By Courtney Trenwith
The new Kempinski hotel, due to open on Dec 1, will reportedly serve alcohol at several of its bars, restaurants despite a sudden ban in 2011
Alcohol will reportedly be allowed to be served at the new Kempinski hotel on The Pearl – Qatar, despite a widespread ban on the island announced three years ago.
The Marsa Malaz Kempinski is expected to open on December 1 with at least one bar. More restaurants and bars, including a rooftop nightclub, are due to open early 2015, according to a report by Doha News.
The hotel would be the only non-dry location on the development.
Alcohol was suddenly banned on The Pearl in December 2011, a few months after restaurants opened. Twelve of the 15 eateries served alcohol but were forced to immediately stop.
Several outlets, included famed British chef Gordon Ramsey’s Maze, closed down a short time later, claiming revenues had declined so significantly they were losing money.
The number of visitors to The Pearl has significantly declined since the alcohol ban but management has refused to back down.
In June, The Pearl - Qatar general manager asset sales Aleeq Al Khulaifi revealed to Arabian Business that the company had compensated cafes and restaurants that were affected but had agreed to remain open.
“Some of them closed and some of them we gave support to continue with us without alcohol and they're successful now and they stayed and they've extended their lease,” Al Khulaifi said.
But he insisted alcohol, which is haram under Islamic law, would not return to the development.
“Will we have alcohol back? I don't think so,” he said.
However, Edward Brookes, head of valuation at real estate firm DTZ Middle East told Arabian Business in January last year that alcohol could revive a decline in sales.
“Reintroducing alcohol would certainly help the development's appeal for residents, as well as attracting non-residents to come and enjoy the restaurants and hence add to the economic and social activities that help create a thriving [area],” Brookes said.
Meanwhile, The Four Seasons has put on hold construction of its second Doha hotel on The Pearl following the alcohol ban, Doha News said.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.