Breaking Travel News

Raffles Gets a Foothold in Dubai

Raffles International has signed a management contract with Dubai-based diversified business conglomerate, Wafi Group, to manage a 240-room luxury hotel in Wafi City, one of Dubai’s most exclusive shopping and dining destinations.  Slated for completion in 2007, Raffles Dubai marks the Group’s expansion into the growing Middle East market and increases its global presence to 41 hotels and resorts in 21 countries in 35 destinations. Commonly known as “Pearl of the Gulf” and “shopping capital of the Middle East”, Dubai is both a dynamic international business centre and a vibrant tourist destination.  Host to an average of 85 major international exhibitions each year, Dubai’s burgeoning exhibitions industry plays a major role in attracting business and leisure tourists.
The Government’s vision is to increase tourist numbers to 10 million per annum by 2010.  To achieve this, mega developments and tourist attractions such as Dubai Land, a US$5 billion adventure theme leisure park, and Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, are being built.
Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman, Raffles International Limited said, “Establishing a presence in Dubai has always been one of Raffles International’s major goals.  With the signing of the contract to manage Raffles Dubai, we are pleased to welcome the latest addition to our collection of luxury Raffles hotels and resorts known for exceptional standards of hospitality and service.  Raffles Dubai, with its unique architectural structure, magnificent design and ideal location, is well positioned to cater to the affluent business and leisure traveller.  We are honoured that Wafi Group, one of the most esteemed business conglomerates in Dubai, has entrusted us to manage their first luxury hotel.”
Sheikh Mana bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, Chairman, MKM Commercial Holdings LLC, which owns Wafi City, said, “The deal has further enhanced Wafi’s integral role in the advancement of Dubai’s world-renowned hospitality and tourism infrastructure.  Raffles Dubai will add yet another luxury hospitality brand to the emirate’s growing deluxe property portfolio and contribute to the fulfillment of the government’s vision to establish Dubai as a major global tourism destination.”
Raffles Dubai will adjoin the Wafi City, an exclusive multi-use lifestyle complex comprising high-end retail shopping, themed food and beverage outlets, and leisure facilities.  Within a 15-minutes’ drive from the Dubai International Airport, the hotel will be located next to the Dubai Health Care City, a US$500 million project slated for completion in 2010 to promote Dubai as a global hub for specialised healthcare, medical education and research. 
Built in the form of a stunning pyramidal structure, the 240-room Raffles Dubai promises to be a prominent landmark upon its completion in 2007.  The hotel will have 188 well-appointed guest rooms and 52 luxurious suites, nine food and beverage outlets, a grand ballroom, seven meeting rooms, a RafflesAmrita Spa, a gym and a Raffles merchandise shop.  One of the hotel’s unique features will be the impressive one-hectare sky garden called “Sparkling Botanical Sky-garden”. 

Conceptualised by Singapore Garden City Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based landscape architectural company, the garden is a botanical display of various plants depicting the four Greek elements of fire, wind, earth and water by use of colour, texture and form.  The centrepiece of the garden is the “Eye of Horus” - a symbol of ancient Egyptian religion and guardian of the four elements of life - whereby different species of orchids will be exhibited. 
Mr Ian Wiedersheim, Managing Director, MKM Commercial Holdings L.L.C., added, “Raffles Hotels & Resorts will greatly strengthen Wafi City’s already attractive destination offering and the linking of these two prestigious brands creates a synergy which cannot be other than highly successful.”
Mr Peter Henley, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Raffles International Limited, commented, “As Dubai’s prominence as the regional hub for commerce and tourism in the Middle East increases, there will be greater demand for accommodation to cater to the growing number of business and leisure visitors.  Raffles Dubai is well poised to tap on the growth trend in this key gateway city.”
Last week, the Group had just signed an agreement in another major city to manage two of the four blocks of the Beijing Hotel under its luxury Raffles brand.