Fairmont to open in February


The Fairmont Dubai, the city's 28th five-star property will open in February next year on the busy Shaikh Zayed Road.

The Dh800 million ($217.8 million) hotel, which has taken more than two years to build, is keen to get its market share of business travellers. This is Fairmont's first venture outside of the Americas.

And it is possible that a hotel in Abu Dhabi could be the next venture within the region.

"We chose Dubai largely because of our excellent partners, the private office of Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan," said Michael Kaile, vice president and general manager of the hotel.

"We are working with our partners looking in Abu Dhabi but we do not have a time frame at the moment. But certainly I can see ourselves in Abu Dhabi."

Kaile says he needs more time in Dubai to see how business goes before he can predict any further expansion in the region.

"I can say that we are very seriously looking at London and Europe because it is a natural bridge," he said.

Even in the wake of the September 11 incidents, Kaile is confident his hotel will triumph.

"Worldwide, after September 11, repercussions were felt in nearly every part of the globe and Dubai was no exception. But eventually the side effects will pass and we are confident that Dubai is going to be an excellent place," he said.

Presently, the 34-storey multi-purpose hotel, residential and office complex's interior is being fitted out.

The hotel will have 394 hotel rooms and suites, a walkway bridge over Shaikh Zayed Road, 10 restaurants, a spa and health club, and a business club.

For longer-stay visitors, the hotel complex also includes 115 two- and three-bedroom furnished apartments for lease.

According to Kaile, the Fairmont aims to bring "a mix of heritage and cutting edge hospitality to Dubai, offering service standards and deluxe interiors that will stand above the competition".

Meanwhile, regional travel agents got a preview of the Fairmont last month.

A VIP delegation of senior travel trade managers from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar joined their counterparts from Abu Dhabi and Dubai to get a first look at the hotel.

The agents toured the hotel before networking over dinner in the marble lobby reception area.

Kaile said that rather than running the traditional regional sales blitz, Fairmont has brought in representatives from the GCC states to enable them not only to preview our hotel, but also to meet with their counterparts to assess strategies in the current business climate.