By Beatrice Thomas
Developer currently has four hotels in Dubai, two in Lebanon, one in Budapest and another three under construction in Dubai
Al Habtoor Group has revealed plans to further expand its hotel portfolio overseas, with the Dubai conglomerate eyeing acquisitions in key European markets London and Paris.
As it gears up to open its latest offering on Christmas Eve, the luxury Waldorf Astoria Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah, vice-chairman and CEO Mohammed Al Habtoor said it was always looking to expand.
Al Habtoor, the son of the Al Habtoor Group founder Khalaf Al Habtoor, said the company now had four hotels in Dubai, two in Lebanon, one in Budapest in Hungary and another three under construction in Dubai.
It had no immediate plans for further hotels in the Middle East, but he confirmed it was looking for further opportunities in Europe.
“We are also looking for hotels in Europe,” he told Arabian Business on the sidelines of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai media launch.
“We keep looking until we find the right one with the right investment and also the right return on investment at the same time.”
He said the European markets it was interested in were “mainly London and Paris”, with any deals needing to be acquisitions as new builds in those established cities were “a headache”.
The company on Monday offered an exclusive sneak peak of the Waldorf Astoria Dubai.
Featuring 319 guest rooms, two swimming pools and six bars and restaurants, including a specialty European restaurant with a soon-to-be-announced “top-rated European chef”, it marks the fourth Dubai hotel in Al Habtoor’s accommodation portfolio.
Al Habtoor said the hotel had an excellent management team in Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, the luxury brand of Hilton Worldwid, which also runs the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, and was in an excellent location.
Room prices started from AED1,800 ($490) to AED3,000 a night, he said.
“We have the right name, the right brand and the right location on the Palm,” he said.
Al Habtoor said with average hotel occupancy of 85 percent in Dubai, the city could easily absorb the extra capacity. Al Habtoor had three more hotels under construction in the city – St Regis, W and Western – which are expected to be completed in 24 months.
“There is still quite a bit of room (for new hotel developments),” he said. “As far as I know there is another 20,000 rooms coming from now until the next three, four years. Out of that 2,000 is our hotels.
“The demand is there. You can see also Emirates Airline, they have purchased new aircraft for new destinations and that means more people coming to Dubai.”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.