Category Archives: Hotels

A look at how DAMAC Towers by paramount will look when completed in 2015

‘DAMAC Towers by Paramount’ Brings Hollywood Glamour to Middle East Living and Hospitality

From ‘The Godfather’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and ‘Titanic’, Paramount Pictures has become synonymous with entertainment and above all creativity, and today the brand stands for more – adventure and escape. Now, in its 101st year, the global launch of ‘DAMAC Towers by Paramount’ in Dubai marks the company’s first venture into the hotel and real estate industry.

DAMAC's Ziad El Chaar with Thomas van Vliet, Chief Executive Officer from Paramount Hospitality afte ...

DAMAC’s Ziad El Chaar with Thomas van Vliet, Chief Executive Officer from Paramount Hospitality after the announcement this morning at ITB in Berlin

In an exclusive partnership with DAMAC Properties, the leading luxury private developer in the Middle East, and Paramount Hotel & Resorts (PHR-FZ-LLC), the official licensee of Paramount, ‘DAMAC Towers by Paramount’, will comprise a 540 key Paramount Hotel & Residences and more than 1,400 units of DAMAC Maison – Paramount co-branded serviced hotel residences located in the heart of the downtown Burj Khalifa area in Dubai, a new tourism hotspot.

The US$ 1 billion ‘DAMAC Towers by Paramount’ is currently under construction, and once completed by the end of 2015, will provide enviable views of the world tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa and provide easy access to one of the world’s largest shopping malls, The Dubai Mall. This area welcomed more than 65 million visitors in 2012, an increase of over 20 percent compared to 2011. The number is more than the amount of annual tourists to New York City (52 million).

Speaking at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show, in order to launch the project to the global travel market, DAMAC Properties Managing Director, Ziad El Chaar, said: “The history, glamour and tradition of the movies indirectly transcend every element of the design and ethos of this aspirational project. We will employ the same, tried and tested production process, pioneered by Paramount Pictures at the studio, to direct, design and detail a world-class experience. The Paramount brand stands for more than exceptional film and entertainment: it’s an inviting lifestyle.”

The four towers which make up ‘DAMAC Towers by Paramount’ are brought together with a multi level plaza, offering an eclectic selection of themed food & beverage concepts, meeting & events facilities, a screening room, wellness & fitness centres, swimming pools, kids club, retail, and merchandise all featuring the Paramount brand or select partner brands. Each tower stretches over 250 metres into the air.

One tower will comprise of the Paramount Hotel & Residences with the remaining three towers, housing the DAMAC Maison – Paramount co-branded serviced Hotel Residences.

“Most people know the famous Paramount Pictures logo, with the mountain and 22 stars, and they also watched many of the iconic movies the studio produced. The hotels, resorts and residences produced by PHR FZ-LLC will be developed using the creative process honed over Paramount’s 100 year history. Warm service, design, entertainment, food, beverage and spa concepts will combine magically to mark a new chapter for the brand and to set a rare standard in luxury hospitality,” said Thomas van Vliet, Chief Executive Officer, PHR FZ-LLC.

The serviced Hotel residences will feature fully-fitted kitchens and services that also include valet parking, concierge, housekeeping, in-room beauty treatments, a child minding service and kids club. In addition owners can elect to add their residence in the ‘rental pool’ whilst they are away, allowing for rental returns to be generated.

DAMAC Properties has completed 37 buildings to date with 7,817 units and has a further 66 buildings at various stages of progress across the Middle East and North Africa region. These consist of 12,100 units.

Paramount Hotels & Resorts is a lifestyle hospitality company that celebrates the power of creativity in all its forms – entertainment, design, service, cuisine, wellness, and technology – to meet the needs of the new creative spirits of discerning luxury travellers.

Further information is available at www.damacproperties.com or by visiting the Paramount Hotels & Resorts stand at ITB Berlin from 6-10 March 2013 at Hall Nine, Stand 317.

DAMAC Properties launches projects in Dubai Marina and Riyadh with FENDI Casa

DAMAC Properties Partners with FENDI Casa on Projects in Dubai and KSA

During an exclusive global launch in Dubai this morning, DAMAC Properties announced a major regional strategic tie-up with luxury global brand FENDI, to provide interior designs on projects in Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.

The largest private luxury developer in the Middle East revealed details of DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments, a 150 metre high tower overlooking the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh, which will provide refined luxurious interiors by the Italian fashion house for more than 100 luxury serviced apartments.

The two companies will also partner on the interiors for exclusive private apartments in DAMAC Residenze in the Dubai Marina.

The concept of continuity between building and interior space guides the ventures. The two projects are not only furnished with distinctive pieces from the FENDI Casa collection: the whole of the interior design is conceived by FENDI.

The state-of-the-art projects, which are currently under construction and set to be completed in 2016, will provide the highest standards of refinement.

“DAMAC Properties is thrilled to be working with FENDI to take the standards of luxury home living in the Middle East to a new level,” said Hussain Sajwani, Chairman, DAMAC Properties. “Together we can bring an experience to the market which the region is yet to see. It is a perfect synergy between two visionary companies looking to reach the pinnacle of luxury living.”

“DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments in Riyadh are being made available by invitation and pre-approval to a limited number of VIP’s only, reflecting the quality and refinement on offer. We believe these will be the most desirable serviced apartments available anywhere in the Middle East,” he added.

“FENDI is a luxury house, based on the fearless exploration and experimentation of luxury handicraft and strong appreciation of sophisticated materials. The Riyadh and Dubai projects are a perfect example of our poly-sensorial, three-dimensional approach to making beautiful things,” said FENDI Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari.

Mr. Sajwani was joined at the launch by Ms. Carla Fendi, Honorary President of FENDI and the Italian Ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Giorgio Starace, at a press conference in the Dubai International Financial Centre this morning.

“The partnership between DAMAC Properties and FENDI marks an important step forward in the growth of ‘Made in Italy’ in the United Arab Emirates,” said Mr. Starace. “FENDI is an iconic Italian brand, loved across the world for quality and style. With its sophisticated, top level quality standards it will contribute remarkably to spread the most exclusive Italian luxury tradition in the UAE. The two magnificent projects that FENDI and DAMAC Properties will develop in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE reflect a clear trend of ‘Made in Italy’ abroad, especially in this country, a successful trend which is more and more oriented at targeting the highest echelons of the market, offering top level products that represent the best of Italian culture, tradition and know-how.”

Each project has a specific and distinct identity. A subtle dialogue with the surrounding place makes the local atmosphere, culture and climate immediately palpable. DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments in Riyadh is a contemporary FENDI space inspired by Oriental tradition. The project will be managed by DAMAC’s own Hospitality division, a five-star hotel and personal service Management Company to provide the levels of luxury expected of VIP residents.

Whilst operating the serviced apartments within DAMAC Esclusiva, DAMAC will offer owners the personal touch of a VIP luxury 24/7 service, while investors will also be able to benefit from an attractive return on their apartment in the months they do not reside through a rental pool programme.

“The real estate market in both Riyadh and Dubai are again performing strongly, especially in the high-end, luxury sector,” added Sajwani. “We believe there will be a very high level of anticipation for these apartments from nationals and overseas investors.”

Each apartment will be fully designed by FENDI Casa reflecting the authenticity, desirability and uniqueness so strongly associated with FENDI. The reception and lobby areas of both the towers will also be styled by the FENDI Casa team to create a luxurious experience from the moment guest’s step inside.

Both the DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments in Riyadh and DAMAC Residenze in Dubai will include the highest standards of finishing and decor including relaxed spa and swimming pools, gymnasiums, restaurants and cafes.

The DAMAC Residenze apartments in Dubai Marina are available for investment now, while to qualify for the properties in DAMAC Esclusiva Luxury Serviced Apartments in Riyadh, applications can be requested on-line.

FENDI was established in 1925, with the first handbag shop and fur workshop in Via del Plebiscito, Rome. The company is now listed as one of the top ten of the world’s luxury brands according to Millward Brown Optimor’s and has more than 190 boutiques in over 35 countries around the world.

Emaar clients walk away from new property launch in disgust

Repost from Big News Network.com

Emaar, Dubai’s biggest property developor set the emirate on fire on Saturday but not in the way it intended.

The property giant, amidst heavy security, was launching its latest serviced residential apartments tower, proposed for a site opposite the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

After the debacle in September last year when a similar project was launched and hundreds of people camped outside the Emaar sales office for three days to get set, the company announced this time buyers would have to pre-register. What followed was a disaster, with one prominent Dubai real estate agent describing the actions of Emaar as “disgraceful.”

Registration was online and it took place on Wednesday at 10am. Emaar then vetted the applicants, estimated at around 12,000, and allocated tokens to those that had been successful. With 280 apartments on offer the developer it was assumed would have issued 280 tokens, and perhaps a number to offset those clients that didn’t turn up or didn’t proceed to buy an apartment. With approximately 300 to 350 tokens allocated it should have all gone swimmingly.

What the developer didn’t tell clients was that they had issued three lots of tokens. Successful registrants were told they had to be at the Emaar sales office at 8am. When they arrived they found long queues stretching from the front entrance to the three main buildings in the Emaar complex right around the outside of the buildings. The developer issued red, blue and yellow tokens. While the red queue moved swiftly through to the sales office to look over plans, prices and contracts, several hundred, possibly a thousand people, waited outside penned up in long lines for several hours without any communication from Emaar as to what was happening. Trays of Chicken sandwiches and croissants were passed around and bottles of water but there was no-one to tell the throngs what was going on.

Then as it was approaching seven hours in the queues, at about 2.40pm, a crowd marshal got up on her feet, without any amplification, and said the red tokens were up to number 155 and they had yet to start on the blues, and the yellows it seemed may not get a start at all. The Emaar employee stressed that people were welcome to stay but there was little likelihood they would get set. Angry scenes followed as frustrated buyers left in disgust, not so much because they had missed out, but they say because of the way they were treated. Scores were heard muttering, and others making their feelings known more loudly, indicating they would not take part in an Emaar property launch again.

For those that stayed however, in the ever-dwindling queues, and those that had made it inside into the sales office, the worst was yet to come. About 4pm, when the red tokens were up to about 175, an Emaar representative announced all apartments had been sold. There was a complete uproar as angry clients and their agents stormed Emaar personnel seeking an explanation. Agents had been told Emaar was restricting sales of the apartments to one per client, yet before even one third of the tokens had been dealt with all the apartments were gone.

Earlier in the day it had been indicated quotas of apartments had been allocated to each token category, however it appeared at the end of the day only those holding red tokens would get apartments, and clearly the one apartment per client rule didn’t apply to them.

The fact that Emaar may have been abusing their clients, many of whom have been with them for years, some even buying whole floors off them, didn’t seem to register. Management and marketing executives would have been well aware within a couple of hours of opening their doors, if not even before they opened, that there was no prospect of around 900 registrants being able to be dealt with by sales representatives, let alone complete purchases. An Emaar employee when asked about the situation, confirmed the company intended for it to happen this way as they wanted all the hype, and the subsequent publicity about hundreds being turned away. There were even suggestions Emaar limited the number of units on sale, preferring to establish the hype and then sell more units into the open market later.

What may have been deemed to have been a top marketing strategy ultimately turned into a public relations nightmare with more damage being done to the developer’s reputation, notwithstanding it sold whatever number of apartments it intended to. The company may not be so quick to sell the next project. It is unlikely those that took part Saturday, many of which had travelled from all over the UAE, elsewhere in the Gulf and as far away as Iran and Russia, would be lulled into going through a similar exercise again. One prominent real estate agent who did not want to be named said she and her colleagues in the industry were “appalled,” at the way in which Emaar handled the launch, describing it as a “con,” and a “disgrace.”

The developer was also under scrutiny as the emirate’s property regulator, RERA, requires payment programmes for off-the-plan properties to be set commensurate with construction milestones achieved. Emaar however was hitting clients with a 15% up-front payment, followed by a 10% payment in June, and then a 15% instalment when the construction is 10% completed. Investors will therefore have forked out 40% of the cost of their apartments while Emaar, which is state backed, will have only completed 10% of the construction.

The tower itself, The Address Residence Fountain Views comprises 60 floors of one, two, three and four bedroom apartments and penthouses. It will be the only Address property developed by Emaar to date to not include a hotel, however hotel services will be provided to the complex by Emaar’s hotel chain, The Address Hotels and Resorts. The company will also operate a serviced apartments pool in the tower.

Let us know if you had a similar experience at the launch; we would love to hear from you. You can also follow us @DXBPropInvest on Twitter.

The 53-storey towers to be built in the Burj Area

The Distinction – The latest project to hit the luxury Dubai Property Market

DAMAC Properties is the latest luxury developer to step forward with a new project announcement, and The Distinction is set to wow the growing number of people returning to the Dubai Property Market.

A stunning 195 metre, 53-storey, iconic tower overlooking the Burj Area, with views taking in the vista of the Dubai Fountain, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, The Distinction is set for completion early in 2015.

The Distinction will come with 295 luxury serviced hotel apartments, including studios, one, two and three bedrooms. There are also two four bedroom penthouses.

DAMAC Properties has timed the announcement well – with the market on its strongest upward curve in four years. There is a great deal of interest and excitement about the Dubai market at the moment and especially the Burj Area which DAMAC recently described as one of the most desirable locations in the world.

Average prices in Dubai have increased by 14 percent in the first nine months of the year, according to the Reidin Residential Sales Indices, with the rental market also seeing strong growth with yields up as much as 24 percent in prime locations across Dubai according to a recent report by CB Richard Ellis.

DAMAC Properties is certainly focusing on the top-end serviced apartments sector of the market and has recently announced it will have more than 4,000 units of this type under development by the end of next year.

Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties, said: “Luxury projects in prime locations are driving the UAE property resurgence and ‘The Distinction’ will provide the quality of finish and service expected at this end of the market. The serviced hotel apartments at ‘The Distinction’ will offer the highest levels of customer service, luxury and opulence placing it among the premium products DAMAC Properties has on the market today.”

You can experience the views you can expect from The Distinction by checking out this cool time lapse from one of the towers next door.

What do you think of The Distinction? Do you think luxury serviced apartments will take off? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below, or joining us on Twitter, @dxbpropinvest.

Dubai Property Market Price Boost

On the eve of Cityscape Global, the major exhibition for the Dubai property market, a Q3 report has been released which supports the sentiment that prices are increasing across the Emirate.

Real Estate experts Cluttons state that apartment prices have increased by 4.9% across the first nine months of 2012 and the company predicts that the trend is set to continue into the new year.

The numbers were supported by news in the report that rental values had also increased, by as much as 6.8% across the board.

There has been a growing confidence in the Dubai property market throughout 2012 and this is expected to peak at Cityscape Global taking place from 2-4 October at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Many of the leading Dubai developers are expected to announce progress on projects across the Middle East with a big focus on the serviced apartment sector. In line with this, DAMAC Properties, one of the leading luxury developers in the region, has announced it will have 4,000 units under development or management by the end of next year.

The first serviced hotel apartment project to be run under the luxury DAMAC Suites & Spa management arm will be Burjside Boulevard which overlooks the Burj Area and Dubai Mall. The project is expected to complete mid-2013.

Emaar Properties also recently announced its own serviced apartment offering in the same region – The BLVD which will start construction shortly and be ready my mid-2015.

As projects move again and the completion of many projects are set before the end of the year, Cluttons believes that as many as 24,000 units could hit the market in the next few months, tempering somewhat the strong increases that has been experienced in the first three quarters of this year.

According to Dubai government published figures, foreign investors buying real estate were responsible for acquisitions of AED 28.3 billion (USD $7.7 billion) in the first half of 2012, up 36% from the same period last year, giving a strong indication of improved business confidence in the Emirate from global investors.

Dubai Hotel Rates Jump Nearly 60%

Revenue Per Room, or RevPar, in hotels in Dubai has jumped 59.9% in August as international confidence in the emirate continued.

Revenue climbed to US$109.29 as international visitors returned in strong numbers due to the temperature drop and a post-Ramadan resurgence.

The average daily rate (ADR) of a room during August also increased strongly, up 23.7% to US$184.23 according to data just out by STR Global.

“The holy month of Ramadan ended earlier this August compared to August 2011, and performance metrics were positively impacted because of it, showing a 19.6 percent RevPar increase across the Middle East,” Elizabeth Randall Winkle, Managing Director of STR Global told Khaleej Times.

Dubai’s tourism remains a very stronger driver of growth for the Emirate, with 577 hotels in Dubai creating a total number of rooms and serviced apartments at 75,171 according to Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. The STR report states that occupancy in the hotels was running at 82.3 %, the highest in the region.

Occupancy and RevPar rates are expected to remain strong for the rest of the year as the peak exhibition season gets underway, driving international business with tourists coming or pre-Christmas shopping when the weather is at its best.

As reported on this site on 17 September, the serviced apartments sector is set for strong growth in the coming years as Emaar announced its latest project in Downtown Dubai. The BLVD is already reporting strong uptake with the first tranche of properties sold out on the opening day again reflect the interest that remains in the Dubai property market.

With Cityscape underway next week, we expect the serviced hotel apartments sector to take centre stage as a number of the big name developers are expected to announce their managed properties at the show. With many projects coming on line in the early to mid part of next year, there is going to be strong competition for this growing sector.

With the investment opportunities and revenue generation a serviced hotel apartment can generate, especially through high-end, luxury managed properties in prime locations, it’s hardly surprising that there remains huge interest in this sector.

Emaar launches serviced apartments in Downtown Dubai

Just a few days after we put the spotlight on the investment opportunities in the hotel apartments sector in Dubai, Emaar Properties has launched its offering.

‘The Address The BLVD’ is described as a five-star premium hotel and serviced residences featuring 200 hotel rooms and 542 serviced apartments. ‘The Address the BLVD’ will overlook the Dubai fountain, Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.

The hotel is expected to be completed in early to mid 2015 the developer announced, with sales of the studio, one, two and three-bedroom serviced residences launching on 22 September.

The 63-storey hotel will be 340 metres high and will become the second tallest building in the area.

Speaking at the launch, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive of Emaar Retail, said: “The launching of this project is underlining the positive growth of Dubai’s property sector and the robust gains recorded by the city’s tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The announcement falls a couple of weeks before the region’s largest property and real estate exhibition of the year, Cityscape Global, which takes place from 2-4 October 2012 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Conference Centre.

It is expected that other developers will confirm their serviced/hotel apartments products at the show, with many towers already well under construction in the Burj Area and likely to handover their serviced apartment offering to the market early in 2013.

This means that the five-star luxury serviced apartment offering will have been on the market in the same area for more than two years before ‘The Address The BLVD’ will handover to clients.

There is certainly a gap in the Dubai market for serviced apartments with Dubai Tourism stating there were just 200 properties offering this product in the Emirate.

Serviced apartments allow investors to either live in the property themselves, or pass it onto a management company who will rent it out as part of a pooled programme. Owners can choose to live in the property for certain times of the year and rent it out for the remainder making the sector a flexible and lucrative option for investors.

Dubai Property Market Proves a big draw with International Hotel Chains

Dubai International airport has just released its figures for July which shows a 6% increase on last year and the first time monthly traffic has passed five million travelers. The airport remains on target to hit 56.5 million visitors this year and they hope, 98 million by 2020.

With those kind of figures banded around, it is hardly surprising that the International Hotel chains are expanding heavily in the Dubai property market and the Middle East in general.

There are 577 in Dubai at the last count in Q1 of 2012 according to Dubai Tourism and Marketing Commerce (DTCM), but that number is heavily weighted towards the high-end luxury market.

Where the big boys are looking to expand is in the mid to low-end hotels. The cheap and cheerful; allowing visitors from all over the world to experience Dubai without paying through the roof – average Dubai room rates are close to AED 1,000 per night.

The InterContinential Hotels Group (IHG) recently announced that the InterContinental Dubai Marina would open by the end of 2013, but it was what Taras Ettl, Vice President, Development, Middle East and Africa, IHG told Gulf News about its mid-scale properties which caught our eye: “Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are growing at pace, with 50% of our development pipeline across India, Middle East and Africa now made up of these two brands.”

Dubai is certainly in need of more mid-range hotel options, especially in Burj Area and Dubai Marina, where many of the tourist attractions are located, so it is a positive sign that this section of the tourism market is set to be well catered for in the coming years.

In another report this week, Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said that opportunity and private equity funds completed US$ 519 million of select-service hotel purchases this year through July. That’s an increase of 19% year-on-year, again highlighting the strong moves investors are making in the hotel and tourism industry.

It is also an area where developers in the Dubai property market are turning their attention in a big way in the coming years. While the majority of real estate clients don’t have the cash to set up, manage and operate an independent hotel chain, a hotel or serviced apartment in a managed tower is certainly an attractive way of getting into this lucrative market.

Dubai currently has just 200 serviced apartments, suggesting this is also an undersupplied opportunity, but there are many more coming online. DAMAC Properties only recently reported that Burjside Boulevard, a luxury hotel apartment tower over looking Dubai Mall in the Burj Area, will complete in Q1 of 2013. The company added that they are targeting 4,000 ‘key’s’ under the management of its new arm, ‘DAMAC Suites & Spa’ which will manage its serviced apartments division.

The huge benefit here falls not just to speculators, but to the many people who own a property in Dubai but stay in it just a couple of months each year. For the remainder owners can benefit from a rental pool scheme whereby their property is rented out and managed by DAMAC Suites & Spa.

The opportunity to get into and benefit from the hotel industry has never been easier in Dubai and will certainly catch the eye of many investors. With the capital growth adding to the rental returns we expect quite a few people to switch their portfolio to be more heavily weighted to this sector, rather than the money markets which are sitting relatively stagnant.

Family enjoying serviced apartments in Dubai

Dubai Hotel Rates on the rise

Dubai hotel room rates continued to rise in July despite a fall off of occupancy during the summer and Ramadan.

According to the latest HotStats survey of full service hotels by TRI Hospitality Consulting the average room rate in Dubai and Abu Dhabi increased by 6.4 per cent to US$188.51 in July 2012, compared to the same period in June.

However, occupancy levels in Dubai fell 11 percent to 70 percent during the same period the report stated.

Dubai Statistics Centre has also recently reported that nearly four million guests stayed in Dubai hotels in the first six months of this year.

There are currently 577 hotels in with the total number of rooms and serviced apartments at 75,171 according to Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

The hotel industry in Dubai is worth US$10.9 billion according to DTCM and is a driver in attracting international tourists and businesses to the Emirate.

Individual investors who traditionally have turned to the Dubai property market have been looking to tap into the hotel sector for a while, but the price point and heavy competition from international chains has made this impossible for all but the very wealthy.

Despite the large number of luxury hotels in Dubai, there are just 200 serviced apartment buildings. This is one area, however, where investors can purchase an apartment within the complex and either rent it themselves or hand it to a management company who will rent it as part of a pool.

Many of Dubai’s tourists come from the GCC where the number of family members is quite high relative to the international average. These families are often looking for more of a homely feel when travelling, instead of paying through the roof for three or four hotel rooms.

The number of serviced apartments is set to grow in the coming years as demand for five-star luxury within a private space increases. DAMAC Properties is already looking to diversify into this area and have stated that they will have 4,000 rooms under development for management by its DAMAC Suites & Spa arm by the end of next year.

Its first serviced apartment building, Burjside Boulevard, will handover in Q1 2013.

As more tourists flock to Dubai – Dubai International airport welcomed nearly 28 million passengers in the first six months of 2012 – demand for hotel accommodation, and the opportunities to invest in this sector will only increase.