Five Holdings to operate and rename Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai

UAE: Viceroy Hotels and Resorts is no longer operating a landmark property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, which opened just three months ago.

The property was developed and is owned by the Dubai-based real estate development and hospitality group Five Holdings – formerly SKAI Holdings – and is now known as Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai.

Aloki Batra, CEO of Five Hospitality LLC, said: “We believe now is the right time to disrupt the hospitality industry. The people who actually provide hospitality experiences never receive the real benefits while most of the commercial benefits are taken in most cases by operators. This needs to change. There needs to be a much more equitable distribution and we will be introducing this in our hospitality vertical immediately to ensure our philosophy is executed from the heart.”

The hotel is in the soft launch mode, with an official brand launch expected to take place in October.

Five Holdings has also acquired the Viceroy Dubai in Jumeirah Village Circle which will now be known as Five Jumeirah Village Dubai. It will also be operated by Five Hotels & Resorts, under its subsidiary Five Hospitality LLC.

Editor’s Comment

The last few years has seen a determined effort by most of the major hotel companies to become asset light, and in many cases pullback from operating hotels as well as owning them. The surge in franchising has seen the major chains having less and less involvement with the day-to-day running of a property.

There are notable exceptions to this rule, Accor being one – boss Sebastien Bazin takes pride in calling the company a hotel operator, and in the lifestyle space there are a significant number of hands-on operator brands. Viceroy is one of the best known, but the quite alarming shot it has received across its bow from Five Holdings – must have come as a shock.

In his fairly provocative statement, could Five CEO Aloki Batra be marking a sea change for the industry? A move back to the traditional owner/operator model that the sector has shifted so far away from? Perhaps Five Hospitality will be blazing a trail on its own – it is certainly a bold move in a market as obsessed with brands as Dubai – but it will be fascinating to see if other owners decide that they want to keep the potential profits from operating properties to themselves and dispense with the brands they have relied on in the past.

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