Habtoor Grand now part of Autograph Collection

Dubai's Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa joins Marriott International's global portfolio of independently owned hotels

Al Habtoor Group director of operations & development Sundaresh Iyer, and Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa consulting general manager Rick Zeolla.
Al Habtoor Group director of operations & development Sundaresh Iyer, and Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa consulting general manager Rick Zeolla.

One of Dubai’s oldest five-star beachfront properties, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, has officially joined the Autograph Collection — Marriott International’s global portfolio of independently owned hotels.

The partnership was confirmed at an event held at Habtoor Grand yesterday, chaired by Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa consulting general manager Rick Zeolla and Al Habtoor Group director of operations & development Sundaresh Iyer.

The partnership will allow Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa to access Marriott International's global sales and marketing channels, the Marriott Rewards frequent travel programme and the company’s management and franchise expertise.

Commenting on the concept and focus on Habtoor’s distinct identity, Zeolla said to Hotelier Middle East: “The big difference with hotels in the Autograph Collection is that by default they are encouraged to be different and unique. That’s the strength of the brand. So things that guests might find quirky, unusual or gives them a more defined sense of place, are things that are highly encouraged.”

Autograph Collection’s vice president Julius Robinson said: “We are incredibly proud to be adding the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa to our unique portfolio of independent hotels across the globe. Autograph Collection is known for creating authentic experiences at hotels that have rich personalities and a spirit of independence.

“The combination of distinct leisure and culinary experiences and an iconic location in Dubai provides guests and travellers with a truly unique travel experience that fits perfectly with Autograph collection.”

Explaining the reason for joining the Autograph collection, Iyer said: “We did quite well as an independent brand. In terms of timing, probably it just fitted well that Marriott had this brand that was launched, and we were looking for a partnership at the strategic level. This is not like a management agreement, the whole thing continues as it was, like staffing, etc. We have the Marriott GM’s presence in the hotel and the sales force. That’s an add-on.”

Going forward, Habtoor has already refurbished and renovated parts of the hotel, including rooms and the lobby, and has plans to continue evolving to stay abreast the market demands and trends. Additionally, Zeolla confirmed that the Marriott branding will not push up the room rates and the hotel will strive to remain competitive in the market.

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