x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Rixos Bab Al Bahr the latest hotel to open in Ras Al Khaimah

The Rixos Bab Al Bahr will be the second hotel by the company in the UAE in as many years.

The Turkish hotel chain Rixos will open a location in Ras Al Khaimah next week as it targets a growing number of Russian tourists to the emirate.

This would be the second property of the Antalya-based company in as many years. Its first opened on the Palm in 2012.

“Families are our main focus, but we also expect about 7 to 8 per cent to be business guests,” said Haytham Omar, the general manager of the Rixos Bab Al Bahr,

The emirate, which now has about 4,000 hotel rooms, has four properties in the pipeline accounting for 1,739 rooms as of January, according to the research company STR Global.

RAK has a target of 10,000 hotel rooms by 2016, and expected 1.2 million visitors last year. About 578,000 people visited the emirate in the first half of the year alone, generating about US$84.95 million, according to the RAK Tourism Development Authority. Tourism now contributes 5 per cent of the emirate’s GDP, up from 2 per cent in 2010.

A majority of the guests came from the UAE and Germany, followed by Russia, Ukraine and Italy.

Located on man-made Al Marjan Island, the Rixos Bab Al Bahr with 655 rooms expects a 60 per cent occupancy for the first year, saidMr Omar.

About 80 per cent of its guests are expected to come from overseas, including its top markets such as the Russian Commonwealth, Germany and the United Kingdom, with most of the other guests coming from other parts of the UAE.

The organisation’s worldwide properties are popular with Iranians, Emiratis and Saudis among the Middle Eastern demographic, said Basak Erel, the senior vice president for brand management at Rixos Hotels.

Room rates at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr start at Dh1,366 per room per night, putting it among the high-end properties in the emirate. The average daily room rates at the beach hotels in the emirate touched Dh645 during the first half of last year, while the city hotels with more corporate clientele reported an average of Dh270.

And the Turkish company is not the only one targeting RAK as its next destination. The 485-room DoubleTree by Hilton opened last month, following the 346-room Waldorf Astoria in August.

Rixos has 21 properties worldwide, including the RAK property, with 10 of them in Turkey.

Tomorrow, it plans to open its 114-room property in Sochi, Russia, in time for the Winter Olympics. Last month, it opened its 59-room hotel in Davos, Switzerland, coinciding with the World Economic Forum, and on New Year’s Day it opened its 550-room property in Quba, Azerbaijan.

ssahoo@thenational.ae