Four Seasons debut provides Abu Dhabi holidays on Sowwah Island
Despite plans six years ago to build a Dubai hotel, The Four Seasons have announced that a new hotel planned for Sowwah Island, which will provide guests with luxury Abu Dhabi holidays, is likely to be the first property in the United Arab Emirates.
Four Seasons have announced that the new addition to luxury Abu Dhabi hotels will be developed by Mubadala Development, the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government, and will feature 200 luxury rooms and suites aimed towards high end travellers on Abu Dhabi holidays and business trips.
The new hotel is scheduled to be built within the capital's new business district on Sowwah Island and will also feature 125 separate apartments.
Jim FitzGibbon, the president of worldwide hotel operations for Four Seasons, said:
"Abu Dhabi is particularly interesting. The approach that Abu Dhabi is taking seems to be very fascinating, in their culture approach, their quality approach. It really fits very well with Four Seasons."
Four Seasons had previously announced six years ago that they would be entering the market of Dubai hotels with a property planned to be built in Festival City which would accompany Al Badia golf course, but more recently Mr FitzGibbon said that "nothing was imminent".
"We'll be in Dubai. It'll just be at the opportune time. We had a mutual agreement that it wasn't practical at this time and we decided that we'll stay in contact, but we'll pursue other things. We don't have a signed agreement in Dubai. We have a signed agreement in Abu Dhabi, and we'll focus on getting Abu Dhabi built, but Dubai is an opportunity."
Design work for the Sowwah Island hotel has been completed and is scheduled to open to guests on Abu Dhabi holidays by 2013.
Mr FitzGibbon said:
"Relative to an area like that I don't think the development as we see it is too aggressive," he said. "I think it's catching up a little bit, to be frank. This is going to be a significant destination long term."
The Four Seasons currently operates luxury properties in Doha and Riyadh and have plans to build hotels in countries across the region including Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Jordan.
"There's a maturity happening in this part of the world that wasn't there 10 or 15 years ago, and it's becoming a natural access of the world for trade, travel and leisure, so you have an interesting shift,"
Mr FitzGibbon continued. Commenting on the affects of the recent global recession, he added:
"There's no question that we've gone through a difficult time. The market around the world has been particularly difficult. The development process slowed down a bit but now it has picked back up again. Occupancy is coming back fairly aggressively in most markets of the world, with Asia being the leader. I think it'll take us another two years to get back to the peaks of ."
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