IFA to revolutionise hotel ownership strategies

Smith … optimistic

IFA Hotels & Resorts, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kuwait’s International Financial Advisors, and the largest investor in Dubai’s The Palm, Jumeirah, is lifting the benchmark on hotel operation concepts in the Middle East, calling on chains to invest in owners’ properties.

With Nakheel, IFA was one of the principal platinum sponsors at Cityscape, the International Commercial Architecture and Property Development Event in Dubai. The call came from Patrick Smith, vice-president Asset Management, IFA Hotels & Resorts, who said whilst asset management is a relatively new concept in hotel property development in Europe and the Middle East, owners are increasingly employing asset managers to oversee their assets, taking more control from the owner’s side, and working with operators rather than solely relying on them operator to manage their assets.
One of the keys to successful hotel asset management is the buy-in of the operators, he said.
“Many of you will have hotels within your property portfolios, or within your mixed-use developments,” Smith told delegates. “You will have operators clambering over themselves to be your operator of choice, but, when you ask them to get out their cheque books and invest, to share in the capital risk – then their appetites rapidly subside. “Within IFA, we operate through strong partnerships and strategic alliances, resulting in operators wanting to invest in our developments, and to share in the upside that can be achieved through developing successful mixed-use resort developments.”
Smith said IFA Hotels & Resorts, which has an extensive international asset portfolio throughout the Middle East and Africa, across a mix of residential, hotel and timeshare developments, has worked hard on creating strong partnerships with operators. “Each of our assets is individually structured with one of our international strategic partners, who add significant value to the asset, both on the local and international arena,” Smith explained.
He added that on The Palm, Jumeirah, IFA owns two shoreline apartments buildings and is developing the prestigious Palm Golden Mile destination with its joint venture partner, Nakheel, developer of The Palm projects. IFA is developing together with its partners Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and Kingdom Hotel Investment Group, a hotel on the trunk of The Palm, Jumeirah. In addition, it has acquired three hotel plots on island’s crescent adjacent to Atlantis.