Monday, May 22, 2017

Crowngate breaks ground on $50m RAK resort

Crowngate International, a global real estate developer, officially broke ground on its latest project in the UAE - the Avani Resort on Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah.
The groundbreaking ceremony, held on location on May 21, was attended by Abdullah Rashed Al Abdooli, managing director of Al Marjan Island, and Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Set to be fully operational in the third quarter of 2019, the Avani managed resort will address the rapidly increasing demand for hotels in the affordable luxury category and is the first four-star project on aspiring tourist haven Al Marjan Island.
During the ceremony, Crowngate International revealed additional details of the highly anticipated $50 million project, which marks the company’s first foray into the hospitality business. Partnering with some of the most renowned names in the region, the developer has appointed award-winning Naga Architects, whose portfolio includes striking landmarks across the Middle East. Dubai-based Vanguard Consultancy with a track record of premium hospitality developments in the Middle East and Africa has been appointed as project management consultants on the development. Recently, Crowngate International also announced that Minor Hotels will manage the property under their luxury Avani brand.
The 225-key resort will rise from an impressive beach-front plot on View Island – seen as the heart of the man-made Al Marjan Island, an archipelago which extends 4.5 kilometres into the sea and is a key area of growth. With white sandy beaches as well as spectacular views of the neighboring islands and the Ras Al Khaimah coastline, the resort is set to appeal to local, regional and international leisure travelers. In addition to premium facilities such as two pools, spa, gym, and kids’ club, the resort will host upscale all day dining and poolside restaurants, and offer meeting and event spaces with a 200-people capacity. The well-appointed, contemporary designed rooms will cater to all needs and range from standard and deluxe options to spacious suites.
The tourism industry of the UAE’s northernmost emirate, Ras Al Khaimah witnessed tremendous growth of 8.7 per cent between 2014 and 2017, surpassing that of the UAE that has grown 5.7% in the same period. Ras Al Khaimah is emerging as a major hub for hotel investment with a projected pipeline of 10,200 keys, which puts it in a leading position in the UAE. In 2016, the emirate recorded an 11 per cent increase in visitor arrivals compared to 2015, primarily attributable to an increase in beach resort guests, now contributing more than 80 per cent of visitors. While two thirds of the upcoming hotel inventory represent the 5-star segment, Ras All Khaimah has been seeing rapidly increasing demand from cost-conscious tourists looking for premium 4-star options at competitive rates (Source: Colliers International, 2017).
The upcoming hotel resort by Crowngate International will efficiently address this market niche.
Al Marjan Island accounts for an impressive 78 per cent of upcoming hotel room supply in the emirate. Only a short drive away from hectic city life, it is set to evolve as a favorite destination for ‘staycations’ and international visitors alike. The domestic UAE market continues to represent Ras Al Khaimah’s largest source market representing 40 per cent of visitor arrivals year-to-date, while international tourist arrivals grew by 11 per cent year on year (Source: RAKTDA, 2017). Visitors from the GCC markets also grew by 3.8 per cent in 2016, with tourists enjoying a wide range of connections from four airports in an 80-kilometre radius (Source: Colliers International, 2017).

Commenting on the groundbreaking, Mattar said: “Ras Al Khaimah is celebrating an exciting period, with a number of hotels and resorts scheduled to join the emirate’s portfolio in the coming years. We are delighted to welcome AVANI Resort Al Marjan Island, further supporting our own vision to enhance and diversify the emirate’s hospitality offering as we target one million visitors by the end of 2018, and three million by 2025. Currently boasting just over 5,000 hotel rooms, the emirate is to add a further 4,445 new rooms in the coming years across various categories, with a number of opportunities still available for further investment in Ras Al Khaimah’s hospitality landscape.”
Al Abdooli said: “I am delighted to celebrate the arrival of Avani Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah Resort. The groundbreaking ceremony not only marks an important contribution to our vision of developing Al Marjan Island into a world-class vacation destination that caters to a diverse range of tastes and budgets, but also goes a long way in our journey of positioning Al Marjan Island as the most sought-after investment oasis in the region. With world-class facilities available, this new property will become a premier hospitality destination as it highlights our competencies in delivering customer-centric lifestyle experiences. We are confident that this new project will build on the momentum already established.”
Joe McCormack, founding partner, Crowngate International, said: “We could not have found a better home for this stunning resort, which is set to appeal to UAE residents as well as visitors from the GCC and overseas. As the key tourism destination in Ras Al Khaimah, Al Marjan Island offers the perfect location for our project, which will firmly position us in an area expected to witness high demand and tremendous tourism growth in the years to come. Offering a budget-friendly option for discerning travelers, our four-star Avani Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah Resort captures a previously untapped market, and we cannot wait to welcome the first guests in 2019." - TradeArabia News Service

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