David Garner, regional director of sales and marketing for Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas Middle East David Garner, regional director of sales and marketing for Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas Middle East

Thai luxury hotel chain Anantara, part of Minor International, will open three properties in the Middle East in 2012, along with an array of leisure facilities.

David Garner, regional director of sales and marketing for Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas Middle East, said the group’s priority for 2012 was “the continued expansion of Anantara and positioning in the Middle East”.

“Our priority is the launch of Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, which is set to open in the 2nd quarter of 2012,” Garner told Hotelier Middle East. “It is a new luxury five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi city, occupying a prime position along a 1.2 kilometre stretch of Abu Dhabi’s protected Eastern Mangroves District, situated just 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport and 10 minutes away from downtown Abu Dhabi.

“The hotel consists of 222 hotel rooms and suites, six food and beverage outlets, including a Thai restaurant, an all day dining restaurant with live kitchens serving seafood, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, a pool bar, a shisha deck, a lobby lounge and a rooftop lounge providing exquisite and unmatched views of the mangroves, combined with authentic Arabian/Emirati hospitality,” revealed Garner.

Also in Abu Dhabi, the group plans to open two luxury lodges on Sir Bani Yas Island, where Anantara already operates the Desert Islands Resort and Spa.

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“Due to open in 2012, the two Lodges on Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Yamm and Al Sahel, bring two new experiences to the island,” Garner continued. “Each lodge comprises of 30 luxury villas, Al Yamm Lodge is situated on the eastern sandy white shores of the island, while Al Sahel Lodge can be found in the heart of the Arabian wildlife park.”

As well as adding room inventory to Sir Bani Yas, Garner said Anantara was also gearing up to launch new leisure and business facilities, aimed at shifting the island “to a complete and much more exciting destination experience in Abu Dhabi”.

Sir Bani Yas Stables, Desert Islands Water Sports Centre and Desert Islands Conference Centre are on schedule to open in the first half of 2012.

The equestrian centre will host five horses initially, with more to come in a second phase, and a riding ring, training ring, grass paddocks, sand paddocks and wildlife excursions.

The sports centre will offer diving courses and a practice pool and a casual dining Bar & Grill.

“The project is in response to high demand from visitors to the resort,” said Garner.

The Desert Islands Conference Centre will have the capacity to accommodate up to 350 people and include six breakout rooms, a business centre, terraces, shaded and non shaded external decking and pre-assembly rooms.