Oh no...is this now coming too???
The Sharia-compliant hotel concept, through its unique value proposition, has quickly become highly attractive throughout the Middle East.
The increasing availability of Sharia-compliant funds and the rise in intra-regional travel have been identified as the major drivers behind the success of this concept. The concept is not new, as most hotels developed in Saudi Arabia are Sharia-compliant – Sharia being a legal framework adopted by Islam.
However, the introduction of the concept elsewhere has drawn much attention and growing interest. In this article, we attempt to clearly define the requirements a hotel must meet to be Sharia-compliant, and the differences between this concept and that of ‘dry’ hotels. Since operating and developing such properties introduces a certain number of challenges, we ask the question: ‘Is it really worth it?’
Using our insight and knowledge gained from speaking with industry experts, we list the requirements that a Sharia-compliant hotel must meet. This list is by no means exhaustive, as it serves only to give the minimum requirements. It should be noted that no written rules or classifications for Sharia-compliant hotels currently exist.
In order for a hotel to be fully Sharia-compliant, it is extremely important that most of the facilities (such as floors, spa, gym and guest and function rooms) be separate for males and females. This is especially significant at the development stage when designing floor plans of the hotel. Beds and toilets should not be placed in the direction of Mecca.
Neither alcohol nor pork should be served in any of the food and beverage outlets at the hotel and there should be no minibar in the rooms.
Food products served in the restaurants have to be halal; that is, slaughtered in the name of Allah.
The hotel development and the hotel operations should be financed through Islamic financial arrangements in order to fully respect the principles of Sharia finance.