Anantara, the luxury Thai hotel company, has taken over the contract to manage the Eastern Mangroves resort being built in Abu Dhabi after Banyan Tree pulled out of the project in April.
The five-star resort, being developed by Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) on Salam Street, has had its opening pushed back from this year to January.
It was originally planned to open under Banyan Tree's Angsana brand.
Anantara already manages two resorts in Abu Dhabi for the developer: the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab desert resort; and the Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island.
"The principal delay has been related to the management change," said James Pringle, the acting chief executive of TDIC. "It's a complex project."
The hotel has 224 rooms and suites, a ballroom for up to 350 guests and a rooftop lounge. The wider development includes a marina, with the capacity to dock 30 yachts, apartments, restaurants and shops. The developer declined to provide the value of the project.
The residential element consists of 220 apartments, which are expected to open in the second quarter of next year. They will be leased rather than sold, TDIC said.
Banyan Tree and TDIC said in April they had reached an amicable mutual agreement to cancel the management contract for the resort. "We lost it because of a different view on how the project was to be developed," said Luca Deplano, the vice president of marketing at Banyan Tree.
"We had a view of an eco-resort. We felt it did not fit perfectly the concept of the Angsana brand.
"It was a really friendly decision. We agreed that it was not the right project to partner together. We're going to look at other projects [with TDIC] that may come in the pipeline in the near future."
Anantara said the lowest prices were likely to start at about Dh700 (US$190.58) a night in the low season and from about Dh1,200 at peak times. A number of luxury hotels are scheduled to open in the capital ahead of Eastern Mangroves, including the Jumeirah Etihad Towers property, a Park Hyatt resort on Saadiyat Island, and a Westin hotel at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
"We all know that there's a lot of products coming into the market, but you've also got to remember the amount of investment that's going into some of the attractions," said William Heinecke, the chief executive of the Minor Group, which owns Anantara. "You've got to look long term. You don't build hotels for two years or three years."