After much anticipation, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal has opened its doors yesterday. The 532-room luxury resort is the first Ritz-Carlton in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton

Abu Dhabi: Luxury hotel chain Ritz-Carlton opened its first property in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, following several delays in the past.

The 532-room luxury resort Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal is the luxury hotel operator’s ninth property in the Middle East, of which two are located in Dubai.

Located at the waterfront, the vastly spread Venetian-designed Abu Dhabi property comprises 10 stately buildings arranged in a crescent formation, housing 447 guestrooms and suites, in addition to 85 private one- and two-bedroom villas.

“Warm Arabian hospitality combined with Ritz-Carlton service will create many unique experiences for visitors from around the world,” Herve Humler President and Chief Operations Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said in a statement.

Other facilities include a 1,600 square metre outdoor pool, a fully-equipped health club, and the Ritz Kids Club. Also, it is reportedly the third largest Ritz-Carlton in the world in terms of built area.

The project, which was initially designed as a JW Marriott, was moved in April 2011 by developer Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) to operator The Ritz-Carlton Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marriott International.

The hotel was originally slated for a 2011 opening, which then got pushed by a year to end-2012, and reportedly pushed even further owing to design changes.

“We are delighted to open our first hotel in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, a city we have waited to be in until finding absolutely the right location,” said Humler.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company of Chevy Chase, Maryland, currently operates 82 hotels in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.

With an increasing and aggressive focus on developing Abu Dhabi’s hotels and tourism sector, the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is set to compete with the brands such as Starwood’s St. Regis and Park Hyatt among others.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s hospitality industry got off to a promising 2013 start as recently stated by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) based on a near across-the-board uplift in key performance indicators of the emirate’s hotels.

January saw around 203,925 guests staying in the Abu Dhabi’s 137 hotels and hotel apartments, marking a three per cent jump on the same month in 2012, according to the tourism authority estimates.