By Louise Birchall
Hospitality major's Middle East chief says project has been delayed, likely opening date unknown
The first Starwood Hotels and Resorts Element hotel planned for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) — scheduled to open at Abu Dhabi's $2.3 billion Capital Centre development this year — has been put on hold.
"The project is delayed. Unfortunately, we are unable at present to provide a likely opening date. As we get more information from the developers, we will pass it on," Guido de Wilde, Starwood's senior vice president and regional director — Middle East said in comments published by Hotelier Middle East.
A spokesperson from Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), master-developer of Capital Centre, confirmed: “The project is currently on hold pending a review of market conditions.”
The extended-stay Element branded hotels are described as offering a "no-compromise, eco-chic experience" by operator Starwood.
The Abu Dhabi property, situated adjacent to the exhibition centre, was expected to feature 36 studios, 144 one-bedroom guest rooms and 90 two-bedroom units, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre.
ADNEC business development director Sanjay Tanna said in a statement released upon the launch of Element in July 2008: "The current market conditions support the development of the Element. The large real estate projects and strong economic growth in Abu Dhabi have generated significant demand for short- to medium-term accommodation for executives."
However, Starwood Hotels and Resorts president for EMEA Roeland Vos explained in an email to Hotelier Middle East last week that "things indeed have changed a little since 2008 and this project has taken some serious delays".
Starwood's Element is among a number of international hotel brands, including Hyatt, Millennium and Rotana, expected to open at Abu Dhabi’s Capital Centre — a 23-tower micro-city and hotel project currently under development.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.