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Sun 19 Mar 2006 04:00 AM

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Rotana Orascom tie up for RAK hotel

Hotel chain set to manage The Cove hotel and real estate development

Regional hotel chain, Rotana Hotels has entered into a strategic alliance with Orascom for Hotels & Development to manage a new five-star resort in Ras Al Khaimah. Rotana signed the new management contract for The Cove Rotana Resort & Spa, Ras Al Khaimah in February.

The Cove Rotana Resort & Spa, which is scheduled to open in late 2007, will combine a five-star resort with real estate investment opportunities. The new resort will comprise 175 rooms, a private 600-metre stretch of beach, a variety of restaurants, and meetings and conference facilities.

“Orascom specialises in creating and developing destinations,” said Claude Chennais, managing director, hotel division, Orascom.

“We buy land in undeveloped places and develop it into a complete town, like our El Gouna resort in Egypt, where we developed real estate, hotel, golf, marina and the town infrastructure.

“The Cove is a mini destination. I say mini because Ras Al Khaimah already has a lot of infrastructure available, such as its golf course and marina,” Chennais added.

In addition to the 175-room resort, The Cove will also include 173 real estate units of one, two and three bedroom villas and chalets, all fully furnished and serviced. These units went on sale last year, with Dubai-based real estate agent, Better Homes, and 70% have already been bought freehold. Owners are then given the option to lease their properties back to Rotana, who will then include the chalets in the hotel inventory.

“Property owners have the option to lease back their chalets or villas for a guaranteed 7% annual return for up to three years. The property is a perfect hybrid of a world-class luxury property coupled with the privacy and comfort of an exclusive Resort & Spa. We are certain to be the first choice for leisure travellers to the UAE,” said Selim El Zyr, president & CEO of Rotana Hotels.

Rotana’s chief operating officer, Imad Ellias, has already asserted his confidence in the development. “I was one of the first to buy a chalet,” he remarked.

“So far, 125 units have been bought freehold and 50% of these have opted for their units to be managed by Rotana. We will market them as suites and they will form part of the inventory of the hotel. The owners will get to use their unit for four weeks a year, and will also receive a 7% guaranteed return each year.

”The Cove is 40 minutes from Dubai, and soon Ras Al Khaimah will have its own airport and airline. There is no doubt this will be a success,” he said.

Construction of the first phase of The Cove development began in December 2005, and is scheduled to complete by the end of 2007. The total investment in phase one is US $60 million.

A second phase, consisting of 100 apartments, restaurants and a small shopping centre is also planned. Phase two will cost $15-20 million, excluding the cost of the land.

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