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Abu Dhabi hotels brace for busy F1 weekend

Most are fully booked for the main days of the Grand Prix

Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
The Yas Hotel in Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: As the capital gears up for the Formula 1, hotels, not only on Yas Island which is home to the Yas Marina Circuit where the event takes place, but also in the city, are looking forward to a weekend that will be just as busy if not busier than last week’s Eid break.

The 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix enters its fourth year and will run from November 2-4. Besides the racing, three after-race concerts will rock Yas Island this weekend, where Kylie Minogue plays on Friday, Nickelback on Saturday and Sunday welcomes international rapper and recording artist Eminem.

The Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa, Anantara’s newest property in the city, is going to be fully booked throughout the Formula 1 event, according to David Garner, the regional director of sales and marketing in the Middle East for Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas.

“The hotel will be at full occupancy for the main days of the Grand Prix,” he said, adding that the hotel’s performance has picked up significantly since the time of its launch and up to date. “We’re absolutely delighted with the pick-up that we’ve hand.”

Adrian Deegan, area director of sales for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain at Rotana, told Gulf News that this is going to be their second weekend where all 12 hotels in the capital will run at full occupancy, adding that much of it has been due to the efforts put in by the Tourism and Culture Authority in Abu Dhabi and Etihad Airways’ new routes and increased frequencies.

Increased room inventory

Deegan said that although the group was apprehensive of more rooms available on the market as compared to last year, they still performed exceptionally well. “That is including the hotel we just opened earlier this month.”

When asked about the dip in occupancy rates, Deegan said that “Abu Dhabi is becoming more affordable which has helped us maintain high occupancy capacity.”

Marwan Mseikeh, hotel manager at Grand Millennium Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News that the hotel is expected to run at 80 per cent occupancy this weekend, higher than during last week’s Eid break.

“The occupancy was 70 and 65 per cent during Eid, with our executive apartments fully booked,” he said. “We have high expectations for the Formula One; we are expecting a very high occupancy [level] during this period and the city will be full and ready for the race.”