IHG to open two Abu Dhabi hotels by 2016

The hotel market in Abu Dhabi continues to heat up as the InterContinental Hotels Group has revealed plans to operate two hotels in the city, one of which is a new 184-room property located on the city's waterfront.

The National reported that the InterContinental Abu Dhabi - Grand Marina is expected to open in 2016, near the existing InterContinental property. Meanwhile, the long-standing Sands Hotel will be converting to a Holiday Inn to increase competition in the city. 

According to Gulf Business, a 20-year management agreement was signed with the National Corporation of Tourism and Hotels for InterContinental Abu Dhabi – Grand Marina. The hotel is planned to have a lounge and bar with a terrace and private dining rooms, as well as a spa and pool.

The 257-room Sands is currently owned by Abu Dhabi-based Pearl Azure Hotel Management, and will be IHG's second Holiday Inn property in the city. The Sands will be returning to its roots, having opened in 1978 as a Holiday Inn before being bought by Abu Dhabi National Hotels, and sold again to Danat Hotels and Resorts in 2010.

The National Corporation of Tourism and Hotels and Pearl Azure Hotel Management already have three IHG properties in their portfolio across the UAE: InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi and Crowne Plaza Dubai.

"We have had a long and successful partnership with the National Corporation of Tourism and Hotels and Pearl Azure Hotel Management for nearly two decades now," Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East & Africa, IHG, told Arabian Business. "The signing of the new InterContinental and Holiday Inn is a fantastic step in for both our owners and IHG and we look forward to continuing our partnership to develop more industry-leading hotels for the growing travel market in Abu Dhabi."

Abu Dhabi is currently seeing a surge in demand, which began in March when profits rose 14.3 percent. Abu Dhabi hotels also showed a 4.3 percentage point increase in hotel occupancies, coupled with a 2.2 percent increase in average room rate to $157.76 during this period.