Country overview: 70,000 new rooms planned across the UAE

by | 11 Jun 2020 | Projects

The UAE is set to welcome a host of new hotels over the next couple of years. (Photo from Unsplash by Wael Hneini)

We delve deep into the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database to find out more about the 228 UAE hotel projects currently being brought forward in this fast-growing market.

The UAE has been a real hotspot for hospitality development in recent years, with major cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi making a huge impression on the global stage. This trend looks set to continue too, with a further 228 hotels (and 69,893 keys) now in the process of being developed across the country.

Busy years ahead for the UAE’s hospitality sector

In 2020, 72 new hotel projects are scheduled to open in the UAE, adding 25,667 rooms to its extensive hotel offering. Then another 71 hotels will open their doors in 2021, bringing 19,667 more rooms.

From 2022, our data suggests that overall activity may slow down a bit, with only 33 projects and 9,361 rooms in the pipeline at present. In a similar vein, just 12 more properties have been signed off for 2023, bringing 4,377 additional keys. But this is not to say that the long-term trend is for work to tail off across the country, with 40 hotel launches (10,821 rooms) already planned for 2024 and beyond.

Of the 228 new hotels, incidentally, 115 will be in the 4-star segment, while 113 will be in the 5-star luxury category.

Dubai leads the way for hotel development

Unsurprisingly, Dubai is the fastest growing city for hotel development across the UAE. 161 new hotels with 51,460 rooms are planned in the emirate, further expanding an already well-established market.

Abu Dhabi follows in a distant second place with 23 planned hotel openings and 7,281 new rooms. Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Ajman round out the top 5 with 17, 15 and four projects respectively.

Hotel brands all want an address in the UAE

The Address Hotels & Resorts leads the list of brands seeking to expand in the UAE, with nine hotels and 1,930 rooms in the pipeline. Vida Hotels & Resorts comes in second with eight planned properties, whereas DoubleTree by Hilton and Rove Hotels will both open six hotels.

Not to be overlooked, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Millennium Hotels, Rotana Hotels & Resorts and the Dubai-based Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts brands will each launch five properties. And Hilton Hotels & Resorts and Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts conclude the rankings with four projects each.

Atlantis The Palm Dubai leads the way in the UAE

The largest ongoing project in the country is the refurbishment of the 1,539-room Atlantis The Palm Dubai, which is due to complete this year. In line with Dubai Tourism’s vision of attracting 20 million visitors per year by 2020, the three-year refurbishment programme will see the renovation of rooms and suites as well as public areas.

Another highlight among the plethora of projects currently being developed is Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Resort in the Yas Bay, which is anticipated to become one of the most iconic and vibrant waterfront destinations in the region. The 641-room resort’s facilities will include a multipurpose conference centre, seven dining outlets and an innovative urban beach concept with an infinity pool suspended above the Arabian Gulf. The resort is also near the 18,000-capacity Yas Arena, a multipurpose venue designed to host various events including sporting competitions, major cultural performances and concerts.

Scheduled to open in early 2021, meanwhile, the 515-room Hampton by Hilton Resort Al Marjan Island will be next to the already operational DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island. The new hotel will be centrally located on the artificial Al Marjan Island and offer guests access to a private beach and a variety of dining and entertainment options.

The Island Resort is another grand project currently in the offing, which is scheduled to open in Q3 2021. Set on an island off the coast of Umm Suqeim in Dubai, The Island will offer three hotels with a total of 1,400 hotel rooms, suites, and apartments, in addition to retail, food and beverage, and anchored entertainment options. This project will bring big Las Vegas names like MGM, Bellagio and Aria to the UAE for the first time ever.