Kerzner International, the global resort operator and developer, on Tuesday announced the expansion of its One&Only brand portfolio with the launch of first urban resort in Dubai, as it banks on the continued growth of the emirate’s hospitality and tourism sectors.
One&Only One Za’abeel, the ultra-luxury resort, in heart of Dubai, is expected to open doors for business towards the end of 2020 and will complement the One&Only’s beach resort offerings in Dubai, Kerzner chief executive, Michael Wale said at a press conference in Dubai. Kerzner, which owns the Atlantis Resort & Residences and One&Only Resorts brands worldwide, did not give details on the size and scope of the planned development, its potential value or how the project will be funded.
The overall two-tower high-rise mixed-use development will incorporate One&Only One Za’abeel, luxury residences, serviced apartments, and office spaces. It will also include The Gallery, an opulent retail podium, and a panoramic sky concourse called The Linx, which connects the two towers of One Za’abeel, some 100 metres above the ground level.
“The Linx is going to be the USP (unique selling point), between 24th and 27th floors as you will be sitting on top of the city and you will have an open air pool on top of the Linx,” Mr Wale said.
Ithra Dubai, a fully-owned subsidiary of Investment Corporation of Dubai, the government of Dubai’s primary investment arm will build One Za’abeel. The chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Mohammed Al Shaibani, the chairman of Kerzner International and chief executive of ICD on Tuesday also inked the formal agreement for the development, which will be built in Dubai’s Za’abeel district that connects the old and new business districts of the emirate.
The tourism and hospitality sectors in UAE, the second biggest Arabian Gulf economy, especially in the GCC’s commercial and business hub Dubai, have fared relatively well in the past two years despite softer economic conditions. Both sectors are set to reap benefit from favourable visa policies, increased flight connections and the roll-out of mega projects as the country cement its position as the most popular destination in the broader Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
Tourist arrivals are set to rise in 2018 in Dubai, which accounts for more than half of all inbound travel to the country, and are expected to grow continue growing in short to medium term. The number of visitors would rise even higher with the Expo 2020, as estimated 25 million people from around the world will descend on Dubai for the six-month long global trade fair.
The pickup and demand and recovery in economy on the back of strengthening oil prices is opening up opportunities for developers and hospitality operators in both lower and ultra-high ends of the market to add more capacity. According to Cluttons’ latest Dubai Spring 2018 Property Market Outlook report, the city state saw 10 new hotel properties added, last year alone, taking the total number of rooms up by 4,854 to a total of 82,733. Overall occupancy levels have also improved, reaching an average of 78 per cent in 2017, up from 76 per cent in 2016.