Movenpick Hotel at Al Marjan Island
The construction site for the Movenpick Hotel at Al Marjan Island. Some of the hotels are already operational on the Island, together accounting for 1,500 keys. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Hospitality projects rather than residential ones will be the right fit for Ras Al Khaimah right now — that’s according to the developer of the emirate’s biggest leisure destination in the making.

“The market being what it is, further residential will not be as attractive,” said Abdulla Al Abdouli, CEO of Marjan, the company with a 2.7 million square metre island (on reclaimed land) as an asset on its books. “We have sold more than 70 per cent of the 180 plots on Al Marjan Island, and the majority are for hotels/resorts.

“Barring a few delays here and there, most of the new construction is progressing the way they should be. On the delayed ones, we are reworking the models in keeping with the current market sentiments.

“The sub-developers who have bought the plots are busy. There’s the Rove hotel, where we have approved the final design. Then there’s the Hampton by Hilton, where contracts are out for tender.

“On the infrastructure side, which is what Al Marjan Island Development Co. was set up for, we have done our bit. That’s 100 per cent.”

Some of the hotels are already operational on the Island, together accounting for 1,500 keys. While dominated by hotels, Al Marjan Island does its residential options, of which there are 1,900 units.

Based on current construction timelines, the CEO believes the entire destination will be completed by 2025. But well ahead of that, the holding company is deciding what to do next.

New ventures

It has the land — or has access to it — in locations such as alongside Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (the E311), Etihad Road, and Al Jazirah Al Hamra. “An obvious next step would be staff accommodation, for which there is demand in Ras Al Khaimah,” the CEO said. “We have plans to launch business parks, of course if due diligence suggests it will make sense.

“A possible third option would be to get into affordable housing … But those are decisions to be made in the future.”