By Andy Sambidge
Global Hotels.com report puts Muscat and Doha in the top three priciest destinations in 2010
Gulf destinations accounts for two of the three most expensive hotel rates in 2010, according to the latest Hotel Price Index published by a leading industry website.
Muscat in Oman was ranked the most expensive city in the world with average room prices reaching GBP185 ($302) while Doha was third with average prices of $276, Hotels.com said in its report.
Separating the two GCC cities was Monte Carlo where hotel rates averaged $277, nine percent up year-on-year.
Approximately 110,000 properties in more than 18,000 locations globally made up the sample set of hotels from which prices were taken.
Muscat's position at the top of the global list came despite seeing prices fall in 2010 compared to the previous year by 15 percent. Prices in Doha rose five percent last year, the report added.
The top five most expensive places to stay were completed by New York and Maui.
Elsewhere in the GCC region, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi figured in the top 25 most expensive destinations.
Dubai was ranked 18th with average prices of $195, a drop of one percent compared to 2009 prices, while the UAE capital was in 22nd position with rates averaging $189.
Hotels.com said Abu Dhabi's prices had seen the biggest drop worldwide in 2010 and were 27 percent lower than in the previous year.
It said the declines were driven "by a combination of growth in the number of rooms, as new hotels opened, and a drop in the number of corporate travellers visiting, due to the economic downturn".
Eastern European cities also saw big falls, with Zagreb prices down 20 percent, Sofia 19 percent, Kiev 17 percent and Leipzig 17 percent.
By country, the UAE was the fourth most expensive place to stay in the world last year, behind Russia, Switzerland and Brazil.
The report revealed that the average price of a hotel room around the world rose two percent in 2010 but was still only at the level it was in 2004.
Prices remained flat in Europe, rose just one percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and fell by two percent in Asia. However, the average was boosted by a two percent rise in North America.
"The oil-rich Middle East had two cities (Muscat and Doha) in the top three most expensive destinations, reflecting both the small number of hotel rooms and the strength of demand for premium accommodation from both business and leisure travellers," the report added.
David Roche, president of Hotels.com, said: "After the worst trading conditions most in the market had seen, our 2010 story shows a market in recovery, and allows us, for now, to call the bottom of it at around the turn of 2009.
"Whilst the high volume of promotions we saw in the depth of the crisis has dried up somewhat, there are still deals to be had."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.
Surely should be "most over priced"...