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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 01/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) There will be another jewel in the crown of Dubai when the world's tallest hotel will open its doors for first guest in the next two weeks.

JW Marriott Hotel Marques, one of the five luxury brands within Marriott Group and fifth in the world, is set to open its first tower in the middle of November, the man in command of the property " general manager Rupprecht Queitsch " told Khaleej Times in an interview.

A 40-year veteran of the hotel industry, Queitsch's early career in hospitality began in 1971 and took him from Zurich to Bermuda; and from Toronto and Montreal, Canada, to Rochester, New York and Washington, D.C.

He is working with the group for the last 26 years and during the tenure, he was involved in launching five properties as general manager and two as assistant manager in Germany, France and the US.

Currently, there are 55 JW Marriott hotels in 23 countries; by 2015 the portfolio will encompass 79 properties in 28 countries.

Talking about the latest launch, he said it's all the same because you go through same planning, hiring, market analysis etc. The hardware is the same when you open a hotel, he said, adding that but at different locations you have different surprises. It's not so different, but the tallest.

The "Marquis" designation is reserved for select downtown properties that offer the highest level of comfort, technology, personal service, meeting facilities, privacy and world-class amenities.

In a city of awe-inspiring ambition and unsurpassed luxury, the 1,608-room JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai is set to be one of the region's most desirable destinations, offering a standard of luxury and a full spectrum of business facilities for the most discerning of travellers. It's a brand synonymous with intuitive service and refined taste, a title given only to the finest properties in the Marriott portfolio.

"Soft opening, which means first guest in the hotel, is set to happen in the middle of November. "We are also planning a big official opening ceremony in the third week of February next year that will have ribbon cutting and many more things," he said. There is no delay and the hotel opening is closed to the set date, he added.

A symbol of Dubai's growing importance at the centre of the global business crossroads, the 1,608-room JW Marriott Marquis Dubai will open in two phases.

"We are opening one tower with 804 rooms this month and at the beginning it's enough. The second tower will take maximum two and half years," he said, adding that hopefully by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015.

"We are opening three or four restaurants in the beginning and then add more and more. But by the first quarter next year, there will be eight restaurants," he added.

The company already has 850 employees and that really good at this time, he said, adding: "We may need 200 more until January next year. For the second tower may be 200 more [employees]."
MICE market

In addition to serving the luxury business traveller, the hotel is targeting the lucrative and increasingly important MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) market, which currently does not have a hotel of sufficient scale to host such large groups.

Marriott has already signed deals for big groups in December this year and even for the next three years. "We have some business signed for 2012 in December, for 2013 and even already started selling for 2014 and 215 because big groups plan in two years advance," he said.

"We really would like to be one of the premier conventional hotels anywhere. There is a lot of good indications and we have all the facilities. We want to put this hotel on the radar as ".. one of the premier hotels worldwide.

"Paris is the largest destination for big group business as most of groups go to Paris. I think Dubai is ideal for MICE business. You have wonderful airport, clean and hospitable city. Because of nice road infrastructure it doesn't take much time to reach downtown from the airport. While in other cities it takes more time." In addition to that the Emirate provides very good choice of hotels and restaurants, he added.

He mentioned that excellent air connections by Emirates airline from Dubai to across the world is another plus point for Dubai and it helps a lot to promote MICE business and attract big groups. Another important factor is that Dubai is not very expensive compared to other top destinations for group businesses, he added.

Dubai is adding inventory in hotel rooms very fast every year, but Queitsch said the property is actually not competing with hotels in Dubai. "We go for large group for 700-800 rooms. So we will also compete with other cities like Madrid, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin, Las Vegas, and all the destinations where large group are going. Because the large groups of 500-800 people usually rotate around and they don't go to the same destination."

"We are very strong in the US, Europe and China in this segment. Whenever you are strong your name is recognized that's the brand strength," he added.

The property has already sold 600 nights for one group next month and another 3,500 nights in January next year. "We already have one group coming in December for 200 rooms for 3 nights. We also have one in January for 700 rooms for five nights."

He said that it's good business for Dubai as big groups will go for shopping, to the beach and also enjoy desert safari. "We are bringing new business to Dubai and I am not competing in this business within Dubai. I am competing with mostly European cities, which is an additional benefit for Dubai.


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