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Interview: Debrah Dhugga, DUKES Oceana

The Palm Jumeirah seems like it is on a never-ending quest for a makeover and it won’t have gone unnoticed to residents and visitors alike that something has been happening on the prestigious west side of this iconic man-made island.

Oceana Residences, has been for many a year now, the most desirable address to live at for those seeking an apartment with unrivalled views and excellent facilities and now to add to this sought-after development, Seven Tides are opening DUKES Oceana Hotel and Residences from the DUKES Collection brand.

DUKES London, is a luxury hotel based in the heart of the capital that sees thousands of well-healed international visitors flock to it each and every year and now the best of British is finally coming to the palm itself with DUKES first overseas launch.

This brand new five-star hotel is expected to open in the second half of 2016 with the adjoining luxury residences being handed over in April.

This 273-room hotel promises to offer world-class leisure and entertainment facilities including use of a stunning private beach, indoor pool, outdoor infinity pool, state-of-the-art gym along with a number of restaurants.

We caught up with Debrah Dhugga, Managing Director of DUKES, for a chat about what visitors and residents alike can expect from this exciting new property in Dubai, as well as what this means for the DUKES collection.

* Why did DUKES decide to open in Dubai?

In 2006, Dubai-based luxury property developer and holding company Seven Tides acquired the DUKES London hotel, which is located in the heart of Mayfair. The property is extremely popular with GCC residents travelling to London and, based on that success, Seven Tides decided that there was a market for the DUKES brand in other cities, with Dubai a prime international location and logical next step for portfolio growth. DUKES is a unique standalone brand that delivers a quintessentially British hospitality experience and at DUKES Dubai the ‘theme’ will be carried through from décor and design to dining concepts and our first class service delivery.

* What features from DUKES London can we expect to remain in the new DUKES property in Dubai?

DUKES Dubai will replicate the ambience and positioning of the London property and carry through the British theme whilst also having its own unique appeal. A highlight of the hotel’s dining and entertainment portfolio, the DUKES Bar will bring a flavour of London’s heritage to the city. The original bar, located in DUKES London, was said to be frequented by James Bond author, Ian Fleming, and enjoys a global reputation for serving signature martinis and personalised cocktails. We will recreate the same experience in Dubai.

* Do you think there is a shift for ‘all things British’ moving over to the Middle East? and if so, what is the reasoning for this?

There has always been a strong British community in the UAE, and elsewhere in the region, and we are used to seeing British brands in our malls and on our shelves. It is also a popular destination for real estate investors from the UK. In recent years, this has been further accentuated by the increasing number of British chefs choosing to open high-profile restaurants in Dubai, as the local dining scene continues to evolve. The reputation of British brands and companies offering high quality service and products is another draw and this is why we believe that DUKES Dubai will resonate with the local as well as international audience.

* What features can we expect from DUKES Palm Jumeirah?

The hotel and residences are comprised of 506 tastefully appointed guestrooms, suites, hotel studios and one-bedroom apartments, all with Arabian Gulf, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah or city views. The DUKES Dubai residences offer a generously sized living room, luxury designer furnishings complemented by a deep pile carpet and the latest in audiovisual technology. Bedrooms feature king-size beds, expansive walk-in wardrobes and elegant en suite bathrooms. Award-winning British executive chef, Martin Cahill, introduces a collection of four world-class restaurants, each offering a distinctive dining experience. The Great British Restaurant (GBR) will be our signature outlet with a casual brasserie feel and a classic, understated style. There will also be a rooftop Indian restaurant with stunning views of Palm. Located on the promenade with views out to Dubai Marina, the Fish & Chips Café will be a relaxed yet on-trend outlet offering a cool contemporary take on a great British institution. There are also three bars and lounges to choose from with The Club Lounge providing a classic modern setting  to enjoy a traditional British Afternoon Team and . The Cigar Lounge is designed to emulate the sophisticated yet welcoming ambience of a private members club, the menu features an extensive menu of fine cigars, including Cuban favourites, while DUKES Bar will bring a flavour of DUKES London to Dubai, with signature martinis and personalised cocktails. Last but not least, is our award-winning West 14th restaurant and Beach Club, which opened in 2010. The New York-inspired steakhouse serves hand-selected US Black Angus beef and other prime cuts as well as a as well as free-range poultry specialties and fresh seafood from the Arabian Gulf and beyond. Guests can also enjoy an exciting range of leisure activities and facilities in a stunning landscaped setting, with a choice of indoor and al fresco services including an outdoor infinity

* What will the price point be for DUKES Dubai? Will this be to the same standard as other hotels in the area?

DUKES Dubai rates will be aligned with our competitive set and reflective of the market. This will also reflect our luxury positioning, and emulate the same upscale offering as enjoyed by our guests at DUKES London.

* What is the USP of DUKES Dubai?

DUKES Dubai will offer a quintessentially British luxury experience at the heart of Dubai’s most desirable island community, Palm Jumeirah. Our Michelin-starred executive chef, Martin Cahill will bring another dimension to our F&B portfolio, and the hotel will also feature a dedicated ladies-only floor with 20 Duchess Rooms and Suites, which is also a key USP at DUKES London.

* What marketing will be done internationally and in the region for the opening?

DUKES Dubai has a full schedule of domestic, regional and international strategic marketing activity in place for the launch period and for ongoing brand awareness. This includes event marketing, print, digital and outdoor advertising, social media activity and press release distribution, amongst other things.

* Who do you expect the clientele to be at Dukes Dubai?

By our heritage the UK market will be definitely our predominant market such as many hotels in Dubai at present. We will be selected with Tour Operator from various market through GCC as well as Internationally from Australia, US, South Africa… Our objective is to collaborate and partner with travel trade representatives who match our audience

* What percentage of the residential units have already been sold?

86% of the DUKES Dubai hotel apartments have been sold to date.

 

For the luxury residences themselves prices start from AED 760,000 for a studio, with a one-bedroom commanding up to AED 2.5 million.

For more information, please visit www.dukesoceana.com

 

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