Flora Group embarks on Dh1 billion expansion drive
Hospitality brand will develop six non-alcoholic hotels
A leading Indian business group has announced that it will double the number of non-alcoholic hotel rooms under its management from 1,400 to nearly 3,000, investing Dh1 billion in the run-up to Expo 2020.
In view of the anticipated demand from family and business guests, especially non-alcoholic, the Flora Group will invest Dh1 billion in new properties, including two new five-star hotels in Dubai, Mohammed Rafi, chief operating officer, Flora Hospitality, told Khaleej Times.
Flora Hospitality, which operates several existing non-alcoholic hotels in the UAE and India, will develop six new non-alcoholic properties, including the group's first five-star hotel in Dubai before Expo 2020, Rafi said. It was due to religious considerations that the Flora Group opened its first non-alcoholic property in Dubai - the Florida Hotel - with 64 rooms in the year 2000.
There is a strong demand from family and corporate guests from Europe, the Middle East, CIS countries and Africa for such hotels, Rafi said, adding that there is a misconception that a star hotel can be profitable only by serving alcohol.
"The food and beverage revenue can go up if alcohol is served in the hotel. We are compromising on that revenue and our focus is to provide good rooms," he added.
Staff members will be specially trained to meet the needs of family and business guests. Islamic banking professionals and businesswomen like to stay in properties that do not serve alcohol, Rafi pointed out.
"Our budget three-star hotels in Al Nasser Square, Deira, are frequented by such customers," Rafi added. "A number of family and business visitors to the UAE from the CIS, GCC and African countries are very particular about living in non-alcoholic properties. We found an opportunity in the segment in the early 2000s," he said.
The new non-alcohol properties under the Flora Group are a 315-room Flora Vela Downtown Dubai (ready by the last quarter of 2019), 438-room Flora Airport Hotel Terminal 3 (ready by Q1 2019), 228-room Flora Airport Hotel Terminal 1 (ready by Q4 2017), 450-room Flora Vela Deira Island Hotels (date to be announced), 60-room Flora Vythiri Resort in Kerala (Q2 2018) and Flora Beach Resort in Cherai, Kerala (12 rooms will be ready by Q1 2018).
Two months ago, the Group opened a non-alcoholic 110-room Sharjah International Airport Transit Hotel.
Vela Flora will be the Group's first two five-star properties in Dubai - in Downtown Dubai and Deira Islands.
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