x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah finally set to flower with opening of new hotels and entertainment venues

After years of delays due to the global financial crisis, projects on the Palm Jumeirah are finally coming to fruition.

More projects on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah are being completed after delays caused by the global financial crisis. Pawan Singh / The National
More projects on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah are being completed after delays caused by the global financial crisis. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Many projects on the Palm Jumeirah are finally complete after lengthy delays caused by the global financial crisis.

The Anantara and Sofitel hotels have opened in the past few weeks, and entertainment venues including the Supperclub and Music Hall at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray have appeared.

Hoteliers say the boom is helping to make the island the much-hoped-for “destination within a destination” originally planned, while residents believe it makes life on the island more attractive.

The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray’s general manager, Stephan Schupbach, chairs an informal monthly meeting of Palm Jumeirah general managers, who are working together to enhance the destination rather than competing, ensuring each property fills a gap in the market.

“It’s key that we work together, that we complement each other rather than compete,” he said.

“We’ve been sharing ideas and seeing what issues we have and how we can tackle certain challenges.”

Six hotels are open on the Palm. One, the Kempinski, is partially open and work on four others is under way.

Two more plots have been sold and this year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, sanctioned the building of a Nakheel-owned mall and hotel, an entertainment destination to be called The Pointe.

More residential developments are also planned.

“We have great confidence this island is moving ahead,” Mr Schupbach said. “The more that happens here and around us, the better it is for our business.

“The live music venue, Music Hall, which opened at the start of this year at the hotel, is now full every weekend, bringing guests from all over the UAE as well as the region.”

Jean-Francois Laurent, general manager of the Anantara, which opened in September, said the sudden spate of hotel openings helped spread awareness about the Palm, making it as well-known as places such as Jumeirah Beach Residence as a destination in itself.

“Guests we’ve had so far who live on the Palm are telling us they’re pleased to see things developing and there is more to do, like new restaurants and cafes,” Mr Laurent said.

Alessandro Redaelli, general manager at the Kempinski, said that as awareness grows, so will the island’s appeal.

“In Europe, for example, the perception of the Palm is something that is too exclusive to go to,” he said. “Of course you have that exclusivity, but you have different products that you can discover, so it’s important to help show the other sides of the Palm as a destination and it’s not only for expensive, high-level destinations.”

He agrees the revival of building work will aid the island.

“We still need more here,” he said. “Of course you have the hotels but we need more. The planned mall and its cinema could be a good thing so people don’t have to even go off the island – that will give value to us in return, for visitors and residents alike.”