A spate of new hotels and restaurants have opened across Dubai and the UAE in hopes that the new year will bring in better business.
The Karama Hotel opened a new restaurant called Indigoa, while in the Al Quoz industrial area four new restaurants have started operations at the Al Kabayel Mall. At Sharjah's Ansar Mall, restaurant chain Calicut Paragon has started a new outlet, and small and medium sized hotels and restaurants are opening in different emirates.
The NMC Group of Companies had already soft-launched its fourth hotel and serviced apartment, the Dubai Lotus Hotel Apartments, which officially started operations on New Year's day. The Dh150 million project, financed by Bank of Baroda, falls under the umbrella of Lotus Hospitality, an arm of the NMC Group. It is located in Dubai Marina. The property has 95 studios, one- and two-bedroom serviced apartments. Lotus Hospitality has two other properties due to open in 2011 – the Lotus Boutique Hotel and the Lotus Grand Hotel.
Venugopal Menon, Marketing Manager, Karama Hotel, said: "After we opened the Indigoa restaurant, the Al Madina group has started a restaurant in Karama near ours. Most restaurants are doing well, though the rush has come down. Medium-level restaurants, like Calicut Paragon, Rangoli and Avani, are all doing well. The food and restaurant business is always in demand."
Also in Karama, an official from Al Madina Wide Range Restaurant who gave his name as Hanif PP, said: "We have recently inaugurated two restaurants in Karama, including the Al Madina Wade Range Restaurant. We had committed to these projects earlier and could not cancel them only due to a temporary economic downturn. We are also working on restaurant projects in Al Kabayel Mall in Al Qouz." He said there is always a demand for good, hygienic food outlets in Dubai.
The Sun Sivestar Restaurant chain from Chennai in India has also opened three new restaurants recently. "We have just opened two new restaurants – Sivestar in Royal Palace Ajman, Sun Sivestar Bhavan Restaurant in Al Quoz and another one in Satwa. We have restaurants in Ras Al Khaimah, Academic City, Bur Dubai, and Karama, and now two in Al Quoz. The response in the first month of opening at the Al Quoz outlet is very good," said Chandran, the restaurant owner.
Four new restaurants have opened at the Al Quoz Mall – Al Nasir Valley Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian restaurants, Stallion Restaurant and Maharaja Restaurant. Anoop Kumar, proprietor of Maharaja Restaurant, said: "We opened our first restaurant in the UAE in the New Year. The demand for food is not affected by the recession and the rent for our restaurant, at Dh265,000 per year, is not so low. Even though there is talk about the economic crisis, rents are not coming down."
Eat and Drink, another Indian restaurant chain, is planning to inaugurate their Umm Suqueim outlet by January 15. "Night sales at our oultets have declined due to the cooler weather and also because many residents are on vacation. We hope there will be sufficient demand for the new restaurant in Umm Suqueim," an official said on condition of anonymity.
BR Shetty of NMC Hospitality, said: "At a time when many are holding back investing in most parts of the world, we are increasingly investing in Dubai. A lot of negative things have been written about Dubai in the global media, but we know the positive realities about the city. We have seen how Dubai has developed and we are sure that we will continue to witness such growth in the years and decades to come."
Shetty said the Bank of Baroda, the oldest Indian bank operating in the UAE, had financed his group's Lotus Hotel Apartments.
"If an Indian bank like the Bank of Baroda is ready to finance investments in Dubai, doesn't that tell you something about Indian investor confidence here" said Shetty. He added that Lotus Hospitality always opted for four-star properties rather than five-star ones.
Keep up with the latest business news from the region with the Emirates Business 24|7 daily newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.