Emirates is embarking on another large-scale capital investment, only this time it is not an order for more aircraft.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Emirates, has disclosed that HH General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE minister of Defence, has approved plans for the construction by the airline of a new five star, Dh800 million ($218 million) luxury hotel in Dubai.
In announcing the launch of the new 70-storey, 350 metres high building on Sheikh Zayed Road, which will be among the world’s five tallest hotels and also one of the largest in the UAE, Sheikh Ahmed thanked the Crown Prince for his support of Emirates’ initiative and stressed the significance of the new landmark building as another contribution of the airline towards realising Sheikh Mohammed’s vision of turning Dubai into one of the world’s top business and tourist centres.
Contemporary and futuristic in design, the new hotel will break a new architectural ground with cantilever (projecting out of the building) rooms and over five sky terraces. When completed in 2008, the hotel is certain to stand apart with its distinctive elevations and in a stepped form, encased in glass and aluminium exterior. The Arch Group is the architecture for the new hotel.
The new hotel will offer 560 deluxe rooms, 112 suites and one presidential suite, each with panoramic views of Dubai including some of its most prestigious projects such as Burj Dubai, Business Bay and the Dubai Financial Centre.
Commenting on the new project, Sheikh Ahmed said: “Last year, Dubai hosted 5.4 million visitors, an increase of nine per cent over the previous year and the number is expected to treble by the end of this decade. Dubai’s infrastructure must be prepared for this huge expansion in visitor arrivals and the Emirates’ new hotel is our contribution to the city’s efforts to meet the forecast demand for more hotel rooms”.
He added: ”Dubai today is not only the leading hotel hub of the Middle East region; it is also fast becoming a truly international business and leisure centre. It has been voted as the world’s best conference venue and the 567-plus rooms of this new hotel will help to support Dubai’s stature as a major centre. We are committed to using it to enhance the Emirates reputation for outstanding customer service”.
With a 25,000 square feet health club, guests will have ample opportunity to get in shape at the ultra-modern, state-of-the-art gym or unwind at the relaxing spa. Entertainment facilities and common areas will include a shopping boulevard, 15 food and beverage outlets and a roof top bar on the 69th floor.
Emirates is not new to the hospitality industry, The group owns, manages and operates the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, a conservation based resort set in a 225 sq km nature reserve.
The airline also owns the 218-room Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort situated on a private beach in Fujairah, which is particularly popular as a family holiday destination.
Last year, a total of 5,420,724 guests checked in at Dubai’s 276 hotels and 95 hotel apartments. The UK, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India and the UAE were the top five source markets. Guest nights grew by 22.2 per cent with Dubai properties logging over 15.2 million guest nights
BY JONNA SIMON