x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Flora to spread out in Dubai with four new hotels

The hospitality group, which currently owns and operates seven hotels and hotel apartment buildings in the emirate, said it expects to open the new hotels in Downtown, Al Barsha, Al Garhoud and in the Baniyas district in Deira.

Dubai-based Flora Hospitality has announced Dh750 million expansion plans to build four new hotels across the city over the next two years.

The hospitality group, which currently owns and operates seven hotels and hotel apartment buildings in the emirate, said yesterday that it expected to open the new hotels in Downtown, Al Barsha, Al Garhoud and in the Baniyas district in Deira.

Flora, which aims to attract GCC travellers through its alcohol-free policy, said that the move would increase its total inventory of rooms from about 780 rooms to more than 1,700.

The company said that it would fund the expansion through its own capital from real estate rents in Dubai and profits from trading concerns in the city.

The brand is owned by Pearl Investment, a Dubai-based conglomerate that also owns Ontime Technical Services in Dubai and a general trading division, and is linked with the Kerala-based food trading group Oberon Group.

Flora said that it had started construction of a Dh400m block of serviced apartments in Burj Khalifa Master Community, which it expected to complete in the last quarter of 2016.

Work is also set to start on a Dh150m four-star 186 room hotel in Al Barsha close to Mall of the Emirates, which Flora expects to complete in 2016.

And the company is putting together plans for a Dh200m, 272-room hotel in Al Garhoud close to Dubai International Airport, which is also expected to open in 2016.

A fourth hotel, comprising 90 rooms, aimed at mid-market business travellers, is earmarked to open in the Baniyas district, close to the hotel brand’s seven existing hotels.

The company said that its existing hotel portfolio in Deira, the older part of Dubai, was currently recording occupancy rates of 87 per cent, and it expected rates to improve further following last month’s decision by the Bureau International des Expositions to award Dubai the right to host the 2020 Expo.

“Dubai’s hospitality sector has been recording a strong growth rate and promises continued expansion thanks to the decision to award the city the right to host the Expo 2020,” said V A Hassan, Flora Hospitality’s chief executive and chairman.

Flora, which was established in 2000, opened its first hotel in Kerala in 2010. However, plans announced three years ago by Pearl Investment to invest Dh500m to build 10 more hotels in the Gulf and India – including in the Saudi Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina – have so far failed to come to fruition.

According to Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, in the first nine months of 2013 Dubai received 7.9 million visitors – almost 10 per cent more than the same period the previous year.

It said that the average daily room rate in Dubai stood at Dh589 for hotels and Dh422 for serviced apartments over the same period, while the highest number of tourists came from Saudi Arabia, followed by India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, Kuwait, Germany, Oman, China and Iran.

Dubai expects to increase its number of tourists to 20 million by the World Expo year 2020.

lbarnard@thenational.ae