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Ritz-Carlton's Middle East hotels rebound strongly

Ritz-Carlton says its luxury hotels in the Middle East are nearing a complete recovery in room revenue.

Ritz-Carlton says its luxury hotels in the Middle East are nearing a complete recovery in room revenue.

The figures are approaching levels last seen before the onset of the financial crisis, said Herve Humler, the president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company .

The Marriott-owned firm today opens its long-delayed property at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), its second Ritz-Carlton in Dubai.

"Business did slow down, but it's back," said Mr Humler, who is also the chief operations officer.

Ritz-Carlton's regional revenue per available room, an industry indicator that takes occupancy levels and room rates into account, declined by between 12 per cent and 14 per cent during 2009, as it was hit by the global downturn.

Business was not yet back to the peaks, but Ritz-Carlton's Middle East properties could fully recover by the summer, Mr Humler said.

"That's the trend right now based on what we have on the books. In fact Qatar will do extremely well in the next three months compared to last year. Bahrain did very well because there's not a lot of product in the market."

A global recovery was occuring and Ritz-Carlton in Asia had recovered, while its US properties were "halfway there", he said.

According to STR Global, a research company in London, a rebound in the Middle East's hotel sector is being hampered by an increase in the supply of rooms.

In Dubai, Ritz-Carlton is more than doubling the number of rooms at its Jumeirah Beach hotel.

The DIFC hotel has 341 rooms and 124 serviced apartments.

"In terms of recovery definitely luxury is bouncing back quicker than the others," said Harjinder Singh, a hotel analyst at CB Richard Ellis.

"Obviously overall the recovery is gradual. When the money starts coming back in these [luxury] hotels can position themselves back to that level."

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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