DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The landmark Ramada Hotel in Bur Dubai, one of the oldest hotels in the city, is closing down in August this year, to make way for a mixed-use development.
Abdellah Essonni, CEO of Abjar Hotels International, which manages the 33-year-old hotel, said the decision to shut its operations has not been easy.
He said, “We reached the decision after agonising over it for a long time. We then concluded that it was better to build afresh rather than renovate the building.”
He said, “It was a very sentimental issue because there are a lot of memories attached with the hotel – for both the owners and the community. But life has to go on and we decided to give the community something more beautiful and useful.”
He said the mixed-use development which will come up in place of the hotel will cover the adjacent open parking lot as well.
“The development will have a 180-room five star hotel, 120 residences, an 8,000 square metre shopping mall with a supermarket and other retail outlets.”
He said the hotel will cease operations by the end of August.
“The demolition work will start in October and the new project should be completed by the first quarter of 2019.”
The brand of the five-star hotel is not yet known.
The community in Bur Dubai has received the news of the closure with nostalgia.
“I have been living in Mankhool for 30 years and Ramada has been my favourite neighbourhood restaurant. I will particularly miss the Chinese restaurant Dynasty,” said Sheela, a housewife.
Another resident living in the Ain Ain Centre building said, “I know they say change is good but I am not so sure. I just hope we don’t have any more surprises springing upon us. I am still coming to terms with the closure of the old Spinney’s supermarket. Now with Ramada also going, the area will never be the same again.”