Keri Watkins

Keri Watkins

Baker & McKenzie LLP


Keri Watkins is a partner based in Baker McKenzie’s Dubai office, who has been advising local and multinational businesses, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and public institutions in the Middle East since 2007. Keri also co-heads the Real Estate & Hospitality practice in the MENA region.

Practice Focus

Keri has extensive real estate, development and hotel related experience and advises on all aspects of the commercial real estate transaction from the initial due diligence and structuring of the deal to post completion aspects. During her time in the Middle East, Keri has spent time on secondment with Dubai Properties Group and Gulf Capital.

Keri is ranked by the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners directories for her work in Real Estate and Hospitality in 2022 and 2023.

Representative Legal Matters

Hotel and Leisure

  • Acted for Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the owner of multiple developments in Diriyah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on: (i) negotiations with hotel operators for the operation of 38 ultra-luxury hotels and branded residences located in two different master plans in Diriyah; and (ii) preparation and drafting of sale and purchase agreements, off-plan sales documentation and leasing templates.

  • Acted for the Seller on the sale of shares of Nurai Island Hotel and two new islands located northeast of Nurai Island, to Aldar Properties.

  • Acted for Jumeirah Group in the acquisition of Le Richemond, Geneva.

  • Acted for the Buyer on a bid for the acquisition of the Barr Al Jissah Resort in Oman.

  • Advised a Qatari government entity on the acquisition of a mixed-use project including three hotels and a leisure site in Doha.

  • Acted for an Egyptian developer in respect of a hotel in New Cairo, including negotiating the hotel management agreements with Marriott.

Real Estate Development and Leasing

  • Advising Aldar Properties on the joint venture with an Abu Dhabi sovereign investor to acquire Al Maryah Tower, a prime Grade A commercial office property located on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi.

  • Acted for a local government entity on the bid process for the acquisition of a USD 700 million hospitality portfolio of assets from Emaar Hospitality Group.

  • Acted for Taaleem Holdings PSC on the strategic acquisition of Jebel Ali School (including the freehold title to the property) from Emirates REIT.

  • Acted for Sobha Properties in respect of a real estate joint venture project in Umm Al Quwain.

  • Acted for Emaar Properties PJSC in relation to the acquisition of a number of development plots within the newly reclaimed Dubai Harbour.

  • Acted for NCB Capital (DIFC) Limited on its disposal of International Tower, Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi.

  • Redrafted Jebel Al Free Zone Authority's suite of real estate letting documentation for the Free Zone.

  • Drafted Ajman Free Zone Authority's suite of real estate letting documentation for the Free Zone.


  • England & Wales (Solicitor)~United Kingdom (2010)
  • Dubai - Registered Legal Consultant


  • De Montfort University (Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice) (2006)
  • De Montfort University (LLB Hons) (2005)


  • English
  • Author, “Baker McKenzie lawyers on the complex decisions around rebranding hotels”, Hotelier Middle East magazine, June 2021

  • Author, “What do owners and operators have to think about for new management agreements?”, Hotelier Middle East magazine, June 2021

  • Author, “What happens when a hotel is in distress?”, Hotelier Middle East magazine, October 2020

  • Author, “Infrastructure Development Boom in the run-up to World Expo 2020”

  • Co-author, "Restructuring Distressed Real Estate Projects," Middle East Business Intelligence, October 2020