By Keith Loria
The Dream Hotel Group—which consists of four proprietary brands: Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels—has embarked on its first foray into the Philippines with Dream Carabao Island, one of 13 new hotels under development worldwide.
In fact, the company has signed more new hotel deals in the last six months than at any other time in its 20-year history.
“It is aggressive and it’s certainly not easy, but all companies have to grow at some point, and I think we are positioned very well for this kind of growth,” said Jay Stein, CEO of Dream Hotel Group. “We’ve been able to prove that we can go head-to-head with the great hotel chains in certain markets and do it as well as they do—if not better—and with a lower fee structure for owners. That is a very exciting option for owners.”
With a growth trajectory of 230% from 2016 to 2020, Dream Hotel Group is on track to triple in size in the next four years.
“Up until about four years ago, we owned everything we managed and managed everything we owned. That model was not fast, so we changed our strategy, shifting from ownership to a brand and management company,” Stein said. “We’re able to move much quicker now, and we have a much larger development team in the field—10 people globally based. We may still develop on our own or as an equity partner to get into top markets like London and San Francisco, but our preference is pure management moving forward.”
The 220-key Dream Hotel located on the white sand beaches of Carabao Island recently ranked as the third-best island destination in the world by Condé Nast Traveler.
“With the growth Asia is experiencing and its positive outlook, we believe there is a strong rationale for us to bring our other brands to these resort markets,” said Stein. “Borocay in the Philippines plays host to more than three million visitors annually, including local holiday makers and international visitors from Europe and North Asia. It’s an exciting time for the market, and we look forward to expanding our presence across the archipelago.”
The one-million-square-foot resort is the seventh hotel to join Dream Hotel Group’s ever expanding Asian network and the 15th worldwide for the Dream Hotels brand, joining Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa and Dream Bangkok in Thailand, and several other locations currently in development across the globe, including: Dream Nashville (2018); Dream Pattaya Na Jomtien (2018); Dream New Delhi (2019); Dream Palm Springs (2019); Dream Dallas (2020); Unscripted Dallas/Fort Worth (2020); Dream Doha (2020); Unscripted Birmingham Central Hall (2020); The Chatwal Maaga Maldives (2020); and Dream Gasveli Maldives (2020).
“Every new location we open offers yet another way to explore the limits of our brands, while expanding the footprint of the portfolio,” Stein said. “We recently announced the appointment of Abid Butt, chief executive officer for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, who joins us at a very opportune moment in our journey as we continue to focus on our international expansion efforts. Mr. Butt will help build a global expansion strategy that will support the future growth of our lifestyle brands in these markets.”
In the U.S., the company has several exciting developments in the works. Dream Nashville at Printer’s Alley, set to open in the fall of 2018, features 169 guestrooms and suites and six dining and nightlife venues.
“Dream Nashville will be a driving force in the ongoing restoration and revitalization of Music City’s growing downtown district,” Stein said. “We just celebrated the ‘topping out’ last month and look forward to welcoming our first guests soon.”
The Chatwal Lodge is a five-star luxury resort nestled in the Catskill Mountains on the edge of Toronto Lake in Bethel, NY, scheduled to open in the summer of 2019 just in time for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. The hotel will debut with 26 private villas and suite accommodations, multiple world-class culinary experiences and refined rustic design, woven with organic elements creating an ambience of tranquility and warmth all year round.
“When open, The Chatwal Lodge will mark the second location to debut in The Chatwal collection of luxury hotels,” Stein said. “It’s also a project where Dream Hotel Group is the sole owner-developer.”
The Dream Palm Springs, on track for a late 2019 opening, will mark the second West Coast location for the company’s founding luxury lifestyle brand. Developed by Selene Palm Springs, the hotel will feature 175 guest rooms and suites, 30 private residences, multiple food and beverage outlets, two pools and an expansive spa & wellness pavilion.
“In many of the markets, there is a serious lack of true lifestyle product, and nothing like we offer,” Stein said. “For example, part of the Dream brand’s DNA is that each location offer multiple, highly activated dining and nightlife environments, and those outlets depend on the local community to thrive. We don't just look at the top 25 US MSAs and call it a day. Rather, we look at the specific neighborhood or submarket within that market to be sure it’s a fit, and we’ve found ourselves successful in doing so.”
The company also selects partners that make sense locally and isn’t afraid to partner with lots of different experts to help bring the best concepts to market.
For example, in October, the Dream Hotel Group announced plans to develop Unscripted Birmingham Central Hall, its debut lifestyle brand and hospitality concept in the United Kingdom. This recent hotel signing with London-based Ciel Capital represents the company’s first location in Europe.