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Thu 5 Jan 2012 11:21 AM

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Rotana sees building glitches delay launch of Oman hotel

UAE-based hotelier unveils plan to open seven hotels in 2012 representing $750m investment

Rotana sees building glitches delay launch of Oman hotel
Rotana recently launched its first hotel in Erbil, Iraq

UAE-based hotelier Rotana has delayed the opening of its Salalah Rotana Resort and Spa property in Oman following construction setbacks, the firm’s CEO and President said.

The 5-star hotel, which will offer 400 luxury rooms and suites upon completion, was slated to open in the fourth quarter of this year, but will now delay its debut to 2013, Selim El Zyr said.

The hotel operator said Wednesday it would open seven hotels this year rather than the eight initially planned, representing an investment of $750m. Two of the company’s Dubai hotels - the Al Ghurair Arjaan and the Al Ghurair Rayhaan – will also see their launch dates pushed from the first to the third quarter, El Zyr said.

“The Oman hotel is still on, but you know, during construction there are delays some times,” he said. “That’s probably going to be [completed in] 2013, we are waiting now on the project managers, who have told us that there are some material delays. 

“The Dubai hotels have [also] been delayed until Q3.”

The revised construction schedules were the result of building delays and not difficulties in securing project finance, he said.

“There are no problems of financing. This has been pre-arranged [by the owners], so there are no financing issues that we know of.”

The Abu Dhabi-based company said in June it planned to open 25 mid-market hotels across the Middle East by 2015 in an ambitious expansion drive, creating approximately 3,000 jobs.

It also announced plans to grow its portfolio of budget properties via the Centro brand, tapping into rising regional demand for high-quality but modestly-priced rooms.

Rotana said its planned property launches in 2012 would include the launch of its first hotels in Bahrain and Jordan, alongside new outlets in Abu Dhabi and Qatar.

The expansion will take the firm’s rooms under management to about 14,000 by the year-end.

El Zyr said Rotana’s debut Bahrain property was on track to launch in the second quarter despite the Gulf kingdom’s widespread political unrest.

“The market in Bahrain is picking up, the hotels are doing ok, they are seeing between 40 and 50 percent [occupancy], and we hope by then things will have settled down,” he said.

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