x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Four Seasons returns to Dubai with Jumeirah resort

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts plans to make a return to Dubai next year after withdrawing from the market in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis.

Construction of the Four Seasons Resort Dubai, located at Jumeirah Beach. Courtesy of Four Seasons
Construction of the Four Seasons Resort Dubai, located at Jumeirah Beach. Courtesy of Four Seasons

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts plans to make a return to Dubai next year after withdrawing from the market following the 2009 financial crisis.

The hotel operator exited its earlier venture at Dubai Festival City four years ago, said Simon Casson, the regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Doha. It had planned a 400-room waterside hotel with residential apartments at Dubai Festival City.

Four Seasons is also planning a facility on Abu Dhabi's Al Maryah Island with 200 rooms expected to open in the next four years. The United States chain Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is scheduled to open a hotel on the island next month.

With 237 rooms, the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach is expected to employ about 500 people. It will be the chain's second property in the Gulf after Riyadh.

Resort Dubai is targeting occupancy rates of 70 to 80 per cent for the first three years, said Christopher Norton, the company's president for Europe, Middle East and Africa markets.

Room rates will start at US$600 (Dh2,203) to $700. "But I think we have the potential to go up. It is one of the last great pieces of real estate on the beachfront," said Mr Norton.

Dubai's crowded marketplace, where thousands of new rooms are due to open over the next three years, does not bother the hotel management.

"With the growth of Dubai, there is plenty of space for more room," Mr Norton said. "[It] is a crucial strategic location."

The group, which had a turnover of $3.5 billion last year, expects an 8 per cent rise in revenues this year, he said. The group, which had a turnover of $3.5bn last year, expects an 8 per cent rise in revenues this year, he said. Four Seasons is a private partnership between Microsoft's Bill Gates and the Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal besides the group's Canadian founder Isadore Sharp and his family.

A hotel in Bahrain would follow the Jumeirah Beach facility in the second quarter of next year, followed by another in Casablanca.

Of 60 projects in the pipeline for Four Seasons, one each is planned in Oman, Kuwait City and Jeddah.


ssahoo@thenational.ae