Middle East and Asia still bullish on luxury hotels

June 30 - Luxury hotels are the right brand fit for the Middle East and Asia region, according to a top executive at Marriott International, while lower-tier models work better in markets such as India and Brazil.

Speaking to Emirates Business, Don Semmler, Executive Vice-President, Global Full Service Brands, Marriott International, said that it is unlikely select-service properties could ever outweigh full-service models in the region.

He backed the statement by revealing plans to introduce three of its signature JW Marriott high-end hotels in Dubai by 2014. Another two Ritz-Carlton properties should also open doors by then in the UAE, including the delayed Dubai International Financial Centre project (scheduled to open this year) and one in Abu Dhabi.

Semmler announced plans to unveil another six in the region by 2014, of which will be two 807-room JW Marriott Marquis Hotels; the first phase opening in 2012, while the second opens in 2013. Accompanying them will be a 170-room property in Dubai Lifestyle City, scheduled to open in 2014, bringing the total luxury rooms to 1,784.

Quizzed if an Autograph Collection franchise hotel could find its way into the region by the fourth quarter of 2010, Semmler said: "No deals have been signed yet, but we are aggressive on the brand here."

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