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Homegrown UAE Hospitality Group JA Resorts & Hotels Celebrates 40 Years of Success

May 11, 2021 Hotel News No Comments
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JA Resorts & Hotels are proud to celebrate 40 years of operation in the United Arab Emirates this year, having first opened both the JA Hatta Fort Hotel in the Hajar Mountains and JA Beach Hotel at Jebel Ali Beach in 1981. 40 years later, the homegrown hospitality group has gone from strength to strength, now featuring 10 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, in addition to a new youth-focused brand in China and a brand new property opened in March- JA Enchanted Waterfront Villas Seychelles.

History

In 1981, the Chairman of DUTCO Group of Companies, Ahmed Baker was in discussions with HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to build hotels and resorts in key locations in the emirate of Dubai, some of the first leisure hotels in the region. The Dubai Ruler personally recommended Jebel Ali Beach near the new Jebel Ali Port as a suitable location, as he foresaw great growth in the Jebel Ali area. His Highness also recommended Hatta, as it was one of his favourite places in the emirate, though lacking development at the time. HH Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum was interested and involved to the level that he recommended that JA Hatta Fort Hotel be built in a chalet style rather than high-rise, so that it blended aesthetically with the natural surrounds of the Hajar Mountains. By February 28th, 1981, both projects were complete, and both the Ruler of Dubai and Ahmad Baker went to Hatta to place a commemorative foundation stone to officially open JA Hatta Fort Hotel in the morning, and then onto lay another foundation stone and open the Jebel Ali Beach Hotel on the same day.

Performance of both heritage properties

Described as the ‘original heritage hotel in the heart of the action’, the multi award-winning JA Beach Hotel underwent extensive renovation in 2019 including the addition of sleek glass balconies, new restaurant fit outs and brand new spacious and bright bedrooms and suites. The hotel still retains some of its original features including Italian marble, the unique shaped family pool and a restaurant located at the top of the building providing 360 degree views out across the lush landscaped golf course and the Arabian Gulf. The hotel performance has been impressive throughout the 40 years with a 30% repeat guest rate and top source markets including UK, France and Germany delivering year after year.

Similarly, the JA Hatta Fort Hotel has recently introduced a new café called Peaks and has developed many new outdoor areas amidst the extensive grounds. With the recent government investment and development into the Hatta area, the addition of an upgraded helipad at the mountain property has ensured that JA Hatta Fort Hotel is a central base for the many dignitaries visiting the region for new projects. With many examples of third generation families visiting the resort as their grandparents did before them, JA Hatta Fort Hotel has managed to enjoy phenomenal success with 2020 being one of the most successful years to date due to robust staycation traffic.

Brand Growth Across UAE and Indian Ocean

On top of the success of these two founding properties, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features another 8 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, as well as a new brand in China targeting young travellers, announced in 2019. The upper midscale lifestyle hotels will be branded as ‘Big Bed by JA’ and the vision is to roll out 30 units by 2024 – spread across various cities in China.

Tropical Indian Ocean escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. In 2021, the group has also opened the new JA Enchanted Waterfront Villa’s, a brand-new idyllic getaway in Seychelles featuring 10 villa resort residences on the east coast of Mahé. The picturesque and luxurious waterfront villas are situated on 8000 square metres of tropical scenery with access to a perched beach and very close to the airport.

Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence.  The Manor by JA is another more recent addition to the portfolio, a 247 key corporate hotel located in Al Furjan, Dubai, opened in January 2020. The flagship of the brand is the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort in Jebel Ali Beach. The resort remains unique in the UAE with expansive landscaped grounds of fauna and flora, 3 unique hotels offering 800 suites and rooms between them– the award-winning JA Beach Hotel and JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, an award-winning new property opened in September 2019 and an abundance of entertainment facilities including a 9-hole golf course, shooting club, private marina, football, cricket and rugby pitches, a watersports centre, tennis courts and 800 metre private beach.

What’s Next for JA Resorts & Hotels

Despite the challenging hospitality landscape, the group continues to seek expansion opportunities and continuously improve the existing product. Forward looking projects include a two storey Kids Club – Pirates & Mermaids at JA The Resort Dubai, a new spa and additional accomadation at JA Hatta Fort Hotel and several new Food & Beverage concepts in JA Ocean View Hotel on The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence. The homegrown hospitality brand will be celebrating its 40 years of success throughout 2021, with initiatives designed in recognition of customers, partners and team-members.

  • Watch the video of the JA Journey here: https://we.tl/t-3Vwmnn6EhH
  • Joint Interviews about the evolution of JA are available with the Chairman Ahmed Baker and his granddaughter Nadia Baker, who currently works in Marketing for the group. Interviews with property General Managers also available.
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