By Louise Oakley
Hotel development integral to phase two of Dubai financial centre, says DIFC Properties chief
Hotel development is ramping up at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), with proposals for a four-star hotel currently under consideration.
DIFC Properties CEO Brett Schafer — the man tasked with delivering phase two of the Centre’s masterplan — said that several new hotels are planned.
The Ritz-Carlton DIFC is currently the only operational hotel, but work on the delayed Rosewood Dubai has recommenced, with opening scheduled for 2015.
Two smaller new hotels are also planned; one a luxury boutique hotel and one possibly in the mid-market.
“We are excited because we think we are doing the first so-called boutique hotel in Dubai, so that’s a niche,” said Schafer, referring to an AED250mn (US $68mn)new build on an empty lot between the Standard Chartered building and The Gate Village.
This hotel, facing Jumeirah Emirates Towers, would be a luxury property, with operators “stampeding” over each other to win the deal.
Schafer said he was ““taking proposals for a four-star hotel at DIFC as well”, in line with Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing’s initiative to encourage more three- and four-star hotel development in Dubai.
“We may have one more hotel, we’re still looking at that. We don’t want too many hotels. We have provision in our masterplan for another hotel but we’re not quite sure. One of our plots has a potential residential tower, hotel tower and an office tower on one of them, so we may put in a hotel there but that’s aside from the four-star hotel that we’re looking at,” he added.
There will also be new restaurants, creating a “critical mass of hotel and food and beverage”, with celebrity chef Greg Malouf scheduled to make his Dubai debut in September in the Al Fattan Currency House, as well as recent launches from Monaco’s Sass Café, Sweet Connections and The Steak Bar.
Arts and entertainment venues are also being developed in a partnership with Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican in London.
“If you look at all the financial districts in the world, the city of London is number one, and the Barbican is right in the heart of that. So we want to be using that as a role model with a programme to guide us, so we’re going to have cinemas, we’ll have live theatre.
“We’ve identified that niche through our market research and our engagement and we’ve woven it into our masterplan,” said Schafer.
For a full interview with Brett Schafer, see the April issue of Hotelier Middle East.For all the latest construction 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.