By Ed Attwood
Property joins small number of hotels on island as Kempinksi, Jumeirah mothball openings
Fairmont Palm Jumeirah Hotel, the delayed luxury resort on Dubai’s iconic palm island, will be handed over for a soft launch in July next year, a senior official at the property’s operator said.
“The hotel will be completed and handed over to us for a soft opening round about July of next year,” David Roberts, Fairmont Raffles International’s executive vice president operations, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, told Arabian Business.
“Because of the off season, we anticipate going into a soft opening mode for July and August, and a full opening for September.”
The hotel, which has 380 guest rooms, was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but faced delays as Kuwaiti backers IFA Hotels & Resorts struggled to secure funding.
The company secured a $115m finance deal in December, marking the first major real estate loan made by a bank following the collapse of Dubai’s property markets in 2009.
The Fairmont opening will provide a boost to the Palm, where several operators have delayed plans to build hotels on the man-made island. Of the larger hotels planned, only the Atlantis – which opened in 2008 – the One&Only Palm Jumeirah and the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray have so far opened.
Kempinski confirmed in March this year that it was mothballing its 253-room Emerald Palace project on the Palm until at least 2013, citing oversupply in the market. State-backed Jumeirah Group said Sunday that the firm was suspending its planned hotel on the Palm.
Question marks have also been raised over the $2.9bn Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was due to be located on the Palm’s trunk. In February this year, a spokesperson for the Trump Organisation refused to deny or confirm whether the project would go ahead.
Deloitte said in December that occupancy rates and room prices in Dubai would decline as 30,000 hotel rooms are added over the next five years to the current supply of about 50,000.
The IFA Hotels & Resorts property Kingdom of Sheba has also been put on hold, a spokesman confirmed earlier this week. That hotel was scheduled to open last year.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.