Alcohol-free hotels becoming more common in Dubai
The number of alcohol-free hotels in Dubai is on the rise as the emirate looks to cater to all kinds of visitors and makes use of the growing availability of Islamic finance.
Last year, the government announced its intention to make the city the global capital of the Islamic economy and this appears to have been borne out by the fact Sharia funds in the UAE are growing rapidly.
Dry hotels first began to spring up early in the last decade, with investors looking to build increasing numbers of these establishments as Islamic finance became more readily available.
Guy Wilkinson, managing partner of Viability Management Consultants, expects this trend to continue for some time yet.
'An increasing number of Gulf investors want to do dry hotels because of their religious conviction. So you’ll see more and more dry hotels.'
A definitive figure has not been placed on the number of dry hotels and hotel apartments currently situated in Dubai, with estimates from analysts ranging from 12 to 100. Mr Wilkinson noted all hotel apartments in the Gulf - including the UAE - are dry, except for those with links to a hotel chain that has been issued an alcohol licence.
In order to make a profit, he stated dry hotels and apartments must focus more on the quality of rooms and the service they offer to guests, rather than food and beverages.
The majority of those that choose to stay at the emirate's alcohol-free hotels arrive from Gulf nations - in particular Saudi Arabia - having sought out accommodation that is in line with their Islamic beliefs.
However, this is not exclusively the case and Mr Wilkinson highlighted the fact a growing number of visitors from Europe are opting for dry hotels.
'They’re for people from all over the world that want family-friendly accommodation with good facilities,' he explained.