x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Banyan Tree exits resort project

Angsana drops out of the Eastern Mangroves resort in Abu Dhabi, scheduled to open this year because TDIC decided to 'reassess the resort's strategic direction'.

Angsana Hotels and Resorts has pulled out of the management of the luxury Eastern Mangroves resort in Abu Dhabi.
Angsana Hotels and Resorts has pulled out of the management of the luxury Eastern Mangroves resort in Abu Dhabi.

Angsana Hotels and Resorts has pulled out of the management of the luxury Eastern Mangroves resort in Abu Dhabi.

The resort, which is being developed by Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC), is still on track to open this year.

"Due to Tourism Development and Investment Company's decision to reassess the Abu Dhabi Angsana Eastern Mangroves resort's strategic direction and project's vision, the management of Angsana Hotels and Resorts has reached a preliminary agreement with TDIC to discontinue the role of hotel operator for the project," Banyan Tree said.

The Angsana brand is managed by Banyan Tree.

TDIC confirmed Angsana would no longer manage the project, saying it "was a mutual decision between the operator and TDIC".

The developer says the Eastern Mangroves resort is still scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year, adding it was "currently reviewing options for the appointment of a new hospitality operator to manage this unique development". The five-star hotel is under construction and is due to have 224 rooms and a residential component with 220 apartments, according to a project update released by the developer this week.

Banyan Tree and TDIC said they would still study opportunities to work together on projects in the emirate.

"Banyan Tree Holdings and TDIC remain optimistic on the region's tourism potential and will continue exploring other opportunities to open Banyan Tree and Angsana branded resorts in Abu Dhabi," Banyan Tree said.

The luxury operator, based in Singapore, had faced a series of difficulties with many of its projects in the Gulf region.

Banyan Tree lost out on a contract with Meydan, the Dubai property developer, to manage a luxury hotel and resort as part of the Dh10 billion (US$2.72bn) Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

An agreement had been in place, but weeks before the hotel was scheduled to open, Banyan Tree announced it had initiated arbitration proceedings against Meydan, citing "various breaches of the hotel management agreement".

In 2009, a hotel being managed under the Angsana brand on Sheikh Zayed Road, owned by Damas Hotels, closed its doors.

It was sold by the former Damas executives Tawhid, Tawfiq and Tamjid Abdullah as they raised money to pay back shareholders in the jewellery company following a series of "unauthorised" investments.

Banyan Tree said in 2006 it had signed an agreement with Damas Hotels to operate the 117-room Angsana Resort and Spa in Fujairah, which was due for completion two years ago.

A progress report issued early last year on the Singapore stock exchange for the last quarter of 2008 said the project had "stalled due to owner financing" and the management company said it was removing the project from its pipeline.

Last year, Banyan Tree stopped managing a resort in Bahrain after a dispute with Al Areen, the owner, amid claims it was owed more than $1 million.

Banyan Tree opened a luxury desert resort in Ras al Khaimah last year.

rbundhun@thenational.ae