REFAD Hotels and Resorts has opened its first deluxe hotel property at Dubai’s hottest address, One Sheikh Zayed Road. The company aims to have 50 hotels in 10 years.
The Dubai hotel is being managed under Refad’s luxury five-star hotel brand, The Monarch.
Currently owning six properties, the group plans to acquire six new properties in the next five years.
Refad currently operates four brands: The Monarch, The Square, The Four Stars and The Rester.
“At the moment we have three Rester products operational in Kuwait; we have one Four Star property in Beirut, a Monarch in Germany and the new Dubai hotel. We also have six active projects, plus a few more in the pipeline. We believe that with the interest we see in our brands, we should achieve our goal of about 50 hotels in 10 years,” says Christian G Windfuhr, chief operating officer for Refad Hotels & Resorts.
The Monarch is its luxury five-star hotel and appeals to elite guests providing personalized services unsurpassed by any competing hotel.
“The Monarch brand will become known on its own, through what it does. We will offer high quality finishes with a contemporary but Arabic feel,” says Windfuhr.
“Our service will be next to none, starting when the guests lands at the airport where he will be accompanied to the lounge, his passport and luggage taken care of by Monarch staff, followed by a limousine transfer. At the hotel, a dedicated butler is available 24/7 for guests at each level. So service will be unique and a lot more luxurious.”
Winfuhr says the limousine and butler services are part of the brand’s product, which is pitched to CEOs and top management. “We will speak to 2000 companies and get three or four guests instead of speaking to 200 companies for 30 guests from each company,” he says.
The Square is a product for the frequent business and leisure travellers who can relax in friendly, centrally located hotels with superb conference facilities. It is a young product and is a product that has the flexibility to adapt to the location it is in.
The Four Stars is a mid-scale four-star hotel concentrating on making every guest’s stay an enjoyable in a casual ambiance.
The Rester is a comfortable and affordable residential product that caters for the corporate guest’s extended stay.
Upcoming projects include The Square Media One in Dubai and the Square Capital Tower in Kuwait. A Monarch Hotel in Kuwait is under construction and the mega Monarch Oqyana project in Dubai.
“We are expecting anything between three to five properties to open on the Oqyana along with developments like a marina, shopping and residential complexes as well as MICE facilities,” said Windfuhr.
The group has also planned a Rester Suites property in Kuwait, located outside Kuwait City and expected to see a lot of interest from the Kuwaitis.
The company expects 60 per cent of its business to come from the GCC, with the rest from Europe, the US and Asia.
Refad currently also owns a Monarch property in Munich but has no plans to expand into Europe.
“I think we have learnt that in the European market you have to either rent or buy the building or become a major share holder. The competition in steep, the investors are mostly institutions that need fixed returns and are more interested in renting. In locations like the Gulf, you have wealthy investors who the name Monarch on their door and they come to us for our expertise,” said Windfuhr.
“The Monarch in Munich was more of an opportunistic property. It was a wellness hotel that became available at a very good price. We took it over, invested into it and added to it a big conference centre that has been very successful.”
by Shalu Chandran
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