The St. Regis Dubai Is Now Bookable… But The Rates…!

Dubai is a huge market for Starwood. Many people don’t realize that Dubai is actually the city with the second most Starwood properties, after New York City. I guess that in part explains the Crossover Rewards partnership between Starwood and Emirates.

While Starwood has a lot of properties in Dubai, there aren’t really many luxury properties. Which is a bit surprising, since Dubai is a city which is all about glitz and glam.

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That’s why I’ve been excited about the pending opening of two new hotels for Starwood in Dubai — the W Hotel and the St. Regis. The hotels will actually be part of the same complex, as they’re in Al Habtoor City, which is an integrated venue located on Sheikh Zayed Road.

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Both hotels have had delayed openings. Just a few months ago the W Hotel was supposed to open as of October 2015, though that opening date has been pushed back to March 2016.

I’ve been monitoring the opening date for the St. Regis Dubai like a hawk, as it’s scheduled to open on November 15, 2015, and I have an upcoming trip to Dubai and would like to check it out.

Anyway, it looks like the St. Regis Dubai finally became bookable in the past couple of days, only a couple of weeks before it is scheduled to open. As of now the hotel is bookable for stays as of November 20, 2015.

What’s shocking, however, are the rates. For a while we’ve known that the St. Regis Dubai will be a Category 7, which is Starwood’s highest category, requiring 30,000 Starpoints for a free night redemption. That really surprised me, since in general Dubai is not an especially expensive market, and it’s also highly seasonal (in summer, UAE hotels are dirt cheap).

I assumed this was just a poorly thought out category choice, but it seems that’s not the case, based on the rates the hotel is hoping to charge. Opening week the flexible rates at this hotel are 2,700AED, or 3,260AED with tax and service charge (~$900). As anyone familiar with the Dubai hotel market can attest to, that’s obscene.

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For what it’s worth, it also looks like suites won’t be ready when the hotel opens. The hotel apparently has 51 suites, though it seems like they’re doing a soft opening of sorts, and that not all rooms are ready yet.

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The thing is, 2,700AED per night literally makes this the second most expensive hotel in Dubai after the Burj Al Arab. I looked at average rates in December, February, and April, and in all cases the average St. Regis rate was higher than the average rate at the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Madinat Jumeirah, etc.

Who knows, maybe the hotel is that spectacular. But given that it’s part of a larger complex with three hotels, it certainly doesn’t seem like it would be that incredible. And charging this as an opening rate as well is sort of obscene, especially given that the hotel has published very limited information and pictures. These pictures don’t exactly tell you a lot about the hotel:

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Bottom line

I’m excited to check out this hotel, though I’ll be waiting until their revenue manager moves to planet earth. Who knows, perhaps the hotel is that special. I have my doubts. But regardless, without more pictures or firsthand reports, I can’t imagine it’s worth the price.

Perhaps Starwood’s logic was that they have so many hotels in Dubai and therefore have a captive audience, and figured they can kind of “skim” their customer base for people who would pay to stay here.

While we’re placing wagers, I predict in the coming months the hotel will be dropped to a Category 6 property and rates will be maybe 60% of what they are now, at most.

Anyone have a different take on the St. Regis Dubai, or plan on checking it out?

Comments

  1. @ Lucky: I Am in Dubai now and drove past the complex today. I would be suprised if they can go ahead with the 20th of November looking at the work that still needs to be done.

    Why not try Conrad on Sheikh Zayed Road: very central and nice Puro beach pool area
    Or
    Waldorf Astoria on the palm? Both great as diamond hhonors (suite upgrades!)

  2. I rode by them on the metro when I was in Dubai. It’s an interesting concept to have the St. Regis and the W right next to each other. I wonder if we’ll see Starwood do this elsewhere. Very high prices, indeed.

  3. It’s almost certainly that 2700 AED is the rack rate. It’s too consistent across dates/days of the week, and it’s too high to be the actual rate.

    My guess is that it’ll fall into a range slightly above the Ritz in DIFC (ie, in the high 1000s, but not often above 2000 AED).

  4. I second the Conrad. I’ve stayed there a few times and it is excellent. The Puro Beach pool area is awesome and the rooms are beautiful. If you want Starwood I was impressed by the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates – we did the concierge floor. The room was great, concierge floor amenities awesome, and the pool was also wonderful. I enjoyed the Sofitel in JBR, however, the road in front of it on Jumeirah Beach is absolutely horrible. Always clogged with traffic and it can take a LONG time to get in / out. Fun location though, and nice pool area.

  5. Like Preston said above, not all rates have been loaded into the inventory yet. This is just the Rack. They have to benchmark their rates vis-a-vis Ritz DIFC and Rosewood/Four Seasons DIFC (2016 Q1) who are the other high end non resort properties.

    They’re in a slightly less ideal location than the DIFC properties and are sitting atop a cluster of 3200 rooms (1600 from Al Habtoor complex itself and 1600 from the JW Marriott Marquis next door), a few (100s of) metres away lie a bunch of other luxury properties such as Oberoi and Taj. Oh and a Sofitel.

    Lot of high end rooms in the area to sustain a 2000+ rate. They could of course not bother about occupancy since its the same owner as W and Westin and just leave it half empty and keep the exclusivity.

    There are pics of the room decor and stuff, I’ll send them to you via e-mail

  6. @Jason:

    Intriguing choices!

    I actually dislike the Sofitel, Sheraton MoE and Conrad. No bad experiences, just too ‘meh’ for Dubai.

    I’d recommend Sheraton Grand (best hard product) next to Conrad. Suites for Plats and the some of the best suites I’ve seen (modern contemporary but not spartan like Hyatt).

    In Marina, Grosvenor house and Westin are safe bets. All SPG Marina properties give you 2 way airport limo transfers if you book a suite, T2 in Grosvenor or are Elite member. Furthermore the lounges in LRM and Grosvenor are some of the best in the world. Grosvenor in particular has 3 *full* meal services (so essentially a full board package). Their drinks are so varied they actually have a menu with multiple pages.

  7. I was going to stay at the St. Regis in Dubai, however I am leaving one day early of the opening. With those prices I am glad not missing this opportunity. Stayed at Conrad, which is well kept.

    My favorite is JW Marriott. Tallest hotel in the world. Great service and amenities. I booked the Ritz DIFC at 1100 AED, so 2200 AED is a joke.

  8. I recently stayed at the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates and was really surprised how nice it was. Sure there’s flashier places in Dubai but given the patchy, dated state of some of the hotels in the Sheraton chain (the Doha Sheraton is like staying at Granny’s house) I was delighted. Nice club room with lounge.

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