JW Marriott Marquis Dubai is set to overtake Atlantis The Palm as the largest hotel by number of rooms in the emirate when it is fully open by the end of the year.
The hotel in Business Bay yesterday released 294 rooms, bringing the room count of the property to 1,098 so far. Once fully operational, the JW Marriott Marquis Dubai will have 1,608 rooms and overtake the 1,537-room Atlantis.
Owned by Emirates Group, the hotel is expected to release another 510 rooms by the end of the year. It will also have nine restaurants and 8,500 square metres of event space, including two ballrooms.
Emirates Group has signalled its intentions to become an international player in the travel and tourism sector. Last month it acquired a unit of the British travel company Thomas Cook for £45 million (Dh275.84m).
Primarily a business hotel, the Marquis’s new addition now features a two-tier space on its 72nd floor overlooking the Dubai skyline for events. Prices in this section will be the same as in the first tower, starting at Dh1,200 per room per night.
The timing of the release is geared towards Expo 2020, when Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing expects the emirate to receive 20 million visitors.
Despite enthusiasm from the hotel sector in new Dubai properties, some analysts are cautious.
Dubai has more than 60 new hotel projects under construction, the consultant agency JLL said.
“Although a diverse market with a 10 per cent increase in international tourist arrivals in 2013 compared to a year earlier, only time will tell whether the high levels of revenue per available room growth can be sustained,” the organisation wrote.
Last year Dubai received 11 million tourists, and the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments generated Dh21.84 billion in revenues, up 16 per cent from the previous year.
One of the reasons behind the increased activity from hotel operators is the finance available in the world market.
The global deal volume in the hotel sector is expected to touch the highest in five years at US$50bn this year, a 10 per cent rise on last year, JLL wrote.
The 355-metre Marquis, which is 26 metres short of the Empire State Building in New York, opened its first tower in November 2012.
New York-listed Marriott International has five properties scheduled for the UAE in the next two years. In the capital, a 195-room Courtyard by Marriott at the Abu Dhabi Central Market, a 315-room Marriott Hotel and a 64-unit Marriott Executive Apartments are expected to open by the end of the year. Next year, its pipeline comprises a 312-room Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Dubai and a 244-room Edition Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Marriott is among a host of international hotel operators that are expanding their footprint in Dubai.
The Nasdaq-listed Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide expects to open its fifth property in Dubai, the 660-room Sheraton Dubai Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road, this year. The group has brands such as St Regis, Westin, Le Meridien, Sheraton and Aloft.
The Emirates Group also owns Al Maha desert resort and spa in Dubai, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah and three Premier Inn properties in Dubai.
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