By Louise Oakley
Luxury Asian operator is yet to confirm first management contract for hotel in UAE
Wasl Properties has revealed that it is set to build the first Mandarin Oriental hotel in Dubai, which would mark the luxury Asian hotel operator’s UAE debut.
Mandarin Oriental had previously announced a hotel on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, but development of this was put on hold in 2012.
In an interview with sister title Construction Week, Wasl Properties, which has a string of hospitality projects on its books, said that the 235-key Dubai hotel will be built on a site at Jumeirah Beach Road. Enabling works on the site are already around 80 percent complete and a tender for the main contract to build the property is likely to be floated towards the end of the year.
When asked about its move into Dubai, a spokesman for Mandarin Oriental told HotelierMiddleEast.com it "does not comment on market rumours".
The spokesperson said: "We continue to review development opportunities around the world and have a number of potential projects under evaluation at any one time.
"However, we are clearly not in a position to comment on these opportunities until such time as we have a confirmed project to announce."
The luxury hotelier currently has a project underway in Doha in partnership with Msheireb Properties, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Apartments Msheireb.
Wasl Properties' Hospitality arm recently opened its first four-star Hyatt Place hotel and serviced apartment buildings at its $97.4mn Wasl Trio development in Deira, and is due to open a second Hyatt Place at the nearby $230mn Wasl District scheme next to the old Al Maktoum Hospital.
It is also building the first two three-star Hilton Garden Inn sites in the region — a $21mn property at Al Mina and a $22.6mn hotel at Al Muraqqabat.
Wasl Properties' general manager of projects, Nabil Al Khaja said it had been building its portfolio mid-range hotels for two years.
“We’re not going to stop the five-star hotels, but I think the majority percentage of hospitality – up to maybe 70% – will be three- and four-star hotels,” he said.For all the latest construction 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.