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Live From ATM: Dubai Festival City Redefines Hospitality

Dubai Festival City, the 1,600 acre ‘city-within-a-city’ being built on the banks of Dubai Creek, has announced that it will host the Middle East’s largest hospitality cluster under one project, one ownership and with the highest level of connectivity comprising more than 2,500 rooms spread throughout hotels, a convention centre, timeshare resorts and more facilities planned for the future.
The news came at Arabian Travel Market, the Middle East’s premier travel and tourism event, where Dubai Festival City revealed that three of the world’s leading hospitality operators have been appointed to manage hotels and a convention centre at the expansive waterfront destination with more to come.

‘Even more properties - a 300 room boutique hotel and a 300 room budget hotel - are on the drawing board and negotiations with potential operators are already under way,’ said David Glanville-Williams, Managing Director, Dubai Festival City.

In addition a 300 apartment timeshare resort is planned and negotiations with potential operators are well advanced.

‘We are in talks with a leading international hospitality operator to manage this large and specialised opportunity which will be unique in its accessibility to our main Festival Centre retail and entertainment hub and its proximity to the magnificent water frontage of Dubai Creek,’ added David Glanville-Williams.

‘Timeshare is a relatively new concept within the Middle East, although well known in Europe and North America, and is one of the fastest-growing segments of the hospitality industry. It is now a crucial element of any destination claiming to serve the needs of the entire hospitality industry. Our aim is to deliver the most exclusive timeshare proposition in the region’.


‘The diversity of our offering, in one single project with the highest degree of connectivity delivers an all-in-one destination for leisure, business and entertainment.’

Dubai Festival City also announced that the Crowne Plaza is the latest operator to be appointed to manage a property at the destination.

The Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City, due to open in January 2007, will have 318 rooms catering to the business travellers, and is being built at a cost of AED 250 million.

‘The addition of Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City to our vibrant hospitality portfolio brings another dimension to our offering and further solidifies Dubai Festival City’s reputation as a leading hospitality destination,’ said Marwan Shehadeh, Director of Finance, Dubai Festival City.

The Crowne Plaza appointment follows on recent announcements of Dubai Festival City management agreements with Four Seasons and InterContinental. In all, the three leading operators will manage a hub offering world-class amenities including more than 2,500 rooms and high-end conference settings.

Scheduled to open in 2007, Four Seasons Dubai Festival City, which is the luxury hotelier’s first property in the UAE, will have 300 rooms and 40 villas, a destination spa, five restaurants and a range of conference and banqueting facilities.

In addition, Four Seasons Golf & Country Club at Dubai Festival City will open early in 2007. It will include the magnificent 18-hole golf course, designed by master golf course architect Robert Trent Jones II, which opened for pay and play in February this year. The country club will also include exclusive clubhouse and associated facilities, tennis and squash courts as well as beauty, spa, massage and wellness rooms. Facilities design is under way and will reflect the superior standards for which Four Seasons is internationally recognised.

‘This partnership with the prestigious Four Seasons brand is a significant development for Dubai Festival City and lives up to our overall strategy of bringing new brands into the UAE’s hospitality equation,’ said Shehadeh.

‘The brand is already regarded in the region as offering the finest personalised service and luxury accommodation. By selecting Dubai Festival City for its first venture into the UAE, Four Seasons is expressing its confidence in both the development and in the importance of Dubai as a global business and leisure travel and tourism destination’.

The final instalment of the Four Seasons project offering, Four Seasons Residence Club villas, a total of 40 two to five bedroom villas will give guests access to both the Four Seasons Hotel and the Four Seasons Golf & Country Club.

Meanwhile, foundation work is already advanced on the iconic convention hotel InterContinental Dubai Festival City, being built at a cost of more than AED 600 million on the north-west peninsula of the 150-berth Festival Marina. The hotel, which will open in the January 2007, will have 424 rooms, a 4,500 square metre convention centre and will include 70 serviced apartments. InterContinental will also manage an additional 195 InterContinental Residence - stylish hi-rise apartments with stunning waterfront views. These will be rented on yearly leases and will give tenants access to the InterContinental hotel and Dubai Festival City’s world-class leisure, retail and entertainment facilities.
The InterContinental Convention Centre, which will be complete in the first quarter of 2007, will be a major addition to the UAE’s and the region’s MICE offering with a state-of-the-art conference complex with a capacity for up to 4,000 guests and delegates.

‘A key advantage of this facility is its proximity to Dubai International Airport - just two kilometres away - and with all Dubai Festival City’s business and leisure amenities just a walk away and in a down-town setting,’ said Shehadeh. ‘There’s no dashing across cities to attend conferences and rushing back in an evening before leaving again for social functions - everything will be in one hub’ added Shehadeh.

‘While the previous maxim of the hospitality industry may have been location, location, location - we believe we are transforming this with a paradigm shift to connectivity, connectivity, connectivity.’

Outside of accommodation and convention facilities, Dubai Festival City’s hospitality cluster will be at the heart of the development, back dropped by the destination’s Festival Centre retail and entertainment hub, and adjacent to its 150-berth, Mediterranean-style, Festival Marina.

‘One of the unique aspects of Dubai Festival City’s hospitality and entertainment offerings is the connectivity between all the relevant components. Visitors and residents will be able to walk throughout the hotels and the giant Festival Centre - a 2.6 million square foot retail, entertainment destination - with ease and in the comfort of air-conditioned walkways,’ explained Phil McArthur, Director Leasing & Marketing, Dubai Festival City.

‘This huge all-in-one destination will have a completely unmatched hospitality offering provided by some of the world’s leading hotel chains - all within close proximity of each other. These diverse offerings, which will cover the needs of the business and leisure traveller and various price points, the MICE sector, and the daily visitor to Dubai Festival City, will be complimented by the unrivalled Creekside setting.’

This waterfront complex will provide the best of hospitality, retail, entertainment and community facilities and with some 11,000 car parking spaces, the highest parking ratio in Dubai.

‘This unique offering and range goes far beyond the standard retail centre and is designed to suit an increasingly demanding, discerning and sophisticated 21st century consumer who wants wide choice, flexibility and convenience all in one place,’ said McArthur.

Giving life to a new downtown café culture, the Festival Centre will host 450 shops and 70 restaurants and cafes, many facing the waterfront in a Riviera-style setting. Renowned and new-to-market food and beverage outlets will be found in three themed pavilions strategically located between a Canal Walk and the Festival Marina ensuring waterfront views for all.