Two of the UAE's best-known hotels will undergo refurbishment by the Radisson Hotel Group and reopen as Radisson Blu resorts in January.
After The National reported that after 45 years of operating, the Hilton Abu Dhabi Corniche will no longer carry the Hilton name by the end of the year, the Radisson Hotel Group has announced that it will take over that property and its Al Ain counterpart, as part of its expansion of the Radisson Blu brand in the UAE.
Radisson Hospitality AB, part of the US-based Radisson Hotel Group, which originated in Scandinavia, has said it plans to have 100 hotels and 20,000 rooms in the region by 2020. As part of the takeover, both hotels will have "extensive upgrade works as part of a full conversion plan", but the hotels will remain open while the renovations take place.
The Radisson Blu brand, which used to be known as Radisson SAS, will attempt to freshen up the properties with the makeovers and appeal to both leisure and business guests alike. Other Radisson Blu hotels in the UAE are located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Dubai where there are five properties with rooms from Dh284 per night.
The Hilton Abu Dhabi was built in 1971 and opened by Sheikh Zayed in 1973. Now dwarfed by the Adnoc headquarters, it was at the time the first major building at the western end of the Corniche. Being the first hotel in its location had its advantages, and the hotel remains one of only two hotels with a prime Corniche beachfront, which will be retained under Radisson management. The hotel has 327 rooms and suites and 8 international restaurants, two cafes, four bars, a ballroom and a nightclub.
The Hilton Al Ain is an even older structure and though to be the oldest hotel in the UAE. Work started here in 1968 and it opened in 1971, when it was inaugurated by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed. It started with 76 rooms spread over five floors and just one restaurant. Its cost was 18 million Bahraini dinar (the currency used at the time) and management staff for this development were brought from the Hilton Kuwait, the first Hilton property in the Gulf.
The hotel, in the Al Sarooj district, now has 202 rooms, suites and chalets, several restaurants, landscaped gardens, outdoor pools, a ballroom and nightclub.
Hilton guests have been advised that stays booked from January 1, 2019 will not accrue Honors points.