The second phase of the tallest hotel scheme in the world is to start in Dubai after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid visited the project yesterday.
The Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai ordered the start of the second phase of Emirates Group's twin tower JW Marriott Marquis Dubai hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road after being shown around the first phase, an 804 room tower, which opened to the public earlier this month.
The Dh960 a night hotel, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015 will eventually have 1,600 rooms, making it Dubai's biggest hotel by room number. And at 355 metres tall, the structures will be only 26 metres shorter than the Empire State Building in New York.
The towers supercede Rotana's 333m tall Rose Rayhaan hotel, also located along the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai as the world's tallest building used entirely as a hotel.
Originally described as a Dh1.8bn project, Sheikh Mohammed's website described the hotel as having a total value of Dh2.5bn.
The hotel also boasts the largest function room in the Middle East and 19 restaurants.
Sheikh Mohammed said the project would provide a boost to Dubai's tourism sector.
The announcement follows Sheikh Mohammed's announcement on Saturday that Emaar Properties and Dubai Holding would be pressing ahead with the Mohammed Bin Rashid City mega project which will include at least 100 new hotels as well as the world's new largest shopping centre and a Universal Studios theme park.
The proposed increase in hotel supply comes at a time when Dubai's tourism market is showing solid growth.
According to Jones Lang LaSalle's most recent report, Occupancy rates for the year to August 2012 increased by 3 per cent over the same period in 2011, reaching 77% on a city-wide basis while average daily room prices increased by 8 per cent reaching US$224 for the period.
The number of visitors to the UAE is expected to reach 9 million this year, according to a forecast yesterday by Business Monitor International. Passenger numbers flying into Dubai's main airport increased to more than 33 million in the year to July 2012.