Dubai-owned One&Only shifts focus from beach to nature

The ultra-luxury brand is building two resorts in Rwanda, including near a gorilla nest
Dubai-owned One&Only shifts focus from beach to nature
By Staff writer
Wed 26 Apr 2017 12:51 PM

Dubai-owned
One&Only Resorts is shifting focus from the beach to nature.

The
ultra-luxury brand, which has two highly popular beach resorts in Dubai,
revealed during the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai this week that it is moving
inland and creating two nature resorts in Rwanda as it expands on its success
with a resort in Australia’s Blue Mountains.

“Our
clientele are looking for a different types of experiences and locations; they
love coming back to our beautiful beach resorts … but they need – for their
families and themselves – to experience something new,” CEO and president
Philippe Zuber said.

The
locations of the new resorts - in the Rwandan jungle and in Nyungwe Forest
National Park - were “absolutely amazing”, he said.

One&Only
Gorilla’s Nest, located near the village of Kingi, on the foothills of the
Virunga Volcano range, was already owned by Investment
Corporation of Dubai, a government investment firm, which bought a “significant” share in
One&Only’s founding company Kerzner International in 2014.

The area
is home to about one-third of the only 780 mountain gorillas that still exist.

“It’s
exactly at the site where there’s a ceremony to name all the baby gorillas, so
we’re at a site that has a lot of history,” Zuber said.

The
jungle resort is due to open at the end of 2018, while One&Only Nyungwe
House is due to open at the end of this year.

It is
One&Only’s first foray into Africa and Zuber said he was confident
travellers – especially existing One&Only guests – would choose the resorts
for their dramatic locations.

“As a
One&Only [we said] let’s challenge ourselves, let’s not go to the big one,
the Big 5, safari-type [location]. This market is already well taken,” Zuber
said.

“Our
true authenticity of nature is the rarity of the site and absolute uniqueness
of the site.”

The
Rwandan government has made a concerted effort to attract tourism investment to
the country, which is now viewed as one of the safest and among the most
transparent for doing business in Africa. Zuber said Rwanda was “under full
reconstruction” and was now “really favourable to international investors”.

One&Only
also is continuing to expand in the Gulf, with One&Only Seef, Bahrain,
which replicates On&Only The Palm Dubai.

Zuber
said the brand’s two Dubai hotels continued to do “extremely well”. The
One&Only Royal Mirage is currently renovated some rooms into suites in
response to demand from guests.

Kerzner
International is also moving into the booming tourism market in China, building
The Atlantis Sanya Hainan Island. Announced earlier, it will be among the first
wellness-focused accommodation in the country.

“Going
to China with such a statement of wellness is unheard of,” Zuber said.

It is
expected to attract mostly Chinese guests, as well as expats living in major
Asian cities.

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.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.