Jumeirah Group eyes 50 hotels by year-end

Jumeirah Group, the luxury hotel operator, expects to have 50 hotels in its portfolio by the end of this year, falling short of its original target of 60, according to the group’s top executive.

The company now has 20 hotels, having doubled its portfolio from 10 since the beginning of 2011.

Asked if Jumeirah was still on track to meet its target of 60 hotels this year, Gerald Lawless, Jumeirah Group’s executive chairman, told Gulf News: “We always said that we would have 60 hotels either signed up, under development, under construction or in operation by 2012.

“I would say we are a probably a little bit short of that but not that short, and particularly when you consider the recessionary period that we have just gone through.”

Lawless was speaking on the sidelines of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference which kicked off yesterday.

He added: “We are very comfortable where we are at the moment with 20 hotels in operation and a very healthy pipeline above that of another 25-30 hotels. And I would be satisfied with that, especially in circumstances that prevailed in 2009 and 2010.”

However, in terms of everything that Jumeirah has signed and everything it has, the group’s pipeline is “bigger than that”, Lawless said. “But in terms of what we realistically think what will actually come to fruition, I would say — signed up and are under development, under construction or in operation — that we have achieved about 50 hotels.”

Confident that Jumeirah would be a 50-hotel group by the end of 2012, Lawless said that the company would be operating probably about 35-40 more hotels within the next five years.

A Dubai Holding unit, Jumeirah Group yesterday said that during the first three months of 2012, the company’s beachfront resorts recorded extended periods of high occupancy averaging at 84.4 per cent, while RevPAR (revenue per available room — industry benchmark for performance) grew by 18.7 per cent.