Sunset Hospitality continues opening plans despite coronavirus

Openings in the pipeline at Studio City, Barsha Heights and Mall of the Emirates

Sunset Hospitality

Sunset Hospitality Group has revealed it intends to go ahead with its openings this year despite the damage caused by coronavirus.

According to Arabian Business, the group employs more than 1,000 people and had 10 openings planned this year before the virus struck.

With venues across the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Switzerland and UK, Sunset Hospitality has Black Tap, Luigia and Azure in its portfolio, along with Dubai hotels such as InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City, Jumeirah Al Naseem Hotel and Rixos Premium in JBR.

After an 18 percent increase in revenue growth last year, the group has not let the pandemic halt its expansion plans.

CEO Antonio Gonzalez said: “Because of how diversified we were, some of our divisions were able to open very quickly, as early as May. Most of our businesses are back in semi-normal operation. The only ones that are still not open are those in the nightlife, the nightclubs and lounges remain closed. We expect some time over the next few months to reopen, depending on the government action.”

Already in 2020, the group opened a new Black Tap in Dubai Ball and Azure Beach in Lebanon. Looking later into the year, the group plans openings in Studio City, Mall of the Emirates and Barsha Heights.

“Somehow we may open around eight outlets this year. It depends on the final timings,” said Gonzalez.

However, plans to open SushiSamba on the 51st floor of The Palm Tower, and the Aura Skypool on the 50th floor have been delayed until next year.

“We have agreed with Nakheel to delay that opening until September next year to ensure that we open such big projects at the time when the market is back, where there is full demand,” he continued. “When you plan, you never plan for a pandemic coming your way. When you look at 2020, it was going to be one of the most exciting years in our history. We were so driven to make this a fantastic year.”

As a result of COVID-19, a hotel scheduled to open in May this year has been pushed to 2021 as we as “another couple of new openings”.

Gonzalez added: “2020 is about survival, let’s keep everybody working, let’s keep our employees busy and paid, until we know where we stand, then gather and make 2021 successful.”

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