Kempinski plans to serve alcohol on Qatar’s Pearl

Hotel giant's sales director says 'plan is not to have it dry' despite previous alcohol ban

The new Kempinski hotel being built on Qatar’s Pearl development will serve alcohol, one of its senior executives has told Arabian Business.

“Our plans is to have a full facility property, the plan is not to have it dry” said Avsar Koc, Kempinski regional director of sales.

The serving of alcohol has been banned on the Pearl leading to the closure of many restaurants, after seeing their revenues decline.

However, Koc said the new hotel – due to be opened by 2015, was confident it would not be affected.

“We are building a five-star hotel with a seven-star attitude,” he said.

The 330 room hotel is going to be located next to the main access to the Pearl. The project is still at a foundation stage, but once concluded the hotel will have its beach, nine outlets, spa, restaurants, providing also other services. 

Last year Arabian Business reported that more restaurants on Qatar’s flagship Pearl development are expected to close as they struggle to maintain revenues amid an island-wide ban on selling alcohol, analysts have warned.

Restaurants have seen revenues slump by almost 50 percent in the wake of the ban, which has already seen the closure of several outlets and forced a number of operators to abandon plans to open new eateries.

“Restaurants that cannot easily adapt their menus and concepts to a clientele that appreciates a purely dry offer will only be able to survive a few months more. I feel sure that other restaurants will follow suit [and close down],” hospitality analyst Guy Wilkinson told Arabian Business.

Several international firms have scrapped plans to open new restaurants in the wake of the ban, which was introduced in January last year. US-based Ruth’s Chris Steak House said in June it was about to sign a deal for the Pearl-Qatar, but pulled out at the last minute when the ban was imposed.

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Posted by: Max Headspace

As stated, it's not the alcohol ban that is significant, it is the capricious cancellation of alcohol sales without notice to customers or establishment owners. The Pearl was (still is) marketed as the Riviera of the Middle East, with commensurate expectations of alcohol sale. To pull alcohol sales with no notice completely undermines business owners and investors in the Pearl. No one will want to invest in Qatar with that kind of uncertainty. The Pearl is not the Riviera of the Middle East, it is the New Riyad. Market it as such and you will have no complaints.

Posted by: Jim

You are a hypocrite Hassan. Okay for Qantas to ban Alcohol, but not Ok for Kempinski to have alcohol, your true colours are shown.

Posted by: Saverio Tani

I agree with the Avenger.. the point is not only if the Pearl has alcohol or not, but if this allows all people to have the option and make there own choices then it should be welcome !

If Qatar wants to open the market and develop new high profile residential areas then this should follow with attractive options.. and proposing to someone a dinner in 5 star facilities and enviroment drinking only water or juices is not that interesting for many living here !!

Posted by: Sam from Canada

Well...why the intense desire and pressure to impose an alcohol culture - with all its vices - on the Qataris? If they banned it, let it be. They should have the freedom to do what they want in THEIR country.

I wonder, if there is a greater plan in the making....

Posted by: Jeff Bustlethwaite

The issue is changing the plan half way through. Serve alcohol or not - make the decision and stick with it. Don't pull out suddenly and leave your business partners high and 'dry'.

Posted by: The Avenger

4 and 5 star hotels are allowed to apply for an alcohol license in Qatar regardless of location . The Restaurants on The Pearl were not connected to any hotel just the developer , the developer changed their minds and the rest is history .
The JBR Walk in Dubai does not have places that serve alcohol that are not attached to a hotel . Doha is no different .

It's when you change the rules half way through that people get upset . The Qatari's can serve or not serve that's entirely up to themselves just set your business plan around your cultural and moral values then stick with it , if we don't like it we'll leave .

The Pearl without licensed restaurants or hotels is a dead development whether you like it or not . Shops are on constant sale item reductions and closures are happening monthly . Coffee shops will not keep this development alive business wise i'm afraid .
This development was built with Expatriate buyers and apartment rental living in mind .

Posted by: Sam from Canada

@The Avenger. I agree that Qatar goofed up and should not have allowed this from day one - if that is what they wanted. Changing this half way through is not fair to anyone.

Most of those who live and work there would still continue to do so - maybe they would pop over to a local Hotel or to DXB for a drink at weekends, if they must.

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