x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Hilton yesterday opened the Gulf region’s first Conrad hotel, which offers guests use of Dubai’s only car lift direct into its ballrooms.

Nightly room rates at Conrad hotel start at the princely sum of Dh1,750. Pawan Singh / The National
Nightly room rates at Conrad hotel start at the princely sum of Dh1,750. Pawan Singh / The National

In a country known for its love of driving and grand weddings, a new hotel in Dubai is offering brides the chance to drive up the aisle.

Yesterday, Hilton opened the GCC’s first Conrad hotel, which offers guests use of Dubai’s only car lift direct into its ballrooms.

Hotel management said that the lift, which is capable of carrying up to four tonnes, can be used for “bridal arrival” as well as car showcases.

“In Dubai everything is possible,” said Mario Ferraro, the general manager of Conrad Dubai. “Our hotel is ideal for Arabic weddings because we have two ballrooms, which can be used to host men and women guests simultaneously. We don’t know if any brides will choose to drive up the aisle yet, but they can do it here, so let’s see.”

The 555-room Conrad is a glass and steel skyscraper towering over the World Trade Centre metro station and Sheikh Zayed Road.

The 54-storey hotel also has six restaurants including the Marco Pierre White Grill and a Sicilian restaurant overseen by the Michelin-star winning chef Massimo Mantarro. It also includes a 5,500-square metre pool room containing tropical palms and lawns and two swimming pools as well as a spa, a gym and an outdoor yoga pavilion.

According to its website, nightly room rates start at the princely sum of Dh1,750.

In the increasingly competitive world of Dubai luxury hotels used to boasting the tallest, biggest and most expensive, the move is the latest attempt to find a unique selling point.

The Conrad is Hilton’s fourth hotel in Dubai and its 13th in the UAE, coming just a month after the operator cut the ribbon on its 346-room Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah.

The brand is just one of a number of luxury hotel chains attempting to cash in on Dubai’s occupancy rates and lucrative room rates with aggressive expansion strategies in the UAE.

The Conrad Dubai is the 18th new hotel to open in the city since June last year, bringing the total number of hotels in the emirate to 605.

This week, the Thai chain Anantara opened its 293-room Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort and Spa. It followed the French chain Sofitel’s opening of its 543-room Sofitel Palm Resort and Spa in July and the opening of the 252-room Oberoi Hotel in Business Bay in June.

According to preliminary data for last month from STR Global, the number of hotel rooms in Dubai grew 5.8 per cent compared with the previous year, while demand from guests grew by 30.4 per cent in the same period, mostly because of the timing of the month of Ramadan.

It said that occupancy levels rose 23.3 per cent to 72.6 per cent and the average nightly room rate increased to Dh753.16.

“Dubai has set itself the target of attracting 20 million visitors a year and so our outlook is extremely positive,” said Conrad’s Mr Ferraro. “There is definitely more scope for luxury hotels in Dubai. The hospitality market here is doing very well and we expect our hotel to align to the market performance very soon.”

lbarnard@thenational.ae