x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Eastern Mangroves opens in Abu Dhabi as hotel brands rush to UAE

The long-awaited Eastern Mangroves hotel in Abu Dhabi is to launch today.

The long-awaited Eastern Mangroves hotel in Abu Dhabi is to launch today. Fatima Al Marzooqi/The National
The long-awaited Eastern Mangroves hotel in Abu Dhabi is to launch today. Fatima Al Marzooqi/The National

The long-awaited Eastern Mangroves hotel in Abu Dhabi is to launch today, accounting for some of the thousands of hotel rooms scheduled to open across the country in the coming months.

About 7,000 new hotel rooms and hotel apartments are expected to open in Abu Dhabi alone in the next 24 months, according to research by Christie + Co, a hotel consultancy. The UAE "is the place in the region to have your flag or to have your brand and that will continue to be the case", said Gavin Samson, the managing director of Christie + Co in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Eastern Mangroves hotel is managed by the luxury operator Anantara and was built by Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company.

There has been a flurry of luxury hotels opening their doors for the first time in the past year, including resorts on Saadiyat Island. Properties expected to open this year in Abu Dhabi include a Ritz-Carlton hotel and a St Regis hotel on the Corniche.

Analysts said the Eastern Mangroves resort, which also has a residential component, would bring something new to the market in the capital.

"The context of the mangroves makes it completely different from other hotels," said Chiheb ben Mahmoud, the head of hotel advisory at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in the Middle East and Africa.

Meanwhile, some 9,000 new hotel rooms and apartments are to open during the next two years in Dubai, according to estimates by Christie + Co.

However, it warned some of the projects included in its forecasts could end up being delayed.

Four Seasons is expected to announce plans tomorrow for a new resort on Dubai's Jumeriah Beach.

Four Seasons had planned to open a property in Dubai Festival City but that project never materialised.

Confidence in Dubai's hotel sector has grown in the past year amid improved tourism figures, prompting some developers to revive plans or launch new hospitality projects in the emirate.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts in April announced it had signed up to manage three luxury hotels planned as part of Al Habtoor Group's US$1.33 billion (Dh4.88bn) project on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The properties - a St Regis, a W Hotel, and a Westin - are to be built on the site of the Metropolitan Hotel and are expected to open in 2017.

They would add 1,675 rooms to the emirate's stock.

Last month it was revealed that plans to open a W hotel on the Palm Jumeirah site had been revived.

"The UAE as a whole is still a very, very strong attractor for international brands, and with the uptick in the market, particularly in Dubai, you are now going to get more and more announcements," said Mr Samson.

rbundhun@thenational.ae

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