Jebel Ali hotelier buys $100m Dubai beach property

Jebel Ali International Hotels has bought a hotel in Dubai Marina’s Jumeirah Beach Residence
Jebel Ali hotelier buys $100m Dubai beach property
Construction workers are seen beside a canal at the Khor Al Raha beach development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich sheikhdom that spent 36 billion Dirhams ($9.8 billion) bailing out its biggest developer in 2011, will probably reach for its checkbook again as property companies in the United Arab Emirates face a stalled market and deadlines to repay debt. (Bloomberg)
By Louise Oakley
Thu 16 Feb 2012 02:06 PM

Dubai company Jebel Ali International Hotels (JAIH) has acquired a beach-facing property in Dubai Marina’s Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) for more than $100 million.

The purpose-built 341-room hotel, bought from Abu Dhabi-based Das Holdings just three weeks ago, is expected to open in October 2012.

Yet to be named, it will be a four-star hotel owned and operated by JAIH, which manages a portfolio of hotels including Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Hatta Fort Hotel and Oasis Beach Tower, also in JBR.

JAIH regional general manager David Thomson told Hotelier Middle East magazine yesterday: “We are delighted to announce that really the first acquisition for the company since we originally opened [Jebel Ali Hotel] 30 years ago is a property which is about half a kilometre from [Oasis Beach Tower] on the JBR next to Amwaj Rotana.

“It’s a brand new hotel. We’re going to open it as the first four-star hotel on the beach, or in a beach location, which Dubai doesn’t have since the Oasis Beach Hotel, which we used to run [was demolished in 2009].”

Thomson said the hotel was complete but that JAIH would be investing more than $20 million in architectural upgrades and fit-out.

“It was over $100 million in terms of the purchase price and we would expect to be investing probably another certainly $20 million plus in terms of the development of what’s there now, the FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment), the cosmetics changes we want to make,” revealed Thomson.

He said the hotel would predominately be targeting leisure guest and families, who will also have access to the beach facilities at Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

“Essentially it is leisure that we’re looking towards. One of the things we do really well is we offer as very friendly kind of relaxed service in all our properties and that’s something we want to emulate in this particular hotel as well.

“We want guests to enjoy themselves — they’re in a four-star beach resort which is all about going on holiday and kicking back,” said Thomson.

“We will pitch ourselves slightly below the competitive set on The Walk but not too far below; we believe what we’ve got there is a fabulous product so we believe it will command a reasonable price. The star rating really isn’t part of a our rate strategy, it’s more in terms of the look and feel of the hotel, we want people to feel comfortable when they come in there, we don’t want them to feel like they’re walking into a high end five-star environment which sort of carries whole behaviour issues around it,” he explained.

Thomson is confident the JBR hotel will be successful, expecting average occupancies of around 80 percent year round.

“We really believe it’s going to do extremely well; we imagine occupancies in the 80s pretty much year-round. We see Dubai going from strength to strength on the leisure side. Leisure arrivals are keeping pace with the available inventory that’s on the beach and we see that going up and we’re very well placed for that.

“This is a property that we wanted to own for sure,” said Thomson.

JAIH was established in 1981 as a branch of Dutco.

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