The launch this week of the new Green Line of the Dubai Metro has hotels hopeful at the prospect of additional foot traffic.
The 22km, US $8 billion Green Line opened on September 9, joining the existing Red Line. At 75km in total, they comprise the longest automated metro network in the world, a fact now recognised by the Guiness Book of World Records.
The Crowne Plaza Deira-Dubai is one of few hotels located with walking distance of the new line. The 281-room property (which is now managed by InterContinental Hotels Group after switching from the Marriott Renaissance brand in March) is already actively directing guests to use the Metro. Daniel Norman, director of Sales and Marketing believes the rail transport system will do much to improve Deira’s image as the traffic-choked heart of Dubai’s arterial road network.
“We’re really very delighted about the Metro opening up just down the road which we’ve been waiting for quite some time,” he said. A few years ago, Deira was seen as a part of the city with heavy traffic. That has reduced a lot as the infrastructure has developed. After Garhoud Bridge’s expansion and the opening of different roads, we’ve seen that traffic is a lot better in Deira anyhow. Add to that the metro line and I think we’re going to be in an even better position now.”
The ongoing construction of the Metro has seen heavy disruptions and blocked access to many hotels in the area, but Norman said that the Crowne Plaza has been lucky enough to escape the worst of it.
“It didn’t affect us or bother us as such but it’s very nice to have all the roads looking very neat and tidy again. We had to go through the pain of having the work going on while they were laying the air conditioning lines for the Metro. It didn’t really affect access to the hotel but it certainly looks a lot prettier,” he added.
Distance from the station is a prime factor – Norman noted that the warm waetherconditions meant that if the station was any further away from the property, it would pose a signficant barrier to usage.
“If it was any further than it is, then I think it would be a bit too far. It’s literally about two minutes from the station to the hotel. We’re living in a very warm part of the world, but two minutes is about bearable. We’ve already had foreign tourists using the metro and reporting they were quite pleased and excited about it. We had people taking the Metro up to Dubai Mall, so they’re already taking advantage of it,” he ends.