Shangri-La’s much-awaited second hotel in the UAE, the five-star deluxe ShangriLa Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, AbuDhabi, will finally open its doors around September, its general manager Adrian Rudin told TTN.
“In the first phase, which will open around Ramadan, we will have the hotel 214 luxurious rooms and suites, seven villas each consisting of four to seven bedrooms, the CHI spa, healthclub, three swimming pools, two beaches. Every room, the smallest of which is 45sqm, will be sea facing and will have a balcony, so it is quiet unique in design,” he explained.
The hotel will open with four restaurants – the signature Shang Palace, Hoi An, one French restaurant and an all-day dining option.
In terms of guest mix, Rudin said, “About 80 per cent of our guests will be business travellers, with the remaining 20 per cent leisure visitors.”
Key markets are typically Europe, particularly the UK; and the GCC. “Out of experience with our property in Dubai, the GCC is a big feeder for Dubai or even Abu Dhabi itself. I would presume that half of our business will come from the region,” Rudin said. “We are looking at occupancies in the high 70s once we are fully operational.”
Rudin said the current shortage of hotel rooms in Abu Dhabi means the opening of a new hotel such as his would not adversely impact the sector as a whole. “There will always be competition, but we offer a different product and will cater to different guests. Obviously, people who have stayed at the [Emirates] Palace might well stay with us for a different experience, and vice-versa, but this is the nature of our business. It’s about give and take.”
Further, with Etihad Airways opening Abu Dhabi up to the rest of the world, he said, excess room capacity would bee needed to cope with ‘the sheer volume’ of tourist arrivals. “This trend will only continue and more and more tourists will come to Abu Dhabi. It goes hand in hand. The growth of the airline, the growth of the tourism attractions and the growth of hotels.”
The entire project has been developed at a cost of Dh1 billion. The second phase comprises the remainder of the building, which is one kilometre in length. This is largely apartments, unfurnished and serviced alike, as well as a souk.
A mere 10 minutes away both from the airport and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre makes the hotel ideal for business travellers and MICE visitors alike, he said. “We are perfectly situated for the MICE market. Especially incentives, which usually have half day meetings. We are also close to the desert.”
Meeting facilities within the hotel include a ballroom for meetings, receptions or social events, and meeting rooms designed to meet the requirements of small- to medium-sized groups for meetings and trainings.
Adding to the appeal of the property for business travellers will be wireless internet access in public areas and on the beaches.
By Shalu Chandran