Raffles set to make Mid East debut with landmark property in Dubai

Raffles International Limited, the Singapore-based luxury hotel chain, announced its impending arrival in the Middle East ahead of Arabian Travel Market last month. Partnering the Wafi Group in a US $140 million project at the conglomerate’s Egyptian-themed Wafi City in Dubai, the hotel group is set to make its Middle East debut with a landmark property in 2007.

  • E-Mail
By  Robbie Greenfield Published  May 30, 2005

Raffles International Limited, the Singapore-based luxury hotel chain, announced its impending arrival in the Middle East ahead of Arabian Travel Market last month. Partnering the Wafi Group in a US $140 million project at the conglomerate’s Egyptian-themed Wafi City in Dubai, the hotel group is set to make its Middle East debut with a landmark property in 2007. Construction began last month on the 240-room hotel, which will adhere to Wafi’s trademark theme by featuring a pyramid design, conceived by architects Arif Bin Toak. Divided into 188 guest rooms and 52 luxury suites, the property will also house nine food and beverage outlets, a grand ballroom, seven meeting rooms, a Raffles Amrita spa, a gymnasium and a merchandise shop. Local company LW Design will undertake the interior design. Egyptian elements will be maintained in public areas such as the lobby, but Raffles intends to stamp its own signature on the venture, as well as accommodate Wafi’s unique style. “Establishing a presence in Dubai has always been one of Raffles International’s major goals,” says Jennie Chua, chairman, Raffles International Limited. “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 has entrusted us to manage their first luxury hotel,” Chua adds. MKM Commercial Holdings, the owners of Wafi City, will have exclusive ownership of the hotel, although Raffles International will manage it independently. “It’s really the operator that brings a hotel to life. That is why we are so pleased to be working with Raffles,” says Brian Hayes, deputy chairman, MKM. Internationally, the Raffles brand caters predominantly for luxury leisure travellers, and Chua anticipates the same market at Raffles Dubai. “At 60 square metres our rooms are 33% bigger on average than Dubai’s other five star properties, putting an emphasis on luxury travel,” she adds. “Having said that, we have a range of facilities, including meeting, banquet and conferencing functions, that will accommodate corporate guests, who comprise about 10% of Raffles’ market.” As international chains begin to introduce their mid-tier brands to the region, the arrival of Raffles, as well as Four Seasons at Dubai Festival City, gives a renewed sense of vigour to the very top hospitality bracket. Chua, for one, welcomes the competition. “Sometimes it is healthy to have several luxury hotels in a city, providing a critical mass that attracts people by raising the profile of the destination internationally. Success breeds more success,” she claims.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code