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Dubai Hotels Improving their Product to Justify
High Room Rates; Condominium Hotels Next
Growth Sector in Dubai

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Dubai, May 2005: Senior management at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina have pointed to an increase in product and service offering as “critical” to ensure continued high room rates in Dubai are justified.

While most hotels in Dubai had a bumper year in 2004, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi led the way with a 37 per cent increase in revenue in 2004. 
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Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
The Beach Road, c/o Dubai Int Marine Club
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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The first-quarter figures for 2005 continue to bear out this rise: revenue went up 39 per cent compared to the same period in 2004, with occupancy up, and room rate up 62 per cent.

Karen Hardcastle, director of business development for the lifestyle resort, said: “While 2004 was a bumper year in terms of revenue, we can sustain this level of growth for another 48 months until the next crop of five-star hotels come on stream.

“The hotel registered a 11 per cent rise in occupancy, where levels never fell below 90 per cent, at a 45 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue per available room (revpar).”

Hardcastle pointed out that smart hotel operators will use the current boom to reinvest in their properties. She said: “An increase in product and service offering will continue to ensure a balanced marketplace, where rooms continue to be available at rates compatible with the international market.”

A number of extensions and refinements have come on stream recently, including a new spa, Solesenses by Clarins; a new seafood and sushi restaurant, The Dhow, and Bussola to open shortly.

The resort has signed an exclusive agreement with the French-based beauty house Clarins to operate Solesenses. The spa, with four treatment rooms, has been designed with an "aqua" feel as it overlooks the Marina and the Arabian Gulf. 

Adding to the resort’s lifestyle facilities is Jacques Caluwé's JeeCee Wellbeing Centre. Caluwé has built his career as a sports therapist and physiotherapist, treating former tennis star Michael Chang among others. 

Turning to food & beverage offering, the resort will add two new restaurants to its existing portfolio of four. 

The Dhow, berthed in the marina, is a seafood and sushi speciality restaurant. On the upper deck you can enjoy drinks al fresco while enjoying the views of the marina and the sea. The lower deck seats up to 50 people for dinner with an intimate atmosphere. 

Bussola, which is scheduled to open in June, is a trendy two-storey Italian restaurant, lounge and bar, located on the waterfront overlooking the Palm. The bistro on the ground floor seats up to 170 people; the open-air terrace and lounge upstairs – complete with in-house DJ – hosts up to 130 people.

Meanwhile, the key selling points of Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, continue to be the beach and marina.

The hip lifestyle resort, with 1,200 metres of private beach and marina, has long been the pioneer of this approach, which reaches through its sport, recreation and entertainment facilities, and into the resort’s “personality”, which has been dubbed ‘the Mina effect”.

Condominiums Tipped for Regional Hotel Sector
 

Condominium hotels and residential apartments managed by hotels, in the Dubai market in particular, are the next growth sector in the region, according to Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts.

According to Mark Neem, vice president, director of design, construction, engineering and information technology for the hotel group, space is a key issue in the premium sector.

“Architecture does not sell rooms, but


Mark Neem
size can,” he said.  “If you build rooms of between 45 to 55 sq metres, you are set for the future: anyone trying to go one better has to go bigger, but then the economics do not make sense,” he said.

Given this essential building block, Neem said that other trends in hotel design would see more technology, more luxury, and a faster turn-round in restaurant concepts.

“Hotels have to be flexible now, planning for a constant evolution of their product rather than a ‘one size fits all and will last forever’ ethos, and now we have to design by strategy.

“Form follows function in the world of hotels, but in the Middle East region we have traditionally found that this maxim is reversed, with disastrous results. There is an urgent need for more urban planning too, with thought given to the overall look of cities and more ‘elbow’ room around tower buildings,” he said.

For the future, Neem said he expected to see condo hotels become the next trend in the hospitality sector, particularly in cities with high demand such as Dubai. “If these types of hotels were to be built, frequent corporate or even leisure visitors would have access to guaranteed room availability, but make money from rentals when they are not here.

“It’s already happening in cities such as New York, and given the speed of development in Dubai, it would be a natural progression for the hospitality industry here,” he concluded.

Finally, Neem indicated that design was becoming central to hotel plans in the region, especially Dubai, with the growth of lifestyle properties such as the group’s upcoming Grosvenor House West Marina Beach by Le Meridien putting real emphasis on concept and interiors across all areas of the hotel.



London-based Le Méridien is a global hotel group with a portfolio of more than 130 luxury and upscale hotels in 56 countries worldwide. The majority of its properties are located in the world's top cities and resorts throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.  The company also enjoys a strategic alliance with JAL-owned Nikko Hotels, providing loyal guests access to an additional 46 properties around the world. 
Contact:

Julia Clark
Corporate PR Director
Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
Tel: +44 (0)207 150 7737
julia.clark@lemeridien.com

Sietske Meerloo
PR manager
Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
Tel: +971 4 3993333
pr@lemeridien-minaseyahi.com
www.lemeridien.com

Also See: Giant Leap In Dubai, 31 Hotels Being Built or Confirmed for Future Construction / May 2004
Philippe Rossiter, Chief Executive of HCIMA Says Dubai Will Need a Minimum of 30,000 Hospitality Employees in Next Three Years / March 2005


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