In an industry full of hotels of equally high standards, exotic architecture and international brand names, Danat Hotels & Resorts emerge as a dominant and trusted player in the UAE’s hospitality sector.
By the end of 2004, Danat Hotels & Resorts held the largest hotel portfolio in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and has literally taken ownership of the West Coast of the UAE, with the majority of upscale properties there flying the Danat flag.
The company follows a carefully-constructed strategy to capitalise on the Abu Dhabi government’s plan to increase visitor numbers four-fold within the next ten years and ultimately taking the growing hotel collection to the forefront of hospitality in 2006.
The evolution of Danat – the name being a plural of Dana, Arabic for the most precious type of pearl – came as part of a masterplan of the National Corporation for Tourism & Hotels (NCT&H), a semi-government joint venture with Abu Dhabi Investment Company, and a shareholder base of UAE Nationals.
Founded in 1996, NCT&H has had a successful track record in hotel ownership and asset management beginning with the InterContinental hotels in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. In 2004, NCT&H launched the Danat Hotels & Resorts brand into the market. The Danat five-star hotel brand has enabled NCT&H to reposition its hotel portfolio under one flag. Nine UAE hotels and one Moroccan property come under the umbrella of Danat Hotels & Resorts with responsibility covering ownership, operations or management.
Progressively positioning itself in the buoyant UAE tourism industry, Danat Hotels & Resorts focuses on developing a sound infrastructure, bridging tactical alliances and providing excellent service, according to group marketing manager, Kate Beaven.
A STRING OF PEARLS
“Danat’s five-star portfolio is a selection of luxury city and resort properties, whose individuality and distinctive style reflects aspects of the tradition, customs and culture of their location,” said Beaven. “All properties provide the high service standards that are expected by today’s international travellers.”
Flagship of the five-star Danat brand is the 109-room Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, a deluxe resort located 240 km west of Abu Dhabi city opposite the Sir Bani Yas island nature reserve. As the first five-star hotel on the emirate’s west coast, it boasts exceptional facilities aimed at attracting regional visitors on short breaks, overseas tourists, plus corporations seeking a new venue for either meetings, incentive travel events, or team-building trips.
Complementing these facilities, Danat Hotels & Resorts also manages the Al Raha Beach Hotel, which was the first boutique resort to open in the capital. The property is situated on the new corniche development adjacent to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, and is the focal point of a new leisure and retail centre. The hotel offers a private waterfront, sea views and a luxurious spa as part of its exceptional facilities.
The Corporation owns InterContinental Abu Dhabi, InterContinental Al Ain, and has targeted the Moroccan hospitality sector for its first overseas investment, acquiring a 15 per cent stake in the Hilton Rabat in Morocco. The corporation has also been appointed as owner’s representative by Daewoo Rabat SA (the listed name for the property), and oversees the management of the hotel by Hilton International.
The property, located in an upmarket suburb of the Moroccan capital, has 249 rooms and suites and a further 20 chalets, plus a range of business and leisure facilities, including five restaurants, health club, pool, hammam, tennis and a golf driving range.
“Danat Hotels & Resorts also meets the needs of the rapidly expanding four star market by offering first class accommodation and facilities,” added Beaven. “Danat’s cluster of four-star hotels in the emirate of Abu Dhabi encompasses the Mirfa and Mafraq hotels, the Dhafra Beach Hotel and the Liwa Hotel in the oasis.”
The Liwa Hotel, located 220 km from Abu Dhabi city and set amid the region’s highest sand dunes, offers a unique perspective of the desert as a true oasis. Opened in 2001, the property has 66 rooms and suites plus three luxury villas with private pools and extensive recreation facilities. These include tennis and volleyball courts, gym, pool, sauna and steam rooms, Internet café, children’s playground and a range of food and beverage options – from international cuisine and terrace dining to Arabian fantasy tents for authentic regional banquets.
The 50-room Mirfa Hotel, located on the Abu Dhabi-Sila highway, is positioned to offer travellers a relaxing stopover as well as serving the developing community in Mirfa. The hotel has extensive landscaped grounds overlooking the coast, and leisure facilities include two pools, floodlit tennis and volleyball courts, fitness centre and children’s playground. In addition, the hotel has been wired to cater to the travelling executive, with two conference and meeting rooms, plus internet café, and a dedicated conference team.
Close by Abu Dhabi International Airport on the edge of the desert, the 120-room Mafraq Hotel again has state-of-the-art business facilities, but also features a wealth of attractions for the weekend leisure market. The health club offers squash, badminton, billiards, gym, sauna, steam and Jacuzzi, while there are two pools, one with a swim-up bar, and tennis courts set amid lush gardens. The hotel also has two nightclubs, an internet café, international restaurants, plus facilities for all types of meetings.
The Dhafra Beach Hotel is located in extensive gardens, with an on-site 9-hole, par 68, golf course. All 196 rooms are spacious and air-conditioned and include six suites and a royal suite. The property is located in the western region of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, on the Abu Dhabi-Sila highway.
Central to all tourism promotion is the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), established in September 2004 to streamline marketing and investment in the sector, as well as regulating all hotel properties and exhibitions. For its part, Danat Hotels & Resorts has joined forces with Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, boasting a collection of more than 130 independently owned and operated properties in 21 countries, it is opening a regional office in the UAE as part of its expansion programme.
After undergoing an audit of 1,600 standards of operating practices, Al Raha Beach Hotel was admitted to the membership soon after opening, gaining access to worldwide reservations and marketing programmes as well as links to the travel trade and an enhanced reputation as an ‘oasis of luxury’.
Beyond the beautiful landscaping, elegant décor and stunning scenery surrounding the Danat portfolio, the true soul of Danat Hotels & Resorts remains in providing excellence of service to its guests. “The essentials of service have been set down as guidelines to ensure guests always experience hospitality at its best at any of the Danat properties: this standard ensures that Danat and NCT&H provide a service that meets – and exceeds – international standards,” said Beaven.
With a vision to create deluxe, highly service-orientated hotels that are in direct competition with any deluxe property in the same location, Danat offers the level of luxury expected by today’s international traveller. Meanwhile, new properties and a proactive sales and marketing campaign during the Danat Hotels & Resort brand launch period propelled the Danat name into the international arena, and the group now has a healthy market mix balanced between regional and international travellers.
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