x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Hilton opens first of two luxury hotels in Dubai as room rates continue to rise

The opening of The Conrad Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road will be followed by the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah at the end of December.

The Conrad hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
The Conrad hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

Hilton Worldwide has opened the first of two luxury hotels it will launch in Dubai in as many months as room rates in the emirate continue to climb despite rising supply.

The opening of The Conrad Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road will be followed by the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah at the end of December.

Average daily room rates in Dubai rose 8.5 per cent in September to US$235.34, according to the market research firm HotStats.

More than 7.9 million visitors stayed in Dubai’s hotels between January and September, up 9.8 per cent year on year, said Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

John Vanderslice, Hilton Worldwide’s global head of luxury and lifestyle brands, said Dubai offered an opportunity for expansion.

“The growth of wealth in Dubai as well as the 38 [million] to 50 million passengers who fly through Dubai [means it is] a perfect place for our brand of smart luxury,” he said.

And Mr Vanderslice insisted that the market was strong enough to support at least two of the company’s luxury properties.

“There could potentially be two Conrads and two Waldorf Astorias in Dubai. The growth of the hotel sector here has been really terrific,” he said.

The chain also recently opened a 346-room Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah, which was meeting expectations, he said.

Hilton Worldwide is also seeking more opportunities across the UAE, according to Mr Vanderslice.

“It really depends on the location, the experience and matching the brand with it,” he said.

“We are really accelerating our footprint in this part of the world because of the growth.

“If you look around, [the] growth of everything in this area has really been spectacular – growth of retail, growth of automotive.

“We look at it that high-net-worth individuals are growing very fast here and it’s a great … environment for our brand.”

gduncan@thenational.ae