Four Seasons hotel project delayed until 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Design issues stall plans for new luxury hotel at Dubai's Festival City.
Four Seasons hotel project delayed until 2011
By Alex Delmar-Morgan
Wed 10 Dec 2008 05:28 PM

The Four Seasons Hotel, which will form the centerpiece of Festival City in Dubai, has been delayed by at least a year, Arabian Business can reveal.

Luxury hospitality company Four Seasons, which is building the five-star hotel overlooking the golf course near Festival City said on Wednesday the hotel will now be completed by the middle of 2011. It was originally due for completion in 2010.

Problems have arisen around finalising a design for the hotel's exterior, the company said.

Shaker Akbar, director of sales for the Middle East at Four Seasons, a hotel chain owned by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, said: “The delay is completely not related to the economic slowdown and is purely a design issue. This is the sole reason for the delay of the building.”

Dubai’s hotel and tourism industry has exploded in the last five years and the city is aiming to attract 11.2 million tourists by 2010.

According to a report by Lodging Econometrics, a US-based hotel research company, hotel projects planned or under construction in the Middle East reached a record high of 556 - totaling 164,259 rooms - at the end of June this year.

Some 53 percent of the region’s projects are in the UAE.

However, other projects under-development in Dubai are now in doubt due to the global credit squeeze.

A deepening global economic crisis together with an unfavorable exchange rate has left many would-be tourists unable to afford a visit to the UAE.

Four Seasons specialises in building themed resorts and hotels including a Renaissance style palazzo in Florence to a hotel in Istanbul at the Bosphorus, housed in a 19th century Ottoman Palace.

The group was founded in 1960 and owns 81 properties in 34 countries across the world. It has a further 31 schemes under construction.

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