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Do Not Pass GO: Piccadilly gives way to White Fort Hotel

Do Not Pass GO: Piccadilly gives way to White Fort Hotel

Hotel closes its ‘waning’ nightclubs to become Sharia-compliant. A winning strategy or just bandwagon-jumping? Precious de Leon predicts this is the first of many small hotel operators reevaluating their strategies.

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July 3, 2011 4:27 by



Nothing quite like spells out as we’re getting on the bandwagon as much as not being able to explain why you’re making the kind of radical change you’ve decided to make. Well, either you are covering up that you’re getting on the bandwagon or you just have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

For the owners of the Picadilly Hotel in Deira’s Al Nasr Square, Kipp can’t quite decide which category they belong. According to Emirates 24/7, the hotel’s owners (Arabian Jewellery and the Orient Real Estate Group) have decided to give the Picadilly a complete makeover–from a groovy (a loosely used term here) Asian hangout to a fervent and conservative Sharia-compliant hotel. It will be renamed White Fort Hotel.

And this will mean the closure of three entertainment nightspots in the hotel: Mirage (South Indian night club); Madhuben (Bengali); and Mehran (Pakistani).

So, why the 180-degree change? Well, let’s see. Owners are citing waning popularity and dwindling business from the night clubs; businessmen preferring Shariah-compliant hotels; and visiting families from around the GCC preferring not to stay in a hotel with a nightclub or bar.

Of course it’s is the owners’ prerogative to change the positioning of a hotel to whatever form it pleases them. Kipp’s wonders though if the owners are on a mission to overhaul their businesses not to reflect a ‘sharia-compliance’ (after all that trend has not quite kickstarted in the region as much as some of us has hoped) but actually to reflect their investors values.

We also wonder whether the waning business comes not from targeting the ‘wrong’ target but because the hotel itself needs more than a refurbish. After all, it doesn’t even have one review on tripadvisor. Have a look at its website and we’ll leave you to be a judge.

And it’s not farfetched for any small hotel operator to feel uneasy these days, especially when news of smaller hotels in Abu Dhabi closing down because it simply cannot compete with the luxury hotels and the global budget brands that are entering the market.



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