Damac, Paramount plan second Middle East hotel‏

Dubai developer's MD confirms talks but declines to reveal exact location of second property

Dubai property developer Damac Properties and legendary production company Paramount are planning to open a second five-star hotel using the famous movie-maker’s branding, Arabian Business can reveal.

The companies announced two weeks ago they had joined forces to bring a $1bn hotel and apartment complex to Dubai, consisting of four 250-metre tall towers linked by a platform offering entertainment, retail, restaurants and a luxury, intimate cinema.

Damac managing director Ziad El Chaar told Arabian Business the developer was already negotiating to build a second such hotel in the Middle East.

While he would not reveal the exact location, El Chaar said it would be in a market where Damac already existed, such as Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Jedda. The companies were in early talks, he said.

Paramount Hotels and Resorts, which manages the 101-year-old film and television production company’s hospitality interests, also revealed it was looking to build similar hotels in Qatar and Doha, as well as in Brazil, the Caribbean and Indonesia.

The Dubai development, to be called Damac Towers by Paramount, could be Paramount’s first worldwide, with another in China due to completed about the same time (the end of 2015).

Three of the four towers will house a total of 1400 Damac Maison-Paramount serviced hotel residences, which go on sale March 26. Owners will have the option to occupy the residences or put them into a pool to be booked by guests.

The fourth tower will be Paramount Hotel and Residences, including a mix of typical hotel rooms and self-service style apartments.

The development is being built near the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa, and Dubai Mall.

Paramount Hotels and Resorts CEO Thomas van Vliet said joining forces with Damac made more commercial sense than the production company working alone.

“It creates more value and people also like it and associate with them [both],” he said.

Damac also recently announced it was partnering with high-end fashion label Fendi to design the interior of a development in both Dubai and Riyadh.

Van Vliet revealed for the first time details of the Damac Tower by Paramount. Everything from the check-in service to the mini bars would be different to the traditional hotel experience, he said, while insisting the design would not go so overboard as to become tacky.

Las Vegas company Blau and Associates - widely credited with transforming Las Vegas into a world-class culinary destination -had been contracted to help design the complex’s food and beverage areas.

Some would be themed based on a popular Paramount movie, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Titanic, The Godfather, Forrest Gump or Braveheart.

The Paramount experience would begin from the moment a guest was picked up at the airport, with trailers of upcoming movies available in the limousine.

Each hotel would feature the Paramount arch somewhere in the lobby design, Van Vliet said.

Upon arrival to the hotel, guests be checked-in while relaxing on a lounge with a receptionist who would complete the process using an iPad.

“There won’t be a reception desk,” Van Vliet said. “It’s a much nicer interaction.”

Instead of mini bars in each room, there will be a “luxury self-service panty” on each floor, offering a wider range of free soft drinks and snacks and ice, accessible by using the hotel room access card. In some countries, there also will be wine vending machines.

“It’ll be a pantry that looks really cool ie. High end,” Van Vliet said.

“There will be no intervention needed from anyone else [so] if you need ice cubes it’s there in seconds rather than waiting for 15 minutes for room service; we’ll still have room service too, though.”

Paramount will create its own branding for the hotels’ health and wellness spas and products. Each spa will offer a selection of worldwide and local treatments.

The traditional business centres will be replaced with “work and play suites” that include ergonomic working environments as well as laid-back sofas with low tables so the rooms can be used for business as well as social purposes such as karaoke or watching a movie.

The hotels will feature a small, luxury cinema, which Van Vliet said would also be used for premieres and special movie events.

Designers were considering hanging huge magnified pieces of popcorn with real gold representing the kernel at the entrance to the cinema, he said.

“We’ll use local talent to create art, entertainment, music performance and cuisine to ensure that each [hotel] really becomes unique,” Van Vliet said.

The hotel also wouldn’t be true to its movie theme without paying attention to make-up. Van Vliet said each hotel room would have a dedicated make-up area in the bathroom and guests could request in-room make-up and styling services.

The public bathrooms also would feature make-up stations, with professional make-up artists available during peak hours.

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