Abu Dhabi’s Four Seasons hotel on track to open in two years

With 190 rooms and 125 apartments, the Abu Dhabi Four Seasons will be the Canadian company’s second property in the UAE.

Construction work on the 35-storey property on Al Maryah Island started last year after developer Mubadala awarded a Dh730 million contract to design and build the project to Al Futtaim Carillion. Christopher Pike / The National
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The capital can expect to get its first Four Seasons hotel in two years time.

Construction work on the 35-storey property on Al Maryah Island started last year after developer Mubadala awarded a Dh730 million contract to design and build the project to Al Futtaim Carillion.

“It’s about 20 storeys off the ground,” said Simon Casson, the regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Resort Dubai, which opened on the emirate’s Jumeirah Beach Road on November 16.

With 190 rooms and 125 apartments, the Abu Dhabi Four Seasons will be the Canadian company’s second property in the UAE.

Next month, Four Seasons will open a hotel in Johannesburg followed by one in Bahrain in the first quarter of next year.

The Toronto-based firm, which has more than 90 properties worldwide, had a turnover of 4.3 billion Canadian dollars last year, according to the Canadian Hotel Association.

Four Seasons has high hopes for its five-star Dubai beachhead.

“Any of the world’s luxury hotel companies, if they were offered such a location, would run fast and say yes please, because it is a pre-eminent location on Jumeirah beach,” Mr Casson said. “It’s not something you can buy [as] land is closely held here.”

The resort, which has an introductory offer of Dh2,532 per night, is targeting travellers from the Arabian Gulf region, Russia, China, Britain and Germany.

Corporate guests are expected to make up about 10 per cent of the total clientele.

Mr Casson said that the hotel was fully booked for this weekend plus several dates ahead of the New Year. The property even has a few bookings for its Dh60,000 a night suites this month.

Four Seasons is a private partnership between Microsoft’s Bill Gates, the Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal, and the group’s Canadian founder Isadore Sharp and his family.

Last month, the average daily room rate in the emirate declined 1.6 per cent year on year at Dh1,034.57 across the luxury to economy segments, according to travel company STR Global.

But Mr Casson joined other hoteliers in their upbeat forecast for Dubai’s potential to take in more tourists despite an increase in supply in hotel rooms.

“Dubai has confounded the sceptics, as there are more things to do and see here,” he said.

The emirate has 351 hotels accounting for 70,440 rooms across all categories, according to STR.

It has 86 hotels with 25,029 rooms under construction.

At least one operator has acknowledged the impact of the inventory increase in the emirate.

At Starwood, revenue per available room remained flat during the third quarter in Dubai “as that market has seen quite a bit of new hotel capacity”, said Frits van Paasschen, the chief executive and president of Starwood, while announcing the third- quarter results last month.

The US operator expects to open three luxury hotels – St Regis, Westin and W – at Al Habtoor complex in Business Bay next year.

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