x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hyatt in Abu Dhabi's leaning tower set to open

The Hyatt Capital Gate hotel was delayed because of the challenge of fitting out rooms in a leaning building.

The Hyatt Capital Gate hotel, housed in the Capital Gate building in Abu Dhabi, above, is tilted at an angle of 18 degrees. Courtesy Adnec
The Hyatt Capital Gate hotel, housed in the Capital Gate building in Abu Dhabi, above, is tilted at an angle of 18 degrees. Courtesy Adnec

The long-awaited Hyatt Capital Gate hotel is set to open this month after suffering delays as the development team struggled to fit out the rooms because of the building's leaning structure.

The five-star hotel, housed in the Capital Gate building, which is tilted at an angle of 18 degrees, is set to open on December 21. It has 189 rooms.

"The hotel was supposed to open a bit earlier and due to different reasons and the uniqueness of the building, we had to postpone," said Ashwini Kumar, the general manager of the Hyatt Capital Gate, who has been in Abu Dhabi for two years.

"We missed the Formula One - that was at one time our target, but we thought, no, let's not open it when it's not 100 per cent ready," Mr Kumar said. "The challenge was that the building structure is very unique. This is a building that leans 18 degrees and this architectural feat was never ever attempted before. Every room is different as the building goes up and the curve starts, it's not easy like a normal hotel. For every room you have to order stuff differently, so this definitely took more time than we thought."

The hotel occupies levels 18 to 33 of the building. The property, announced four years ago, was originally scheduled to open in 2009, but construction also took longer than expected, as engineers faced challenges too because of the building's design.

"Each glass panel is differently measured and cut," said Mr Kumar.

"Another part is to get access to the building - to get the labour in and out wasn't easy because all the lifts don't go all the way to the top. These kinds of challenges were time-consuming."

December is a slow month for Abu Dhabi, which largely depends on business travellers to fill its hotels. But Mr Kumar said he expected the early part of next year to be strong, with major exhibitions driving business into the capital.

Several luxury hotels opened their doors in Abu Dhabi last month, including a Park Hyatt resort on Saadiyat Island, the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on the Corniche, and the Rocco Forte hotel near Zayed Sports City.

"We have to admit that Abu Dhabi is not the same as what it used to be in 2007 and 2008," Mr Kumar said. "With all the new supply it's becoming more competitive. But all the brands are very upmarket, which were lacking in Abu Dhabi. So yes, it'll be tough competition, but I think it will be enough for everybody to survive."

A total of 182,553 guests stayed in Abu Dhabi's hotels in October, up 21 per cent on the same month last year, according to figures from the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority.

Occupancy was up 7 per cent. But the 11 per cent decline in room rates to an average Dh489.06 (US$133.13) means revenue per available room fell 5 per cent to Dh377.02.

Other hotels under development at the Capital Centre include a Premier Inn and three Rotana properties.

rbundhun@thenational,ae

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