The first Starwood Hotels and Resorts Element hotel planned for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) — scheduled to open at Abu Dhabi's $2.3 billion Capital Centre development this year — has been put on hold.
"The project is delayed. Unfortunately, we are unable at present to provide a likely opening date. As we get more information from the developers, we will pass it on," Guido de Wilde, Starwood's senior vice president and regional director — Middle East said in comments published by Hotelier Middle East.
A spokesperson from Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), master-developer of Capital Centre, confirmed: “The project is currently on hold pending a review of market conditions.”
The extended-stay Element branded hotels are described as offering a "no-compromise, eco-chic experience" by operator Starwood.
The Abu Dhabi property, situated adjacent to the exhibition centre, was expected to feature 36 studios, 144 one-bedroom guest rooms and 90 two-bedroom units, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre.
ADNEC business development director Sanjay Tanna said in a statement released upon the launch of Element in July 2008: "The current market conditions support the development of the Element. The large real estate projects and strong economic growth in Abu Dhabi have generated significant demand for short- to medium-term accommodation for executives."
However, Starwood Hotels and Resorts president for EMEA Roeland Vos explained in an email to Hotelier Middle East last week that "things indeed have changed a little since 2008 and this project has taken some serious delays".
Starwood's Element is among a number of international hotel brands, including Hyatt, Millennium and Rotana, expected to open at Abu Dhabi’s Capital Centre — a 23-tower micro-city and hotel project currently under development.