Dubai-based hotelier JA Hotels & Resorts will expand its footprint across the UAE even as it steps up its investments in markets across the Indian Ocean, a senior executive told Gulf Business.
“We opened JA Ocean View hotel recently and are adding around 74 hotel rooms to Palm Tree Court,” said David Thompson, CEO of JA Resorts and Hotels. “But we are committed to at least three properties in Dubai – we are adding a third property in JA resort – we hope to start work on the hotel in the resort, which should open by 2017.”
He added that the firm is also looking to open two new hotels in Dubai land where it owns land.
JA Resorts & Hotels is also eyeing potential developments in Jadaf, which is situated close to the Creek, the senior executive said.
“One of the future areas of development is Cultural Village on the creek which is Jadaf now. We have some land there and are planning to have mixed use developments. So there will be residential, deluxe hotel apartments and hotels. That’s the plan at the moment but nothing is confirmed yet but we are looking at the returns on investment,” said Thompson.
The company also recently bought an existing island resort in the Maldives for an undisclosed fee. Located in Northern Haa Alifu, the property is expected to be relaunched later on this year as JA Manafaru.
Thompson said that the company is also looking to expand its Indian Ocean portfolio with potential contracts in Thailand and Sri Lanka.
But the hotelier’s focus would be more on obtaining lease agreements and management contracts than new launches, he explained.
“What we are looking for overseas are more management contracts and lease agreements which are more manageable from an investment point of view,” said Thompson. “In Sri Lanka we are looking at a big joint venture, which is again a more controlled investment from our point of view rather than taking huge risks.”
Aside from international expansion, the hotelier is also investing to diversify it existing portfolio in the region.
“We are putting a new beach club in Dubai in an agreement with Purobeach, which is upmarket beach club in Europe. They have leased our beach resort and will open a club by the end of the year or in October. We are building a beach club for them to their specifications and they will lease the site from us,” Thompson revealed. “We are redeveloping our marina at some point this year, new F&B outlets in all our properties, so we continue to invest in all our existing properties in addition to expanding.”