Accor sets out plans for Dubai

DUBAI — The decision to go ahead with an expansion of the Ibis hotel in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) is on hold until details of the DWTC masterplan are finalised, Accor's director of sales and distribution, Anthony Slewka, told Khaleej Times.

By Lucia Dore (Senior correspondent)

Published: Sun 27 Aug 2006, 8:53 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:02 PM

The masterplan includes the potential expansion of Ibis, Accor's business economy hotel, which has 210 rooms — though it was originally intended to have 500 rooms. But the build was "cut -short" by the 2003 World Bank IMF Conference held in Dubai, explained Slewka. "The decision to go ahead with the Ibis expansion is on hold because of the masterplan, which is in flux," he said. "We do not know what the final decision will be. There has been no discussion to date on the masterplan."

Along with Ibis, Accor also owns Novotel, a four-star upper corporate hotel, also located within the DWTC complex. There has never been any discussion with DWTC on the future of Novotel —which is only a three-year old hotel, said Slewka. "DWTC issues have always been about Ibis," he re-iterated. Details of the masterplan are expected to be announced at the end of the month.

Slewka also commented that the Novotel and Ibis hotels at the DWTC were the first mid-scale economy hotels in the Middle East — a kind of "test project"— and have been hugely successful. Until these hotels became available there were few options. Only luxury and independent, non-luxury products were available. "There was a question mark to see how well the brands would be received but now they are taking off," he said. "We are building lots more across the region."

In Dubai, Accor which is one of the world's largest hotel and services groups, will also be opening Sofitel's "The Palace Old Town" in May 2007. This is an upscale luxury hotel with 142 units and three restaurants. Emaar, the developer, is describing it as a six-star hotel. The Sofitel Thalassa Palm Jumeirah will also be opening in 2008.

In total, Accor plans to increase its operations from 18 to 58 hotels in the Middle East — which includes GCC, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Yemen — by the end of 2009. The number of new properties set to open over the next 36 months will increase total capacity from about 3,500 to over 16,000 rooms, representing a growth of 360 per cent.

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