Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group will start managing operations Emirates Palace, one of the most iconic hotels in the UAE, from January 1, 2020.

The Asian operator will take over from Kempinski Hotels, which has been managing Emirates Palace. No reason for the change in management has been disclosed.

With the takeover by Mandarin Oriental, Emirates Palace will undergo a phased renovation to upgrade its facilities “to an ultra-luxury level and further elevate the positioning of the property.” The hotel will remain open for guests during that period.

In a statement, Emirates Palace Company said it has signed an agreement with Mandarin Oriental, and said the deal aims to propel the hotel “into a new era.” Mohammad Al Junaibi, chairman of Emirates Palace Company, said the expertise of Mandarin Oriental will “further enhance the guest experience” and provide “world-class hospitality to anyone visiting to living in the UAE.”

Emirates Palace opened in 2005 and has been an icon in Abu Dhabi since, attracting tourists who stay at the hotel, visit its restaurants, or just tour the property to snap Instagrammable pictures of the building. It has 302 room and 92 suites, and is known for hosting high profile guests including heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities.

Mandarin Oriental said the agreement will allow it to introduce its brand to a new audience. The company already operates another hotel in the UAE, in Dubai.

Globally, it has presence in Asia, the US, Europe, South America, and North Africa.

The decision of awarding a new management contract was based on a competitive tender process, which was managed by JLL, the global real estate advisor.