‘This is a market niche and hotels in such niches actually tend to do even better than standard hotels,’ said Khalid A. bin Sulayem, director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing at the launch today.
‘Tamani is the first branded UAE Islamic hotel operator promoting Arabic hospitality and Islamic values. The main problem in this market is a shortage of capacity both in terms of hotels and also on some routes for this kind of visitor there are not enough flights at present.’
Anybody familiar with upscale Dubai apartment towers will feel instantly at home in one of the 209 two, three and four bedroom apartments, some of which enjoy panoramic views over the Palm Jumeirah and the Jumeirah beach hotels.
The finish is functional rather than ostentatious, albeit with Arabic touches and art works exclusive to the hotel which is owned by the Al Rostamani Group. The floors are tiled and the bathrooms have marble washstands. There is ducted air-conditioning through-out and the kitchens are well fitted with quality stainless steel appliances.
However, at 225 square metres, the three-bedroom apartments are good value-for-money in comparison for this amount of space in a standard five-star hotel. Rates range from around Dhs3,000 up to Dhs12,000 a night for the four-bedroom penthouse.
There is also a splendid gymnasium and two swimming pools, indoor and outdoor with fitness trainers on hand, as well as a ladies floor with special amenities for female guests who will be served by female staff only.
Naturally alcohol will be banned from the halal-food restaurant on the first floor when it opens, although Dubai is a liberal city and if guests wish to drink alcohol in their own apartments this is a matter for them to decide. The hotel says it also welcomes non-muslims visiting Dubai for business or leisure.
Tamani was launched as a hotel chain last year during the Arabian Travel Market and has three more hotels under development in Dubai and plans to roll out 15 hotels over the next five years around the region.
Shariah compliant hotels suffer from the loss of revenue associated with alcohol sales, but the lower staff costs associated with an all apartment hotel is one way to offset this problem for operators.
The typical guest is likely to be a Gulf national of traditional values travelling with his family who wants to stay apart from some of the indulgences usually found in five-star hotels and not to have to mingle with Western tourists.
Serviced apartments also offer considerable privacy and the facility to dine in rather than have to go to a restaurant. This can be very handy with small children, and hotels like the Tamani have an army of staff to call upon when needed for catering or baby sitting.