x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Kempinski books up Dubai projects

Kempinski, Europe's oldest luxury hotels group, is to open another property in Dubai and is seeking a location in Fujairah to add some "class" to the destination.

Kempinski plans to add to its portfolio in the Emirates. Above, the Kempinski Hotel Ajman. Courtesy Kempinski Hotel Ajman
Kempinski plans to add to its portfolio in the Emirates. Above, the Kempinski Hotel Ajman. Courtesy Kempinski Hotel Ajman

Kempinski, one of Europe's oldest luxury hotels group, is to open a property in Business Bay as hospitality groups tap rising visitor numbers to Dubai.

Work to build the brand's latest property is expected to begin in six to 10 months and the hotel could be open two years from now, said Ulrich Eckhardt, Kempinski's president for the Middle East, Africa and India.

The hotel is located on the edge of the Dubai Design District, one of a number of planned projects in the emirate that includes the extension of Madinat Jumeirah and a Dh4.87 billion development by the Al Habtoor Group featuring three hotels opposite Safa Park.

"The general area of the Burj Khalifa area has shown a lot of traction. And they have now announced also the Design District. We are on the fringe but near enough to be participating," added Mr Eckhardt.

It will be the 116-year-old group's third hotel in the emirate and fifth in the UAE, where it also operates the Kempinski Hotel Ajman and Emirates Palace in the capital.

But it is currently looking for a location in a fourth emirate, Fujairah, which could help add "class" to the destination, said Mr Eckhardt.

"There is no class right now, let's be honest. Some are really two-star."

As a destination Fujairah is totally different from the rest of the Arabian Gulf as it borders the Indian Ocean, he said.

Kempinski is looking for a site somewhere between Dibba and Fujairah city. It thought it had found a suitable location but missed out to another investor and the group is "now back to scratch" with the search.

The group has eight properties under construction in the region but much of the growth at the moment is coming from areas such as the UAE. A project in Damascus, which was at the design stage at the start of the civil war in Syria, has been on hold since.

"On our southern flank we have constraints because of Egypt, so the business is concentrated in the UAE and in Qatar. Bahrain has its own problems so the GCC region, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE is very stressed," said Mr Eckhardt.

 

gduncan@thenational.ae