Since rumours emerged that HRH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani abdicated in June due to the serious medical condition of former First Lady Sheikha Mozah which debuted in April, several Qatar led investments and projects have been reporting major delays.
For instance, the Msheireb project initiated and developed under the personal supervision of HRH Sheikha Mozah through Qatar Foundation is seeing delays of up to 2 years compared to previous estimated, the retail and entertaiment component seemingly being replaced by the Mall of Qatar. The hotel projects announced for Msheireb Complex (Sofitel, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt are uncertain, instead, Qatari Diar (under the close supervision of the Prime Minister) announced breaking ground on Lusail project which will include 2 luxury hotels.
After missing out on the acquisition of Prada, which eventually opted for the HK IPO, Sheikha Mozah’s Qatar Luxury Group also seems to have scaled down on its ambitious projects, since being established 5 years ago, besides the set up of a state-or-the-art manufacture atelier in Doha (a halfbillion dollar investment) and the acquision of premium French label Le Tanneur has only launched Qatari brand Qela, with a store in Doha opened last month at The Pearl and a delayed projected opening for Paris. Valentino, which was acquired by Qatar last year, has never been part of the portfolio of Qatar Luxury Group and despite associations with HRH Sheikha Mozah, the brand is indirectly controlled by the Al Fardan family.
Set up with the aim of nurturing local talent, Qela will never be able to join the ranks of international luxury brands, instead serving as a ‘lab test’ for the manufacturing facility of Qatar Luxury Group.
Other landmark luxury Qatar led investments such as Peninsula Hotel Paris, Shangri-La Hotel London at The Shard, Nikki Beach Hotel, Doha, second Four Seasons Hotel, Doha, Excelsior Gallia Milano (operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts). Other projects attributed but highly uncertain, include opening of Harrods Hotels, increase of its stake or even acquisition of Tiffany & Co etc.
Lack of leadership, vision and feasible long term business strategies, Qatar has demonstrated a chaotic development with luxury investments, with Harrods and Valentino being the only two success stories, however, to which, Qatar had little input, except financial.
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