One of the things we have announced as an ambition is building a third hotel [at Mall of the Emirates], a five-star or six-star hotel, so that is in advanced design, says George Kostas, CEO of MAF Properties. We would like to start construction at end of the year. That is our plan.
The new hotel tower will be about 30 storeys tall and will have 300-350 rooms. It will be built on top of the mall at the end of the fashion district, next to the VIP parking and drop off area. At the moment, [we are] looking at somewhere between 300 and 350 keys, says Kostas. It is going to be real top end, a high-luxury offering.
MAF Properties is also in the process of appointing an operator for the hotel. [We are] talking to potential operators, so we are going to be very careful and cautious [about] who we put there, says Kostas. The brand we choose has to offer an integrated experience. Everything has to work together and enhance the mall.
The hotel is the third phase of the expansion plans for Mall of the Emirates. Earlier this year, construction work started on the second phase that will add 25,000 square metres of gross leasable area (GLA) and involves moving the malls cinema complex to the newly renovated area. The number of screens on offer in the mall will be increased from 14 to 24.
Completion is planned for the first quarter of 2015. The contractor is the local Khansaheb Civil Engineering.
The first phase of the expansion opened on 14 February this year. It involved refurbishing a section of the mall above the Carrefour supermarket.
MAF Properties is also renovating the Kempinski Hotel at Mall of the Emirates. In late April, it awarded UK-based ISG a $35m refurbishment contract for the hotel.