A LANDMARK Weymouth hotel has been sold in a multi-million-pound deal to Saudi investors.

The new owner of the Riviera Hotel at Bowleaze Cove, which was on the market for £3.5million, is Abdulaziz Musallam, a married father-of-four who has homes in Jeddah, Saudi Arabi and England.

He says he will be investing heavily in the hotel over the next year in preparation for an influx of visitors ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

The Musallam family, who take over from Ralph and Liz Nubeebuckus, have revealed plans for an overhaul of the 115 en suite rooms, function room and the creation of a boardroom, to be completed by the end of 2010.

The family has a portfolio of hotels in Saudi Arabia and they have also owned the Sheraton Heathrow since 1980, the Prince de Galles in Paris since 1992 and the Novotel in Geneva since 2000.

They have also previously owned and operated hotels in the United States and North Africa.

The new manager at the Riviera is Jon Wright, who said it was an exciting time ‘not just for the hotel but for the staff and Weymouth residents’.

The ‘relaunch’ plans include the refurbishment of the Bayview Room for functions ‘to raise the profile of the hotel in the local community’, with the reinstatement of wireless internet.

All 115 en suite rooms at the Bowleaze Coveway hotel will be revamped in stages – with 20 done so far and the remainder to be completed in groups of five throughout 2010.

Already the hotel’s computer system, telephone system and existing CCTV cameras have been replaced.

Other work will include the creation of a staff canteen and staff room out of several staff rooms, the conversion of the pool room to create a boardroom that could be let out to businesses, and two offices for the hotel manager and sales staff.

Mr Wright said: “Everyone’s looking forward to the refurbishment. We’ve had a few operational changes already with some of the existing staff given more senior management roles.

“The idea of the investment is to create a few deluxe rooms and bring all the rooms up to a consistent standard with matching furniture, new beds and curtains.

“The budget’s still being put together and we’re still getting quotes left, right and centre.

“It should all be finished by the end of 2010.”

Mr Wright, who previously had management roles in hotels across Bournemouth and Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole, said the Weymouth hotel’s sale had been advertised on the internet and it was possible that the Olympic 2012 sailing venue might have caught the new owner’s eye.

He said: “Certainly the Olympics is a big event and it should do well for Weymouth and the whole area in general.

“The hotel and its fantastic location will be the place to come for holidaymakers, corporate guests and the local community.

“We want to provide a professional working environment where staff can feel part of the change and actively help re-launch the hotel.”