Emaar Hospitality Group, the hospitality & leisure business of Emaar Properties, has announced its expansion to South Asia with a hotel management contract to operate Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa, a picturesque beachfront resort set in a private island in the Indian Ocean, only 20 minutes by seaplane from Male International Airport.
The expansion to the Indian Ocean archipelago adds to the international growth of Emaar Hospitality Group, which now has 29 upcoming hotel projects in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and now Maldives. The Group currently has 11 operational hotels and three serviced residences in Dubai, its home-market.
Scheduled to be open in 2020, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa will be the first-of-its-kind island hotel project by Address Hotels + Resorts, the premium lifestyle hotel and serviced residences brand of Emaar Hospitality Group.
A part of the 2.42 square kilometre Ethere Madivaru Private Island, owned by Adam Abdul Gafoor, the chairman of Finolhu Investment, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa spans a total area of 75,000 sq m, with its design and contours defined by the vast coastline. The hotel project includes 80 beach and over-water villas including selected units for sale.
“We are delighted to welcome Emaar Hospitality Group’s Address brand to Maldives to manage our exceptional property that will complement our nation’s focus on tourism growth,' said Mr Gafoor. "Maldives has been the cornerstone of Indian Ocean tourism, and the government has announced visionary initiatives to drive the role of the private sector, including the long-term lease of islands for resort development. With a strong intake of Middle East visitors, Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa will appeal to visitors and investors from the region for holiday-homes and luxury stays in our country.”
Among the features of Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa are a dedicated Spa Island and Water Sports Island offering diving, surfing and a host of leisure pursuits, as well as water villas and presidential suites. Amenities such as floating restaurants and lounges, over-water fitness facilities, swimming pools, and children’s play areas are all thoughtfully designed to maximise the oceanfront location.
“One of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, Maldives is an ideal fit to our expansion plans to take our proven competencies in hospitality to newer geographies," said Olivier Harnisch, the chief executive of Emaar Hospitality Group. He said the firm and the developer Finolhu Investment will work closely in the design and development of the hotel project, with a focus on maximising its oceanfront location.
Finolhu Investment already has a strong footprint in the Maldivian tourism sector, especially through their cruise and yachting business. Mr. Gafoor has also been associated previously with hotel developments, and with Address Maldives in the Madivaru Island, he aims to create a legacy in the hospitality sector.
Emaar Group said Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa will be one of the closest from the international airport with most regional luxury resorts a flying time of 30 to 45 minutes away.
The Maldivian tourism industry recorded a growth in tourist arrivals of 4.2 per cent in 2016,1 buoyed by the Visit Maldives Year campaign, and reported a growth of 5.8 per cent from January to May 2017. 2, according to Emaar Group.
While Europe serves as the largest market with 44.7 per cent share in tourist numbers in 2016, visitors from the Middle East have grown from 1.5 per cent in 2009 to 4 per cent in 2016. Saudi Arabia was one of the top 10 source markets last year. The focus of the government on infrastructure development has benefited the tourism industry, and the completion of the international airport expansion next year is expected to further boost the sector. All major airlines in the UAE offer connectivity to Maldives.
Address Madivaru Maldives Resort + Spa is the 21st hotel project under Address Hotels + Resorts. The upcoming international projects under the brand are: Jabal Omar Address Makkah in Saudi Arabia; Address Marassi Golf Resort + Spa and Address Marassi Beach Resort in Egypt; Address Istanbul and Address Residences Emaar Square Istanbul in Turkey; and Address Marassi Al Bahrain.