Luxury all-inclusive hotel Rixos Bab Al Bahr in the UAE’s Ras Al Khaimah emirate is charting a new course after its takeover by Aldar Properties, the largest developer in Abu Dhabi by market value.

General Manager Horst Walther-Jones told Zawya Projects that the acquisition is part of Aldar’s plan to expand its portfolio of hospitality and leisure investments.

“The expectation is very high for bringing the hotel to the next level with the help of Aldar’s network and drive, and we are looking for a new direction and bright future,” he said, while clarifying that there is no management change, only ownership change.

In April 2022, Aldar Properties bought Rixos Bab Al Bahr hotel in a $210 million deal. The acquisition was made by Aldar Investment and the sale was through RAK National Hotels, a subsidiary of RAK Hospitality Holding,

The company had stated at the time of the takeover that the acquisition of the 715-room hotel added scale to Aldar Investment’s growing hospitality and leisure portfolio.

Rixos is all-inclusive luxury brand of French multinational hospitality group Accor, whose other brands include Fairmont, Sofitel, Pullman, Swissotel, Movenpick, Mercure, Raffles and ibis.

Rixos was also impacted by the hospitality slowdown due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Horst Walther-Jones said: “When the pandemic started in 2020, we closed the hotel for three months, during which time we could do the maintenance and repair work and prepared the hotel for opening again. We have not laid off any of our staff; instead, we kept them on salary adjustments as we made better manpower planning.”

With the recent changes in visa rules in the UAE and the prospects of increase in the number of business and leisure travellers, the hospitality industry is experiencing a boom.

“Now that the hospitality industry is fast recovering and with bright outlook, the Rixos brand is expanding in the UAE. The group is opening new hotels in Abu Dhabi marina and Dubai Creek and looking for new properties. In Ras Al Khaimah, Rixos enjoys 35 percent market share in the ultra-luxury segment,” he said.

The largest source markets for Rixos are Russia, Kazakhstan, the Baltic states up to Czech Republic, Germany and the UK.

“We are also looking at South America and North America, where we are developing new connection of business offices.”

Talking about the hotel’s sustainability initiatives, Walther-Jones said the group has been targeting to be plastic-free.

He elaborated: “We are looking at plant-based bottles, and to have our own bottle plant as well as packaging material unit. We are replacing all plastic wrappings with biodegradable and paper wrapping. We do not have single-use units anymore.”

(Reporting by Bhaskar Raj; Editing by Anoop Menon)