As Dubai's property market embarks on a path of steady growth; major developers in the emirate are placing their energy and resources into a relatively untapped sector: serviced hotel apartments.
At the last count there were 577 hotels in Dubai, according to the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) department, but just 200 serviced apartments.
Tourists and businesses continue to arrive in their millions (Dubai International Airport welcomed more than 57 million passengers in 2012), and developers see this vertical as a way of attracting individual investors into the lucrative service industry.
Hotels in Dubai saw 80 per cent occupancy in 2012, with revenue per available room (RevPAR) at US$ 228 and US$ 285 in average daily rate, some of the highest returns in the world, according to TRI Hospitality Consulting. Tourists to Dubai is also climbing fast, with a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch report predicting 15 million tourists to Dubai by 2020, up from eight million in 2011.
All of this bodes well for the luxury serviced hotel sector and allows individual investors to capitalise on this growth sector, which was previously the preserve of the major corporations.
This new sector also brings many opportunities and challengers for architects and designers as different layouts and designs are required to deliver a high-end, luxury product
One of the first new serviced hotels to complete will be Burjside Boulevard in the Burj Area with enviable views over the world's tallest tower and world's largest mall.
Developed by DAMAC Properties, the region's largest luxury private developer, the 50-storey tower is set to begin handover later this year. The landmark development offers three, two and one bedroom, fully furnished and serviced hotel apartments.
"The location is what distinguishes Burjside Boulevard from many other projects currently under construction in Dubai," said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties. "DAMAC Properties always chooses premium sites for our developments and currently the Burj Area is one of the most sought after locations in the world - in fact there is no better site in that area that hasn't already been developed."
Designed by award winning German architects Koschany & Zimmer, Burjside Boulevard is DAMAC Properties' first service hotel apartment project, and will be managed by 'DAMAC Suites & Spa' as per five-star international standards.
Enabling works were completed by Norwegian firm Stromek, with Sun Engineering the main contractor for the project. Sun Engineering has more than 30 years experience in the local market, and has been an active participant in the UAE's construction industry, contributing significantly to both the country's modernisation and urbanisation.
When completed, the project will have consumed 31.755,49 m3 of concrete and 5.325,00 tonnes of reinforcements. The foundation was designed to sustain 161.300,00 tonnes, among which 140.157,00 tonnes are concentrated below the tower footprint. Due to the huge loads and soil properties underneath the building, a pile foundation was the only available option.
To succeed commercially it was critical that Burjside Boulevard distinguished itself amongst its highly acclaimed peers in the Burj Area. Through acute attention to detail and the incorporation of luxurious materials including marble, hand-blown glass and European crystals, the project is set to be one of the most iconic in the area.
The design brief was to create the type of home customers have always dreamed of. Everything from the décor, to superior quality linen and top of the range European appliances have been incorporated to create a sense of opulence and luxury living.
The colour palette is a mixture of crisp white and warm beige, punctuated by splashes of black and metallic's. The use of gold leaf and chrome features has been incorporated to propose a contrast between the modern and classic design styles.
The interior design of Burjside Boulevard is a fusion of classic luxury, within a modern context. It is where 1940's glamour, meets contemporary sophistication.
"Burjside Boulevard will offer the most luxurious services in hotel apartments and provide an attractive rental pool programme to allow our clients to enter the booming Dubai hotel sector," said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President, DAMAC Properties. "We are taking a leading role in this area and the 4,000 Hotel apartment unit which we will have under development by the end of 2013 across the region will make DAMAC Properties one of the largest serviced hotel apartment companies in the region," he added.
The project will be managed through the 'DAMAC Suites & Spa' brand which will provide a comprehensive list of services for residents, spanning from state-of-the-art spa treatments, housekeeping, concierge services, chauffeur driven cars and even private jet and yacht charter.
"Many of our clients visit Dubai for just two or three months a year. A DAMAC Properties serviced hotel apartment provides clients the opportunity to rent their luxury home while they are away, earning revenue and without the stress and complication of finding a tenant," added McLoughlin.
Burjside Boulevard was topped out earlier this year and the interior works are now well underway. The project will be one of the first serviced hotel apartments in the Burj Area and leading the way in the Dubai property market's resurgence.