Hilton Worldwide today announced the former Rocco Forte Hotel Abu Dhabi will be rebranded Hilton Abu Dhabi Capital Grand this summer.
Currently known as Abu Dhabi Al Maqta, the hotel’s recent history has had some colourful twists and turns – much in keeping with its exterior.
Today’s announcement puts to bed ongoing uncertainty surrounding the property following Rocco Forte’s departure in March.
Strong industry speculation suggested it would become part of Starwood’s portfolio, but Hilton, which said the 281-room hotel will undergo a series of brand changes before joining its Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio, has now stepped in.
Rob Palleschi, global head, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, hinted that the hotel gives it the opportunity for a fresh start in a city in which its Corniche-side property, which opened up in 1973, has become something of an institution.
Speaking to Business Traveller Middle East at the Arabian Travel Market, Richard Power, Brand Managing Director for Rocco Forte Hotels, cited the combination of hotel over-supply and economic downturn for its Abu Dhabi withdrawal.
“We could have ridden the storm if it wasn’t for the location,” he said.
“When we signed up we were told a large block of luxury apartments and shopping mall would be built as part of the complex, and we believed it would be the new area for banking and various embassies.
“In reality, neither of these materialised. Our conclusion was that there wasn’t enough business at the rates we need to charge in order to deliver our luxury service. The owner made us a satisfactory payment to break the contract.”