Archives for category: Middle East

A new report from Colliers International Hotels suggests one of the key strengths of the serviced apartment business model in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar is its versatility to change the target market profile between long and short stay to suit market conditions and maximize revenue.

Brand strength is a strong driver of serviced apartment demand with GDS, direct bookings, and hotel website bookings accounting for 40% of total bookings. A strong brand with a regional presence and strong online capabilities is essential to help and drive sales in all three markets, according to Colliers.

Here is Colliers summary of market conditions for the serviced apartment segment in the UAE, KSA and Qatar:

The first six months of 2013 has seen positive growth for serviced apartment occupancy levels in the UAE. During this period, occupancy levels have increased by 8.2% in Dubai, 5.5% in Abu Dhabi, and 20.3% in Sharjah. This sharp increase in Sharjah is indicative of an improving market after years of stagnation, although this has come at the cost of the average rate. Market potential: 2,836 units over and above the forthcoming supply across Dubai and Abu Dhabi between 2013 and 2017.

serviced apartment Dubai

There is a considerable gap between the locally branded furnished apartment supply and internationally branded serviced apartments such as inconsistent service standards, poor construction standards and a lack of ancillary facilities. As such only ‘first class’ furnished apartments can be considered to be competitive with internationally branded serviced apartments. Market Potential: 6,495 units over and above the forthcoming supply between 2013 and 2017. The primary scope for development of these units are in the Province of Makkah, which contains the two key cities of Makkah and Jeddah.

The vast majority of serviced apartments are located in Doha, of which 79% of the total unit stock is currently classified in the ‘deluxe’ category and 21% is classified in the ‘standard’ category. Whereas serviced apartments in the UAE mainly target short stay guests as a means to maximize revenue, this is not the case in Doha, in which the long stay segment represents 74% of total demand. Market potential: 525 serviced apartment units over and above the forthcoming supply between 2013 and 2017.



The Middle East is a global business hub between east and west, and with a quarter of all Fortune 500 companies now present in the region, the demand for extended stay accommodation is on the rise.

While local brands and independently-run operations have been around for some time now, international brands have realised the lucrative opportunity this segment offers – and are racing to capitalise upon it.

“Serviced apartments are predominantly driven by two elements,” says Christopher Hewett, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting, “the length of stay, and the requirements of people who choose to stay there. People generally choose serviced apartments because they will be requiring them for a longer period of time.”
Marc Descrozaille, regional director – UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Carlson Rezidor, says serviced apartments, also referred to as serviced residences or hotel apartments, appeal to corporate clientele because of the space they offer.carlson Rezidor
“This product is extremely well positioned for this segment of clientele. Compared to being in a 35 m² room in a hotel or a 55m² room for the same price, it’s a no brainer,” he points out

In the GCC, serviced apartments also make more economical sense for large families taking long breaks.

IHG chief operating officer for India, Middle East and Africa, Pascal Gauvin observes: “Economic growth is leading to increased leisure holidays within the region as people travel to enjoy new facilities and attractions. In particular, the preference in this region for travelling in family groups drives demand for apartment style suites, which can accommodate these groups.”
While the size of the apartment and cost effectiveness are key factors in the decision-making process, the location of the property is also important for long stay guests.

“The most important part is actually the practicality of the apartment,” insists director of The Residences: W Doha, Rony Sahyouni. “Not only the indoor practicality of the apartment and facilities, but the location as well of the hotel or the residence, compared to the market.W Doha





it is centrally located, with shopping malls and business towers near it, it becomes a more convenient option for guests and they have to spend less time and money thinking about renting cars or worrying about transport.”

Length of stay differs between the business and leisure serviced apartment market, making it difficult to pin down the average number of guest nights. While families on holidays book apartments for anywhere from five to 15 nights, executives can choose to stay for several months, depending on their requirements, the project they are working on, and convenience.

“Usually, 40 to 50% of our guests will be long-stay residents who will be here for one month; some of them will stay for a year, and the majority will be with us for three to six months. Many of these people will be working on projects.
On the other hand, you get short-stay guests, and they will stay five to seven nights, usually coming to Dubai with their family for one week and they would typically stay for five nights and above,” says Rezidor’s Descrozaille, which runs Radisson Blu residences in the region.

There have also been cases where certain properties have hosted guests for more than three years. The Residence: W Doha, for instance, has had guests stay with them since they opened in 2009.

Rafal Real Estate Development will develop the 230-unit property, located near the King Abdullah Financial District.

Ascott Olaya Riyadh

Chong Kee Hiong, CEO, Ascott, said: “Saudi Arabia offers strong opportunities for serviced residences. It is the biggest economy in the Middle East and its GDP is forecast to grow by about five per cent per annum over the next few years.

Sym Lee, Ascott’s head for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), commented: “There is a huge demand for quality accommodation in Riyadh but international-standard serviced residences is lacking.”

Ascott Olaya Riyadh offers a mix of apartments from studio to two-bedroom, each coming with a fully-equipped kitchen, separate work and sleeping areas, meeting rooms, a business centre and a health club comprising a gym, steam room and swimming pool.

The latest signing increases Ascott’s portfolio in the GCC to almost 1,300 serviced apartment units across seven properties located in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Frasers Hospitality has been awarded the title off Middle East’s Leading Serviced Apartment Brand by the World Travel Awards at a Gala Ceremony in Dubai.Frasers Hospitality

Recognising its commitment to excellence and continual endeavours to improve its offerings, Frasers also received top honours for each of its properties in the region –

Bahrain’s Leading Serviced Apartments for Fraser Suites Seef Bahrain, Qatar’s Leading Serviced Apartments for Fraser Suites Doha and Dubai’s Leading Serviced Apartments for Fraser Suites Dubai.

The ultimate hallmark of quality, often regarded as the travel industry Oscars, the World Travel Awards is the largest, most comprehensive and prestigious awards in the travel industry voted by travel and tourism professionals worldwide.

“We have been committed to building a strong presence in the Middle East and are honoured to receive these awards as they are an endorsement of the region’s growing recognition and trust in the Frasers brand,” said Guus Bakker, chief operating officer, Europe & Middle East, Frasers Hospitality.

“The Middle East is an exciting market for us and we will continue to strengthen our position here with our diverse portfolio of brand offerings to cater to the growing demand for Gold-Standard serviced accommodation in this region.”

Frasers Hospitality’s current portfolio, including those in the pipeline, stands at 77 properties in 41 key gateway cities, and more than 13,000 apartments worldwide.

Source : Frasers and

Artist_impression_of_Emaars_The_Address_Residence_Sky_ViewEmaar Properties PJSC, the global property developer, has further strengthened its portfolio of premium hotels, residences and serviced apartments in Downtown Dubai, the most visited tourism and lifestyle destination in the world, with the launch of The Address Residence Sky View, the latest addition to The Address Hotel + Resorts’ portfolio and a flagship property for the brand.

A striking 50-storey hotel, residence and serviced apartment twin-tower complex atop a grand podium, designed by the architects of Burj Khalifa, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, The Address Residence Sky View is set to become another compelling landmark in the city and a notional gateway to Downtown Dubai.

The towers serve as a perfect complement to the thriving world-class lifestyle in Downtown Dubai, described as the most prestigious square kilometre on earth and ‘The Centre of Now.’ It will be linked directly to the Dubai Metro and The Dubai Mall via the new air-conditioned travelator.

Spanning the tower complex is a unique ‘Sky Bridge’, which includes a signature restaurant, ballroom, infinity pool with amenity deck, which offers 360-degree vistas of Downtown Dubai and panoramic views of the Gulf.

The launch of The Address Residence Sky View will be held simultaneously in Dubai and Riyadh, allowing clients in the two key markets ease of access to the new release. It follows the overwhelming investor response to launch of The Address The BLVD, the first branded hotel real estate offered in Downtown Dubai, and The Address Residence Fountain Views I & II.

The Address Residence Sky View also complements Emaar’s focus on leveraging the strong investor confidence in Dubai’s property market and surging demand for premium residences and hotels in central locations.

Mohamed Alabbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, said: “The Address Residence Sky View will be another impressive, iconic structure to the Dubai skyline, offering unparalleled views of Downtown Dubai and beyond. Emaar has been shaping lifestyles since its inception, underlining our strategy to create long-term value for our stakeholders. The project builds on the growth of the property market and tourism sectors of Dubai, offering investors a premium choice of home in the most prestigious square kilometre on earth.

“The Address Residence Sky View will become the referral point for all future projects from design and architecture to its host of services, while focusing on creating prime real estate assets in Dubai that contribute to the city’s economy,” he added.

The Address Residence Sky View, at a height of over 230 metres, brings a new dimension to spatial design to Downtown Dubai. All 532 serviced apartments are fully furnished and designed to ensure optimal light across all living spaces and with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning views of Downtown Dubai or the Gulf. Exclusive amenities are combined with an interior design philosophy that evokes quiet elegance and refined luxury, laying the foundation for a truly unique lifestyle experience at the gateway to Downtown Dubai.

A dedicated lobby for The Address Residence Sky View welcomes residents and guests with refined warmth and elegance, as distinct materials and textures, including wood, glass, stone and beautiful leathers with soft lighting, evoke a sense of luxury.

Envisaged to become a much sought-after address in Downtown Dubai, The Address Residence Sky View will also serve as a preferred business hotel of approximately 180 keys, appealing to visitors to the neighbouring Emaar Square and Dubai International Financial Centre. The development is conveniently close to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, billed as the world’s most prestigious boulevard with an extensive choice of retail and food and beverage choices.

Potential customers can pre-register interest for the Dubai launch of The Address Residence Sky View from 10am in Dubai, on February 27, 2013, at The Dubai sale will be to the online applicants on a first registered, first served basis on March 2, 2013. They can also call toll-free 800 EMAAR (36227) for more details.

In addition, potential customers for the Riyadh launch can visit Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, Kingdom Centre and will be offered purchase opportunity on a first come, first served basis. Only legal residents of Saudi Arabia will be eligible to purchase from Riyadh.

Backed by strong investor response, Emaar Properties has marked several key new project launches in recent months in Downtown Dubai and Arabian Ranches, its established masterplanned communities. Emaar is also developing the first residential community in the newly launched Mohammed Bin Rashid City, the largest of its kind real estate development in the region, along with Dubai Holding.

Downtown Dubai is Emaar Properties’ flagship 500-acre mixed-use development, and features world-class assets including commercial, residential, hotel, entertainment, shopping and leisure components set in open green spaces dotted with lakes and other distinct water features. Downtown Dubai was in global spotlight hosting the New Year’s Eve Gala, which attracted a record 1.7 million visitors.

Source :

serviced apartment DubaiServiced apartments in Dubai could offer investors double-digit annual yields before additional supply reduces the sector’s profitability going forward, a banker at HSBC said.

The sector is receiving interest from investors looking to acquire developments or convert existing idle commercial office blocks into serviced properties, Nick Levitt, head of commercial banking for the United Arab Emirates at HSBC, said.

Given the low interest rate environment in many developed markets, investors desperate for returns have flooded into a number of different emerging market assets.

“The reason why there is so much interest is because there is double-digit growth in there,” Levitt told reporters at a media event on tourism in the Gulf Arab state. “If you have got a whole bunch of investors moving into that type of asset class, you soon create an oversupply which becomes an issue.”

While future oversupply in the serviced apartments sector was a concern, yields should be supported by Dubai’s thriving conference industry and demand from those seeking refuge from regional trouble spots. “The anticipation is there won’t be a major correction,” Levitt said.

After being hit by a burst real estate bubble and the global financial crisis in 2008, leading to debt problems at state firms, Dubai has shown renewed vigour in recent months, with big new projects announced.

At the heart of the revival has been Dubai’s traditional strengths of tourism and logistics, as well as its status as a safe haven in a politically volatile region.
“With regional unrest, people are coming to Dubai where they might have gone to other locations in the past,” said Susan Potter, group director, hospitality, for MKM Commercial Holdings which runs Dubai’s Wafi complex, among other interests.
“A lot of families prefer to stay in apartments if they are going to be here for a period of time.”

Source : Reuter

Abidos Apartment DubaiThe upscale tower, built by Al Shafar General Contracting (ASGC), features 132 apartments offering one, two- and three bedrooms. Each unit has a living room, a private balcony and a kitchen.

The property also features a 24-hour reception, all-day dining restaurant MnM, ‘Energize’ gym, rootop swimming pool, wireless internet in public areas and a mobile business centre.

ASGC president Emad Azmy said the project would cater to an increasing demand for luxury hotel apartments in the region.
“As expectations rise, convenient location, high-speed Internet connection, widescreen televisions, five-star service, the option to cook your meal, order room service or dine in a restaurant, full range of business and recreation facilities – all play a crucial role in choosing a hotel,” said Azmy.

“The Abidos brand has been conceptualised to provide quality lifestyle at affordable rates,” he added.“Owing to the ever-increasing demand, Dubai continues to be a wide-open market for hotel developers. There are clear opportunities available and we are keen to take advantage of this lucrative sector.”
The property is located close the Dubai Academic City in the residential area of Dubailand, one of the Gulf emirate’s most ambitious mixed-use developments, announced at the height of the real estate bubble.

Emaar Properties, Dubai’s largest property developer, said it will expand Dubai Mall to include luxury homes, serviced residences and a new hotel as part of its 1m sq ft expansion.
The developer, which in February announced plans to expand the world’s largest mall, will also add a shopping boulevard lined with restaurants and water attractions.

Emaar Properties said it will expand Dubai Mall to include luxury homes, serviced residences and a new hotel as part of its 1m sq ft expansion.

The sale of the residential units, which will feature direct access to the new shopping boulevard as well as views of The Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa, will launch soon, the developer said in a statement Thursday.

“With the mall expansion to feature a modern hotel, luxury homes and serviced residences, designed to the world-class standards associated with Emaar, we are further contributing to strengthening Dubai’s powerful growth drivers – the tourism, retail, hospitality and business environments,” said Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director, Emaar Properties.

Emaar said it had completed the masterplan for the extension and expected construction work to begin soon.

Dubai Mall, which boasts 1,200 retail stores and 160 food and beverage outlets, was the world’s most visited shopping and leisure destination last year. Over 54m shoppers visited the mall between January and September, up 15 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

Dubai, home to some of the world’s glitziest shopping malls and an indoor ski slope, has staged something of a recovery this year, partly due a tourism and retail boom. Tourist arrivals increased 10 percent and hotel revenue 19 percent in the first half of the year.

Retail accounts for around 30 percent of GDP in the emirate, according to Standard Chartered estimates. Dubai is home to about 40 shopping malls.

Emaar last week said it would cooperate with Dubai Holding to build a new tourism and leisure development in the emirate, which will include an even bigger mall. Mohammed bin Rashid City will feature a retail complex ‘Mall of the World’ and more than 100 hotels able to accommodate up to 80m visitors a year.

“The current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city,” Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said in a statement.
Dubai aims to become a business and cultural capital for 2bn people in the surrounding region, he added.

The emirate also announced this week it had approved plans for a AED10bn (US$2.7bn) entertainment and leisure development to the south of Dubai in Jebel Ali, which will include five theme parks.

source :

The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has opened its first premier serviced residence in Qatar, Ascott Doha. With the 229-unit Ascott Doha, Ascott has a network of over 1,000 apartment units across six properties in four countries in the Gulf region.

At Ascott Doha, discerning travellers can experience an exclusive and luxurious stay within the elegantly designed apartments, complemented by personalised services and comprehensive recreation and business facilities. The serviced residence is located in the diplomatic centre of the city and at the north end of the Corniche waterfront promenade, fronting Doha Bay, offering stunning vistas of the Arabian coast and easy access to City Centre Mall, Qatar’s best known retail and entertainment spot. Business travellers staying at the property will find themselves a stone’s throw away from the Doha Exhibition Centre and a 10-minute drive from the city’s business and financial district.

Mr Vincent Wee, Ascott’s Managing Director for India and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), said: “We see strong demand for serviced residences in Qatar. Qatar, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, continues to attract significant foreign direct investments. It is also a host to major international events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Our first serviced residence in Qatar, Somerset West Bay Doha, has been achieving occupancy of over 80%. Ascott Doha heralds a new benchmark for luxury serviced residences and it is well-positioned to attract the growing number of expatriates and travellers arriving in the city.”

“Ascott is a Singapore brand which has gained international repute for its quality properties worldwide and we welcome travellers to experience our new premier Ascott Doha. We will also open our properties in Oman, Somerset Panorama Muscat and Sohar Garden Residences, over the next 24 months. To expand our presence in the GCC, we will continue to establish new partnerships with property owners in Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia,” added Mr Wee.

Ideal for guests on relocation, a business or leisure trip, Ascott Doha offers guests a range of spacious studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments to suit their lifestyle needs. Each apartment comes with a fully-equipped kitchen, en-suite bathrooms, separate dining and living areas as well as modern amenities such as a home entertainment system, complimentary wireless Internet access and iPod docking station.

To relax, guests can choose from an indoor or a rooftop temperature-controlled pool, a fully-equipped gymnasium, jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms. Ascott Doha also provides business travellers with business centre services, meeting rooms and WiFi access. Guests can purchase groceries at the property’s mini-mart and cook within the comfort of their apartment or simply visit the restaurant and cafe located at Ascott Doha for a satisfying meal.

Besides Ascott Doha and Somerset West Bay Doha, Ascott also manages Ascott Park Place in Dubai and Somerset Al Fateh in Bahrain.

To celebrate the opening of Ascott Doha, Ascott is offering special introductory rates from QAR 850 per night. Promotion ends on the 30th December 2012 and is subject to availability.

Officials at the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have released a report on the performance of the tourism sector in the country during the first quarter of 2012, revealing a 22 per cent increase in the number of GCC visitors to Doha.

According to the report, average hotel occupancy rates reached 64 per cent from January to the end of March, and revenues of four and five star establishments stood at QR734,349 million, an increase of QR32 million compared to the same period in 2011.

The report also revealed there are currently 112 hotels in the capital.

QTA chairman Ahmed Al Nuaimi said the report revealed the sector was growing to meet the demands placed on it.

“These statistics show that Qatar’s tourism and hospitality sector is going from strength to strength,” he explained.

“Qatar has established itself as a unique tourism destination as well as playing to our strengths as a business and sports tourism.

“The strong showing for our hotel sector shows how it is maturing ahead of the challenges we face in the next decade.”

According to the report, average hotel occupancy rates reached 64 per cent compared to 68 per cent during the first quarter of 2011.

But there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of hotel facilities compared to last year, which consequently led to an increase in the number of hotel rooms and serviced apartments available on the local market.

There are currently 85 hotel facilities compared to 74 hotels in 2011 and their revenues are also stronger than for the same period last year.

Hotel sector statistics show that revenues of four and five star hotels from January to March 2012 were better than the 2011 results during the same period.

Four star hotel revenues increased by QR5 million reaching QR27 million, and five star hotels surged dramatically during the same period, reaching approximately QR32 million out of the total revenues during 2012.

In terms of GCC tourists visiting Qatar statistics reveal a 22 per cent growth rate in visitors during the first quarter of 2012.

Travellers from Saudi Arabia represented the majority of tourists from the GCC countries with 161,549 tourists for the first quarter of 2012, a 25.3 per cent increase.

Overseas visitor numbers also increased, especially from Asia. Asian tourists visiting Qatar registered the highest growth rate with a total of 36,385 visitors in the first quarter of 2012, followed by European tourists with a total of 10,456 tourists.