The company will focus on the three and four-star hospitality sector, according to Hesham Al Qassim, the chief executive of its parent, the Wasl Asset Management Group. Courtesy Wasl Asset Management Group
The company will focus on the three and four-star hospitality sector, according to Hesham Al Qassim, the chief executive of its parent, the Wasl Asset Management Group. Courtesy Wasl Asset Management

Wasl plans to open 14 hotels in Dubai by 2020

Wasl Hospitality and Leisure plans to open 14 hotels between now and 2020, and more than double its room capacity to 10,000.

The company will focus on the three and four-star hospitality sector, according to Hesham Al Qassim, the chief executive of its parent, the Wasl Asset Management Group, which manages the Dubai government’s property assets.

Wasl Hospitality expects to have a total of 29 hotels open by 2020. "We're trying to balance the market," said Mr Al Qassim. "We need to make Dubai more affordable. Expo 2020 is coming. People coming to Dubai are still complaining about the accommodation cost.

“We need to offer them the right product. I cannot give them a five-star product at three-star rates. I have to offer them the right three-star.”

Wasl Properties opened its first three-star hotel, a Hyatt Place at the Wasl Trio project at Al Rigga in Deira, last year. A second Hyatt Place opened on Friday at Baniyas Square in Deira, bringing its total number of hotels in operation to 15.

Following this, two four-star Hilton Garden Inn properties – at Al Mina near Port Rashid in Bur Dubai and at Al Muraqabat in Deira – are due to open in October.

Wasl Hospitality has deals with the hotel groups Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood, and will continue to develop some five-star hotel sites.

The company is building Dubai’s first Mandarin Oriental hotel in the Jumeirah district, and has another flagship hotel lined up for Wasl Tower – the 60-storey building planned for the Toyota Building site on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite the Downtown Dubai district.

The tower, which Mr Al Qassim described as a “vertical city” with landscaped park areas, will house 100,000 square feet of offices, including Wasl’s new headquarters, an unspecified number of apartments and a five-star hotel.

The tower has been designed by the Dutch architect Ben van Berkel and the German sustainability specialist Werner Sobek.

“We have signed the contract already [with the hotel operator],” said Mr Al Qassim, without revealing the brand.

“It is a hotel which is very popular worldwide, but it is not really well spread out. They don’t do them in many cities in the world and they only do them in famous cities.”

He said Wasl Hospitality would have six new hotels with Hilton in the coming years.

“We’re doing the largest Hampton by Hilton in the world – more than 400 rooms – facing Dubai airport terminal two,” Mr Al Qassim said.

A four-star and a five-star hotel are also planned for its Wasl Park 1 site between Zabeel Park and the Al Jafiliya metro station in Dubai.

Mr Al Qassim said Wasl Asset Management would continue to build its two other business arms – Wasl Properties, which has more than 30,000 residential and retail units under lease, and an industrial zones management arm that holds 5,200 plots of land – alongside its hotels business to balance risks.

“I come from an accounting background, I am a finance guy,” he said. “I always want to see every pot equal the other one.”

According to the hotel consultancy STR Global, hotel occupancy last month fell 15.4 per cent to 63.2 per cent from the same period last year, and revenue per available room dropped 22.9 per cent to Dh365, largely because of Ramadan.

Compared with Ramadan last year, occupancy levels this year remained steady despite a 6.2 per cent increase in the supply of rooms.

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Dubai World Cup factbox

Most wins by a trainer: Godolphin’s Saeed bin Suroor(9)

Most wins by a jockey: Jerry Bailey(4)

Most wins by an owner: Godolphin(9)

Most wins by a horse: Godolphin’s Thunder Snow(2)

Tank warfare

Lt Gen Erik Petersen, deputy chief of programs, US Army, has argued it took a+“three decade holiday” on modernising tanks. 

“There clearly remains a significant armoured heavy ground manoeuvre threat in this world and maintaining a world class armoured force is absolutely vital,” the general said in London last week.

“We are developing next generation capabilities to compete with and deter adversaries to prevent opportunism or miscalculation, and, if necessary, defeat any foe decisively.”

UAE v Gibraltar

What: International friendly

When: 7pm kick off

Where: Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

Admission: Free

Online: The match will be broadcast live on Dubai Exiles’ Facebook page

UAE squad: Lucas Waddington (Dubai Exiles), Gio Fourie (Exiles), Craig Nutt (Abu Dhabi Harlequins), Phil Brady (Harlequins), Daniel Perry (Dubai Hurricanes), Esekaia Dranibota (Harlequins), Matt Mills (Exiles), Jaen Botes (Exiles), Kristian Stinson (Exiles), Murray Reason (Abu Dhabi Saracens), Dave Knight (Hurricanes), Ross Samson (Jebel Ali Dragons), DuRandt Gerber (Exiles), Saki Naisau (Dragons), Andrew Powell (Hurricanes), Emosi Vacanau (Harlequins), Niko Volavola (Dragons), Matt Richards (Dragons), Luke Stevenson (Harlequins), Josh Ives (Dubai Sports City Eagles), Sean Stevens (Saracens), Thinus Steyn (Exiles)


First ODI, October 22
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Second ODI, October 25
Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune

Third ODI, October 29
Venue TBC

The specs

Price, base / as tested Dh135,000

Engine 1.6L turbo

Gearbox Six speed automatic with manual and sports mode

Power 165hp @ 6,000rpm

Torque 240Nm @ 1,400rpm 0-100kph: 9.2 seconds

Top speed 420 kph (governed)

Fuel economy, combined 35.2L / 100km (est)

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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