By Elizabeth Broomhall
The hotel will be the largest Ritz Carlton in the world by floor area
The opening of Abu Dhabi’s first Ritz Carlton hotel has been pushed back until September this year, after delays to the property’s redesign.
The project was initially designed as a JW Marriott, but revamped as the Ritz Carlton Grand Canal hotel in April last year amid changes to market conditions.
Developer Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH) company said it was targeting a revised scheduled opening of December 2011, but alterations to the project’s scope had pushed the completion date further back than expected.
“The project started as a JW Marriot and in April 2011, ADNH moved the operator to Ritz Carlton,” said Richard Riley, CEO of ADNH.
“At that time, we reworked the interiors of the rooms, suites and villas, and completely redesigned the SPA moving the operator to the ESPA brand.
“The hotel will be delivered to Ritz Carlton for testing, commissioning and dry runs from June. They will ramp up over the summer and the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal will open its doors on September 1.”
ADNH is investing AED1.5bn in the property, which is located on a 230,000 sq m site overlooking the Grand Canal at the foot of Abu Dhabi island.
Upon completion it will be the largest Ritz Carlton in the world by floor area, made up of 102 separate buildings.
Designed by American architecture firm Otak, the hotel will include a total of 532 rooms of minimum size 52 sq m, with interiors by SFA Design.
Other highlights include conference facilities, a ballroom, restaurants and bars, a marine village and underground garages, as well as a 3,000m spa, furnished apartments and 85 VIP chalets resembling offshore “floating houses.”
ADNH is a publicly-listed company which owns several major hotels in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai.
In 2010 it saw profits decline by AED128m from 2009, after an oversupplied market put downward pressure on room rates and occupancy levels.
The new hotel will be the third hotel in the UAE for the Ritz Carlton brand, with two properties already located in Dubai.
The international hotelier said in September last year it may consider a second hotel in Abu Dhabi in the future, because the market was a “very promising [one] in the long term.”