Ritz-Carlton DIFC to open in December

The long-delayed opening of the 341-room luxury hotel will be the company's second property in Dubai.

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Ritz-Carlton plans to open its long-delayed hotel at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in mid-December, the hotel management company said yesterday. The 341-room luxury hotel will be the company's second property in Dubai.

The other hotel, at Jumeirah Beach Residence, is being expanded. Pascal Duchauffour, the vice president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the DIFC hotel was still under the ownership of Union Properties, although the developer was selling the property, at a price of Dh1.5 billion (US$408 million).

Mr Duchauffour said Ritz-Carlton, which has five properties in the Middle East, should have a total of 15 hotels in the region within the next five years. "We're very focused on Oman, where we're working on a couple of opportunities, and our next target is really Riyadh," he said.

"After Riyadh, we'd love to be in Jeddah. Asia has been a very strong focus, and now we're opening those hotels. Now the next focus for the next two or three years will be the Middle East."

In Abu Dhabi, the company plans to open its Grand Canal hotel, which is being built opposite the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr property, by the end of next year, Mr Duchauffour said. The Venetian-themed property has more than 500 rooms.