By Shane McGingley

Marriott International, the US-based hotel operator, plans to snatch the title of world’s tallest hotel tower building with the opening of its eighth Dubai property next year, it was revealed Monday.

Artists impression of the 335m JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, set to open in 2012
Artists impression of the 335m JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, set to open in 2012

The current title holder, the Rotana-owned Rose Rayhaan hotel in Dubai, stands at 330m-high but will be eclipsed by the 355m JW Marriott Marquis Hotel after its 2012 launch.

The 72-storey Rose Rayhaan was confirmed as the world’s tallest hotel tower building by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat when it opened its doors in January 2010.

The 80-storey Marquis, which will be Marriott’s largest hotel outside the US, is part of a broader move by the chain to operate 74 hotels across the Middle East and North Africa by 2015.

“We are looking to reach almost 74 hotels by the year 2015 in this market,” said Ed Fuller, president and managing director for international lodgings at Marriott International.

“[But] I honestly believe if things turn around the way they are we might actually even get close to a hundred.”

The company currently operates 31 hotels across the MENA region, with a further 37 under development. A further six properties were announced on Monday, bringing the chain’s pipeline to 74 hotels by 2015.

Fuller said a further 26 properties were possible, depending on fast the hotels could be brought online and deals agreed with prospective owners.

“We have increased our development team in the region to five, where it was originally two. While we can only announce officially the 74, we have a vision that we could grow to more as we have so many developers now in the market,” he said.

By 2015, the group will operate 17,600 rooms across nine countries, representing seven brands.

“We are really beefing up our development effort in the market,” Fuller said.

The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel plans to tap into the UAE’s growing meeting industry, offering 4,015 sq m of conference space and two ballrooms; one of which will be the emirate’s largest.

“This hotel will offer meeting planners a place to bring large groups to Dubai and host events under one single venue,” said Mark Satterfield, COO of Middle East and Africa at the hotel firm.

“We think that is going to change the hotel landscape in Dubai.”