Millennium Hotel Group, headquartered in the UK, will open four hotels in the GCC region next year, including a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi. The group will be opening one hotel in Mecca in the second quarter of 2010, and one each in Oman and in Dubai in the third quarter of the year.

The proposed new hotel in Abu Dhabi will be opened in the second half of next year, Tarek Elsherif, Regional Director, Sales and Marketing, Middle East and North Africa, and Fadeel G Wehbe, Vice President – Development and Acquisitions, told a Press conference here 
on Tuesday.

The four-hotels together will have a room strength of about 1900 and the one in Abu Dhabi will have the highest number of 850 rooms. The group runs about 120 hotels in regions like North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the MENA region.

In the UAE, the group currently owns six hotels, and out of them, three are in Dubai, while two are in Abu Dhabi and one in Sharjah. This will go up to eight with the proposed opening of one hotel each in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they explained. According to Elsherif, about 4,000 hotel rooms are likely to be added to Abu Dhabi hotel market by different groups in 2010. But this will not lead to any glut in the market as the demand for rooms is expected to go up in the emirate in the coming years.

The present occupancy level of hotels rooms is about 78 per cent in Abu Dhabi and this might come down slightly to 75 per cent, with the proposed addition of the 4,000 rooms, he said. The rent levels also might drop a little to stabilise at rational levels. Out of the total 850 rooms in the proposed Grand Millennium Hotel and Spa, Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi about 300 will be designed as apartments, Abel Damergi, who has just taken over as its the general manager, said.

The group had earlier announced that the hotel project was estimated to cost about Dh650 million. “But these figures have changed with the amendments in the design and due to several other factors, and we may not be able to disclose the revised cost of the project at this stage,” he said.

Wehbe said the group was in advanced stages of negotiations for starting hotels in Egypt, Qatar, Morocco, Libya and Bahrain.
Source: Khaleej Times