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02 November 2018

Deira Island's high-end family experience

WEALTH Arabia speaks to Markland Blaiklock, Deputy CEO of Thailand’s famed Centara Hotels & Resorts about their forthcoming foray into Dubai’s hotly anticipated next destination

shutterstock/Sophie James

Deira Islands is coming—and coming soon. Now just two years away, the development that will link four man-made islands in the city, is set to become Dubai’s next big thing, featuring malls, hotels, and homes. Built by Nakheel, who also brought to life Dubai’s world-famous Palm, Deira Island will feature things that hve yet to come to Dubai, including the debut of Centara, a brand renowned in Southeast Asia for its high-end resorts built for families—something ideal for the Middle Eastern market.


“We’re the largest Thai operator in Thailand. We have 33 hotels there. A couple in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and we started looking in this area because it’s still relatively close to our headquarters in Bangkok, and we were able to secure a project in Oman just last year. We were keen to get into Dubai. We’re a family business of 26 siblings in the family,” says Markland Blaiklock, Deputy CEO.


“It’s a joint-venture, Nakheel is 60 per cent and we’re 40 per cent. With the joint-venture will come the opportunity to bring two other hotels to Deira Island, one connected to the mall, one residences and suites, and another a hotel.”


While we are still two years away from its debut, Blaiklock was able to share with WEALTH Arabia details of what inspired the forthcoming property, which tursn out to be one of the brand’s most popular destinations.


“It’s going to be a family resort, inspired by our Centara Grand Mirage, a Lost World themed family resort in Pattaya. It will have a magic carpet theme—the roof design is a bit like a magic carpet, as well as a water park with a lazy river that one can drift around in. It’s a copy of sorts of the successful one we have in Pattaya, which was recently voted number one family resort in Thailand by Trip Advisor—a list that we also placed number four and number seven on,” says Blaiklock.


Centara does not plan to stop there, in the region or in the world.


“We have 38 hotels, and a pipeline of 20. The pipeline includes Laos, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Cuba, and the UAE,” says Blaiklock.


To create a truly try end experience for families, “You need to cater to all family across all ages,” Blaiklock explains, making sure that each family member feels that their stay was truly superlative—not just the kids, or the parents.





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