Checkmate: Fairmont’s Abu Dhabi hotel is back on track, we think
Looks like Fairmont Hotels is finally on its next move toward opening its Abu Dhabi hotel. Let's hope their redesigns are worth the delays, considering the competition.
May 29, 2011 2:34 by Precious de Leon
Will they or won’t they? Seven years after Fairmont Hotels & Resorts announced they’re going to set up a hotel in Abu Dhabi, they’re finally “just about complete,” as the company’s President Christ Cahill was quoted in The National.
They did say there was a hiatus period when the region’s property sector came crashing. But then again, that was a good 3-4 years after the announcement.
So what’s the hold up? They say it’s all redesign work. But actually, it could be a number of things other than just changes according to the architect’s whim.
The most prominent of which is the ballooning or reduction of budgets which could in turn affect elements like the size of the rooms and conference halls or even the kind of amenities they’ll want to make available.
But then again it’s not like they don’t have the financing to finish the project. In the same article, Cahill confirms that the “project’s Kuwaiti developer, IFA Hotels and Resorts, has received the $115 million financing from Standard Chartered to complete the hotel.”
So what else could it be? Did they suddenly realize that the design just wasn’t up to scratch, especially considering the competition they’ve got on that island? After all, they’ve got to best hotels like the Park Hyatt resort which is said to be worth (gulp) $272.2 million and due to open this year.
Perhaps the delays were out of their hands, as Kipp has heard that there have been a few regulation changes in construction, parking regulations being one of them.
In any case, Fairmont’s got to raise their game. Otherwise, they’ll lose out on competition like the Nobu Hotel soon to open in the capital. And then there’s there are the St. Regis-branded hotels and villas that just opened on Saadiyat Island. Each villa is worth around $6 million. And although Kipp’s not too impressed with the interiors of the model villa shown in the video linked above, the house does include a butler, chef and masseuse….Kipp can hear the Fairmont Hotel’s creative team yell, “redesign!”
Well, just as long as Fairmont ends up actually opening and operating the hotel and not drop it like a hot potato the way that Jumeirah Group dropped plans to manage a luxury resort under construction on the Palm Jumeirah.
No sweat though, apparently the parting was “amicably agreed.” So no hard feelings, then?
Kipp supposes not, especially since there’s already a replacement for Jumeirah Group. What was supposed to be called Jumeirah Al Fattan Palm Resort is now going to be managed by Turkish operator Rixos Hotels. The hotel has been renamed to Rixos Residences Palm Jumeirah (catchy name, ain’t it?).
What’s interesting about this is that Jumeirah Group took over management of a hotel on the Palm which was originally handed over to Rixos. Let your imagination go wild there…you know, if you’re into the hotel sort of thing…