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Metro to spur business for Al Sondos
May 2006 370

THE Al Sondos Suites by Le Méridien will have direct access to Dubai Metro’s Central Station, according to a hotel release.

Slated to be the region’s first light rail project, Dubai Metro’s two proposed lines are set to cover almost 70km across 35 stations, including a main stop underneath the neighbouring Deira City Center. With ground breaking having already begun, businesses in the area are expecting to experience a noticeable boost when the station finally gets up and running.
“Dubai’s metro system is expected to increase both tourism and investment in the city and the addition of the station directly across from the Al Sondos is going to be extremely beneficial for our guests and clients,” says the hotel’s general manager Amal Benzari. “We’ve designed the hotel with the business client in mind and having the central station at our doorstep will be a great advantage to our guests.”
The hotel is currently upgrading its F&B outlets and is on a mission to provide better service, says the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, Ashraf Safei. “We also plan to develop an executive floor, targeting business travellers and frequent-flyer visitors. It will feature a separate lounge with Wi-Fi connectivity, a library and refreshments available.”
The hotel has developed a solid reputation as one of Dubai’s leading boutique hotels. Situated in the heart of Dubai’s business district, next to the landmark Deira City Shopping Centre, it was one of the city’s first hotels to add a satellite news kiosk to its property, offering 180 newspapers and enabling guests remain in touch with the latest news from around the world. Other facilities include a well-equipped business centre, an attractive gym and spa facility offering guests the opportunity to relax and keep fit.
With the rapid rate of expansion in Dubai, the hotel expects to maintain in 2006 the record occupancy rates achieved in 2005 (82 per cent) and looks forward to further developing its name in the boutique hotel sector as well as moving forward with Starwood.
“The second half of 2005 had up to 90 per cent occupancy of rooms and the hotel already has over 15 per cent increase in revenue in the first quarter of the year as compared to last year,” says Safei. “With the take over of Le Méridien by Starwood, we have become part of a larger company with greater global exposure and more GSAs. We expect to see long-term benefits with this merger.” The hotel is automatically part of Starchoice and SPG programmes.
While GCC nationals, including the UAE form about 60 per cent of the guests, the remaining are business travellers from Europe.
Catering to the specific needs of regional and business travellers, the all-suites hotel provides guests a high level of hospitality in warm and welcoming surroundings. It provides state-of-the-art communication and business facilities and Wi-Fi technology throughout the hotel. The hotel also has a facility for small meeting spaces for corporate meetings and seminars for up to 50 people. There is also the 24-hour business centre providing internet access, secretarial services and another meeting space for up to 20 people.
Each suite is fully equipped, individually decorated and well-appointed to cater to the needs of all its guests.
Facilities include the Al Mabsam Restaurant and the 24-hour News Café. The former combines the finest traditions of Lebanese cuisine, a skilled in-house chef, impeccable service with a welcoming and elegant interior, while the latter is known for its comfortable and casual atmosphere, with a variety of international flavours on offer.
The hotel is owned by Dr Ghassan Khawaja, chairman of the Al Sondos Group, which owns the Dar Al Sondos Apartment Hotels by Le Meridien and Al Sondos Tower.

Summer offers
While the hotel concentrates on business travellers throughout the year, for the summer it has tied up with various tour operators to introduce new summer programmes. The main focus will be on families, says Safei. “Since Al Sondos is an all-suite hotel, more families prefer to choose the hotel, because it is more spacious and thus convenient. The hotel has plans to start activities and various other programmes for kids.”
The hotel will also be targeting the CIS market later this year with their all suites concept including the Scandinavian markets.




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