Al Sondos bullish on Starwood future

Following the acquisition of Le Meridien hotels by Starwood,  the Al Sondos Suites by Le Meridien hotel in Dubai is looking forward to strong growth in 2006. With increased resources and support from one of the world’s largest hotel groups, the Al Sondos Suites is confident they will advance their position as one of Dubai’s leading business boutique hotels.

Despite the recent takeover, the Al Sondos Suites will hold fast to the Le Meridien tradition; a fusion of uniquely European flair, French tradition and a classic Arabian touch.

The Starwood takeover of Le Meridien comes at a key time in the Dubai hotel and hospitality sector.

The city has just recorded the world’s highest occupancy levels and room rates across Dubai’s 393 hotels and hotel apartments.

With 35,396 hotel rooms currently in the Emirate, that number is forecasted to grow by an additional 18,000 to 20,000 rooms by 2010, according to global hospitality consultants, HVS International.

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Is the Al Sondos Suites threatened by the increase in competition? Not quite, says General Manager of the Al Sondos Suites, Amal Benzari.

“We’ve been keeping ourselves well insulated from market fluctuations by tailoring our hotel to the needs of a niche clientele. In addition, with Dubai attracting business from the East and West, business travellers have become a key segment of the market and we have created an impressive level of loyalty in the past three years,” says Benzari.

“When a market deflates, it tends to affect younger businesses and those in quiet areas of a city. However, we’re located in one of Dubai’s main business districts and we’re fairly well established and unique to the Emirate.”

Hotels in Dubai are also enjoying many of the benefits of a sophisticated international marketing campaign, put forth by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Marketing.

“Whereas there is a certain level of cooling-down in the Dubai market, the demand is still there,” says Benzari. “And when it comes down to it, the quality of service and hospitality offered in Dubai supersedes that found almost anywhere else.”

Guests of Le Meridien hotels can expect to find Le Meridien Moments transferred into Starwood’s corresponding Preferred Guest Programme.

While still offering a comprehensive package of incentives, Preferred Guest introduces members to over 700 new hotels in addition to the 125+ Le Meridien hotels included in Moments.
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