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Mon 29 Aug 2011 05:02 PM

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New Palm hotels no threat to business, says Atlantis

COO of luxury resort says launch of rival brand hotels will help drive business

New Palm hotels no threat to business, says Atlantis
Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

Atlantis, the state-backed hotel resort on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, sees no threat to its business from a string of big-name hotel openings on the offshore island, its COO has said.

The luxury resort has benefited from being the island’s sole hotel since its opening three years ago, but is poised for competition following the launch of branded properties One&Only The Palm and Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

“The hotel brands opening are good for Dubai and will help to create The Palm as its own destination,” said Atlantis COO Serge Zaalof.

Neighbouring hotels will also help to push business to Atlantis attractions such as Aquaventure, and signature restaurants Nobu and Locatelli, he added.

“So we take this as very positive and actually Dubai is doing very well since November last year,” he said.

Some 30 themed resorts had been planned for the iconic island before the onset of the global financial crash in late-2008, but were scaled back dramatically as project financing dried up.

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 also said in May it would suspend the planned Jumeirah Al Fattan Palm Resort.

Nakheel, the master developer behind the Palm, said it February it had scrapped plans to build the $2.9bn Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was to be located on the Palm’s trunk.

Hotels still due to open include Rixos’ Palm property in December, Mövenpick’s Oceana Resort, the Sofitel Spa resort, the Habtoor Island Resort and Spa, and Hilton.

Confusion still surrounds an ETA Star project involving Taj Hotels & Resorts – the Grandeur residences, which were due to open this year, followed by the Taj Exotica next year.

The hotel group has declined to comment on the status of this project.

Kerzner International Holdings, the company that built the Atlantis resort, was earlier this month reported to be in talks with creditors to extend maturities on $2.78bn of mortgages due in September.

The company, which also runs seven One&Only resorts, has struggled with debt since the 2008 financial crisis reduced hotel values and room rates.

Dubai World’s Istithmar owns a stake in Kerzner International.

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