Anantara replaces Banyan Tree in Abu Dhabi development

ABU DHABI Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas will operate the upcoming Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa in Abu Dhabi after rival Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts withdrew, citing disagreements over how to develop the project.

Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Co. has tapped Minor International PCL’s Anantara luxury brand to operate the hotel portion of the mixed-use Eastern Mangroves development. The project, set to launch in January, also includes a marina, retail outlets and residences.

The 5-star Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa will include 224 guestrooms, three themed restaurants, a rooftop lounge, an infinity pool, ballroom, conference facilities and a luxury spa.

Anantara already operates two other properties for TDIC, Qasr Al Sarab and Desert Islands Resort & Spa, and has been appointed to operate the Al Yamm and Al Sahel Lodges on Yas Island when they open later this year.

Singapore-based Banyan Tree had planned to manage the property, which had originally been slated to open in 2009, under its upscale Angsana flag. Luca Deplano, vice president of marketing for Banyan Tree, tells Hotelier Middle East that the company cancelled the management agreement with TDIC because the developer had begun straying from the project’s original eco-friendly mission.

“Mostly the reason was that we have different visions of how to evolve that project. For the Angsana brand, the integration with the surrounding environment is still very, very important. The feel of an eco resort is very important,” Deplano says. “We feel that as part of the Banyan Tree and Angsana experience you need to connect with the surrounding environment. We felt that TDIC had different ideas of how to develop the project so we realised that this was not going to work.”