Western branding for next generation Sharia hotels

Hospitality plans chain of 150 Sharia-compliant hotels by 2015 – and
will create non-Muslim branding for some properties.


 Bright future for Sharia hotels

Bright future for Sharia hotels


Almulla Hospitality plans an international chain of 150
Sharia-compliant hotels by 2015. Around 90 are planned in the Middle
East and North Africa, but the remainder will be Europe, Asia and North
America – and Almulla says it will develop non-Muslim brand names.

plan is to create three sub-brands – Cliftonwood, Adham and Wings – all
operating under universal Sharia codes (no booze, halal food). Almulla
has signed with the UK’s Jasper Capital Group
to structure the new venture. Jasper Capital chief executive Stewart
Jack has previously worked in the banking industry in the UAE and
managed the development of an Islamic bank project in Europe.

The move is the latest sign the Sharia-complaint sector is maturing.
Previous hotel ventures had been restricted to Muslim countries with
Muslim branding. Almulla belives there is a large enough global
audience to make the concept work in international cities, as well as
the Middle East.

Almulla Hospitality plans to grow its
property portfolio through management contracts, joint venture
investments and selective acquisitions across the world using a variety
of investment structures, Gulf Daily News reports. All financial structures involved will conform to the Islamic ban on interest.

“What makes our plan different in the Islamically-compliant hotel
market will be our Sharia-compliancy board; our three brands serving
all market segments based on top international standards; and a clear
focus on the cultural aspects of our target market,” chairman Abdulla
Mohamed Almulla added.

KM Holding,
part of the Al Rostamani Group, last year opened the first of four
Islamic hotels planned for Dubai. The company plans to roll out 15
Islamic hotels in the region over the coming five years. It says it
makes up lost revenues from not serving alcohol though lower staffing
costs because all rooms are apartments.

Jawhara Group,
one of the pioneers of Sharia-complaint hotels in Dubai, says it
expects Islamic hotels will comprise at least 40 per cent of the market
in the UAE within the next five years.

“We’re providing a
quiet environment,” says General Manager Hani Lashin. “The hotel is for
married couples who want something very quiet, very smooth.”