Latest News from Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi

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Cristal Hotel and Resorts recognised as first 'Sterling Design Hotel' in Middle East

  • Hotel expects to boost sales by 10 per cent in 2010 through new sales and marketing partnership with Preferred Hotel Group

Cristal Hotel and Resorts, a luxury hospitality company, has announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with Preferred Hotel Group (PHG), a global sales and marketing conglomerate, in a move that will significantly expand Cristal Hotel's global market presence and boost sales by an estimated 10 per cent in 2010. The agreement also makes Cristal Hotel and Resorts the first Middle East hotel to become a member of Sterling Hotels, as part of the Sterling Design category, which is a worldwide collection of fashionable, affordable hotels that appeal to both business and leisure travellers. The partnership agreement was signed on the sidelines of Cristal Hotel and Resorts’ participation in the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) that was held recently in Abu Dhabi.

Cristal Hotel and Resorts has revealed that it intends to leverage PHG's 28 international sales offices, over 60 dedicated industry sales specialists and more than 300 major corporate accounts worldwide to cultivate new markets and broaden its target audience. Furthermore, Cristal Hotel and Resorts disclosed that both parties have agreed to expand the partnership with upcoming projects.

Peter Blackburn, CEO of Cristal Hotels & Resorts, said: "The partnership with PHG provides greater leverage for Cristal Hotel and Resorts to sustain our market expansion program. Being the first in the Middle East to be recognised as a Sterling Design Hotel will also greatly enhance our reputation as a world-class hotel destination, which is crucial in an increasingly competitive market environment. We are confident that the partnership will deliver immediate results, as we forecast an increase in sales of up to 10 per cent this year."

John Ueberroth Chairman and CEO Preferred Hotel Group, said: "Cristal Hotel and Resorts exemplifies the ideals of the Sterling Design Hotel, which focus on modern and contemporary style, distinct architecture, bold interiors and state-of-the-art technology. Moreover, through this partnership, PHG will help enhance the business performance of Cristal Hotel by providing support in branding, global sales and marketing, and integrated reservation services, which are all designed to increase revenues and reduce overall costs."

Cristal Hotel and Resorts has emerged as one of the top business hotel destinations in Abu Dhabi despite opening just under a year ago. Cristal HotelAbu Dhabi features 192 luxuriously appointed and spacious rooms, complemented by a complete range of business facilities and world-class customer service standards.

Source: Eye Of Dubai

Posted: 01-04-10

Saudi tourist arrivals predicted to grow 5 per cent to touch almost 13 million in 2010

Business intelligence firm Business Monitor International (BMI) forecasts tourist arrivals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to grow 5 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) to 12.91 million in 2010. Influx is expected to grow further by an average of 6.5 per cent y-o-y through 2014, driven by the Kingdom’s growing popularity among religious and business travelers.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts, one of the fastest-growing hotel chains in Abu Dhabi, has confirmed plans to expand in the KSA. The expansion plans in the Kingdom that will encompass the following cities, Riyadh, Jeddah, Khobar and Mecca to keep pace with various entry activities being witnessed within the country’s rapidly growing hospitality and leisure sector.

The announcement is in line with Cristal’s broader Middle East expansion plan, which has already helped the company emerge as a leader in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality market since its opening in July 2009. Cristal notes that it is being encouraged to enhance its Saudi presence due to the government’s focus on tourism as part of its comprehensive diversification agenda.

“Saudi Arabia is home to two of Islam’s holiest cities and several historic sites and is also either a base or a stopover for numerous multinational corporations. These have combined to turn the Kingdom into a major tourism hub. We intend to apply our formula for successful entry into other key Gulf countries such as Qatar to this very promising market. One area we will focus on is to encourage Saudi nationals, who are consummate travelers, to consider taking their vacations in their own homeland instead,” said Peter Blackburn, CEO, Cristal Hotels and Resorts.

The Saudi Government is keen on developing its domestic tourism market, given that citizens spend millions on their annual travels abroad. The number of Saudi Nationals travelling abroad is expected to rise from around 8.07 million in 2009 to almost 11 million by 2014. Several international hotel chains opened their first hotels in the country last year in recognition of the local travel market’s huge potential.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts recently announced that it achieved one of the highest month-to-date occupancy rates among Abu Dhabi’s 4-star and 5-star hotels in January of 2010, recording an 84 per cent average occupancy for the month. It recently announced its expansion plans into Qatar and is currently eyeing additional strategic locations within the region.

Source: Dar Al Daleel

Posted: 06-04-10

Cristal plans new hotel in Qatar

Cristal Hotels and Resorts, one of Abu Dhabi’s fastest growing hotel chains, has announced that it has achieved one of the highest month-to-date occupancy rate among Abu Dhabi's 4-star and 5-star hotels, garnering 84 per cent average occupancy in January 2010. The figure is in line with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority's (ADTA) 10 per cent growth forecast in hotel guests in the emirate this year. Abu Dhabi accommodated around 1.5 million hotel guests in 2009, which according to ADTA will grow to 2.3 million by 2012 when the emirate's hotel capacity reaches over 27,000 rooms.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts' surge to the top of the rankings is a significant achievement as it outperformed more well-established 5-star hotels despite having started operations only in July 2009. Month-to-date occupancy of 5-star properties, most of which have been in the market for more than 10 years, stood at 76 per cent during the same period. Moreover, after its opening, Cristal Hotels and Resorts was able to achieve an average occupancy of 80.35% from August 31 to December 31, 2009.

Peter Blackburn, General Manager, Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi, said: "2009 was a remarkable year for us despite starting operations only around the third quarter and we are pleased to have carried the momentum through to 2010. As UAE residents and citizens often prefer to stay in local brand hotels, Cristal Hotel has introduced a new brand of hospitality with a distinct local taste, which has been a key factor in our consistently strong market performance."

"The high-level occupancy we have achieved is a strong manifestation of how our guests appreciate our efforts to maintain the exceptional quality of our hotel offerings and services. On account of Cristal Hotel's key focus on business tourism, we are particularly pleased to have seen an increasing number of business guests over the past few months. With government-led tourism initiatives expected to boost room demand in 2010 and beyond, we are confident that Cristal Hotel's growing reputation as a quality-driven hospitality destination will enable us to sustain our strong performance in line with the increasing market demand," added Blackburn.

Located at the heart of Abu Dhabi's business district, the 4-star Cristal Hotel caters to both business guests and tourists and is one of the few completely dry hotels in Abu Dhabi. Cristal Hotel offers a total of 192 rooms and suites, all equipped with high-speed internet connectivity, executive desk and IDD interactive telephone with voice mail. Other premium facilities of Cristal Hotel include an executive lounge, the exclusive Cristal Spa, an in-door swimming pool, sauna, and a beauty salon.

Cristal Hotel is also fully equipped with a full range of business facilities, including a business centre with full secretarial services and touch-screen workstations, five multi-purpose meeting and conference rooms, an executive lounge, and state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. In addition, the meeting rooms and business centre offer an excellent view of the city's skyline.

© 2010 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/260732

Posted: 09-02-2010

Demand for Abu Dhabi hotel rooms to increase by 10 % in 2010

Cristal Hotels and Resorts, one of Abu Dhabi’s fastest growing hotel chains, has announced that it has achieved one of the highest month-to-date occupancy rate among Abu Dhabi's 4-star and 5-star hotels, garnering 84 per cent average occupancy in January 2010. The figure is in line with the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority's (ADTA) 10 per cent growth forecast in hotel guests in the emirate this year. Abu Dhabi accommodated around 1.5 million hotel guests in 2009, which according to ADTA will grow to 2.3 million by 2012 when the emirate's hotel capacity reaches over 27,000 rooms.

Cristal Hotels and Resorts' surge to the top of the rankings is a significant achievement as it outperformed more well-established 5-star hotels despite having started operations only in July 2009. Month-to-date occupancy of 5-star properties, most of which have been in the market for more than 10 years, stood at 76 per cent during the same period. Moreover, after its opening, Cristal Hotels and Resorts was able to achieve an average occupancy of 80.35% from August 31 to December 31, 2009.

Peter Blackburn, General Manager, Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi, said: "2009 was a remarkable year for us despite starting operations only around the third quarter and we are pleased to have carried the momentum through to 2010. As UAE residents and citizens often prefer to stay in local brand hotels, Cristal Hotel has introduced a new brand of hospitality with a distinct local taste, which has been a key factor in our consistently strong market performance."

"The high-level occupancy we have achieved is a strong manifestation of how our guests appreciate our efforts to maintain the exceptional quality of our hotel offerings and services. On account of Cristal Hotel's key focus on business tourism, we are particularly pleased to have seen an increasing number of business guests over the past few months. With government-led tourism initiatives expected to boost room demand in 2010 and beyond, we are confident that Cristal Hotel's growing reputation as a quality-driven hospitality destination will enable us to sustain our strong performance in line with the increasing market demand," added Blackburn.

Located at the heart of Abu Dhabi's business district, the 4-star Cristal Hotel caters to both business guests and tourists and is one of the few completely dry hotels in Abu Dhabi. Cristal Hotel offers a total of 192 rooms and suites, all equipped with high-speed internet connectivity, executive desk and IDD interactive telephone with voice mail. Other premium facilities of Cristal Hotel include an executive lounge, the exclusive Cristal Spa, an in-door swimming pool, sauna, and a beauty salon.

Cristal Hotel is also fully equipped with a full range of business facilities, including a business centre with full secretarial services and touch-screen workstations, five multi-purpose meeting and conference rooms, an executive lounge, and state-of-the-art audio visual equipment. In addition, the meeting rooms and business centre offer an excellent view of the city's skyline.

© 2010 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

Source: http://www.albawaba.com/en/countries/UAE/260732

Posted: 09-02-2010

Newly launched Cristal Hotels and Resorts is set to debut its first property in Abu Dhabi

General manager Peter Blackburn said the property was yet to receive an official rating, but was pitched as a five-star hotel.

“The vision behind Cristal is to be the premier hotel focusing on the business sector in the GCC,” he said.

“Focused purely on the business sector, [we are] bringing a modern contemporary hotel into the city. We’re not a tourist hotel or a beach location — compared to other products it is new and fresh.”

Blackburn said the rooms — ranging from 35m2 to 49m2 — were designed with key features to suit business travellers including specially designed desk and full IP telephony service.

The property was signed after an agreement was reached with Seba Properties.

While Blackburn said the company had an expansion strategy in mind, the immediate priority was establishing flags in key destinations across the United Arab Emirates. He said the company was benefiting from some properties in Dubai letting staff go, with several being invited to join the new organisation.

Check on the site: Hotelier Middle East

Abu Dhabi's Best Kept Secret

The soft opening of the Cristal Abu Dhabi – one of city’s best-kept secrets – is just days away, but the site appears far from complete.

Wires protrude from walls in the lobby, construction workers are running in all directions and your feet stick to the tar on the entrance floor.

Surrounded by the chaos of last-minute preparations stands an unworried Peter Blackburn, the general manager of Cristal Hotels and Resorts, a new hotel management company based in Abu Dhabi.

“I have been through so much more and I know that this task is not impossible,” says Mr Blackburn.

Frequent visitors to the Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre have probably passed the site dozens of times but never noticed that a new five-star hotel, which opens on Friday, was in the making.

“I’ve kept this hotel well hidden from the eyes of everyone in the market,” says Mr Blackburn. “I’d say it’s one of Abu Dhabi’s best-kept secrets.”

Working in its favour to stay under the radar was the fact that the 16-storey blue-glass tower was originally designed as a residential property.

“The tower was supposed to be residential units of studios and one bedrooms but when we wanted to form the hotel, extra investments had to be made to transform the property.”

The Cristal Abu Dhabi is now a 192-room five-star hotel that is owned and developed by Seba Properties, an Abu Dhabi company. Both the development and management company are owned by a member of the country’s ruling family, who Mr Blackburn declined to name.

Seba’s initial investment was Dh70 million (US$19m), but that has more than doubled to Dh169m as the project developed. “We have tried to minimise the costs of redesign by applying for a hotel apartment licence, but the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority declined [this] because there are just too many of them here. [It] encouraged us to open a four-star or five-star property,” says Mr Blackburn.

Some may think the hotel’s decision not to advertise could hurt its occupancy level, but Mr Blackburn says the strategy has helped to protect it from any counter moves by competitors.

“Don’t forget that we are a home-grown brand and we are competing on the same level as Rotana and the Jumeirah Group and some people tend to get jealous. We didn’t want to deal with all these issues before opening.

“And on a personal level, I’m not too big on the whole publicity factor before an opening of a hotel because it could easily backfire.”

The hotel’s blue-blood connections and strong demand from business travellers, who make up 80 per cent of the capital’s hotel occupancy, are expected to keep the hotel busy during its soft opening.

The first guest at Cristal will arrive just in time for the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) exhibition, one of a series of conferences during the emirate’s high season for business travel that boosts occupancy rates and revenues.

“We will be charging around Dh1,700 a night during IDEX and after that our rate will be around Dh1,100. Our target market will mainly be visitors from the GCC region,” Mr Blackburn says

While there is a shortage of hotel rooms in the capital, a price cap introduced by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) has been set at Dh1,850. “But we never know; they might change their mind [the ADTA] and decide to bring down the price even more. In the end, its all a business and we need to generate profits to make up for the extra investment that went into this property, which I think will see a break-even point in five years’ time.”

With a background in mechanical engineering, Mr Blackburn, who is from the UK, has spent most of his career as a senior technical services manager at hotels such as the Intercontinental in Cairo, The Peninsula Hong Kong and nearly 10 years at the Abu Dhabi-based Rotana Group.

“I was headhunted by the Rotana Group and after six months of working with them I was promoted to vice president of technical services,” he says. “When I first joined Rotana, they had seven hotels and when I left they had about 28 hotels, so you can say I helped open 23 hotels and this one will be my 24th.”

The hotel has employed 130 people and, by the end of next month, is hoping to increase this to 192. “When we first open on Friday, we are planning to have 10 floors ready. But by mid-March, all 16 floors, an indoor pool and gym will be ready,” he says.

Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon, the chairman of the ADTA, said in November the emirate planned to offer more than 26,000 hotel rooms by the end of 2012. The expansion is part of the authority’s five-year plan to attract 2.7 million guests to visit the capital’s cultural offerings, such as the planned branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many hotels in the luxury segment are experiencing occupancy rates well above the 80s level. However, a recent study by STR Global, a US-based hospitality consultancy, showed Dubai’s registered occupancy levels at luxury hotels last month fell to 68.3 per cent, versus 80.6 per cent in the same period last year.

“I know that this will be a slow summer and in any case, summer has always been slow in Abu Dhabi,” says Mr Blackburn. “But since the emirate mainly depends on business travellers, we will be fine. I’m saying this now with confidence because I have been through a lot worse.”

He was on duty at Intercontinental in Cairo when a gunman shot a number of people in the lobby. “I had helped some of the bleeding before the paramedics arrived... if I could get through that, I know that things will run smoothly here.”

Source: Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Week Chef's Corner

Potato-crusted lamb rack with grilled vegetable and sweet paprika sauce from Carlo Cirone, the Group Executive Chef at Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi.

Ingredients

* 180-200g rack of lamb

* 50g potato

* Fresh thyme or other herbs

* 20g fresh basil

* 40g courgette

* 40g aubergine

* 40g tomato

* 40g onions

* 40g mushrooms

* Extra virgin olive oil

* 15g sweet paprika

* 1dl lamb stock

* 1g ground almond

* 20g butter

Method

* Cut the lamb into 180g portions.

* Peel the potato and grate it on top of the lamb rack. Press down.

* Pan-fry the lamb with herbs in olive oil.

* Wash and slice the vegetables. Marinade them with olive oil, salt and basil.

* Grill the vegetables.

*Make a warm emulsion of lamb stock, paprika, almond and butter.

* When the lamb is cooked, serve with grilled vegetables and paprika sauce.

This recipe serves one. It comes from Carlo Cirone, the Group Executive Chef at Cristal Hotel Abu Dhabi.

Check on the site: Abu Dhabi Week

Five star food for less than ninety dirhams? Abu Dhabi Week happily investigated....

Amid the big-chain hotels and the downtown traffic chaos stands Cristal hotel. Its arrival in the capital was a rather quiet affair back in June this year, but we think it's high time it made some noise.


As well as offering the usual hotel rooms and a soon-to-be-launched spa, Cristal is home to a restaurant called 2.35 - an all day diner which has already made itself extremely popular with office workers and locals alike. The restaurant was originally planned for the top floor of the hotel, but a late design change brought it to the mezzanine level and gave the venue its name; 2.35m is the restaurant's ceiling height - a generous space which creates a wonderful light and airy atmosphere.
But it's the food that really sets this restaurant apart. With international cuisine on a vast buffet, picking just one dish is near impossible - and will often result in a rather unusual combination on the plate! As it happened, we ended up with a mixture of seafood, Arabic grilled meats, pasta and even duck. We reluctantly passed on the freshly-made Yorkshire puddings, but only because we ran out of room.


There wasn't a single item on our overly piled plates that we didn't enjoy. Highlights? Definitely the tender sliced duck and the creamy, sauce laden pasta.


The duck - still ever so slightly pink in the middle - was accompanied by duck-fat-with-orange gravy and practically melted in the mouth. The pasta won a second visit to the buffet station, high praise indeed since one of the eating team knows proper Italian cooking from her upbringing. Light and full on flavour, and with a tomato and cheese sauce featuring a bouquet of perfectly placed herbs, the dish proved that the simple route is the right way to serve pasta.


As we pushed the table forward to make room for a final trip up to the buffet to choose dessert, the blueberry pie was recommended. We still managed to sample cheesecake and carrot pudding as well. Being a fan of baking we instantly wanted the recipe for the pie; blueberries oozed out of the centre of a light, crisp pastry case, and it needed no saucing to make it complete (though we had the option of five different sauces to accompany it, including chocolate and mango).
The cheesecake, topped with a strawberry, was another hit. The carrot pudding was a different matter. With a mousse-like texture and hints of cinnamon, the delicate sweet is a popular dessert in India; but for others it's an acquired taste. While we like a slice of carrot cake, we weren't too convinced about either its texture or its flavour - which was probably beneficial for our expanding waistlines.


Cristal is one of the few hotels around Abu Dhabi that is completely dry, and that's a pleasant surprise in the middle of downtown Abu Dhabi. The service was impeccable; from the moment we pulled up at the main entrance, to leaving the restaurant after our meal - polite and attentive staff made us feel really rather special.


The huge, wonderfully presented buffet offers a great alternative for those wanting to dine (or to impress) without spending a fortune. There are theme nights planned along with a Friday brunch and even another restaurant coming in the near future. And we think we'll be at the front of the queue.


What? 2.35 Restaurant
Where? Cristal Hotel, Electra Street
How much? AED 89 inc soft drinks
Why? There's a dedicated, experienced, hard-working chef in the kitchen - and boy does it show
Why not? Because you won't leave the venue until you feel physically ill from over-consumption
Rated: 9 out of 10
Contact: 02 652 0000

Check on the site: Abu Dhabi Week

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