x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Rocco Forte exits Abu Dhabi Dh600 million hotel

Mystery surrounds Rocco Forte Hotels leaving its only hotel in the Middle East as the wave-like green hotel changes its name to the Al Maqta Hotel Abu Dhabi.

The Rocco Forte Hotel in Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 2011. Sammy Dallal / The National
The Rocco Forte Hotel in Abu Dhabi opened its doors in November 2011. Sammy Dallal / The National

The European chain Rocco Forte Hotels has exited Abu Dhabi, and with that its only hotel in Middle East.

The 12-storey property on Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, marked by a wave-like green glass exterior, is now called Al Maqta Hotel Abu Dhabi.

The newly named hotel does not have a website but can be booked online through Bookings.com.

Reservations made before March 18 under the previous name – Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi  – will be honoured, according to the Rocco hotel website.

Al Farida Investments, which handles the operations side of the hotel, said it did not have any information on the change.

"Whatever it is, it is good for the business," said Imran Abidi, a manager at the Abu Dhabi company, which has interests in hospitality, retail, commercial and residential property, engineering services, facilities management and general trading.

In 2008, the company entered into a management contract with Rocco Forte to operate the Dh600 million (US$163.3m) facility, which is a joint venture between TDIC, the Abu Dhabi tourism company, and Al Farida Investments.

Scheduled to be up and running in 2009, it finally opened its doors in 2011.

The 281-room hotel was also expected to have a 10,000 square metre shopping area featuring retail brands, restaurants and entertainment venues.

With the exit, Rocco Forte Hotels is confined to its 12 hotels in England, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Czech Republic and Russia.
The parent company Rocco Forte & Family (Hotel Management) is registered in London.

"Rocco Forte Hotels and Al Farida have agreed to end the management contract for the hotel in Abu Dhabi," said a statement from Rocco Forte Hotels.

Calls to the London offices of the Rocco Forte Hotels went unanswered as yesterday was a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.

While some media reports suggested Starwood Hotels and Resorts is in talks to run the facility under the Sheraton brand name, the hotel operator declined to confirm this.

"At this time, we do not have official news to share regarding a deal signing in the UAE.

"However, this market remains key to our growth strategy across all nine Starwood brands," said Guido de Wilde, the senior vice president and regional director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Middle East in Dubai.

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