Wafi Group, the Dubai-based diversified business conglomerate, will invest more than USD 140 million in its first luxury hotel project which will be managed and operated by award-winning hospitality chain Raffles International Limited (RIL).
'Raffles Dubai' also marks the Singapore-based group's first foray into the Middle East and further expands its global presence to 41 hotels and resorts in 35 destinations.
Conceived in a stunning signature pyramid shape by lead architects Arif & Bin Toak, the 240-room Raffles Dubai will be a prominent landmark when completed in 2007. It will have 188 well-appointed guest rooms and 52 luxurious suites, nine food and beverage outlets, a grand ballroom, seven meeting rooms, a Raffles Amrita Spa, a gymnasium and a Raffles merchandise shop. The interiors of the hotel will be designed by the Dubai-based LW Design.
The hotel complex will also house 242,000 sq. ft. of retail space spread over two floors and consisting of 91 shops and a large department store. It will be located at Wafi City, facing Sheikh Zayed Road and be an extension to the existing Mall.
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 said, '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.'
'Distinction and differentiation are core values of Wafi City and the association with RIL is in line with our overall brand essence of ensuring customers and guests can experience luxury with a Middle Eastern touch.'
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 conglomerate in Dubai, has entrusted us to manage their first luxury hotel.'
Site excavation work by the project's main contractors, Khansaheb Civil Engineering LLC, is already underway and hotel construction will start in May.
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.'
Ian Wiedersheim, Managing Director, MKM Commercial Holdings LLC said,
'Raffles Hotels & Resorts will greatly strengthen Wafi City's already expansive destination offering and the linking of these two prestigious brands creates a synergy which cannot be other than highly successful.'