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Four Seasons Golf Club rebranded to Al Badia

The announcement comes amid reports that the Four Seasons hotel, which would have adjoined the golf course, has been cancelled.

The centrepiece Four Seasons Golf Club in Dubai Festival City will be rebranded and taken over by InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG), IHG said Thursday. The announcement comes amid reports that the Four Seasons hotel, which would have adjoined the golf course, has been cancelled. Al Futtaim Group Real Estate, the master developer and manager of Dubai Festival City, said the 18-hole championship golf course and club would be renamed Al Badia Club.

"The selection of IHG to manage and operate the Al Badia golf course and clubhouse is consistent with Al-Futtaim's strategic relationship with IHG," said Brett Schafer, senior managing director, Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate. "Presently, IHG manage key hospitality properties in Dubai Festival City and have a commitment to maximising long-term asset value." The golf club opened under the management of Four Seasons in 2007, but the hotel, which was initially scheduled to open in 2006 was repeatedly delayed.

These delays were attributed to adjustments to the design of the hotel, with the original projected capacity of 250 rooms expanded to 400 rooms. The hotel, which would have been the first Four Seasons hotel in the UAE, was eventually scheduled to open in 2011. Al Futtaim and Four Seasons have both declined to comment on the status of the hotel. But, according to a source at Al Futtaim, the project was put on hold last year.

IHG will take over management of the golf club on July 1, expanding its Dubai Festival City portfolio which already includes InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City and InterContinental Residence Suite. "We are proud that InterContinental has been selected to manage the Al Badia Golf Club. This is testament to the excellent relationship that has been fostered with Al-Futtaim," said John Bamsey, the chief operating officer of IHG Middle East and Africa.

The course was designed by world-renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones. According to a recent report by US-based hotel property research firm Lodging Econometrics, 32 hotel projects in the Middle East, representing 8,178 rooms, were cancelled or postponed in the first quarter of the year. Nine projects were cancelled in Dubai, six of which were already under construction. rbundhun@thenational.ae

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