Almulla plans chain of 150 Shariah-compliant hotels

A financial real estate company is being established to develop plans for an international chain of Islamic hotels with 150 properties worldwide, up to 90 of them in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

Dubai-based Almulla Hospitality, which is planning to tap into the growing Muslim travel market with a hotel chain operating under universal codes such as no alcohol and halal food only, has announced that it has signed with the Jasper Capital Group of the United Kingdom to structure the real estate firm to develop the plan.

Abdulla Mohamed Almulla, chairman of Almulla Hospitality, will be giving further details of the chain operating under the brand names of Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference today at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, Dubai.

"At the launch of Almulla Hospitality, we announced our goal is to achieve, within five to seven years, 150 properties worldwide under the management," Almulla said.

Stewart Jack, CEO of Jasper Consult Ltd, a member of investment banking and management consultancy Jasper Capital Group, said he was delighted to work with Almulla Hospitality to achieve the strategic objectives in Shariah compliant hotel management.

Jack has previously worked in the banking industry in the UAE and managed the development of an Islamic bank project in Europe.

Almulla Hospitality plans to grow its property portfolio through management contracts, joint venture investments and selective acquisitions across the world using a variety of investment structures.

All financial structures involved will conform to the Islamic ban on interest.

Almulla said: "What makes our plan different in the Islamic hotel market is our Shariah compliancy board, which will act as advisors in the project.

"Also, our three brands serving all market segments based on top international standards and a clear focus on the cultural aspects of our target market will give us edge over others. There are individual Shariah-compliant hotels throughout the world," Almulla added. "But our brand proposition is international – whether the country is Muslim or not – so that guests will be confident of our universal consistency.

"The Muslim traveller market is growing around the world due to increasing wealth combined with conscious lifestyle living and represents 10 per cent of the global tourism – one of the fastest growing segments.

"Countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where hotels are run on Islamic principles already, are showing increased demand. Then there is the inbound traffic from the Arabian Gulf and other Islamic countries to cities such as Dubai which is a major centre of tourism growth. Additionally, there is a trend in Europe to serve a growing local and visiting Muslim segment," he said.
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