General manager Rupprecht Queitsch tells Louise Oakley why the Emirates Group-owned JW Marriott Marquis Dubai hotel will bring the coveted global meetings and convention market to the destination

It is impossible to miss the soaring structure of Emirates Group’s upcoming Marriott hotel elevated high above Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road. When it opens in October 2012, the two-tower property will bring with it a series of accolades: it will be the first JW Marriott Marquis branded hotel in the Middle East; it will become the largest hotel in Dubai with 1608 rooms; and at a height of 355 metres, just 26 metres shorter than the Empire State Building, it will be the tallest dedicated hotel building in the world.

Once inside the hotel, highlights include two ballrooms of 1400m² and 1200m², the second highest bar in Dubai on the 71st floor; and a fine-dining outlet from celebrated Indian chef, Atul Kochhar.

But to focus on these features, impressive as they are, would be to bypass the main purpose of the hotel — that of bringing to Dubai a meetings, convention and events market of a scale never seen in the UAE before.

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It is this specific goal, coupled with the strength of the Dubai market — last year, the city was one of the top five global RevPar performers worldwide with occupancies averaging 75.4% (STR) — that justifies the significant room inventory.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that the general manager of JW Marriott Marquis Dubai has been GM in the world’s leading MICE destinations, namely New York, Paris, London and Berlin.

A 40-year veteran of the hotel industry, German national Rupprecht Queitsch is, in his own words, “a little bit different than your average general manager”.

Hotelier is inclined to agree; in a sneak preview and behind the scenes tour of the hotel in February, Queitsch avoided the usual hotel USP spiel and instead focused on discussing the growth of Dubai as a tourism and business destination and revealing the value of the MICE sector in more mature destinations, cleverly setting the scene for JW Marriott Marquis in the market here.

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