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TTN International Luxury Travel Market 2012 | www.iltm.net


Luxury travel prevails in the Middle East


The face of luxury travel has evolved over the years taking on many shapes and forms. While some luxury travellers seek off-the-beaten-track experiences, others choose to engage with the local communities or simply pamper themselves in the confi nes of their Spa.


The one trend that holds strongly is that people are travelling and travelling more than ever before; with Google predicting that 2013 will be the year of catching up to consumer behaviour.


Catering to this growing consumer demand, luxury hotel companies are confi dent of success as they announce new projects across the globe. According to data compiled by STR Global, the Middle East and Africa hotel development pipeline currently comprises 487 hotels totalling 122,954 rooms.


In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai continues to be its most robust market for development. Among the luxury hotels opening in the emirates later this year is the 1,608-room JW Marriott Marquis. When open, the hotel will also become Dubai’s largest hotel by number of rooms. The fi rst Four Seasons hotel in Dubai too is planned to open on Jumeirah Beach in 2014.


Abu Dhabi has already witnessed a slew of hotel openings this year. Among them the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara and the St Regis Saadiyat Island while a second property, St Regis Abu Dhabi on the Corniche and the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal will open later this year. The Mandarin Oriental will also make its debut in the region with a property in Abu Dhabi followed by a second one in Doha in 2014.


Luxury operator Waldorf Astoria will open its fi rst hotel in the UAE in Ras Al Khaimah while Fairmont Hotels will debut in Al Ain in 2013.


Qatar too continues to see a boom in hotel openings with the 336-room St Regis Doha now open while hotels including the Amari Doha, the Regent Doha and two hotels by Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts expected to open in 2013.


‘The one trend that holds strongly is that people are travelling and travelling more than ever before’


In Bahrain, the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay has confi rmed the hotel project is currently ahead of schedule and is expected to open doors in April 2014.


As these luxury hotels open doors, providing their guests an unrivalled luxury product is central. According to Samir Daqqaq, senior vice president development Middle East and Africa of the Oetker Collection, today’s Arab traveller is a refi ned traveller who is accustomed to luxury and demands a level of luxury that is sublime and divine. “Our guests does not want to see over-the-top, ostentatious luxury but seeks an experience that is subtle yet comes with the WOW-factor.”


Boasting a portfolio of masterpiece hotels, the Oetker Collection opened its fi rst hotel in the region with the magnifi cent Palais Namaskar in Marrakech, Morocco and will launch Le Bristol Abu Dhabi in 2013.


Shalu Chandran Editor, TTN


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