BETHESDA, MD—Marriott International expects to add 11 new properties by year-end and a robust development outlook over the next five years in the UAE. Year-to-date, Marriott 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 Marriott’s openings this year feature regional brand debuts—the eco-conscious Element Hotels brand, which opened earlier this year in Dubai, and the Edition brand, which opened in Abu Dhabi in November.
Fueled by a demand for its range of lifestyle brands, Marriott plans to further enhance its footprint in the UAE with the addition of more than 20 new properties in the next five years. Marriott expects this development pipeline could generate more than 5,000 new jobs in the country.
Arne Sorenson, president/CEO of Marriott International said, “Our success in the Middle East stems from our long-established presence in the market and the value we deliver to our owner-partners. It is the trust owners have in Marriott International, combined with our differentiated brands and collective strength of our global platform, that has put us in a position to further expand our portfolio in the country and strengthen guest loyalty.”
He added, “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/managing director Middle East and Africa of 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 Openings in the UAE
This year saw several milestones for Marriott International in the UAE, with Marriott anticipating having added a total of 11 properties and more than 2,600 rooms by year-end. The design-led 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. Marriott launched its eco-conscious 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 in Ras Al Khaimah. Marriott 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.
Marriott is gearing up to open more properties by the end of the year. These include the Courtyard by Marriott Al Barsha; Four Points by Sheraton Sharjah—Marriott’s second property in Sharjah; Aloft Dubai South—the first hotel to open in the Dubai South district; and W Dubai—The Palm.
Select-Service Brands Fuel Growth
The UAE is currently home to 16 of Marriott International’s brands, with more than 50% of its existing portfolio across its upper-upscale brands, including Marriott Hotels, Sheraton and Le Meridien. Marriott also has 15 properties across five luxury brands in the country.
While Marriott’s development pipeline highlights growth for its upper-upscale and luxury portfolio, its select-service brands represent more than 70% 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 midscale segment in the country.
Increased Demand for High-End, Branded Residences
Marriott International recently revealed that its global branded residential portfolio is expected to grow by more than 70% 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.
Marriott 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.