View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Friday, June 8, 2007

Cyclone Gonu: Damage to the Fujairah Hilton Hotel

Many readers have been asking about the extent of the damage caused by Cyclone Gonu to the Fujairah Hilton Hotel.

A Gulf News article reported this morning (8 June 2007) on the cancellations and evacuations at Le Meredien, the relocation of people from the beachside building at the new Rotana Hotel and the damage to the beach and drop in guest numbers at the Sandy Beach Hotel.

Markus Kraus, the General Manager of the Fujairah Hilton, said to me this morning that his hotel had experienced minimal damage, partly due to the extensive sandbagging and wall building along the beach frontage.

The problems they are dealing with include the breaking up of the concrete terrace overlooking the beach and the dropping and breaking of a concrete floor (due to erosion) of the popular outdoors ‘Sailor’s Kitchen’. Some landscaping needs to be done but the property around the pool looks fine.

The 200 metre private beach is littered with rocks and stones and most of the concrete-weighted umbrellas have been wrecked.

Subject to the advice from engineers and insurers today, Kraus expects the beach to be partially reopened by Sunday.

“At this stage,” said the General Manager, “It is difficult to put a figure on the cost of the damage but I will have an accurate picture when I receive the Insurance assessor’s report today.”

The Hilton sustained no internal water damage. The hotel is fully operational and this morning guests and day visitors were enjoying swimming in the pool.

In contrast to other hotels along the coast that have reported a major drop in occupancy rates, Kraus said that last night the Hilton had an 80% occupancy and tonight it will reach 97% of its capacity, with a large number of business people, government officials and media personnel booked for the night or weekend.

Geoff Pound

Images: Havoc on the Hilton Hotel beach; Workmen considering how to restore the terrace and floor of the ‘Sailor’s Kitchen’.