Serge Zaalof. Serge Zaalof.

Developments on Dubai’s Royal Atlantis and refurbishments on Atlantis The Palm are on track, according to Atlantis, The Palm president and managing director Serge Zaalof.

The US$100 million dollar refurbishment on the Palm Jumeirah resort was announced towards the end of 2015, and will begin from July 2, 2017, Zaalof said to Hotelier Middle East.

“That will carry over for two-and-a-half to three years. We are doing an average of 50-60 rooms a month. It’s quite an extensive renovation we are doing, which will see the departure of some of the interior design, making it much more modern – light colours, white grey and green. We are also going to repaint the entire hotel which will take two years that in itself and will cost US$2.5 million,” Zaalof said.

“On the F&B front we are planning on renovating two restaurants – Kaleidoscope and Ayamna’s terrace. We have been working on a five-year renovation programme – in the next three years all the restaurants and rooms will be renovated,” he said adding that, “renovation work on Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay is ongoing, while Nobu could be 2019 and Saffron by next year”.

“So by 2020 most of the things will be renovated and that’s when we will also be opening phase two – which is the Royal Atlantis, by the last quarter of 2019,” Zaalof said.

He also divulged more details about the Royal Atlantis stating the operator is currently in talks with several celebrity chefs for its F&B concepts. “The pool upstairs will be 90m long and about 100m high. It will be an active place during the day, and changing its mood during the night – a party destination.”

“The architecture is very different, the room component will be very contemporary. We will also be employing WET Design out of Los Angeles to do a light show and a fire show inside the resort. There will also be 1,5000sq. m. of retail space, along with a Givenchy spa which will also be about 1,500 sq. m.,” Zaalof said.

New York-based KPF are the architects behind the ambitious project and Zaalof said: “The lobby will be huge with a water component in the middle housing huge aquariums.”

Giving an insight into the property upswing experienced across the Palm Jumeirah, Zaalof said: “Palm Jumeirah is the number one place as a destination within Dubai for tourism, we are actually eating market share of the beach hotels. And the two malls that Nakheel is working on opening will create added footfall coming into these hotels. We look at the developing landscaping on the Palm [Jumeirah] in a positive way.”

He added: “The volume to Dubai is coming in, if you take this year as an example in April we are 16% more occupancy than last year, about 14% more than our budget.

“Compared to last year we have achieved about US$15 million more than budget for April, and in sense of budget we are $8million ahead of budget. And YTD we are at 13.2% more occupancy than last year for Q1 2017. In April 2017, we achieved 92.7% occupancy.”

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