We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 5 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Bush + rain = difficulty for Dubai hoteliers

Dubai was brought to a standstill in mid-January, with the US presidential visit and rain storms causing multiple road closures across the city.

Dubai was brought to a standstill in mid-January, with the US presidential visit and rain storms causing multiple road closures across the city.

Hoteliers faced staff shortages with many workers unable to reach the hotels, and some guests faced difficulties reaching the properties and getting to the airport in time for scheduled departures.

Dusit International regional vice president Middle East Sam-Erik Ruttmann said many operational staff stayed at the property for the duration of US President George W Bush's visit on January 14.

"This was purely because of the transportation issue of where our staff accommodation is located - they wouldn't have been able to come in," he said. "We prepared ourselves well - of course it became a very busy operation but that was something we anticipated. We made facilities available for staff, and the management stayed overnight as well."

Staff were not the only ones effected by road closures.

"We had one guest who landed at 7.30am and he only got to the hotel by 3pm," Ruttmann said.

"He was obviously very tired, but I think he understood there was a reason behind it. It was very challenging, trying to get people to the airport and back."

Sheraton Deira Hotel general manager Josef Sorger said all his staff were able to make it to the property, although he himself had to work from home because he was prevented from leaving his house.

"We informed our guests prior, saying that there may be a major disturbance in the city due to the closure of roads, so maybe they should leave an hour earlier," he said. "We had some no-shows, which were higher than normal, but the exact reason for this I couldn't say."

InterContinental Dubai Festival City hotel manager Dieter Franke said the hotel was not affected as much as some other properties in Dubai.

"Bush and the rain were almost one issue, because when you put them together there were a lot of road closures," he said. "From an operational point of view we had the entire management and middle-management on the floors helping serve and turnover beds because we had a shortage of staff due to the road closures - they just physically couldn't get in."

Hilton Dubai Creek general manager Mike Nalborczyk said several guests with cancelled business appointments were very frustrated, but staff "were fantastic" working extra hours.

"We asked staff starting before 10am to get over before the bridges closed [at 6am]," he said. "There were no murmurs, it was fantastic. My night team left here at 9am, and they were still on the bus five hours later - we were lucky my HR manager had the foresight to put food and drink on all the buses."

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.