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Dubai’s first Four Seasons hotel to open by 2014

After second attempt, Four Seasons gets developer and location for its first hotel in Dubai.

Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News
Kathleen Taylor, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts,Scott Woroch, FourSeasons Executive Vice President, Worldwide Development and Shahab Lutfi, CEO, H & HInvestment and Development during the press confrence at the Dunai Marine Yacht Clubanouncing a new Hotel by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Dubai.
Gulf News

Dubai: Global luxury hotel chain Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will open its first hotel in Dubai on Jumeirah Beach by the middle of 2014, the Canada-based company announced Thursday.

The Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, as the hotel will be called, is owned by the Dubai-based Bright Start. H and H Investment and Development is the appointed development manager.

About 10 per cent of construction on the 237-room hotel has already been completed to date since work began in April 2012, said Shahab Lutfi, chief executive of H and H Investment and Development said.

He refused to disclose the value of the project.

“We’ve been working towards establishing a presence in Dubai for many, many years,” said Kathleen Taylor, the president and chief executive of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts said. “As they say, good things come to those who wait.”

This is Four Seasons’ second attempt to enter the Dubai market.

The hotelier, positioned in the ultra-luxury segment of the market, has been looking for an appropriate location since a Four Seasons hotel project in Festival City’s Al Badia Golf Club complex was called off by developer Al-Futtaim Group Real Estate in June 2009 amid the global economic downturn.

Located on the northern end of Jumeirah beach, the new hotel sits on 11-acres of waterfront and is two kilometres away from Dubai’s commercial district.

It will have an Andalusian-style exterior and contemporary interior with Arab influences, Lutfi noted.

The hotel will target business and leisure travelers, Taylor said.

With 237 rooms, including 49 suites, it offers 270 metres of beachfront, three restaurants, function spaces, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts and a private beach club.

The hotel was designed by international architect firm WATG and the interior design by San Francisco-based BAMO.

A Four Seasons hotel is also planned for Abu Dhabi but the project has been delayed to late 2014 or 2015,  said Scott Woroch, vice president of worldwide development at Four Seasons. It was originally planned to open in Abu Dhabi's Sowwah Island next year, comprising approximately 200 deluxe rooms and 125 residences, in partnership with Mubadala Development Company.

Regional pipeline

The Four Seasons plans to double its scale in the next five years in the region, Woroch said.

It has properties in the pipeline for the GCC including Abu Dhabi, Oman, Bahrain, Jeddah, Qatar and Kuwait for the next two years, he added.

“The Middle East and GCC, Asia Pacific, India and Latin America are the most vibrant areas for development today in the pipeline,” he said.

The Middle East and Africa contribute about 25 per cent of the chain’s global revenue, he added.

Business in the region continued to perform “extremely well” in countries outside the reach of the Arab Spring, said Taylor.

Performance in some Arab Spring countries has recovered now compared to last year, with Egypt recovering half way back to pre-revolutionary levels, she told Gulf News.

The hotelier will open eight new hotels in 2012, including three in China, said Woroch.