Hilton’s Saadiyat Island resort to break ground this year

The hotel operator Hilton expects construction of its Saadiyat Island resort to start this year with a planned opening in 2018, when most of the area’s museum projects are expected to be finished.

The company is developing the 366-room property spread over 91,000 square metres owned by Bin Otaiba Investment Group, with an estimated cost of Dh800 million.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is expected to open on Saadiyat Island this year, with the Zayed National Museum expected next year and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017.

The completion of museums will help to increase citywide hotel occupancy, with the gains not limited to Saadiyat and resorts, according to Filippo Sona, the director of the hotels division of Colliers International. “The most contribution will be two to three years after the museums’ opening,” he said, as a museum takes some time to identify and develop what attracts the interest of tourists.

The museums should also lift room rates in the city, although new supply will partially counter the price increase, according to Mr Sona.

Revenue at beach hotels in Abu Dhabi is expected to have increased 9 per cent through April, according to figures from the consultancy Colliers. The average daily rate is estimated to have been US$285, almost double that of the city hotels, with an occupancy rate of about 71 per cent.

The figures, released on Thursday, show that Abu Dhabi city hotels are expected to clock a higher occupancy rate, at 80 per cent, but a lower average daily rate at $143.

“Abu Dhabi has its own captive audience, and I don’t think people are choosing Abu Dhabi over Dubai because it’s more affordable,” said Carlos Khneisser, the vice president for development in the Middle East region for Hilton Worldwide, which operates two properties here.

The US company has 10 properties in the pipeline in Dubai, including three midscale Hilton Garden Inns; the 182-room Al Mina property and 183-room Al Muraqabat properties are being developed with Al Wasl Hospitality and are expected to open in the fourth quarter of the year. Another, near Mall of the Emirates, is being developed with Majid Al Futtaim Properties and is expected to open in the first quarter of next year.

“We have started seeing some good leads in the Dubai World Central area,” Mr Khneisser said.

Hilton has eight existing properties in Dubai.

sshaoo@thenational.ae

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