Dubai: The Chairman of Al Habtoor Group has signalled the possible end of its flagship hotel brand ‘Metropolitan’ just days out from the opening of its Hilton-partnered Waldorf Astoria Dubai on the Palm.
Suggesting that there will be no more stand-alone Metropolitan hotel projects, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor said the Group’s strategy is to partner with big hotel brands for its hotel developments.
“We have our three hotels [we’re] managing … and everything else in the world (sic) definitely we’re going to give it to the professional [hotel brands],” he said.
Al Habtoor was speaking to media at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai ahead of its targeted December 24 soft opening. Its full opening is scheduled for the first quarter of 2014.
The Al Habtoor Group owns and operates just two Metropolitan hotels; both in Dubai, after its other two in Lebanon were rebranded under the Hilton name.
The Group also owns and operates the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa in Dubai.
Al Habtoor Group previously signed an agreement with Hilton for three hotels, which are the Waldorf and the two in Lebanon. It has another agreement with Starwood which will bring the W, Westin, and a St. Regis to Dubai and will be built in the ‘Al Habtoor City’ mega development on the former site of The Metropolitan Hotel.
Al Habtoor said that once completed, the mega development will be landmark similar to the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab — becoming a “focal point for visitors.”
The new Waldorf Astoria, situated on the eastern crescent of the Palm, is the first in Dubai and the second in the UAE. The other opened in Ras Al Khaimah earlier this year but it is not associated with the Al Habtoor Group.
The 319-room Waldorf Astoria Dubai features four restaurants, a private beach, bars, heath club and spa, eight meeting rooms, and a 700-person standing capacity ballroom.
“This hotel is one of the most luxurious hotels in the world … any hotel in Dubai, especially the fiver-star, you cannot compare with even the hotels in Europe or America,” Al Habtoor said.
The newest edition to Dubai’s luxury tourism profile will target a mixture of business and leisure tourists.
“There will be a lot of conferences [and] a lot of families from all over the world [coming here],” Al Habtoor said.