqaba, a beachfront of breathtaking scenery and untouched corals. Set on 65,300 square meters, the hotel is part of Jordan's first integrated resort and residential community known as Tala Bay. It is also part of a group of international hotel chains all slated to open in that area. This development is in line with Zara Investment's aggressive growth policy aimed at maintaining and securing its leading market share in the Jordanian hotel industry.
In order to translate its vision into reality, and in order to ensure the inclusion of Zara's special features within each of its hotels, Zara's supervised the execution of its various projects around the Kingdom through Zara Consultancy & Projects Management Company, also known as Ayla Consultancy; an in-house company that carried out the project management services of projects exceeding the value of $400 million. Zara's ambitions stretch far and wide. The innovative and expansive approach of Zara - providing world-class service, luxurious rooms, remarkable architecture, and interior design - has transformed Jordan's overall approach to the hospitality industry.