Marriott aims for 80+ UAE hotels in five years

Aloft City Centre Deira, Dubai. Photo credit: Marriott International

Marriott International expects to end 2018 with 11 new properties and more than 2,600 guestrooms added to its United Arab Emirates portfolio. 

Year-to-date, the company has added six new properties and is scheduled to add five more in the country, bringing its portfolio in the UAE to 59 properties and more than 17,000 rooms across six Emirates by the end of the year. Two of the company’s openings this year are regional brand debuts: the eco-conscious Element Hotels brand, which opened in Dubai, and the Edition brand, which is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Looking ahead, the company plans to add more than 20 new properties to its UAE collection in the next five years with a goal of having more than 80 hotels in the country by 2023. 

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“Our success in the Middle East stems from our long-established presence in the market and the value we deliver to our owner-partners,” said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, in a statement. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing growth and diversification of the UAE’s economy and remain committed to supporting the direction of its visionary leaders to further enhance the tourism sector.”

“With a presence in the market that dates back over three decades, we have witnessed and been a part of the transformation of the UAE as one of the world’s most dynamic travel destinations,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Our established and growing portfolio of hotels underscore the substantial demand for our brands in this market. We remain very optimistic about the UAE and continue to explore opportunities to further amplify our growth in the country through new deal signings and conversion opportunities.”

Milestone Year for UAE Openings

Aloft Hotels made its debut in Dubai with three new openings—Aloft Palm Jumeirah, Aloft Me’aisam and Aloft City Centre Deira—all within the first half the year. The company launched its Element Hotels brand in the region with the opening of Element Me’aisam. In the luxury space, the Ritz-Carlton brand opened its fifth property in the UAE, The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. The company also took over the operations of the Yas Island Hotel, which is scheduled to be flagged as a W Hotel early next year, marking the debut of the brand in Abu Dhabi.

Building on the momentum of the first nine months, the company is gearing up to open five more properties by year's end. These include the Courtyard by Marriott Al Barsha; Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah, the company’s second property in Sharjah; Aloft Dubai South, the first hotel to open in the Dubai South district; The Abu Dhabi Edition, the Edition brand’s first property in the region; and W Dubai-The Palm.

Select-Service Brands Fuel Growth

The UAE currently has 16 of Marriott International’s 30 brands, with more than 50 percent of its existing portfolio across its upper-upscale brands, including Marriott Hotels, Sheraton and Le Meridien. The company also has 15 properties across five of its luxury brands in the country.

While the company’s development pipeline highlights solid growth for its upper-upscale and luxury portfolio, its select-service brands represent more than 70 percent of the development pipeline for the UAE. The growth of its select-service portfolio, which features brands such as Courtyard by Marriott, Aloft Hotels, Element Hotels and Residence Inn by Marriott, is in line with the UAE government’s efforts to expand the mid-scale segment in the country.

Increased Demand for Branded Residences

Marriott International recently said its global branded residential portfolio is expected to grow by more than 70 percent in four years as consumers increasingly seek residences in communities that offer a convenient lifestyle, array of amenities and services, while real estate developers seek to differentiate and elevate their products with trusted brands.

The company is seeing an increased demand for branded residences in the UAE and across the region. Across the Middle East and Africa, Marriott currently operates three branded residential properties, including the Bulgari Residences in Dubai, and anticipates to more than double its residential portfolio in the region with eight projects scheduled to open by 2022.