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Dubai takes lead in Arab hotel expansion efforts

11 May 2006

The Middle East continues to be one the world's most rapidly developing regions. Caterer exclusively reveals some the region's latest projects.

Trump teams with Nakheel

Iconic US real estate developer Donald Trump Jnr has teamed up with Dubai investment company Nakheel to create the centrepiece for Dubai's Palm Jumeirah Island - a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. Located on the "trunk" of the palm, the 48-storey, $600m (£323m) Trump International Hotel and Tower was unveiled at the AHIC last week. Built in stainless steel, glass and stone, the development will comprise a 300-bedroom condo hotel, 360 freehold residential apartments, offices, restaurants, entertainment, gyms, health clubs, swimming pools and business centres. Trump said: "In designing the property, we focused on creating a magnet for tourists and residents, and a landmark icon on the Dubai skyline." Work on the project is set to begin later this year and is scheduled for completion in 2009. Work starts on The Lagoons Work has started on a £10b waterfront project, the Lagoons, in the Dubai Creek region. The mixed-use development, including five-star hotels, residential units, shopping centres, offices and marinas, will be built on seven landscaped islands linked by bridges. The 70 million sq ft project is one of the first developments in Dubai to have undertaken the Integrated Environmental Impact Assessment, and will be adhering to international standards throughout. Sama Dubai, the real estate and development fund of Dubai Holding, is behind the project, set to complete by 2010. Starke takes on Beirut Iconic designer Philippe Starke's latest and last hotel project is set for the Lebanese capital, Beirut. The hotel, developed by investment bank Al Mawarid Bank, is Starke's only hotel in the region and will be aimed at affluent leisure and business travellers. It will be designed around central gardens, with every room having a garden view. Located in Beirut's up-and-coming downtown area, the development will include 22 serviced apartments to be sold on a fractional ownership basis. Dubai to get Biggest hotel The Bawadi hotel zone, the Dubai government's new £14.8b tourism project, is to include the development of the world's largest hotel. Asia-Asia is set to open in 2010, with 6,500 rooms. The tourism project will also include about 30 further hotels based on themes ranging from the Arabian Desert to the Wild West, as well as a theme park and a leisure complex. Armani moves into hotelsArmani Hotels and Resorts is to open its first hotel in Milan's fashion district by mid-2008. The Italian fashion house's first step into the hotel market will be followed by a second property in Dubai in early 2009, and later by a third hotel-resort in Marrakech. Speaking at the AHIC, Robert Riley, chief executive of Armani Hotels and Resorts, said that the company aimed to be in major urban districts which could sustain the "Armani brand". The Milan project is a 93-bedroom all-suite hotel with spa, recreation facilities and a rooftop restaurant. It is being converted from an office building. The second hotel, in Dubai, will be housed in the tower section of the $20b (£10.8b) Burj Dubai project, expected to be the world's tallest building. Campbell Gray goes eastCampbell Gray Hotels plans to open two new properties in the Middle East. The first, a luxury boutique hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, is currently under construction and will open in spring 2007. The group's fourth luxury hotel will open in Oman in spring 2008. Speaking at the AHIC, founder Gordon Campbell Gray said: "I decided to build and operate hotels only in places where I wanted to wake up. Beirut really is a sexy city, with sexy people and a sexy history." New three-star brand Middle Eastern-based hotel group Rotana hotels has launched a new limited service brand, Centro. This will offer luxury five-star facilities but limited service. Daniel Hajjar, vice-president of sales and marketing for Rotana, said: "We will have what customers need but we won't have the fancy room service of a five-star hotel." Two properties are set to open in Dubai next year and two more are planned for Abu Dhabi. Hajjar said the company was also in negotiations for a further six sites.
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