The Taj hotel in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers may see a soft opening by the end of 2018, Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) CEO Puneet Chhatwal has revealed.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Chhatwal said that the JLT project will likely see its soft opening take place “in anything from 100 to 130 days”, with further details to be revealed in early September.
“Certain deliverables have to happen in this five, six weeks' time to give an exact date, but the opening date is imminent,” he said.
“In an ideal world, it happens before the end of the year so we can benefit from the Christmas and New Year period, which is very strong in Dubai ... but hopefully it can happen anytime between the 15th of December and the 15th of February."
The five-star Taj hotel extends from the ground floor to the 17th floor and features 200 guest rooms and suites, in addition to recreational facilities and dining venues.
A second hotel - Taj Exotica Resort & Spa on Palm Jumeirah - is likely going to open in October of 2019, he added.
“That’s a great time if we can achieve that,” he noted. “There is a lot of supply that is coming to the Dubai market, so the timing of opening is maybe more relevant or more important than it has ever been before.”
There is currently one Taj hotel operating in Dubai, located on Burj Khalifa street in Business Bay.
During the interview, Chhatwal noted that the Middle East plays “an important role” in the IHCL’s expansion plans, which call for a 50 percent increase in the number of hotels in the company’s portfolio in operation or in the pipeline over the next five years.
“We would like to be in all the key destinations, like Muscat, Wadi Rum, Amman, Abu Dhabi and all the emirates of the UAE,” he said. “Also, Saudi Arabia is very important market.”
In April, IHCL announced its first foray into the Saudi holy city of Makkah, an approximately 340-key property developed in partnership with the Umm Al Qura Development and Construction Company.
IHCL currently operates 170 hotels in over 12 countries and over 80 locations around the world.
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