Dozens of hotels were scheduled to open in the UAE next year, but several of these projects have now been delayed, put on hold or even cancelled, The National has found.
Delays in Dubai
When Kempinski Floating Palace, touted as the world’s first floating resort, was announced, it had an opening date set for this year. But now the Swiss hotel group, which is working with a local owner on the project, cannot confirm when it will launch, a representative told The National.
The hotel, which is meant to have 156 keys, is to be anchored next to a stretch of shore on Jumeirah Beach Road, with guests being brought to the property or directly to their villas by speedboat or even their own vessels. As part of the plans, 12 exclusive villas are connected by pontoons and can be moved to other anchorage points, while the main building also doubles up as a floating helipad and there’s parking for up to 16 yachts.
Mandarin Oriental Wasl Tower, meanwhile, which would be the city’s second property from the international hotel group, also doesn’t have an opening date “due to delays”, the reason for which could not be confirmed.
The striking twisted building, on Sheikh Zayed Road, was planned to open by the second quarter of 2024, developers Wasl Asset Management announced last year. It’s set to encompass 64 floors, with 358 hotel rooms and 229 resident units.
A representative from Six Senses told The National they also cannot confirm a launch date for Six Senses The Palm, Dubai, which was scheduled to open for bookings late next year. A 61-room hotel and 162 branded residences, of which the architecture is inspired by the UAE’s coral reefs, are planned to sit along a private stretch of beach on Palm Jumeirah’s West Crescent.
The hotel group, which merges wellness with sustainability in its ethos, has new properties opening in Grenada, London, Kyoto, Bangkok and Norway listed on its website, but nothing in Dubai.
Abu Dhabi postponements
Mondrian’s first foray into the UAE was welcomed with much anticipation when it was announced earlier this year.
The 221-room property, to be located on the waterfront in the heart of Downtown Abu Dhabi with views reaching across to Reem Island and Al Maryah Island, was meant to open next year and the project has already broken ground, according to a statement.
However, the team from Ennismore, the hospitality group behind the brand, is now looking at a 2025 opening, it confirmed.
Elsewhere, LXR Hotels & Resorts, Hilton’s collection of independent luxury properties, announced earlier this year it would be opening an all-villa resort with a private golf course on Abu Dhabi’s Al Nawras Island in 2024.
“We’re excited to be growing our portfolio in Abu Dhabi and look forward to welcoming guests at Al Nawras Island, LXR Hotels & Resorts, which is expected to open in 2025,” a representative has since told The National.
Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah faces delays and cancellations
Marriott International and Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) signed a franchise agreement in January last year to bring the hotel brand’s Autograph Collection to Sharjah for the first time. This is to encompass two five-star properties, in Kalba and Khor Fakkan, on the emirate’s scenic east coast.
The Khorfakkan Hotel will feature 75 rooms and suites, the first waterpark in the area, a yacht club and residences, while the Kalba Hotel will incorporate 80 units, including one with four bedrooms.
These were scheduled to open next year, but neither Shurooq nor Marriott were able to provide updates on the project when asked by The National.
In Ras Al Khaimah, it’s a similar story. Two glamping retreats called Cloud7 Camp Jebel Jais and Cloud7 Camp AlSawan were originally planned to open at the end of last year, offering 60 accommodation units crafted from sustainable materials. The launches were then moved to this year, but now the project is on hold, a representative of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Company confirmed.
Earth Altitude, an eco-based pop-up hotel concept set to open permanently on the UAE’s highest mountain last year, is also now cancelled.
The boutique-style resort, from local group Earth Hotels, was to offer stunning views over Jebel Jais and encompass an activity centre where guests could book hiking, trekking, cycling and more. It was also set to offer homegrown restaurants and an infinity-style swimming pool with views over the peak.
Plenty more hotels to open in the UAE in 2023 and 2024
The much-anticipated, superyacht-inspired Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab will also begin to open in phases, starting with branded residences at the end of this year.
Next year, Ciel Tower, Mama Shelter Dubai and Fairmont Dubai Skyline remain on schedule.
In Abu Dhabi, we can expect the 22-bedroom Anantara Santorini Abu Dhabi Retreat, which was only recently announced, to stick to its opening date.
Another Anantara property in Ras Al Khaimah will also open before the end of this year, alongside Saij, A Mantis Collection Mountain Lodge, with 70 luxury lodges offering a mountain retreat experience with guided treks and more.
Next year, Sofitel Al Hamra Beach Resort is still scheduled to open on time in the northern emirate.
Meanwhile, in Sharjah, having partnered with the Lux Collective – a Singaporean hotel company that’s behind swanky resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius – Shurooq will open the Lux* Al Bridi Resort inside the Sharjah Safari project in autumn next year. As the only luxury retreat inside the 800-hectares Al Bridi Reserve, the resort will offer visitors access to unique experiences including opportunities to spot the Big Five – rhinos, buffaloes, elephants, lions and leopards.
In Khor Fakkan, Lux* Al Jabal Resort is on track to open in the second quarter of next year. The nature-surrounded resort is set on a hillside overlooking Soueifa beach and villas that offer picturesque views over the bay.
Nomad, a new adventure travel experience consisting of 20 gleaming Airstream trailers set up at various locations across Sharjah, is also scheduled to open in the first quarter of next year.
Updated: October 26, 2023, 10:57 AM