Complex Made Simple

Buying a room at this hotel? Bitcoin now accepted

We are truly living in the future. Flying taxis are on the horizon. Solar-powered cars are being developed. An android was given citizenship in Saudi Arabia.

Now, the latest innovation in the region will allow you to buy a hotel room in an entirely new way. How?

With Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies.

A new market opens up 

The Cristal Group, a leading UAE-based hospitality management company, is now offering its customers the opportunity to purchase luxury units in its 4-star Al Mahra Resort. This represents the first time a hotel unit has been on offer in exchange for cryptocurrency in the Middle East, according to a statement by Cristal.

Cristal is partnering with FAM Holding  on the project, which is located in the heart of Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The resort is being developed at an investment of $95.2 million (Dh350 million) and is expected to open by 2020.

Image: Al-Mahra Resort

Featuring 548 rooms, suites and villas, the property is offering buyers the opportunity to purchase the units under strata title.

“Some of the biggest names worldwide are warming up to cryptocurrency,” said owner and chairman of FAM Holding Dr. Faisal Ali Mousa Al Naqbi, “therefore it is logical for us to offer people the opportunity to pay in Bitcoin or similar currency rather than just fiat currency.”

READ: Property prices drop, major opportunities for renters and investors

Fiat currency is here to stay 

“Cryptocurrency has radically improved the transparency, speed, and security of property transactions with smart contracts, hence it is really ground-breaking to do what we are doing,” said Al Naqbi. “Of course, paying in Bitcoin for this development is just an option.“

So fret not, fiat currency isn’t going anywhere, and this is still an exploration of a novelty, if anything. However, crypto’s presence is not to be underestimated, as more companies in different sectors begin to embrace it.

READ: Buy to live or buy to let?

Crypto and the hospitality sector

This is not the first time the hospitality sector has dabbled with cryptocurrency. In March, CNBC reported that a group of foreign investors was looking to buy the iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City, considering an initial coin offering of $375 million to help fund the transaction.

Expedia, an American travel company, is accepting Bitcoin when paying for hotel rooms too.

Bit by bit, the practice of buying and selling through crypto is taking hold, and Cristal and FAM Holding’s plans might not be as bizarre as they first sound. In the future, all sorts of products will be on sale for digital currency.

READ: Overcast skies for Bitcoin, but Blockchain is taking the UAE by storm