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Al Sondos looks forward with Starwood

When Starwood acquired Le Meridien in November many wondered at how such a large hotel conglomerate could keep all properties on track and in profit. The acquisition meant that the company’s portfolio of UAE properties increased to 19, offering a diversified range of properties.

When Starwood acquired Le Meridien in November many wondered at how such a large hotel conglomerate could keep all properties on track and in profit. The acquisition meant that the company’s portfolio of UAE properties increased to 19, offering a diversified range of properties.

For Amal Benzari, general manager of the Al Sondos Suites by Le Meridien in Dubai, the change over has led to greater resources and support, as his hotel now finds itself part of one of the world’s largest hotel groups. Benzari is confident that his hotel will become one of Dubai’s leading business boutique hotels, and claims that, 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 some 18,000 rooms set to enter the market before 2010, competition is set to rise, but Benzari remains confident of success.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he added.

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