The first Four Seasons hotel in Dubai is planned to open on Jumeirah Beach in 2014, after the operator strove for years to bring its luxury brand to the emirate.
A matter of finding the right location and suitable development partners, after its first planned project fell through, were among the factors that delayed the entry of Four Seasons into Dubai.
"We have been working towards establishing a presence in Dubai for many, many years," said Kathleen Taylor, the president and chief executive of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "We want to make sure that when we enter a market we're doing it in an absolutely great location, which Jumeirah Beach is."
The project is owned by Bright Start, based in Dubai, while H&H Investment and Development is the development manager. Construction on the 237-room property has already started. The hotel has 270 metres of beachfront.
Four Seasons and Al Futtaim announced plans in 2004 to build a Four Seasons Hotel Dubai at Festival City, which was supposed to accompany Al Badia golf course. But the project was never built.
No figure has been disclosed for the value of the new project, but H&H said the funding had already been secured in the form of equity and debt.
There has been renewed confidence in Dubai hotel development recently amid improved performances in the tourism sector, with projects including a W Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah being revived.
"Four Seasons have patiently waited for the right opportunity to come along, and actually I believe that the site that they have is arguably one of the best beachfront locations in Dubai, and that's worth waiting for," said Gavin Samson, the managing director of Christie + Co, Middle East and North Africa.
A Four Seasons hotel is also planned for Abu Dhabi's Al Maryah Island, formerly known as Sowwah Island. The project has been delayed and is now not expected to open until early 2015, Four Seasons said. The hotel, being developed by Mubadala Development, was originally scheduled to open next year. Mubadala is a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government.
"We are continuing to move forward with that," said Scott Woroch, the executive vice president for worldwide development at Four Seasons. "The design is pretty much finalised. There's a great deal of new product coming online in Abu Dhabi and so the owners have been careful to analyse the risks and the benefits and the opportunities as to the timing of that project."
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