Breaking Travel News interview: Gail Sangster, assets director, Nakheel
Dubai-based Nakheel is a master-developer whose innovative, landmark projects form an iconic portfolio of master communities and residential, retail, hospitality and leisure developments.
Each is considered pivotal to realising the vision of the city as a destination of tomorrow.
Waterfront projects, including the world-famous, award-winning Palm Jumeirah, have added more than 300-kilometres to the original, 70-kilometre coastline, paving the way for the development of hundreds of seafront homes, resorts, hotels and attractions.
Here Breaking Travel News chats with Gail Sangster, assets director with Nakheel, to find out about what we can expect next.
Breaking Travel News: This is an exciting time for Nakheel, with the opening of the Palm Tower on the Palm Jumeirah. What does that bring to the portfolio?
Gail Sangster: Inspired by a palm tree, the Palm Tower spreads out at the top to form glass leaves and is the only building in Dubai where you can see both the city and the Palm’s skyline.
It is a mixed-used 52-storey tower comprising of world-class attractions such as the St. Regis Hotel the Palm which recently opened as well as Aura Skypool Lounge, a 360-degree infinity pool and Sushisamba, international gastronomy front-runner, both of which are set to open in quarter four of the year.
Moreover, the View at the Palm is situated on the 52nd floor and is the highest vantage point on Palm Jumeirah stretching 240 metres high.
It is the first-ever panoramic observation deck in Palm Jumeirah that offers an uninterrupted, 360-degree views of the island, the Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline.
More than just a view, it offers a multi-faceted and immersive experience that takes visitors on an interactive journey behind the rich history of Palm Jumeirah.
BTN: With both Raffles and St. Regis opening properties on the Palm this year, you are seeing a real vote of confidence in the future of the project?
GS: Absolutely, the successful launch of the St. Regis Hotel and the upcoming launch of Raffles the Palm have paved the way to an exciting pipeline of projects as Palm Jumeirah continues to expand its portfolio by launching unique hospitality and food and beverage concepts.
BTN: How would you describe the mood in Dubai tourism as we enter the second half of 2021? Is it fair to say the destination is on the road to recovery?
GS: With United Arab Emirate’s strong vaccination drive and the highly anticipated Expo 2020, there has been a noticeable increase in consumer confidence which has contributed to the recovery of the retail sector as well as tourism.
We have also seen an unparalleled increase in domestic tourism with many residents opting for staycations due to travel restrictions.
In addition, due to the work from home scheme, we have seen a sustained increase of long-term visits from tourists who are selecting a region as a temporary home.
The UAE in particular has been leading the way and has been singled out as the most popular tourist destination for 2021.
In the past month, Nakheel Malls has successfully launched the View at the Palm, a 360-degree observation deck overseeing Palm Jumeirah, and officially opened Circle Mall, the first-of-its-kind community mall in JVC.
The positive reception from UAE residents and the growing number of visitors to these destinations is indicative of consumer optimism and a willingness to explore new experiences.
BTN: Dubai has been working tirelessly to vaccinate citizens against Covid-19, and Nakheel has been doing its part, inoculating staff. Where do we stand with that?
GS: Nakheel is in-line with the government’s initiative in vaccinating the UAE population and ensuring we are taking measures to control the virus as much as possible, which is why we have taken the decision to vaccinate all our employees.
So far, we have successfully managed to vaccinate 86 per cent of Nakheel employees.
BTN: What else have we got to look forward to from Nakheel this year? What projects are on the horizon that really catch the eye?
GS: In terms of dining, we have new openings of international and local restaurants at the Pointe, Club Vista Mare and Palm West Beach, the most recent of which are Rumba and Myrra by Opa at Club Vista Mare.
Some of our upcoming projects include the launch of Aura SkyPool Lounge on level 50 of the Palm Tower, as well as Sushismaba, a tri-cultural blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines on level 51.
Another exciting upcoming project is the Palm Monorail, the only public transportation system on Palm Jumeirah for residents, visitors and tourists, and one of the most iconic ways to explore all its destinations, opening its fifth station at the Pointe later this year.
To find out all the latest from master-developer Nakheel, head over to the official website.