Zabeel House
Opt for a quiet moment... Or seek the thrills at a theme park near you. Dubai's budget-focussed hotel brands are revising strategies and rates to bring back guests. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Hotel stays in Dubai are starting to become downright affordable, with overnight stays dropping below the Dh200 mark at budget properties plus a few extras thrown in. This means, hotel operators are hoping to catch more of the budget-conscious millennial travelers as and when they return in sizeable numbers.

Budget hotels, not to be confused with “basic hotels”, especially in Dubai, offer artsy furniture, organic food and a swimming pool with a view.

Rove Hotel is one operator intent on serving up more bang for the buck. The brand is the more affordable option from the Emaar hospitality portfolio, which also features the super-luxury Address hotels.

“We currently have an offer at The Park property, where rooms start from Dh199 per night, inclusive of two Dubai Parks & Resorts tickets,” said Paul Bridger, Corporate Director at Rove Hotels.

Rove
A theme park association serves Rove quite well. As well as having room rates from Dh199 a night.

Their rates have usually always been this competitive. They just added more perks. “Rove At The Park continues to be our best value staycation destination for families,” Bridger added.

The intention is to come up with packages that do not begin and end with just a low room rate. “For this reason, we introduce promotions that apply to all kinds of guests– including office rooms, long-stay rates or family staycation deals,” said Bridger. “In fact, since the reopening of the Dubai Parks and Resorts, we've seen an increase in our staycation bookings.”

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Double up on the ‘experience’

In a tactic that hotel operators, particularly niche ones, deployed in other cities before the pandemic, Dubai’s budget hotels now focus on providing a broad suite of experiences. If that means access to outdoor cinemas or theme parks, the better for them… and their guests.

A squeeze on incomes encourages budget hotels to offer more value for money. The new set of these hotels appeals to a younger traveller or resident families looking to get more for their bookings on their next staycation.

The city that is known for having one of the worlds’ highest numbers of five-star hotels, is now standing out for its budget boutique hotel offerings. But with hospitality giants like Jumeirah, Emaar and Marriot offering their version of budget properties, there's clearly a shift towards the affordable category hotel with the growing importance of tapping into the market of millennial travellers.

Zabeel House 2
If in the next few weeks hotels can push occupancy levels into 50% and more, that would be some relief for their operations and cashflow. The launch of flight services to Israel should be another boost in the making. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Luxury chases budget options

Jumeirah Hotels launched its affordable collection of boutique hotels under the ‘Zabeel House by Jumeirah’ branding in early 2018 to target those who want to “experience Jumeirah in a more relaxed and casual setting”. (Which is pretty much a clever way to allude to a more budget-friendly spot without really referring to it as that.)

At the Zabeel House in The Greens, the biggest draw is their F&B offerings. Their restaurants are trendy, and always marketed with the words “urban” and “street food eateries”. The hotel has included a brunch as part of a staycation offer dubbed ‘Brunch and Stay, which includes an overnight stay inclusive of a house beverage brunch package for two at Lah Lah. Plus four post-brunch beverages each as well as breakfast the next day for Dh450 per person.

“We have always tried to have the best experiences connected to our hotel stays such as F&B and spa offers - and we give guests free tickets to different leisure hotspots and waterparks,” said Luke James, General Manager, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens.

“Another one of our deals is the ‘Splash, Play and Stay’ package, which offers a night stay with complementary breakfast, access to Laguna Waterpark and Green Planet, plus F&B and spa discounts at a price of Dh350 for two.

“We’re really happy to see continual growth in room nights since we reopened. Additionally, our long-stay residents are really supporting us.”

"Mall-hotels"

The hospitality industry was hit hard during the pandemic, so right now, the budget-boutique hotel concept appeals to all segments. Holidaymakers want the best, but at a rate that’s deem as being more affordable.

One of the Marriott’s more budget-friendly properties is the Aloft at Deira City Centre. Their ‘Shop & Dine’ package guests are given discounts of up to 25 per cent across select stores. Kids on staycation will get Magic Planet (Arcade) credit and heavily discounted rates to Ski Dubai and to the Outdoor by VOX Cinemas located within the hotel itself.

Additionally, each guest gets a Dh75 voucher to use at the spa and credit of Dh150 per day to use for F&B. Rates for this offer start at Dh241 per night. According to Gurnoor Bindra, Hotel Manager, “We are considered a one-stop-shop hotel for corporate travellers, leisure travellers and families.”

In a city that’s known for its five-star and super-luxury hotel options, budget hotels and their rates have managed to convince quite a few to go a little more basic. In the weeks and months ahead, an aggressive room rate strategy and building up on experiences, should give them access to a wider guest base.

Of course, rates of Dh200 or thereabouts will always help.

We introduce promotions that apply to all – including office rooms, long-stay rates or family staycation deals

- Paul Bridger of Rove