Rotana setting high standards in luxury

Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas marks Rotana’s official entry into the luxury space

The UAE based group has a robust pipeline of 48 hotels and 12,437 rooms in 15 countries across the globe. It currently operates 58 properties with 15,522 keys around the world.

In the UAE alone, there are 4,609 keys under various stages of development.

Rotana has 12 new openings lined up this year and is on track to meet its target of operating 100 hotels by 2020, Guy Hutchinson, the chief operating officer of the group, told TTN on the sidelines of ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show which was held in the German capital recently.

The group's new openings will bring nearly 3,500 rooms into the market. The hospitality major will be opening a 600-key property in its regional hub Abu Dhabi, followed by a 300-key hotel in Dubai besides adding 700 keys into Saudi Arabia and 340 in Iran.

"Our group is pretty balanced with several prime offerings. We are now gearing up for the launch of our super properties in Abu Dhabi which are set to enhance the already booming hospitality sector in the UAE," whe said.



The group recently inaugurated two stunning new hotels in Dubai - the five-star Al Bandar Rotana and the Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana. These properties, located within the Arjaan community on the north shore of Dubai Creek, are two properties under one umbrella.

The Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, also inaugurated last month, is a luxurious five-star hotel located at one of the most exciting places in the UAE. Situated on Saadiyat Beach, a nine-kilometre stretch of pristine white sand on the sprawling island, and featuring 354 luxurious rooms and suites in addition to 13 private beach villas, the luxury resort is the 16th Rotana property to open in the UAE capital.

"Elegantly designed, the new properties feature a range of modern luxuries as well as state-of-the-art meeting and conference facilities and dining lounges, making them an ideal destination for both business and leisure travellers visiting the emirate," stated Hutchinson.

Another stunning property unveiled last month in Abu Dhabi is Pearl Rotana, Abu Dhabi, a hotel featuring 315 luxurious rooms – ranging from studios to one and two bedroom suites.



This year will also see Rotana boosting its presence in one of its major markets - Saudi Arabia. Hutchinson pointed out that the Saudi Arabian hospitality market was a big one and talks were on with some major players in the kingdom for some big-ticket projects there.

"The market is largely under-served in terms of hotels and is indeed a goldmine for global hospitality giants. It's surprising that a vast country like Saudi has only 60,000 rooms compared to Dubai's 120,000. There is a tremendous opportunity for dominant players like us," Hutchinson told TTN.

 "We have some properties coming up in Riyadh, Jeddah and also Al Khobar."

The top official said the group was planning to launch more of its Centro brand of properties in the kingdom. "Already five Centros are operating in the country and we see a potential for this lifestyle hotel brand that is characterised by distinct accommodation in a contemporary environment and is designed primarily for business travellers and unlined segments who seek exclusive accommodation at affordable prices," he added.



Hutchinson said the Centro brand works extremely well for the group in the region especially in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

"If you look at how the Middle Eastern markets have evolved, it has been more in the five-star space. Most of the key cities in the region are dominated by five-star and five-star plus. But now we are seeing a lot of traction and with the entry of a midscale, contemporary and upmarket brand like Centro, things have indeed changed," he added.

Rotana is also entering some new territories in East Africa, he noted. "We opened a hotel in Kinshasa last year and now we are all set to launch a fantastic property at Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, which once operational, will be one of the best hotels in East Africa. The 65,000 sq m mixed-use project comprises a five-star hotel, class-A offices, retail and parking facilities."

On the key challenges, while operating in troubled markets such as Iran and Iraq, Hutchinson said: "We are specialists in such markets and our operations are smooth there. We have been trading in Kurdish region of Erbil for a long Time and only last year we opened our second property there. Also, we have a property in Karbala. Similarly, Khartoum is an extremely important market for us. In fact, we have one of our best hotels in the Sudanese capital."

On Iran, Hutchinson said its operations are running smoothly there with its first hotel set for launch in Mashad this year. "Work is currently underway on six other projects which are due for completion in the next five years," he added.

* Rotana Hotel Management Corporation is available on stand HC0720