Portofino Hotel will be a first-of-its-kind, five-star, family-only hotel in the UAE and GCC, offering 489 princess suites including the exclusive Villa Adriana on the top floor. The hotel is located in The Heart of Europe, a cluster of six islands on The World, offshore to Dubai. It features a women’s only Queen’s Club, Kingdom of Portofino Kids’ Club and 514 aquariums to mirror the Arabian Gulf sea life.
We spoke to Josef Kleindienst, chairman of the Kleindienst Group, and here’s an excerpt of our conversation:
Do you see a gap in the family hotel market in the UAE?
While there are quite a few family friendly hotels and resorts in the UAE, there is a clear gap in the market for the family-only hotel concept. In Europe, the family-only hotel is an established option and we are bringing the first ever five-star, family-only hotel in the region that caters to adults with children from seven days old to teens. For example, mums are the bedrock of the family so we cater to their every need at the exquisite Queen’s Club and children will be enchanted by the magical Kingdom of Portofino Kid’s Club.
Do you operate on a different set of rules than other UAE hotels as you’re based off shore?
We are offering a unique, never-done-before experience in the UAE that takes guests away from the busy streets of Dubai to a more relaxing and luxurious experience 20 minutes away off the coast of Dubai. However, as far as rules go, we follow the same hotel operating regulations in the UAE.
Why do you accept payments in euros?
The Heart of Europe is a celebration of the best European experiences in an unrivalled holiday destination. Hence we want to ensure our guests are offered the full European experience from the moment they step off the boat bringing them from the mainland. This includes not only payments in Euros but also the use of the European time zone and native language speakers front of house, so Italians at Portofino Hotel and Spanish at Ibiza Hotel.
Will you have any entertainment facilities that are not present in the UAE at the moment?
We will be offering magnificent facilities for the whole family to ensure complete relaxation. There will be five swimming pools, including an Olympic-sized pool for synchronized swimming at Portofino Hotel - designed especially for water sports and showcasing regular water ballet shows throughout the day. Entertainment will also include the Castello Theatre, with family shows, concerts and movie screenings. There will be a choice of options including a Queen’s Club for women only. Mothers will be able to relax in the Beauty Box with a range of services available, yet be in close proximity to their children at the kids’ club – the Kingdom of Portofino Kids’ Club.
Guests will also experience different weather experiences in the world’s first artificial rainy streets on Main Europe Island or building a snowman in the snow plazas.
The Heart of Europe has also developed its seascape underwater where there will be 100,000 corals by 2020 to delight snorkellers and divers. From Cote D’Azur Hotel, guests will learn to free dive for pearl oysters bringing back the traditional heritage of Dubai and providing a magical experience as visitors will treasure their own pearls from The Heart of Europe.
Will you serve a selection of Italian grape?
We are mindful that it is a family-only hotel, however we will bring true Italian influences to our first hotel on The Heart of Europe. There will be a wide range selection of Italian grape and bubbles for mothers to unwind and enjoy in Queen’s Club and in outlets across the hotel.
Who are your most important feeder markets?
We want to attract families from the UAE for staycations either in their second home or one of our hotels as well as from the GCC, just a short plane ride away and also further afield globally for a vacation.
Will there be any provisions for day visitors to visit the hotel as well?
Guests will have the luxury of enjoying the majority of the islands and their facilities for the day. After a 20-minute boat ride, they can walk the climate-controlled streets of Main Europe Island no matter the summer or winter temperatures enjoying the retail and F&B opportunities. Or head to the snow plaza to build a snowman, snorkel amongst the stunning seascapes surrounding the islands, dive for pearls, watch a water ballet or come for one of the concerts. This is just a taster of what is to come.
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