Chelsea cashes in on rebounding market to launch new hotel

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By Ashfaq Ahmed, Chief Reporter  www.gulfnews.com

Dubai: Chelsea Group has opened its new hotel in Dubai, bringing its investment in the hospitality industry in the emirate to more than Dh600 million.

“We have launched our new four-star hotel in Al Barsha behind Mall of the Emirates as the hospitality industry in Dubai is picking up,” Shiraz Kassam, Managing Director and CEO of the Chelsea Group, which runs hotels and hotel apartments in Dubai, said.

He said the group also plans to build a massive 750-room hotel near Al Maktoum Airport in Jebel Ali. “We have already acquired the land and will invest Dh500 million in the new property.

“But construction will start as soon as the new airport becomes operational with some passenger movement,” Kassam said.

The Chelsea Group entered the UAE market about nine years ago and now has two four-star hotels and two luxury hotel apartment properties including Chelsea Towers along Shaikh Zayed Road.

Last month, it opened Ramada Chelsea Hotel Al Barsha, a property with 299 rooms, five restaurants and leisure facilities.

“Our new property is fully equipped to cater to hospitality needs in the fast developing Al Barsha area, which is an emerging business, shopping and residential community,” Kassam, whose group also owns four hotels in London and two in Portugal, said.

Immediate plans

“We have no immediate plans to expand in the GCC as we are fully focused on the Dubai market,” he said, adding that the hotel industry is showing positive signs in Dubai despite the fact that the average room rates have dropped by almost 50 per cent.

“There is a positive side to this phenomenon as now more people can afford to stay in hotels and this will give [a] boost to [the] tourism and hospitality industry here,” he added.

He said that the Ramada Chelsea Hotel Al Barsha has received a positive response as it is ideally located close to the Mall of the Emirates and the Metro station.

He said that an effective marketing campaign launched by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) to promote Dubai worldwide is getting a positive response.

Boosting the market

He hoped that the new policy to provide an online visa facility to individuals from 32 countries would further boost the market as it would be a cost-effective proposition for visitors and tourists.

Kassam noted that an improved public transport system, especially the Dubai Metro, is also playing a role in attracting more visitors to the city.

“We have great demand for our properties located next to the Metro stations because our guests, especially tourists, find it very attractive,” he said.

According to DTCM statistics, 20,000 hotel rooms will enter the Dubai market this year, which will contribute to reducing room rates and attracting more visitors to Dubai.