Al Moosa Enterprises to open Hilton, Marriott and Taj hotels on Palm Jumeirah next year

Al Moosa Enterprises to open new properties in the first quarter next year

  
The 285-room Taj Exotica hotel, due to open in Q1 2019 on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah.

The 285-room Taj Exotica hotel, due to open in Q1 2019 on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah.

Abdullah A. Al Moosa Enterprises

Abdullah A. Al Moosa Enterprises, the privately-owned Dubai-based group of companies, has announced it is to open three new hotels containing more than 1,500 rooms on Dubai's Palm Jumeirah in the first quarter of next year.

The group is opening two 13-storey, 608-room hotels - a Hilton and a Marriott - on adjoining sites on the trunk of the Palm, as well as a 285-room Taj Exotica hotel.

Laurent Rigaud, general manager of the group's hospitality arm, said that construction on the three properties, which began two years ago, is likely to complete by the end of this year, with a handover to operators due early next year.

"Then you need to give it to the operator, and the operator then needs three months to really fine-tune everything in sight." Rigaud told journalists at the Arabian Travel Market conference and exhibition in Dubai on Sunday. "Hopefully, it will open by the summer."

Rigaud said that the three new openings would take the total number of hotels owned by the group to 12 - it already has seven hotels in Dubai and two in Oman - and would bring the total number of rooms in its portfolio above 4,700.

Rigaut declined to give an investment value for the three projects. He said that the operators chosen were the result of existing relationships. The company already operates three Hilton hotels in Dubai, as well as two Four Points by Sheraton, a couple of Ramada-branded properties in Dubai and Sharjah, and the Crowne Plaza Muscat in Oman.

"We feel that working with the big brands, they have a system (of) delivery. When you open one of these brands, automatically you will have the loyalty programme activated, reservations online, plus the marketing structure is very powerful," he said.

He added that the new Taj Exotica hotel (the second Taj-branded property in Dubai) had been identified as "a niche market opportunity".

"They are very well-known in India for high quality hotels and brands, and we felt that it was a good time to make a deal with them to bring this Indian upper market (brand). If you look at the growth of Indian tourists in Dubai in the last 24 months, it's just incredible."

Rigaud said that the Taj Exotica had been built with two, 600-capacity ballrooms to cater for the Indian wedding market."

According to Dubai Tourism's Annual Visitor report published on Sunday, South Asia was the third-biggest source market for tourists to the emirate in 2017. Over 2.9 million overnight visitors to Dubai came from South Asia in 2017, a 10.6 percent year-on-year increase, the report said.

When asked about Al Moosa Enterprises' future pipeline, Rigaud said that "we have opportunities, though we have not yet looked into it".

"At the minute, we are focusing on this because it's a huge amount of rooms - more than 1,500 rooms. We will see as we get closer," he said.

(Reporting by Michael Fahy; Editing by Shane McGinley)
(michael.fahy@thomsonreuters.com)

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