It is a sign of maturity in the Middle East’s hospitality market that renovations and refurbishments appear to be on the rise. After several decades of building new hotels at breakneck speeds – led by regional economic powerhouses Saudi Arabia and the UAE – this accelerated pace may be slowing down a tad.
Hundreds of new projects are still in the pipeline. ProTenders says there are 708 hotels under construction and 196 in the design stage across the Gulf. These projects – from small boutiques to massive resorts – will continue to provide architects and interior designers with plenty of opportunities. Saudi Arabia’s plans for eco-resorts in the ancient region of Al-Ula and ultra-luxury hotels for the Red Sea Project are particularly intriguing. But so too are refurbishments from Riyadh to Ras Al Khaimah.
Anecdotally, designers and fit-out firm claim renovation jobs are on the up in the region. Justin Wells, global head of hospitality at Design Worldwide Partnership, makes the same point in this special report on hotel design. He says the current opportunity in Middle East hotel design remains the “swiftness-to-market” in refurbishments. And there are many examples of this, with Jumeirah Beach Hotel being just one of them.
Khansaheb Interiors carried out Phase 2 of Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s renovation, completing the scope in five months. This included refurbishment of 374 guestrooms, a 25-floor atrium and all corridors and lift lobbies. Bond Interiors also worked on the renovation, fitting out the 46 luxury suites and all public areas.
Both Khansaheb and Bond were shortlisted in the Fit-Out Project of the Year category at the Commercial Interior Design Awards 2019. BW Interiors went on to win the trophy for its flawless delivery of Avli by Tashas.
There were other impressive projects that narrowly missed on making the shortlist altogether. Does this suggest that hotel renovations are going to become more competitive in the future as aging hospitality interiors require refreshments in preparation for an emerging generation of travellers? Quite possibly.