Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

'I am positive about the future': Dubai's Habtoor Grand Resort and Waldorf Astoria preparing to reopen

'I am confident that the situation will get better, and things will become even better than they were,' says Khalaf Al Habtoor

Waldorf Astoria The Palm. Courtesy Waldorf Astoria The Palm
Waldorf Astoria The Palm. Courtesy Waldorf Astoria The Palm

Fairmont Ajman and Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah have both opened their doors to staycation guests in recent days, and now two hotels in Dubai are preparing to reopen after the easing of travel restrictions in the UAE.

The Habtoor Grand Resort in Business Bay and the Waldorf Astoria on Palm Jumeirah are gearing up to welcome guests, says Khalaf Al Habtoor, founding chairman of the Al Habtoor Group.

In a series of videos posted to his Twitter page on Saturday, May 2, Al Habtoor said that preparations are under way for the two hotels to reopen, though he didn’t specify exactly when that may happen.

“I am feeling positive about the future. I am confident that the situation will get better, and things will become even better than they were,” Al Habtoor said as he walked around the empty hotel premises, adding that he was thankful for the support of the UAE government.

The Dubai government has introduced a series of measures aimed at supporting its tourism sector during the Covid-19 crisis, including reducing or waiving fees, such as a 50 per cent cut on municipality fees.

Last week, Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, told Bloomberg TV that Dubai was gearing up to welcome tourists as early as July.

The return of tourism, he noted, will happen gradually, taking on a staggered approach, which may be pushed back until September, depending on when other countries ease travel restrictions.

Dubai suspended passenger arrivals in March to contain the spread of Covid-19 but has started to gradually relax restrictions as the pandemic is controlled.

"The thing about this current scenario is it’s a global question: many airports internationally remain closed and it’s really about the bilateral discussions that are under way to have a coordinated approach to the reopening," Al Marri said.

Last week Dubai announced it would partially reopen its shopping malls, a major tourist draw, amid a loosening of lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the virus.

Travel allowed between emirates for staycations

Travel between the emirates is allowed as long as residents are off the roads and indoors between 10pm and 6am, police said last week.

Most hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai that were taking bookings only offered in-room dining options with no access to facilities including swimming pools, beach and gym.

Fairmont Ajman and Waldorf Astoria RAK were among those open to guests and with restaurants and bars open until the evening curfew.

In order to comply with social distancing guidelines, Fairmont Ajman will only run at 30 per cent capacity in terms of guests, and sun beds at its pool and on its beach will remain two metres apart.

Updated: May 3, 2020 09:36 AM

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