By Shweta Jain

Armani Hotel Dubai expects to achieve average occupancy levels of 55-60 per cent in the first year of operations, according to a top company executive.

The world's first Armani hotel nestled in Burj Khalifa opened last week. It has since managed an occupancy of about 50 per cent . (PATRICK CASTILLO)
The world's first Armani hotel nestled in Burj Khalifa opened last week. It has since managed an occupancy of about 50 per cent . (PATRICK CASTILLO)

The world’s first Armani Hotel nestled in Burj Khalifa opened last week and has in the last few days managed an occupancy of about 50 per cent, said Marc Dardenne, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group and Emaar Hotels & Resorts.

“Until now we have been running over 50 per cent occupancy, which is mostly from the GCC and the local market primarily. The international market has not started to come in yet as we have just started our booking engine,” Dardenne told Emirates Business, on the sidelines of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference 2010, which kicked off yesterday.

“As for in the first year of operations, we are looking at anything between 55 per cent and 60 per cent occupancy. And we are looking at the starting room rates of about $1,000 [Dh3,670]. That is the anticipated projections we have and we believe that we can achieve that,” he said. The hotel would have an international mix of guests in its first year, said Dardenne. “However, in the summer period, the GCC is going to be a key market for us. There’s no question about it. And as we go forward, it’s going to be more and more international.”

He said the hotel has already received bookings and strong interest from markets such as Japan, China, the US, Italy and other European markets. Asked if there were anymore Armani hotel projects planned for the Middle East, he said: “There is nothing in the pipeline yet for the Middle East but obviously we are not saying no to any opportunities that fit the brand.”

Meanwhile, with the next Armani Hotel slated to open in Milan in the first quarter of next year, the partnership between Emaar Properties and Giorgio Armani will see at least 10 more Armani hotels opening across the world over a period of 10 years.

Address brand India bound?

While there are no immediate plans to take its Address Hotels + Resorts brand to India, Emaar Hotels & Resorts is keen to explore the Indian market for the brand. “We are looking at all the opportunities in India through our joint venture with MGF. We have been speaking to them to potentially take the Address brand to India, which would be a great step,” Dardenne said.

“And there could be something in India with Armani Hotels also but we have not discussed anything further.”

Emaar Hospitality sees Rise in revenues

While Emaar Hospitality expects revenues to improve in 2010, Dardenne did not divulge the numbers achieved for the first quarter of this year. “I can only say that we are going to see a substantial increase in revenues for our hotels business this year compared to 2009.

But again it is very difficult to compare because we are currently ramping up our operations. It’s actually in 2011 that we can really compare apples with apples,” he said.

With regards to the average hotel room rates, Dardenne expects no further price erosion this year. “If you look at the rates currently prevailing in this market, these are very good rates compared to world markets. I think they are slowly coming back to their earlier levels,” he said.