By Sarah Williams
British hotelier is planning more properties in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia
British hotelier Yotel is planning to open a hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, which may be its first resort-style property, the company's CEO said in an exclusive interview with Arabian Business' sister website Hotelier Middle East.
Yotel CEO Hubert R. Viriot (pictured below) told Hotelier Middle East: “It’s a little premature... but I can confirm that we are in very advanced negotiations for a property on the Palm.”
Responding to whether the hotel would be a resort or not, Viriot couldn’t confirm, saying: “We’re interested in stretching ourselves… In Dubai, we have the opportunity to do a resort-style hotel and it would be an absolute first for us. We’ve been looking on the Palm and investors have been seriously considering us.
“The differences to a resort style Yotel would be more outdoor areas and probably more facilities to cope with a longer-stay leisure guest.”
Yotel's hotel in Dubai's Business Bay is scheduled to open in Q1 2018 as the brand's flagship Middle East property, in partnership with Dubai Investment Properties, and is the first in an aggressive growth strategy.
“It’s the first of many properties in this region. This is a common business model for us that we followed successfully in New York City – to grow a flagship property and then develop properties off of the back of that.”
Viriot said of the brand’s Middle East expansion: “My mandate is to grow this company very rapidly... [Dubai] has tremendous opportunities and an increasing number of submarkets - we would love to work with Dubai to create a new hotel in the new airport.”
Entry into the Saudi Arabian market is also on the cards for Yotel, with their JV with Capitas providing an on-the-ground presence in the kingdom for the group’s dealings.
Viriot said that Yotel doesn’t normally have a local partner, but that the kingdom’s uniqueness in terms of both the hotel and capital market make it a wise business decision. Yotel plans to announce their first Saudi transaction with Capitas in the next few months.
As a brand with only four hotels worldwide, Yotel trades heavily on brand awareness. Despite only having opened its first hotel eight years ago, it has welcomed over one million guests.