The long-delayed project to build a Rosewood hotel in Dubai International Financial Centre should be back on track within three months, according to the group’s president.
The luxury property, which is to be located opposite the Ritz-Carlton hotel, stalled as a result of the global financial crisis. It was originally scheduled to open in 2009, then in mid-2013. However, it could now be completed by late 2015, said Radha Arora, president of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts.
“We are just finalising some some details with some partnerships. If everything goes well, [it will be open] 18 months following the kick start of the project, so it will be the end of 2015,” he said.
“What we are hearing is that Dubai is running at late 70s, early 80s per cent occupancy. It’s come back with a vengeance, so it is the perfect time to get it started,” added Mr Arora.
Mr Arora was in Abu Dhabi for the official opening of the chain’s first hotel in the UAE, Rosewood Abu Dhabi, which has been up and running for around five months.
Occupancy was slow to build initially, but hovered at around the mid-80 per cent during the recent Eid Al Adha break. The hotel is fully booked during the week of the upcoming Formula One race.
“Every indication is that we have on our hands a very successful hotel,” said Luigi Romaniello, the managing director of Rosewood Abu Dhabi.
“Gradually month over month we are ramping up the occupancy.”
The hotel expects its occupancy to be on par next year with other luxury properties in the city, which have been sitting at around the mid-60 per cent mark.
“[There will be] a little ramp up in the first quarter and then again continue to stabilize but we are going to be a full market share over the next six months,” said Mr Romaniello.
Rosewood will have six properties in the Middle East, four of which will be in Saudi Arabia, by the time the Dubai property opens.
The brand, which was founded by Caroline Rose Hunt, daughter of the US oil tycoon HL Hunt, in 1979, was bought by Hong Kong based New World Hospitality, a unit of New World China Land, for $229 million in 2011.
The chain plans to substantially increase the number of properties under its management over the next five years. It has several hotels planned for Asia and it is looking at opportunities in Europe, Latin America and the United States.
“Our target is to double the size of the portfolio in the next five years,” said Sonia Cheng, the chief executive of Rosewood Hotel Group.
“Right now we are running 18 hotels around the world, so [we will be] close to 40 in the next five years.”