Earlier this year, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa joined the Autograph Collection, Marriott International’s exclusive global portfolio of independent hotels, giving the property more access to a global audience.
Aficionado caught up with Richard Zeolla, the consultant general manager of Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa. Zeolla provides a recap of the changes that the hotel underwent since the time it became part of the Autograph Collection, leading up to the joining date.
“They actually encourage your independence… the draw for an independent owner is the breadth and scope of Marriott’s sales reach: we can talk to 50 million Marriott reward members, for example,” Zeolla told Aficionado on the sidelines of the travel industry exhibition.
Marriott Hotels launched the Autograph Collection, in 2010. Since then, over 100 independent hotels joined the collection, making it one of the fastest growing hospitality brands.
“Because we encourage the independence and we want it to stay that way, you don’t have to do a lot to your physical plant – to change all your signage or anything. We put a plate on the front door; you might put another Autograph logo on a few things,” Zeolla explained.
While maintaining its independent identity, the Habtoor Grand has undergone – and continues to undergo – renovations to better fit its new, elevated position.
Leading up to the partnership, the lobby at Habtoor Grand had been renovated, as have two of the meeting rooms, all of the guest rooms and the all-day dining restaurant, according to Zeolla, who added that there are more changes still in the pipeline.
Further explaining the benefits of belonging to the Autograph Collection, Zeolla said: “A traveller that knows Marriott is expecting a certain level of quality, but they see this independent hotel and it might be of interest .”
The location of Habtoor Grand Hotel & Resort at Jumeirah Beach Residence makes it both a bit of a city hotel and a resort at the same time. “Marriott has 10 hotels in Dubai already, but none of them are on the beach,” Zeolla explained.
With these elements, the hotel aims to attract families looking to spend leisure time, as well as business partners who are looking to finish their work and then having some leisure time.
“Our traditional marketplace had been Eastern Europe…and the tie-up with Marriott gives us the opportunity to spread our distribution stream and look further west in Europe,” he said, noting that the United Kingdom and Germany are markets Habtoor Grand is looking to tap into to lure travellers.
Over the summer period, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa will be rolling out its UAE rates, along with Marriot and other sister hotels in the collection, as part of their summer promotions.