x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Waldorf Astoria to book in at Dubai

The first Waldorf Astoria in Dubai is to open on Palm Jumeirah.

Thirty five-star hotels were originally planned for the Palm Jumeirah.
Thirty five-star hotels were originally planned for the Palm Jumeirah.

The first Waldorf Astoria resort in Dubai is to open on the Palm Jumeirah.

The property is being built by Al Habtoor, which this month announced plans to restart work on the Dh1 billion (US$272 million) resort. It was revealed yesterday that Hilton would operate the hotel under its Waldorf Astoria brand.

The hotel, originally intended to be managed by Al Habtoor, was put on hold when the global economic downturn hit the emirate. The property has been redesigned since and the 324-room resort is now scheduled to open at the end of 2013.

The development of the resort is to be funded by Al Habtoor's cash flow from its various divisions, which include the construction and car businesses.

"Everybody knows these days that most of the banks don't give you finance," said Khalaf Al Habtoor, the chairman of the group.

Analysts have said that there will be stiff competition between properties on the Palm once more hotels open on the man-made island.

Thirty five-star hotels were originally planned for the Palm Jumeirah, with 14,000 rooms. But most were put on hold or cancelled as the property market in the emirate deteriorated.

A Waldorf Astoria hotel, Hilton's top brand, is planned for Ras Al Khaimah. But that property has been delayed and is not scheduled to open until the fourth quarter of next year. The Waldorf Astoria in New York has had numerous famous guests including US presidents and the film star Marilyn Monroe.

Hilton Worldwide also signed agreements yesterday to manage two existing hotels in Lebanon, owned by Al Habtoor, which will be converted to the Hilton brand. These will be the operator's first hotels in that country.

In Dubai, Hilton also has plans to launch residences at Jumeirah Beach Residence, located opposite its existing hotel on The Walk.

Hotels in the emirate have benefited from unrest elsewhere in the region this year, as travellers have favoured Dubai over other destinations.

"We see the outlook of Dubai as extremely buoyant," said Rudi Jagersbacher, a Hilton executive.