The introduction of Starwood's lifestyle brand W to Dubai will attract a new traveller type to the emirate, according to Starwood's senior vice president and regional director in the Middle East.
On April 26, Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced a partnership with Al Habtoor Group to open the W Sheikh Zayed Road in 2017 as part of the Habtoor Palace development on the site of the old Dubai Metropolitan hotel.
Just weeks later on May 8, the operator said it had revived plans to open a W branded hotel on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. The project first unveiled in 2006 was subsequently put on hold but has been relaunched and is now scheduled to open in 2016.
W made its regional debut in the Middle East in Doha back in 2009.
“What we said at that time was the brand would change the hospitality scene in Doha and this is exactly what has happened – W brought a completely new dynamic. The F&B outlets from day one were full. This whole new lifestyle was brought in by W," Guido De Wilde told Hotelier Middle East.
“I’ve been asked many times why we opened our first W in Doha and not Dubai. The reason is simple, the opportunity was there in Doha before Dubai, and it was a business decision,” he said.
"We’ve seen having W in Dubai from day one. It’s a brand that fits Dubai and Dubai fits the brand,” continued De Wilde.
At the launch of the Habtoor Palace development, which also includes Dubai's first St. Regis and a second Westin, Al Habtoor group vice chairman and CEO Mohammed Al Habtoor said he was most excited about bringing the W brand to Dubai: “The lifestyle brand is the most important brand for me because in Dubai we don’t have a lifestyle hotel.
"We don’t have that young generation, they go to Miami or Vegas or W Hollywood. Maybe this hotel will give them a reason to visit Dubai.”
De Wilde added: "The W brand is being rolled out in many new destinations; St. Petersburg, Paris, London... and these are markets where you have a lot of Arab travellers exposed to these brands and everybody is waiting for the arrival of the W brand in Dubai".