The world's tallest hotel is expected to open on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai at the end of the year, taking the title away from another towering property in the emirate.
The Dh1.8 billion (US$490 million) JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, with 1,608 rooms, reaches a height of 355 metres and is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year, it was announced yesterday.
At 333 metres tall, Rotana's Rose Rayhaan hotel, also located along the Sheikh Zayed Road, is currently the world's tallest building used purely as a hotel.
The JW Marriott Marquis, owned by Emirates Airline, will also become Dubai's biggest hotel by number of rooms.
The announcement of the opening comes at a time when hotels are reporting improvements in business in the emirate.
"If you look at the statistics of passengers and guests coming to Dubai, if you look at the growing meeting market worldwide, if you look at all the needs for leisure travellers, for business travellers, you can have confidence because they are growing," said Rupprecht Queitsch, the general manager of the Marquis Dubai.
Next door to the new Marriott property, work is scheduled to start in a couple of months on demolishing the Metropolitan, one of Dubai's oldest hotels, to make way for a $1.33bn development that will include three hotels with a total of more than 1,600 rooms.
The Marriott hotel is focusing on conference business and is hoping to generate a large portion of its revenues from Europe, North America, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
The property expects to open its first tower, with 804 rooms, this year, but the remaining rooms in the second tower will not open for another year and a half.
"The conference business, and more generally the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions segment, is a business that could be grown as long as there are no bottlenecks related to airlift, hotel-room capacity, meeting-space capacity," said Chiheb ben Mahmoud, the head of hotel advisory at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Middle East and Africa.
"It is probably the segment that is the most aligned with the Dubai destination's attributes. Large properties can act as a locomotive for the business and negotiate large-scale events that require a high level of reliability in terms of service delivery and logistics."
Saudi Arabia's Fairmont hotel in the Abraj Al Bait tower is sometimes described as the world's tallest hotel - however, Marriott points out that this hotel does not stand alone but is in a building that contains other operations.
The number of visitors to the UAE is expected to reach 9 million this year, according to a forecast yesterday by Business Monitor International.