Rotana Hotel Management Corporation has ambitious plans, with 1,500 rooms in the pipeline. A new property at Al Mouj Muscat is scheduled to open in 2020, says Christian Baudat, Area General Manager – Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Oman in an interview with Oommen John P
As one of the newest hotels in Oman, what does Sundus Rotana offer to the tourists and residents of Oman?
Like any new property, Sundus Rotana’s current objective is to expand its customer base and increase occupancy levels by introducing facilities that can connect our guests to Muscat. That includes the opening of Teatro, an award-winning concept restaurant that combines Eastern cooking with Western cuisine. Serving Thai, Chinese, Japanese Sushi, Indian and Italian menus in a great atmosphere, Teatro is set to deliver a holistic dining experience to travellers and residents alike.
True to our brand ethos, we pledge to understand and meet the needs of all who we deal with. In doing so, we strive to continually build long-term relationships with our owners and partners, colleagues and, of course, our guests. Our dedication to exceed expectations and offer personalised levels of service will ensure every stay – whether for business or pleasure – are moments that will be remembered for years to come.
Who is your target segment? How do you intend to woo the business visitors?
Sundus Rotana offers travellers an urban oasis inspired by Oman’s legendary hospitality. When we designed this hotel, we had our modern business and leisure traveller in mind, incorporating decades of know-how and lessons learned from our other major hotels in the GCC. The result is a 215-room cosmopolitan hotel that blends relaxation with work on the go and an operating philosophy that prioritises service excellence. Not only are we strategically located just minutes from the Muscat International Airport and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, but we are equipped with all the amenities required to make any business or leisure visit as comfortable and seamless as possible. That extends to our ballroom and six meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology ideal for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and corporate and social events.
What sets the hotel apart from its competitors?
Rotana Hotel Management Corporation is not an international chain based in the UK or the US. We are a home-grown brand that offers services and amenities that match or exceed international players. Our strong track record in hospitality has provided us with a deep understanding of the role hotels should play with travellers and the community it operates in.
It has taken us a while to come to Muscat. The location, timing, and partners had to be right. This is very much in line with our philosophy at Rotana, where we acknowledged that time is the most precious commodity and that every moment spent with us is, Treasured Time. That philosophy has shaped every aspect of Sundus Rotana’s design, allowing us to elevate service offerings and build long-term relationships with our owners and partners, colleagues and our guests.
Has the opening of hotel properties created an oversupply of rooms in the country?
Oman is continuously investing in its tourism and hospitality sectors as part of its strategy to increase the sector’s contribution to the GDP to 6 per cent, provide half a million jobs and 80,000 rooms for accommodation by 2040. Currently, the annual growth rate of tourism in the Sultanate is at pace with the number of rooms being developed. For the country to reach its goals, hotel developers need to respond to this anticipated demand.
What are the challenges for the hospitality sector in the year 2018?
A reoccurring challenge we have seen time and time again, is the ‘evolving customer,’ and the ability to be flexible, yet still satisfy and anticipate guest needs. This means that we need to continue to be innovative, sophisticated and tech savvy without compromising on our core values. It is about providing that ‘one of a kind experience’ and steering away from being ‘mainstream’. As a brand, we have tried to address this challenge head on by prioritising unique experiences, optimising and integrating technology and online solutions and always ensuring that our guests get value for money.
Are there any specific strategies and plans for Sundus Rotana in the year 2018?
For 2018, our aim is to establish a foothold in Muscat and lay the foundation for future openings. To that end, Sundus Rotana will focus primarily on expanding our customer base and working with multiple stakeholders to help boost leisure and business tourism in Oman. Drawing on our brand’s years of experience, we have crafted a comprehensive strategy that will introduce award-winning concepts and services to further accommodate our guests.
Rotana Hotel Management Corporation has ambitious plans, with 1,500 rooms in the pipeline. We will be breaking ground on a new property at Al Mouj Muscat which is scheduled to open in 2020. We will also be introducing our lifestyle brand, Centro, which offers essential services for the budget-conscious traveller.