x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

No hotel price cap during Grand Prix

Formula One fans from out of town have more choice and better prices for hotel rooms this year.

ABU DHABI // Formula One fans from out of town have more choice and better prices for hotel rooms this year.

With a month to go, tourism officials have confirmed they will not reapply the hotel rent cap over the Grand Prix weekend because the supply of rooms has outstripped demand.

For the inaugural event last year, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) applied a price limit to hotel rooms across the emirate in an attempt to avoid guests' bills spiralling.

There were no rooms available in the city a month before the race last year.

There was a ceiling of Dh4,060 for the Yas Hotel during the Grand Prix weekend, for example, while the Emirates Palace hotel was allowed to charge a maximum of Dh2,900 a night.

This year, fans can expect some bargains.

There are more than 1,500 additional hotel rooms on the market bringing the total to 17,297. More than 50,000 fans, and those associated with the race will descend on Yas Island for the three-day event, which starts on November 12.

Shaji Nair, the general manager of the Phoenix Plaza Hotel apartments, said he expected to be sold out before Grand Prix weekend.

"So far, 40 per cent of our rooms are booked for that weekend. We are getting a lot of inquiries, especially from Europeans. They will start to confirm over the next two weeks," he said.

The hotel, which opened in October, is charging Dh580 for a studio room.

"That might change depending on the demand and as more bookings come in," added Mr Nair.

All seven hotels on Yas Island are now booked. Manager of the Radisson Blu and Park Inn hotel, Torbjorn Bodin, said there was a stronger demand this year.

"Last year, people were not sure if we would be open or ready on time. We have had a year of operations now and more people want to come to the Grand Prix after last year's success," he said.

It was mainly racing team staff, journalists, and those associated with the race making the bookings in the Radisson Blu and its sister hotel, the Park Inn.

Next door, at the Crowne Plaza hotel, the general manager Dieter Franke said it was mainly Formula One enthusiasts who had booked into the 428-room hotel. "We have been booked out for some time now," said Mr Franke.

The Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu and Park Inn were only taking bookings with a minimum of three nights.

The Crowne Plaza was charging Dh2,250 a night and the Radisson Blu and the Park Inn's rates were Dh2,500 a night.

"We've had a waiting list too," Mr Franke said.

He said a lot of people wanted to be next to the track for the event.