With winter holidays at far-off destinations off the table because of Covid, cautious residents and tourists are opting for short-term stays at holiday homes. The demand for such high-end villas and flats are skyrocketing, executives say.
“Our villas have been sold out since several weeks ago, with many (owners) demanding over Dh30,000 a night. While Expo 2020 has been a key factor for this surge, a lot of our luxury properties are in demand given the New Year, too. Currently, we are running at 100 per cent capacity with guests from across the globe staying with us now,” said Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of BNB ME, a holiday home management company.
The properties being rented out to cash in on the trend are not your ordinary ones: These are homes with Jacuzzis, private pools and cinemas, or a breathtaking view of the city — essentially, a place made for once-in-a-lifetime celebrations. They also come with services fit for a king, from having butlers and chauffeurs at your beck and call to a 24/7 concierge. Downtown, JBR and Marina are the best-selling areas.
“It’s living in the highest form of luxury. These are mainly occupied by European and Indian families. They want to have the highest level of luxury along with Covid-19 protection. Bigger families are opting for these properties as it gives them access to private amenities, while also offering a chance to spend time with close friends and families,” Mahtani said.
Some of these properties also have dedicated elevators. “Our penthouses, especially those with a view or a private pool, have also been in high demand. Residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to availability of amenities such as a gym, swimming pool, barbecue area, or a small outdoor dining space on the terrace, in-house cinema, or a private club,” he added.
The holiday home trend sits well with Dubai’s charm as a luxurious destination, and this has prompted a rise in investments, too.
Naseer Alam, founder and CEO of Expert Properties, said: “With more people opting to stay in holiday homes, several citizens from the UAE and outside the country have started investing in bigger and luxurious properties. Living in a villa would mean that you’ll have your private garden. You can let your children play around there without worrying about anything. Also, you can arrange a specific area for your pets as well. If you like peace, this is a good option, since villa living can be quieter.”
Thomas Dolezal, owner of Elite Royal Apartment, also recorded a surge in occupancy rates for exclusive or private fully furnished apartments, with figures exceeding 2019 levels.
“The hospitality industries are booming once again. Although the new variant of the coronavirus has thrown travellers’ plans in disarray, the market seems optimistic, at least in the segment that I deal with. We offer upscale luxuriously designed apartments,” Dolezal said.
He added: “In the first half of December, we did witness a drop in occupancy as compared to November this year, but that’s due to a couple of other reasons. First, I feel it is because people were waiting for the peak season. Then, some people are cautious travellers, and third, government restrictions imposed by different countries due to Covid-19 may have led to the drop.”
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