Monthly Archives: March 2015
Mohammed Al Habtoor, CEO and Vice Chairman, Al Habtoor Group, said, “We are delighted to work with Starwood for another landmark project in Dubai. The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will be part of a state-of-the-art polo and equestrian community. Every guest of the hotel will be able to watch polo from their rooms, suites and the restaurant terraces. This offers something truly unique.”
The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will feature 136 luxury guest rooms, 24 luxury St. Regis branded bungalows and various culinary venues. In addition, there will be a further 138 residential villas within the resort, alongside a polo club, a state-of-the-art polo academy and a riding school with 500 stables. Guests will also have access to the polo academy, which will offer a wide range of programmes including dressage, riding and show jumping for riders of all ages. The resort will also be home to four world-class polo fields which will reinforce Dubai’s role on the global polo circuit.
PoloLine had the privilege of visiting Habtoor City, a massive project that includes three hotels, two residence towers and a Las Vegas-style theatre. Mohammed Al Habtoor, CEO and Vice-Chairman of the Habtoor Group, showed us around.
Habtoor City is a unique multi-use development that will feature three top-rated hotels – all managed by Starwood (St. Regis, Westin, W hotel) – on one plot, with the addition of three luxury residential towers with 11 stylish penthouses, three of which will be ultra-VIP, with 360 degree panoramic views of the Dubai Skyline.
This mega development is situated in the heart of the city, on Sheikh Zayed Road, a few blocks from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Business Bay – it also overlooks the Arabian Gulf. Habtoor City has the added benefit of being on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal, due for completion around the same time.
The city will show an exclusive water-themed theatrical production by the Franco Dragone Entertainment Group in a state-of-the-art theatre, with a 35 meter high vaulted ceiling which will provide spectacular views of the show.
Habtoor City aims to give residents and visitors everything they need under one roof – from entertainment, restaurants, cafes, bars, a European-style Boulevard and a marina. During our visit to the Habtoor City, PoloLine spent “a day in the life” of Mohammed Al Habtoor, learning about his business, future projects, and of course, his love of polo.
On the tour:
“We’ve actually walked in via phase one, where the W and the Westin hotels are, as well as the theatre with the Las Vegas show by Franco Dragone. In phase two we see the residences with 1500 apartments. In total we’re talking about 3200 units; we estimate that, between the residences, the hotels and the restaurants, we’ll have 20,000 people here every evening – so this is like a city! It’s going to be a special destination, not only for the residents of Dubai, but also for foreigners who visit. The theatre and the Franco Dragone Show will be iconic for Habtoor City and for Dubai. We will open the three hotels in stages: the first will open this September, the second at the end of October, and last in December. By the end of the year we’ll have the whole complex open. The whole project has taken less than three years to build; usually projects of this magnitude take much more time. The amount of concrete we’ve used to build this complex is enough for a whole city.”
On the 45th anniversary of Al Habtoor Group:
“Al Habtoor Group is celebrating their 45th anniversary this year, with several projects under development: Habtoor City, The Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club (one of the most ambitious plans by Mohammed Al Habtoor), Bentley Motors Showroom, Metropolitan Sheikh Zayed Road and the Oasis Villas.”
“We’re the only private group or company to have so many simultaneous ongoing projects. We have Habtoor City, including the residences, the Metropolitan Hotel, the Habtoor Polo Resort and Club and many other projects. We’re talking about a USD 2.5 billion investment.”
“I’m proud of my father, and so are many people in this country – Emiratis and other nationalities too. He built this country with the help of other businessmen. When he started, Dubai was still virgin territory; now it’s one of the biggest cities in the world. What he has done is not easy. My challenge is to continue his work; for now everything is growing in the right direction”.
On Al Habtoor Group, the engine that never stops:
“Our government works fast on their projects, and they build what they say they will, so if we or other real estate companies here in Dubai don’t keep the pace they set, we’ll miss the train. That’s why we’re trying our best to adapt the vision of Sheik Mohammed to the vision of Dubai; we all have to collaborate and help the economy of Dubai.”
“We have the support of the government; of course they don’t finance it, but they offer strategies to support our plans. For example, if you want to build a hotel, they make try to improve and work on bringing people into our country. They organize conferences and exhibitions; they support our vision. This is the good thing in between private sector and the government.”
On the Al Habtoor Polo Resort:
“Dubai is limited in land, so land is expansive. If you only make a polo club, you’ll lose money. Also water is expensive because it never rains here, and you need water to maintain the fields. That’s why we decided to do a residential project, with the St. Regis Hotel in it, as well as a polo club. We hope polo will support the St. Regis hotel and the hotel will support polo.”
A day in the life of Mohammed:
“I’m busy in the office from 7 in the morning until the evening. If there’s an important polo match, like the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series, I usually go. But after polo I go back to the office and finish all my work; I don’t like leaving things for the next day.”
“We’re a family of sportsmen. My father plays tennis everyday; he also loves to go walking, and he walks for hours. He’s a healthy person, and he encourages people to partake in sports and eat well. My sport is polo and I have my father’s support. My two sons also play polo, so the whole family is tied to sport.”
“If you want to develop your business and be successful, you need a clean brain. Exercise helps; it keeps you active, healthy, young, and helps you think better. Some of sports, like polo, require teamwork; business also needs teamwork – it’s not a one-man show, you need to consult the people around you. I try to keep a good balance between work and polo. I work over 13 hours a day, so a couple of hours of polo is necessary for me.”
“If you don’t work, you won’t survive; work is like oxygen to me. Even if I go to bed late, I’m at the office at 7am. Imagine a whole Friday without any polo – it would be the most boring day ever. I like to be active, and I like challenges.”
“I have people that help me, but I’m always on top of the things. Regardless of whether it’s important or not, I have to be informed in the morning. I want to know everything – it’s not that I don’t trust people, it’s just because I want to know everything that’s going on, in business and polo”.
On the Al Habtoor Polo Resort:
“It’s a big step and it will continue to promote polo in the UAE. By having more and better quality polo fields – something that’s really needed for the development of the sport – there will be more polo activity, more tournaments, and more people enjoying polo. Also, building a hotel in the middle of the polo fields will encourage many activities during the day – you will be able to see the games, activities, the polo academy, stick and balling, etc., from your bedroom terrace.”
On the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series:
“Before I started the Gold Cup Series six years ago, patrons were only playing practices in their own clubs. Each one only had two horses each – now they have a full organization and every year they bring the best players in the world over, like Pablo Mac Donough and Lucas Monteverde”.
Amr Zedan (patron of Zedan Polo Team) told me, “Mohammed, before you started the Gold Cup I only had two horses. Now I have a full string of horses, and the best players in the world play for me – all because of you”. I appreciate that; all the patrons say that if I hadn’t set up the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series they would still be playing practices in their own clubs. I’m happy that I have their support and that everybody comes out here. We broke that barriers between clubs and patrons, and now everybody plays together.”
“Thanks to the growth of polo in the UAE, we have more horses, and we will have more polo fields; it creates jobs and opportunities for many people in polo, especially now that we have ten teams playing in the Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series and people come from all over the world.
I understand that patrons appreciate this tournament, they’re happy it’s happening and that they have a competitive season.”
“We are talking about three months of polo, with four great tournaments. In Spain, for example, everything happens in one month, or three weeks for the Queen’s Cup in the UK and another three for the British Gold Cup” Here in the UAE, we have 3 months and we are looking forward to increasing the season and starting in November or December, and adding two new tournaments. Something between 10-14 goals, and also a 8-12 goal tournament, so as to give other teams a chance to compete. Not everyone can afford the high goal season, so this would give our kids and young players an opportunity.”
On increasing the handicap of the DPGC:
“We still want to increase the handicap of the competition, but what we have to decide if we go up to 20 or 22 goals. I think that if we want to increase the number of teams to 12 or 14 , then 20 goals will be better. We have meetings with the patrons every year, so we will decide on that soon. We listen to their opinion and side with the majority.”
What message do you have for all the organizations, teams, patrons, polo managers and players out here?
“The most important thing is that we’ve put the UAE on the polo map. This has been the biggest achievement over the last six years; in some countries it can take a decade to reach a certain level of polo. We’re still looking forward to going even bigger; we have lots of patrons interested in coming to play the UAE Polo Season. Imagine what it will be like next year, if I had trouble finding stables for my horses this season! If there are not enough stables, we must build more – and that’s why we’re building 500 stables in the Al Habtoor Polo Resort. That will also help bring new patrons. We’re also trying to compose a string of horses for people to rent, maybe for the medium and low goal. Not only for patron’s coming from other countries, but so that new local patrons can compete in the medium goal first, before hopefully moving on to the high goal. People have to understand that the effort that I’m putting in, along with the support of the other patrons, is not only for me, but for everyone. It’s for the city, for the country and for the sport in general; to get everyone together. We don’t want to look at the small scale of things; we have to look to the future – the sky is the limit for polo.”
Source : http://www.pololine.com/?lang=1&sec=5¬e=6348&pag=0&anoB=2015
Julius Bär Team by Habtoor defeated Mahra Polo by 7 goals to 6 on tuesday at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
Patron Rashid Al Habtoor team had a promising start but when Julius Bär Team set their engines at full power, the scoreboard turned over in favour of Mohammed Al Habtoor´s team.
Three consecutive goals, two by Guillermo Cuitiño and one by Santiago Cernadas, placed the Julius Bär Team in the ascendancy.
Mahra did apply some pressure in the final minutes but Mohammed Al Habtoor´s team achieved victory by the slenderest of margins.
Source : http://sport360.com/article/equestrian/33564/julius-b%C3%A4r-team-habtoor-polo-and-bin-drai-book-places-last-four-julius-b%C3%A4r
The match between Julius Baer Team by Habtoor & Ghantoot was played on 28th February at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club.
After a very close first chukka, Julius Baer Team by Habtoor took a three goal advantage, courtesy of three unanswered goals by the birthday boys. Despite Ghantoot made a comeback in the third chukka, Julius Baer Team by Habtoor displayed their best polo to remain in control of the situation.
The fifth chukka started with a fantastic neckshot goal by the birthday hero, to secure Julius Baer Team by Habtoor a three goal advantage. Guille sealed the win for Mohammed’s foursome in the last minute of play.
Score Julius Baer Team by Habtoor: 1-0, 4-1, 4-3, 6-4, 9-5
Source : http://www.pololine.com/?lang=1&sec=3¬e=6298&pag=0&anoB=2015