Former Tiara Hotels and Resorts, now Essque, has announced its first property outside of Dubai. The Zalu Resort & Spa, Zanzibar, Tanzania is scheduled to open in 2010.
It has been a particularly troubled gestation for this new hotel brand, not only enduring a name-change from Tiara to Essque (pronounced Esk) before the first property has even opened, but also because as yet, there is no firm date for the opening of any of its properties. As reported by Business Traveller in March 2008, the first hotel on the Palm Jumeirah was due to open last summer, but has yet to announce a rescheduled date.
Speaking exclusively to Business Traveller, CEO of Essque Danny Haddad said that there was little that Essque could do about the situation: “We are not the owners; we are purely the operators, so we go with what the owners are telling us.”
As a result there is still no official opening date for either the Palm Jumeirah hotel, or a second hotel of 332 rooms situated in one of a pair of towers (the other being an office block) on Sheikh Zayed Road on the edge of Business Bay. Haddad says that this will not open until 2011 at the earliest.
In such a situation, it’s understandable that the brand looked abroad for new opportunities, and Haddad admits that the focus has changed, hence the name change from Tiara to Essque Hotels.
“We’ve evaluated a lot of things and to go international we needed a name that had no meaning and that we could invest with meaning. It’s the same as Sony Walkman. You create the brand, and then it has meaning even though it was created from nothing.”
Haddad says that the new Zanzibar property may now well open before the Palm Dubai hotel. “They will both open in 2010. The only possible delay for the Zanzibar property is because of the additions we’re working on for the development such as the spa which will be 700-100 square metres.”
The Zanzibar property will have 49 rooms including 40 bungalows and nine villas on the beach close to other five star properties on this stretch of coast such as the Kempinski and the Fairmont.
Haddad is aiming for 8-10 Essque properties in the next three to five years, but says that “The whole world has changed in the past year, everyone is looking at things differently. Our brand has been designed to try and cope with those changes, and to be flexible enough to manage with that change”