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Mon 6 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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Banyan Tree signs first UAE resort

Thailand’s Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts to opn in Abu Dhabi in 2007

Thailand’s Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is set to make its regional debut with the opening of an eco-friendly spa resort in Abu Dhabi next year.

Banyan Tree Resort and Spa, Al Gurm Marine Reserve is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2007. Located in a marine reserve off the western rim of Abu Dhabi island, the resort is an exclusive tropical island and spa complex, fringed by mangrove forests, which is home to more than 60 species of birds.

The Asian spa chain signed a management contract with resort developers, ALDAR Properties PJSC, at the beginning of February.

The focal point of Banyan Tree Al Gurm will be 71 private suites centred round a lagoon and 90 exclusive island chalets. It will also include a health and fitness club, boutiques and restaurants offering fine cuisine with a signature seafood restaurant accessible only by boat.

In keeping with Banyan Tree’s eco-friendly and strict ‘wildlife first’ policy, the development will feature low-rise accommodation to ensure minimum disturbance to wildlife and the natural flora and fauna.

“This is an exciting new development for Banyan Tree Group and we are certain that Banyan Tree Al Gurm will enhance our reputation as the leading luxury hotel group in the world,” said Ho Kwon Ping, executive chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings.

“Banyan Tree Spas have received numerous prestigious awards over the years and this emerald of a spa here in Abu Dhabi will be the new jewel in our crown,” he added. “As pioneers of the tropical garden spa concept, we are confident that our guests will feel at home here in this magical forest by the sea.”

According to Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, chairman of ALDAR, the partnership between his company at Banyan Tree was a perfect match of corporate values and Abu Dhabi’s pristine beaches.

He added that both developer and operator were committed to the preservation of the environment, in the process of creating the ultimate leisure destination.

“We are delighted to secure Banyan Tree Group, the world’s leading luxury resort operator, to manage Al Gurm, an international resort and spa, which will set a new benchmark for luxury in the hotel industry here,” said Al Sayegh.

“This unique development is another step forward in the Abu Dhabi government’s effort to diversify its economy and develop the tourism industry. The project also adds hotels to ALDAR’s rapidly expanding portfolio of residential and commercial activities.”

Construction work is under way to deliver the resort through a soft opening in early 2007, with the villas following shortly after.

The Banyan Tree Group already operates the Angsana Spa at the Montgomerie Golf Course in Dubai.

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