x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

First Fairmont hotel to open in the capital

The first Fairmont hotel in Abu Dhabi is due to open at the beginning of next month, adding to the capital's portfolio of luxury hotels.

The first Fairmont hotel in Abu Dhabi is due to open at the beginning of next month, adding to the capital's portfolio of luxury hotels. The 369-room Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel, in the "between the bridges" area, will include the first Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill outside the UK, and a Frankie's Italian Restaurant and Bar, a concept created by Marco Pierre White and the jockey Frankie Dettori.

Both restaurants are scheduled to open at the end of next month. The hotel will also have a chocolate artisan shop and cafe. Philip Barnes, the regional vice president and general manager of the Fairmont Dubai, said: "We look for tourism gateways, important heritage or historical sites and coveted destinations. "As such, with Abu Dhabi as an emerging cultural icon within the United Arab Emirates and a number of named attractions to come on stream in a few years, we saw this as an opportune time to debut our first property in the capital."

Abu Dhabi's hotels have enjoyed exceptionally high revenues as rates and occupancies have remained strong alongside a shortage of rooms in the capital. The city is aiming to double its supply of rooms over the next three years as it boosts its tourism industry, namely through attractions such as the forthcoming Louvre museum and the Ferrari World theme park. The capital hopes to attract 2.3 million hotel guests a year by 2012, up from the current level of 1.5 million visitors.

On Yas Island, seven new hotels with a total of 2,250 rooms are due to open within a month of the Fairmont. Arnaud Andrieu, a vice president at CB Richard Ellis Hotels Middle East, said: "The good economic fundamentals mean the Abu Dhabi five-star segment is one of the best performing markets worldwide, offering high levels of occupancy and average daily rates for hoteliers." Mr Andrieu said the luxury market in Abu Dhabi still remained undersupplied, demonstrated by the fact that demand was still "inelastic", meaning that occupancy in Abu Dhabi's hotels had grown even though prices had increased.

"Looking at the number of luxury properties to be delivered in the next two to three years, we suppose that the Abu Dhabi luxury market will reach an efficient equilibrium between demand and supply by 2013," he said. The general manager of the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Michael Kaile, who also opened the Fairmont Dubai, said he expected that the Formula One Grand Prix on Yas Island would mean high occupancy levels for the hotel in the first month of its opening. Opening room rates for the hotel will start at Dh999 (US$272).

Fairmont has another hotel under construction in the capital, overlooking the Corniche, which will have about 500 rooms and 200 serviced apartments. It is scheduled to open in 2012. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is owned by Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, which is majority owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holdings Company. The Savoy Hotel in London is part of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.

rbundhun@thenational.ae