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Tue 1 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Danat Resort expands its appeal


The Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna is preparing to add to its portfolio of facilities and services just nine months after its official opening.

The five-star resort, which is located 240km south of Abu Dhabi on the west coast of the UAE, plans to extend its health and fitness centre to include a spa, which will open in September, and include six treatment rooms, two of which will be designated to ayurvedic treatments.

“We are also looking into developing activities such as four-wheel drive safaris and have identified a site 100km inland where we would like to set up a small camp to take guests for evening BBQs,†explained general manager, Manoj Kanwal.

“Diving trips are also something we are looking at developing.â€

Existing facilities proving particularly popular include snorkeling and half-day trips to nearby Sir Bani Yas Island, located 9km offshore and considered one of the largest protected areas in the Middle East both in terms of spatial area (230km) and the diversity of animal species it offers.

More than 60,000 animals from 23 different species such as the Arabian Oryx, sand and mountain gazelles, ostrich, giraffes and the Arabian tahr, roam the island and the bird life is as equally impressive.

“We take a maximum of 20 guests there for a three-hour excursion, a trip that’s proving popular.

But there are also many smaller islands so we do a day trip [discovering these].â€

Danat Resort, which boasts 109 sea-facing rooms including six private waterfront villas,

celebrated its soft opening in January 2005, but officially opened its doors in November.

This summer the property is running at 50% occupancy, compared to 35% last year and winter occupancies hit a 70% average, a figure Kanwal expects to increase to 80% or 85% for winter 2006-2007.

“Our key markets are leisure tourists from Germany, Austria and Swtizerland.

Some of them combine a stay here with a trip to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, but others fly in and head straight here and stay for between eight to 10 nights on average,†he said.

“The GCC is a smaller market, less than 10%, but because we are only 100km from the Saudi border (Sila), we get many locals stopping here on their way to Abu Dhabi or Dubai, particularly during Dubai Summer Surprises or the Dubai Shopping Festival.â€

Weekend stays are also popular with residents from Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates, he added.

Looking ahead to 2007, Kanwal said his aim was to attract more local and international MICE business to the property.

“We are not a large conference hotel and leisure is our main business, but we are suitable for small meetings,†he said.

Danat Resort pays agents 10% commission and during the summer is offering a rate of AED 750 ($204) on a bed-and-breakfast basis for a two night stay.

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