Al Marjan_RAK
Some of the biggest names in the hospitality business is already operating on Al Marjan Island, which has established its credentials as a happening destination for Ras Al Khaimah. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Abu Dhabi National Hotels is acquiring a plot in Ras Al Khaimah’s Al Marjan Island to build a hotel, becoming the latest company from Abu Dhabi to signal expansion plans in the northern emirate.

The size of the plot and the value of the deal were not revealed by ADNH, which recently became one of the first listed companies in the UAE to allow 100 per cent foreign ownership.

Al Marjan Island by Marjan has more than 3,000 hotel rooms, including Hampton by Hilton Marjan Island, Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Rixos Bab Al Bahr Hotel, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island and Marjan Island Resort and Spa.

The destination stretches over 7.8 kilometres and a 23 kilometre waterfront.

Sheikh Ahmed Aldhaheri, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of ADNH, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to expand and position into other emirates. Our strong believe in the potential, economy and leadership of the UAE were the main catalyst of this investment.”

Aldar's northbound push

Earlier in the year, Aldar Properties bought an existing resort in Ras Al Khaimah, as well as additional land. The combined deal – valued at Dh810 million – meant the addition of the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort and Spa Marjan Island becoming part of the Abu Dhabi master-developer’s hospitality portfolio. It was the second big deal for Aldar in RAK, having earlier bought the Al Hamra Mall for Dh400 million.

As for ADNH, this move will expand its hotel interests northwards – it already owns and operates multiple prime properties in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. These include the Le Meridien Abu Dhabi and Sofitel Jumeirah Beach.

ADNH is no stranger to eye-catching deals - in late 2018, it bought five hotels owned by Emaar for $600 million, including the Address Dubai Mall and Address Boulevard.

Timed right

Ras Al Khaimah makes for a sound investment and expansion push – “The emirate’s tourism infrastructure is well in place, and more attractions are being added built into and around the destinations,” said a hospitality industry analyst. “For ADNH to go in now is about timing its deals right. Al Marjan Island is a good place to be.”

Dubai Investments is another recent entrant into RAK, having committed to a Dh1 billion resort in the emirate.