x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Al Ain hotels lose some of their shine in new official star ratings

Not long ago, the city had four hotels boasting five-star ratings. Now, according to the Government, it has only one.

AL AIN // Not long ago, the city had four hotels boasting five-star ratings. Now, according to the Government, it has only one. The establishment of a new hotel-rating system by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) leaves the Al Ain Rotana as the only five-star hotel in the city. The InterContinental Al Ain Resort received a four-star rating from the ADTA while the Hilton Al Ain was given three stars.

The Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet remains under review but is not considered a five-star hotel at present. Previously, there was no official classification system in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, with hotels able, in effect, to rate themselves. The ADTA system will be reviewed every two years, and hotels will be inspected three times a year. Mikael Petersson, operations manager at the Hilton, said one of the main reasons his hotel had been marked down was that its bars were outside the main building and needed to be upgraded. The hotel has ordered new furniture and plans to overhaul the bars and clubs in the 38-year-old building.

"The rating has led to the company focusing its efforts even more to enhance the product and give the hotel a five-star rating," he said. Andre Saade, general manager at the InterContinental, said his hotel was addressing ADTA concerns pertaining to "LCD screens, irons and ironing boards and new minibars". Mr Saade applauded the ADTA ratings system. "My only concern with it was the time frame that was given to us to make the changes and implement the new requirements."

Both Mr Saade of the InterContinental and Mr Petersson of the Hilton will be seeking reclassification for their hotels in the first quarter of the coming year. "Once the renovation is completed ADTA will be invited back for another inspection and I have every confidence that the hotel will receive a five-star rating," Mr Saade said. Mr Petersson said Hilton staff still feel as if they work at a five-star hotel, "and I have every confidence that we will receive the higher rating we deserve." He added, "Our guests may interpret the three-star rating as a punitive measure against the hotel, but that is just not the case. The Hilton still carries the Hilton corporation's five-star rating and still provides the same quality service as before."

ealghalib@thenational.ae