Hoteliers in Abu Dhabi are among the biggest winners this weekend ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix with some charging up to 20 times the usual nightly fare for a room.
Hotel staff in the capital said they had 100 per cent occupancy rates this weekend, with many guests staying beyond Sunday — when the Grand Prix draws ends.
The four-day event has seen hotels increase their prices across the emirate but that has not stopped guests snapping up rooms.
The last of the almost completely sold out hotel rooms on Yas Island are going for between six to 20 times the average nightly rate at the weekend.
The website of the Centro Yas Island Rotana reported no rooms available and the Crowne Plaza Yas Island, which usually has rooms for just a few hundred dirhams per night, was on Thursday offering rooms from Dh3,177 per night for Friday night, no rooms for Saturday night and rooms costing from Dh2,628 on Sunday night. The rate drops back down to Dh414 on Monday, once the race weekend is over.
In the case of the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi, which is positioned right over the track, there are no rooms available for Friday or Saturday but on Thursday afternoon, when The National last checked, rooms were listed at Dh17,850 for the Sunday night, dropping back down to Dh878 on Monday.
Rotana’s website directed visitors to the Beach Rotana, its only property with any rooms left, where rooms were listed at Dh1,799 per night for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, dropping back down to Dh569 for a room on Monday.
At the Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas on Saadyiat Island, kilometres away from the action, the cheapest room available for Friday night was Dh3,600 per night, Dh3,350 per night for Saturday night and Dh1,700 per night for Sunday night, with high rates persisting into next week.
Marc de Beer, the general manager of the hotel, said he expected the hotel to completely sell out for the Formula One weekend. “We will be hosting guests around the world with Britain ranked first followed by the local UAE market and Germany as well as Italy and America — we can see that stays have been extended to allow more time to visit Abu Dhabi's well-known attractions."
Guido Bayley, cluster general manager of the Radisson Blu and Park Inn hotels on Yas Island, said most guests are coming for the grand prix but staying longer.
“The average guest is staying for nine days with us,” he said.
“Occupancy in both hotels is at 100 per cent and that is down purely to the grand prix.”
It is not just weekend visitors who have boosted the occupancy rates of hotels in Abu Dhabi.
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“There are teams of people who came earlier to set up ahead of the event and they are staying beyond the race as well,” he said.
“A lot of guests are staying on for another five or six days after the event, the average stay right now is nine to 10 days.”
The average rate for the weekend at the Radisson Blu Hotel Yas Island is Dh3,310 for a single room. Next weekend that rate will be Dh684.
A staff member at Hotel Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan told The National that the hotel is also at 100 per cent occupancy this weekend with room rates starting at Dh1300 a night for a minimum stay of four to five nights.
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