THE Rotana’s flagship property in Dubai, the Al Bustan Rotana, is set for a major facelift across its public areas, Omer Kaddouri area vice-president of Rotana Hotels in Dubai & Northern Emirates and Al Bustan Rotana general manager Omer Kaddouri.
“Since the hotel opened in 1997, it’s been a wonderful ten years. But we thought the design was looking a bit dated,” he told TTN. The renovation will begin around the end of 2006 and will take in the lobby, banquets and meeting rooms and the older restaurants before proceeding upwards, floor by floor to the property’s 275 rooms. Kaddouri insists the work will not affect guests. “Renovation is an art form, in terms of noise control, directional signage and so on, your commun-ication needs to be clear.”
Also being upgraded is the four-star Jumeirah Rotana, which Kaddouri says will be all ready by September 1, and portions of the Towers Rotana Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Meanwhile, Kaddouri is overseeing the opening of new Rotana and economy Centro properties in Fujairah, Ras Al Kahimah, and Dubai (the Rose Rotana Suites on Sheikh Zayed Road, the Amwaj Rotana on Jumeirah Beach and the BurJuman Rotana Suites, set to open this summer), making for nearly a dozen in Kaddouri’s zone of operations.
He fully expects the supply in the market to even out over the next three years, but says his hotels will not cannibalise each other. Says Kaddouri, “Not at all. We’re actually more cautious than it appears and we do have a strategy in place. We’re aiming to be your neighbourhood hotel – and some neighbourhoods will have two.”
What the shiny emirate needs, he says, is tourism planners who think long term. “Already some of the hotels on Jumeirah Beach are seeing a drop in repeat business as a result of the major construction activity in the area. There are also a lot of hit-and-run hotels in the city that are here for the 90 per cent occupancy rates, and visitors are being hit by high rack rates. The market cannot sustain a $300 room night, less so when all the new hotels come online,” he says. “But many of us, like Rotana, are here for the long term, and we’re taking care of our customers.”