Jumeirah Beach Hotel expansion to go ahead

The expansion of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is set to go ahead with the Jumeirah Group, which operates the hotel, now finalising the necessary permits.

''We expect very soon to be able to submit detailed plans to the municipality regarding building and everything. So subject to the normal permits, we hope to be a bit more specific about what is planned within the next six months,'' Gerald Lawless, Jumeirah Group president and chief executive, said in an interview with Gulf News on Thursday.

The plan, announced in June, includes the construction of a 350-room ultra luxury resort, in addition to the existing Jumeirah Beach Hotel, a private beach, recreational marine facilities and retail outlets. The project is due to be completed in 2018.

Nearby, the fourth phase of the Madinat Jumeirah expansion is on track to being completed in March 2016, Lawless said. It includes a 420-room luxury hotel, a villas complex, restaurants and a commercial centre with retail outlets.

Aside from expanding existing properties, the luxury hotel group is working on signing management agreements for hotels in different destinations.

Saudi Arabia, for instance, is a destination that Jumeirah has been eyeing for a few years. On when the group expects to strike hotel deals in the kingdom, Lawless said: ''We are still extremely interested in Saudi Arabia. I would like to be further ahead in terms of announcements, but that does not mean we are not active in trying to achieve representation within the kingdom, in Madinah, Makkah, Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar. It is taking time.''

Jumeirah currently operates 22 hotels, resorts and residences worldwide.

''I would estimate, with what we have signed to date, that by mid-2018, we should have close to 40 hotels in operation,'' Lawless said.

Management agreements

The group expects to add 4,300 rooms in 11 countries over the next three years. The expansion is valued at Dh8 billion.

''Talking about what is happening on a global basis and whether or not we are on track on what we announced, absolutely yes,'' Lawless said.

Last month, Jumeirah signed management agreements for three properties in China, which include Jumeirah Haikou Resort, Jumeirah Wuhan and Jumeirah Nanjing. That brings the number of properties in the China pipeline to eight, which also includes those in Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Sanya, Macau and Qiandaohu.

Jumeirah Nanjing, a mixed-use development featuring a four-star hotel, a Jumeirah luxury hotel, office and retail space, is expected to open in 2016.

The Haikou resort is due to open two years after that, followed by Jumeirah Wuhan, a mixed-use development that includes a luxury hotel, residences, office space and retail facilities, with an opening set for 2020.

Meanwhile in India, construction of a hotel in Mumbai is expected to start in the short term.

''We are just waiting for the permits, which will be with us any day,'' Lawless said.

The property is likely to open in late 2017 or early 2018.

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Source: Sarah Algethami, Staff Reporter, gulfnews.com


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