Just as hoteliers and developers cottoned on to luxury apartments as a way of diversifying hospitality income, everyone's now looking to exploit the boom in spa and lifestyle services. What started out as a few bottles of soothing oils and massage tables has mushroomed into a vast industry dedicated to pampering, and you won't be surprised to hear Dubai has a project which aims to set the international standard.
Ground was recently broken at the 2.5m sq ft Palmarosa project in Dubailand, which is being billed as the first ‘spa lifestyle community' in the Middle East. The US$408m development will contain 217 villas and town houses, serviced apartments, club houses, offices and a five-star hotel. In true Dubai style, it will have a mall too, only this one, a ‘spa mall' no less, promises to be different from the others.
We are delighted to be developing such an innovative project that will represent a unique gateway from the pressure of city life.
To be developed by Gulf Developers, Palmarosa will be located off Emirates Road behind the Arabian Ranches, offering residents a range of traditional and advanced therapies devoted to holistic healing and well-being.
It promises to be an oasis of greenery in the desert too, complete with palm trees, bubbling fountains and unique variety of plants and flowers meticulously selected to instil peace to the body, mind and soul.
Mohammed Al Habbai, Senior Vice President of Dubailand said it aims to offer a spectrum of diverse offerings, ranging from leisure and entertainment to sports, art and culture, that is complemented by a luxurious lifestyle. "Weare confident Palmarosa will significantly contribute to the well-being of residents seeking a holistic retreat even while remaining in close contact with the vibrancy of city life," he said.
Gaurav Goel, CEO of Palmarosa, said Palmarosa will contribute to the multi-dimensional offering of Dubailand, providing high end services based on global standards. "We are delighted to be developing such an innovative project that will represent a unique gateway from the pressure of city life," he said. Palmarosa residents will also be able to unwind at the five-star retreat, the Palmarosa Luxury Hotel.
Dubai is starting to step on the spa accelerator with more impressive developments looming on the horizon, including the Pangkor Laut Luxury Resort, Residence & Spa Village which is being built on a 1.6m sq ft plot on The World islands.
The resort, due to be completed by 2010, will have a spa village as well as 120 deluxe guest rooms, 20 luxury beachfront villas, shopping gallery, restaurants, aquapark and- what is said to be a first for Dubai- an underwater nightclub. The resort is being built by City-D Investments, known for its luxury projects in CIS countries, which has teamed up with other partners.
If it's anything like YTL Hotels & Properties' first Spa Village in Pangkor Laut in 2002 - the UK's Sunday Telegraph placed it among the World's Top 25 Spas - then the pampering bar may be about to be raised that bit higher.
Designed by architect and engineering firm, Agostine and Raphael Group, the resort will bring together some leading brands including Bang & Olufsen, Bagnaresi and ABB and all transport needs will be served by comfortable Majesty Yachts. Stars Dome Realty in Dubai is the real estate agent for the project.
The UAE capital is also getting in on the act. Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has appointed Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc, to manage its proposed 146-room Abu Dhabi Golf Course Hotel, Residences and Spa.
The US$354m project is being developed by a joint venture between TDIC and Gulf Leighton, a subsidiary of Leighton International. The gated community, due for completion next year, will have dramatic views of the Abu Dhabi Golf Course, currently home to the annual European-backed PGA Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.
The UAE is setting an ambitious target of 11.2 million healthcare tourists by 2010, which would bring US$1.5bn of revenue to the region. Dubai wants to be the premier spa destination globally within two years, capitalising on growing international demand for healthy breaks.
UAE investment in the spa and wellness industry now exceeds US$57.2bn, according to the Wellness and Spas Middle East International Trade Fair. The huge surge in hotels being developed in Dubai is up 6% on last year, fuelling a growing demand for spas. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be over 200 hotels offering spa facilities in the emirate.
Next year, the first Armani Spa will open in Burj Dubai, currently the world's tallest building. A recent addition saw The Lime Spa from Per Aquum at the Desert Palm hotel, set within the sanctuary of a polo estate.
While Palmarosa may lay claim to being the first dedicated spa community, and Pangkor Laut positions itself as a premier island retreat, there's no shortage of spa-studded services coming in the next wave of large residential projects on the mainland too.
Dubai Lifestyle City, due to open by the end of next year, will offer residents and visitors a calm and relaxed lifestyle with access to top-end spas.
The upcoming Norman Clubhouse at Jumeirah Golf Estates will offer a Wellness Centre with a variety of massage and spa treatments, sports centre with gym, pools and exercise studios, tennis academy with two tennis courts and a coaching facility.
The GCC is showing it is receptive to the idea of spa communities, and Bahrain's US$750m Al Areen Desert Resort & Spa has opened its doors. The 85,000 sq m spa resort is one of four components, complementing themed hotels, residential communities and commercial and entertainment facilities.
Germany's Hochtief has announced that a consortium led by its Australian unit, Leighton Holdings, has won a contract worth around US $175.9 million (AUD224.4 million) from the Australian government for the construction of a 35km stretch of the Hume Highway in New South Wales
ArabianBusiness.com staff writer , Saturday, 20 January 2007, ArabianBusiness/News