Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has signed a management agreement at the iconic Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
The global hotel company will take over in early 2020, with long-term plans to brand the property under the Mandarin flag.
Here Breaking Travel News speaks to Christoph Mares, chief operating officer with the company, about the deal and what it means to the brand.
Breaking Travel News: Congratulations on the partnership with Emirates Palace – one of the most iconic hotels in the world. How long has Mandarin Oriental been aware of the hotel and working on the signing?
Christoph Mares: Thank you. We are delighted to be taking over management of this iconic property from January 1st.
Our development team is constantly reviewing opportunities around the world, but we don’t go into specific details about any of our management contracts.
We are, however, delighted to be working with Emirates Palace Company on this project.
BTN: Mandarin Oriental will now launch a process at the hotel in order to upgrade rooms and public areas. What work needs to be done?
CM: This is a management contract for the group with no equity investment.
Over the next two years the hotel will undergo a phased renovation.
The work will encompass significant upgrades to guestrooms and recreational amenities, as well as new food and beverage facilities.
The hotel will remain open during this time, and on completion in 2022, will be rebranded as a Mandarin Oriental hotel.
More details on the renovation will be available nearer to completion.
BTN: Emirates Palace has been a successful property for a number of years. What does Mandarin Oriental offer to owners Emirates Palace Company that the previous management company was unable to provide?
CM: We can only comment on what our group will provide.
Mandarin Oriental is an international luxury hospitality company with a history of almost 60 years.
Our award-winning properties are all unique and renowned for their style and elegance, offering excellent dining, design and wellness facilities all underpinned by our legendary service standards.
We look forward to bringing the group’s exemplary service to Abu Dhabi and to introducing the brand to a new audience.
BTN: This is the second property from Mandarin Oriental in the United Arab Emirates, following the recent opening of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira in Dubai. Is this a long-term vote of confidence in the destination and where does it fit in your wider growth plans for the Middle East?
CM: Emirates Palace complements the recently opened Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai, and with further developments announced in the region, and expected to open within the next five years, the Middle East is of course an important destination for the group.
In addition to Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai we also have a second property under development in the city, located on Sheikh Zayed Road.
This is a 259-room hotel with 266 residences with views over downtown Dubai and direct access to the area’s business and leisure attractions.
In addition, we have announced a 150-room resort and 150 residences in Muscat located on the beach in a prime city location, with views over the Arabian Sea.
Our development team is constantly reviewing further opportunities in the region.
Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is centrally located in the heart of the city, conveniently situated for both leisure and business travellers.
The Grand Mosque and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre are a short drive away.
The Marina Mall is nearby, and the commercial centre of the city is also easily accessed.