It's only the hotel part of the Bonnington tower project that's going on sale. Recent deals in Dubai have seen some heavy investor interest in hotel and office developments. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Another prominent upscale hotel in Dubai could soon have a new owner, with the popular Bonnington Hotel reportedly being up for sale. A report in the Irish Times says that the current owner, the McGettigan Group, is on the lookout for such a transaction for the hotel located in the JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) cluster.

The hotel part of the Bonnington development features 208 rooms. There is also a residential component with one-bedroom apartments showing average prices of Dh1.5 million in the latest listings.

“The Bonnington Hotel has been fairly successful and, like nearly all Dubai hotels at the time, had a successful run during the COP28 and end-of-year peak season in December and the first two months,” said an investor who had been looking closely at the project. “Hotels in and around the JLT location have been performing well, with occupancy rates well over the 70-80 per cent mark.

“The Bonnington Hotel (which opened in 2010) should have no issue finding a new owner.”

According to the Irish Times, the asking value could be in the range of Dh230 million plus.

Only the hotel 

Only the hotel part of the Bonnington tower will be part of the sale. There are more than 200 freehold apartments as part of the development. The project was among the wave of hotel and residences’ projects that was part of Dubai’s first freehold boom.

Even before the Irish Times' report, there had been some speculation related to the development being a likely deal candidate.

Hotels and office tower projects in Dubai have had some significant investor activity in recent years. While the most notable has been the Abu Dhabi entity ADNH’s takeover of 5 hotels from Emaar in early 2019 for Dh2 billion was the most eye-catching, there have been a steady stream of other deals too. There was also the sale of the hotel component of the Marina 101 hotel via an auction. (Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah too have seen a fair share of buy ups of existing hotel or resort projects.)

Even before the Irish Times’ report, there had been talk circulating in the property market about such a sale. “Residential and hotel developments in Dubai are among the most sought for assets by investors,” said an analyst. “The 2019 deal by ADNH for those 5 hotels owned by Emaar was a decisive moment.

“Even with all the new hotels Dubai will see getting built, existing ones with a good track record and not too heavy a debt load will easily attract buyers.”

In the last two years, multiple mixed-use ‘branded’ projects with hotels and apartments have come to market. In fact, this category was playing out as a major boom within the wider Dubai property market, and there were further such launches since the start of this year too.

Amidst such heavy action, existing projects operating on the same formula will garner investor attention. “The Bonnington hotel has a track record and there is the JLT location, which means it caters primarily to a business traveller,” said the analyst. “If a deal happens, it can prove a win-win for buyer and seller."