Dubai’s hotel playground not nearly full enough: ‘room’ for more?
Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President of JW Marriott's global brand management and Rupprecht Queitsch, General Manager of the soon-to-be JW Marquis in Dubai discuss their expansion and vision
September 13, 2012 2:17 by Muhammad Aldalou
In March of this year, when Abu Dhabi’s tourism authority announced that due to oversupply, they will not be issuing any new hotel licenses until further notice, it was clear that there just isn’t enough demand and allowing for the construction of more hotels would prove detrimental to the industry’s well-being. Kipp also figured that Dubai would be next on the oversupply train. Being the convention and business landmark that it is, hotels are sprouting out by the day (okay not literally) and it was just a matter of time before there would be inevitable oversupply disaster would strike. We were evidently mistaken.
“Growth in Asia and the Middle East region has been enormous,” says Rupprecht Queitsch, General Manger of JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, and Mitzi Gaskins, VP of Marriott’s international brand management. The ‘Marquis’ in Dubai is Marriott’s latest landmark to be unveiled, but to say that the global name (recognized uniquely by its Griffin icon) is on an expansion spree would be an understatement. “You live here, so you would know that Abu Dhabi’s market is a different ball-game than Dubai’s,” added Queitsch. “The powerful forces working in, out and within Dubai are incredible at helping the city grow. The financial sector is growing stronger, major airlines are adding new routes by the week and the amount of traffic coming in Dubai airport is phenomenal.”
“There is definitely still so much room for potential and more than enough room for this hotel.” The global tourism giant, despite its enormous global presence, has only ever opened one Marquis Hotel, and this would be the second. Dubai was chosen, as you would guess, for being a globally talked about business and leisure hub. It’s opportunities for growth seem to be multiplying as its economy recovers. “If you ask me whether i am worried about there being enough demand for us, I would say no.”
Just short of the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons (globally speaking) in terms of luxury status and service, JW feels a comfortable fit in Dubai’s mid-luxury sector where Mitzi says, they have found their sweet-spot. Gaskins, a native Texan here on a short trip from the U.S., uses unique words to encapsulate the explosive brand that she is in charge of representing. “Older style of luxury can be ostentatious, where we avoid that. We have made sure that our research with our guests is thorough enough to make sure that what they experience what we set out for them to experience; approachable luxury, not too much pretension, comfortable yet elegantly authentic and ‘discreet’.”
JW Marriott picks gate-way cities, and Dubai fits as a convention hub.
But when asked whether either the Arab Spring or aftermath of the financial crisis had affected or caused a delay in any of their pipeline hotel projects, of which there are over 20, both shook their heads. The soon-to-be-opened ‘special edition’ hotel has chosen to blossom in the Business Bay location where it faces two iconic towers, has a magnificent view of the world’s tallest building but also a view of the sandy and yet-to-be developed, Business Bay area, where the neighbours are shall we say, sleepy? But much like a phoenix reborn from the ashes, JW hopes that it will set the pace for this location’s development.
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