Rotana Kick-Starts Dhs2bn Al Ghurair Expansion

The number of stores at the adjacent shopping centre is set to rise from 200 to 350 this year.

Rotana officially launched its new twin properties in Dubai today, Al Ghurair Rayhaan hotel and Al Ghurair Arjaan by Rotana serviced apartments, following their ‘soft opening’ on 12/12/12.

The two properties represent Rotana’s largest room inventory in a single project (428 hotel rooms, 192 apartments) and signal a new strategy to target shoppers – predominantly from the GCC, Russia and China – more actively.

Today’s launch was also significant for Al Ghurair as it effectively kick-starts its Dhs2 billion expansion, with the number of stores at the adjacent shopping centre set to rise from 200 to 350 this year, which will be complemented by 60,000sq ft of additional office space, more dining options and family entertainment centre.

Ibrahim Al Ghurair, managing director of Al Ghurair Properties, said: “Deira remains vital to Dubai’s economy as a trading and entertainment hub.”

Buoyed by other newcomers, such as Jumeirah Creekside and Pullman Deira City Centre, the central district is experiencing a new lease of life, and other projects include the Dhs3 billion ‘Jewel of the Creek’ next to the Floating Bridge.

Omer Kaddouri, executive vice president and COO of Rotana, said the decision to be part of mixed-used developments is something that has evolved over the past 10 years – and become more pronounced following the recession.

“Developers today are looking at multi-facets to their concepts – an office building, a hotel, a mall, entertainment – and it gives them an opportunity for a faster return of investment, so you’re not relying on one component,” he said.

“With a lot of our projects in the pipeline, we’re the hotel connected to the mall or offices – even hospitals. Once the developer builds on the land, he needs to bring back the fastest return and spread the risk.”

The two new properties feature four food and beverage venues including the international all-day-dining Liwan, Buzz Deli Café, Yasmine Lounge and signature Persian restaurant, Shayan. On site is the operator’s first Zen the spa, which features eight treatment rooms, separate male and female services and a steam sauna.

Rotana plans to open five hotels in 2013, and with the exception of a Rayhaan in Al Ain – also connected to a shopping centre – the focus is outside the UAE, although the Emirates continues to spearhead its revenue growth regionally.

Majestic Arjaan aims to open in Bahrain in March, and other properties are earmarked for Doha, Amman and Iraq. Kaddouri said it was also “close” to announcing a new Indian hotel and continues to look further afield.

“All our guests travel to London and they would like to stay in a Rotana. One day we will be there, for sure.”