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Prepare for impact How will Saudi’s reforms affect foreign investors? pg 20 | Retail revival Dubai malls lead the fight back against e-commerce pg 26 | Time flies Celebrating the Capital Club’s 10th anniversary year pg 48

Scene ISSUE THREE . 2018

Sail away with me - the beauty of owning a yacht


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| d u b a i . b e e f b a r. c o m


As most of you will know, 2018 is the Year of Zayed and celebrating the century since the UAE’s founding father was born feels particularly appropriate for the Capital Club this year. Not only do we have the marvelous portrait of the late great Sheikh Zayed, which was painted live on the premises by Carne Griffiths (currently hung in the fourth floor gallery space, read about its tour of the city and the opportunity to bid for it at auction on page 8), but we are also celebrating our own anniversary, with 2018 marking ten years since the Club began. For more interesting facts about the Club’s first decade, see our feature on page 48. I must admit, even I learned some things I didn’t know – mainly about my staff – from it!

“Just as the UAE has flourished since its formation, so too has the Capital Club, with this year being one of the most exciting periods of growth yet.”

Just as the UAE has flourished since its formation, so too has the Capital Club, with this year being one of the most exciting periods of growth yet. Even the arena we operate in is changing with DIFC’s Gate Avenue coming online this year. Spanning across 666,000 square feet, the flagship development will bring 200 retail and entertainment options to DIFC. In addition to the extra room to move, the new development, stretching from the Gate Building to Central Park Towers, will connect every level and business within it through underground walkways and the Capital Club is thrilled to be at the heart of it. At Club level, our members events have become ever more compelling, with this season’s big name chefs like Brian Turner and Tony Singh set to be followed by the talented Galton Blackiston and other magicians in the kitchen. The gastronomic experience will stay with you long after the plates have been cleared. In the wake of this year’s Dubai International Boat show, and with work underway on the new Dubai Harbour project, some members may be contemplating more interaction with the ocean onboard their own yacht. This issue’s article on page 14 debates the merits of yacht ownership. After an overenthusiastic ‘staycation’ with my daughter, spent predominantly at Aquaventure, which I think I enjoyed almost more than she did, I may stick to dry land for the time being. But I encourage the rest of you to dive in at the deep end. Do make sure to towel off in time for our 10th anniversary party on 19th April, which will evoke the glamour of Paris in the 1920s. And remember that while many of you will be travelling this summer, we’re here all the way through. I look forward to seeing you.

Ian Palmer

General Manager Ian Palmer Director of Marketing & Sponsorship Amanda Edmunds P.O. Box 506536, Gate Village Building #3, DIFC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971 4 364 0111. www.capitalclubdubai.com PUBLISHER Chris Capstick chris@motivate.ae Projects manager Ingrid Valles A Motivate Connect Publication

Editor Polly Phillips

Senior Editor – Connect Lesley Wright

GENERAl MANAGER – production Sunil Kumar

Senior ART DIRECTOR Tarak Parekh Designer Sanil Kumar Sadanandan

Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE. T: +971 4 427 3000. E: connect@motivate.ae. W: motivatepublishing.com


06 12 14 20

The Contents

Capital Club NEWS The latest news and views

Cheers to that! A toast to the Capital Club’s ever-popular Wine Society

Sail away with me... The ins and outs of yacht ownership across the UAE


Talking about a revolution What do the reforms sweeping through Saudi Arabia mean for foreign investors?


MORE IN STORE? The impact e-commerce is having on traditional shopping malls – and how Dubai malls are fighting back

32 36 38 42

capial gains How to get the most out of your business club membership

Fashion Celebrating the 200th anniverary of Brooks Brothers

Singing the chorus Artist Robi Walters talks beating the odds to succeed

Go before they’re gone The most endangered tourist destinations on the planet


Book reviews Our top picks from the most popular authors at the Emirates Literature Festival

47 48

MemBER Profile Shuja Jashanmal, Director of the Jashanmal Group

time flies! As the Capital Club approaches its 10th anniversary, we look back at the past decade


The generation game Popular TV chef Brian Turner CBE reveals how his father ignited his passion for cooking and why he wants to do the same for the children of the future…


Visiting order Are house guests more trouble than they’re worth?


8pm – 3am Complimentary for Capital Club Members 750 AED for guests RSVP@capitalclubdubai.com Channel your inner Cole Porter and Zelda Fitzgerald and be transported to 1920s Paris the decadent era of Joie De Vivre.

capital club.news





Bowling us over The Club’s cricket fans were in for a treat when we welcomed Australian cricket legend Shane Watson. During a Q&A session hosted by Club member, broadcaster and cricketing enthusiast Tom Urquhart, Watson put members at ease straight off the bat, sharing his war stories and talking about his illustrious career (Watson was part of the golden era of Australian cricket in the early 2000s before retiring). Bearing British members in mind, he was even kind enough not to dwell too much on the disastrous Ashes when England very nearly faced a whitewash by the victorious Australian side earlier this year.

The best bar none Sharp-eyed members might have noticed a new face behind the bar at the Club. Sharply dressed and always with a smile to hand, Joseph Fortuin has joined the Club as our Beverage Manager. Winner of the ‘Best Bartender in the UAE’ trophy at the prestigious Caterer ME awards (and twice shortlisted), Joseph brings innovative twists and his own creations to the Club, as well as his profound knowledge of the classics. Joseph’s ready for all of your requests and always here to offer a recommendation, or just to lend an ear, like all good bartenders should.

1. Aussie cricket legend Shane Watson 2. Club governor Shyam Bhatia presents Shane with a copy of Portraits Of The Game 3. Shane in conversation with Tom Urquhart

capital club.news




To your good health


The future of healthcare was on the agenda when International Director at babylon, Olly Finding, hosted coffee and croissants at the Club. One of the UK’s leading digital healthcare providers, babylon made history last year by creating the technology that allowed the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to provide free healthcare via smartphone. The system allowed patients across the country access to free diagnoses and consultations around the clock via their smartphone and Mr Finding was in Dubai to discuss the future of Arab health across the region.




Coffee and cro issants complimentary members + 1 for guest




A Capital Club event series focus Technology & Innovation supp ing on orted by:

Olly Finding is the Internationa l Director at babylon, the UK leading digi tal healthcare serv ice whose purp to democratise ose is healthcare by putting an accessible and affordab le health service into the hands of ever y person on earth. In 2017, the UK’s NHS (Nationa l Health Service), pow ered by babylon , became the first health service in the worl offer free hea lthcare via a sma d to rtphone. The service allow s people to see hours a day, 7 a GP 24 day in the region for s a week. Babylon are Arab Health and looks forward Olly to discussing the Future.

YOU’RE INVITED! Please join us for a one-off private yoga event on the lovely terrace at the Capital Club Dubai. The class will be taken by an expert yoga instructor from Ananda, a luxury spa resort in Northern India’s Himalayan foothills, giving you an insight into the property’s fantastic wellness offering.

YOGA EVENT DETAILS: Date: Sunday, 21st of January 08am - 90min 18.30h - 90min Members: AED 50, Non-members: 100 AED RSVP before 18 January, 2018 - Capital Club Mihaela.nina@capitalclubdubai.com or Francine@lightfoottravel.com

Members find their inner Zen Members were given the chance to access their inner Zen when The Capital Club played host to a day of yoga. The yoga sessions, led by one of the most senior yoga instructors from luxury Himalayan spa resort Ananda, gave members the chance to either open or close their day with a series of stretches, chakras and information on the resort’s lifestyle and wellness offerings. Namaste.


capital club.news

Sheikh Zayed portrait’s incredible journey The Capital Club is proud to announce that our portrait of Sheikh Zayed, which was painted at the Club by acclaimed artist Carne Griffiths, is going on a tour of key Dubai institutions. Members who’ll miss the stunning piece, which currently resides in the fourth floor gallery, will be pleased to know that the portrait’s incredible journey will culminate in an auction on National Day, when members will be given the chance to bid for the work, with all proceeds going to charity.


Real-vitalising real estate


This quarter’s Real Estate and Development Sector series made a detailed analysis of the role revitalisation has to play in the real estate sector and what opportunities that will throw up in Dubai. The panel – Alex Craine, Peter Prischi, Christian Luft and Micha Pawelka, moderated by board member of non-profit organization MEFMA, Ali Al Suwaidi – fielded a series of lively questions over complimentary drinks and canapés.

impact on rea


Ali Al Suwaidi A Board Member MEFM


Alex Craine

Executive Director Real Estate Operations, Dubai Properties Asset Management

Peter Prischl

International and Global Head of Corporate Real Estate, Drees & Sommer

Christian Luft

Micha Pawelka

Head of International Construction Engineering, Drees & Sommer

ary 6:30PM Monday, 12th Febru s 100 AED Members and Guest

Managing Director, Priedemann Facade Engineering


and canapes Complimentary drinks m rsvp@capitalclubdubai.co

2/12/18 9:53 AM

A3 Revitalisation Rea

Estate.indd 1

capital club.news

Difficult conversations made easy Club member and founder of Dubai-based performance development company PDSi, Dawn Metcalfe had her second book published this quarter. The book, Hard Talk, is aimed at helping individuals, teams and organizations have difficult conversations required for success in a positive and non-confrontational way. The book launch was held at The Capital Club, on 28th March. Dawn is an executive coach, facilitator and leadership advisor working across the region, as well as being a prominent member of The Capital Club. Her first book, Managing the Matrix, was published in both English and Arabic, and her second promises to be just as much of an instructional and enlightening read.


The Club gets ’appy The Capital Club is updating its communications system to celebrate its 10th birthday. Keep your eyes peeled for our brand-new website, updated newsletter format – and our new app, which will allow members to stay connected to everything that’s going on at the Club, with details of all our events, offers and promotions all in handy bytesized information.

When in the Arab world Book Club members enjoyed an author meet and greet session when celebrated author Rana Nejem came in to discuss her book, When in the Arab World – An insider’s guide to living and working with Arab Culture. Nejem worked for CNN as a correspondent during the first Gulf War before moving on to serve as a private secretary for HM the late King Hussein of Jordan and then joining the British Foreign Office. She now runs her own company, YARNU, within the region. As well as discussing her book, she took the time to share her thoughts on how cultural beliefs can affect business behaviour.



Once in a lifetime

A window of opportunity to become a Capital Club Life Member

In celebration of the Club’s 10th anniversary, we’re offering members and invited guests the opportunity to become a life member of the Capital Club. As with every other level of membership at the Club, this opportunity is by invitation only. Existing members will be able to nominate or recommend candidates for this life membership – ensuring we maintain the business focus and sociable membership that the Capital Club is recognized for. The concept of life membership is almost as old as the concept of private members’ clubs. However, it is for the first time that the Capital Club brings this opportunity to this part of the world; an opportunity that will allow our members the chance to establish generations of family memberships, as well as contribute to the Club’s future. “Being a member and having the privilege to be part of a club of likeminded souls is one thing. Being a Founder Member certainly carries with it great status, as the individual is known for being part of a group that started a wonderful movement; like Charles Dickens, who founded The Arts Club, in 1863, for example, or Francesco Bianco, who actually founded White’s Club, in 1693. But there is one other category of membership that holds great esteem – the Life Member,” says General Manager Ian Palmer. “The Life Member is known for being part of a group that sustained a movement. “Members with such status have been invited to carry the honour and esteem of membership with them for life, often passing that membership down for generations, depending on the rules of the Club.



“The Capital Club will be making 200 life memberships available in celebration of our 10th anniversary, which will mark the re-launch of the Capital Club after ten great years,” adds Palmer. This window of opportunity is a small one. Only 200 life memberships (cost to be announced) will be available – and once they’re taken, life membership will be capped. In addition to the prestige of joining the upper echelons of the Club, life memberships come with increased benefits. But perhaps more significant than the returns the membership generates is the chance it offers for members to make their mark on the Club’s evolution. This initiative will raise substantial funds, all of which will be ploughed straight back into the Club for the benefit of its members. Already we’ve made huge strides. We’re particularly proud of our stunning light-flooded fourth floor gallery, and the prowess and the prestige of the work that hangs within it. Our Bollinger Garden attracts crowds and compliments in equal measure all year around,

and with executive chef Andy Blas and a team of visiting Michelin-star chefs at the helm, our dining room is fast becoming a destination in its own right. But these changes are just the tip of the iceberg. As the DIFC expands, so will the Club. Taking into account the DIFC’s development, the Capital Club anticipates as many as 1,000 new membership enquiries next year (subject to our strict vetting process), doubling the networking opportunities the Club creates for its members. Which is why we’ve developed an ambitious programme of new and upgraded spaces, including new meeting rooms, a brand new restaurant concept not seen in DIFC before, an updated members’ bar and a second champagne bar amongst other refurbishments. We’ll keep you abreast of these developments through our online communication and, of course, Scene itself. Big changes are coming to the Club. Life membership gives you the chance to be a part of them. Contact general.manager@capitalclubdubai.com for more details about the chance to become a life member of Dubai’s most prestigious members’ club.



Cheers T o

t h a t !

Scene raises a toast to the Club’s ever-popular Wine Society…


President and CEO of Riedel glassware company, Maximilian Riedel explains why the glass you serve your wine in will be reflected in the taste

DID YOU KNOW that it’s not just red and white wines that benefit from different sized serving glasses, but the individual varietals within each colour too? Or that the celebratory custom of toasting a friend with a glass comes from ancient Rome, where small pieces of toasted bread were dunked in wine glasses to rid them of unsavoury tastes? Members of our Wine Society have learned all this and much more – over a glass of some of the finest vintages in the world – at our monthly Wine Society events. Luckily, nobody has to worry about unsavoury tastes at our Wine Society, which – as you’d expect from a society in The Capital Club’s stable – puts the emphasis on the very best vintners in the winemaking world. Recent events have included an evening with renowned Australian vineyard Penfolds, best known for their revered Grange series; a journey across the wines of the Bourgogne region, focusing on organic varietals from indigenous grapes said to lessen any aftereffects of imbibing the next day; a tasting hosted by Neil McGuigan of International Winemaker of the Year McGuigan Wines, and an event with luxury glass maker Riedel, which revealed the impact the shape and size of the glass wine is served in has on its taste. Every evening was a smash hit – though luckily, not literally! The Wine Society’s monthly events are open to all members of The Capital Club and their guests. The next event, on 10th April, will be a wine-pairing dinner, featuring wines from Californian vineyard Michael David. Each evening is a stand-alone event so that members can attend on a case-by-case basis. Due to their popularity, however, booking is essential. Every tasting is completely different to its predecessor so we can’t promise there will be toasting – but we can promise you’ll enjoy yourself. Cheers!

Your grandfather Claus Riedel was the first man in the world to understand that the shape of a glass could affect a wine’s taste. Can you explain why? The diameter and the shape of the rim affect the way the wine meets your palate and your tongue. The harmony of both turns a sip into a perfect pleasure or a disappointment. My grandfather was a very innovative and creative spirit – some of his designs are still displayed in museums like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, even today. And the harmony he discovered extends beyond red and white wine into the varietals of grape? Yes. The grape variety is the key factor in determining the relationship between fruit, acidity, tannin and alcohol, which is why my grandfather, father and myself were able to create shapes in which wine evolves in the best way possible. One of Riedel’s best selling glasses is the stemless ‘O’ wine glass. How did it come about? The idea came to my mind when I moved to New York. My cabinet was not very spacious so ‘O’ seemed to be the logical next step. I kept the functional, varietal specific bowl of the glass and cut off the stem, making the glasses stackable. The design absolutely hit the zeitgeist – it is one of our all-time best sellers across the world. It seems only fitting to ask an expert in glassware – what is the best way to bring out the flavour in a glass of wine? It’s of course important to choose the right glass because it supports the perfume of the wine, the aroma and the taste. Our glasses are instruments – the ultimate loudspeakers to enhance the perfect enjoyment of wine. But secondly, the right temperature of the wine is crucial – you should never serve it too warm. You should also cool red wine. If you could only drink one glass of wine – naturally served in a Riedel glass – for the rest of your life, which grape would you choose? It’s very difficult but it would probably be a Pinot Noir served in a glass from our brand new Performance Series. The glass is breathtaking and Pinot Noir is one of the food friendliest wines; I could pair it with anything from fish to white chocolate.



Sail away with Scene investigates the ins and outs of yacht ownership across the UAE…



PERCHED on the edge of the Persian Gulf, with a history rich in pearl diving and fishing, Dubai is a city built on the power of water. It’s no surprise, then, that many of its residents like to while their weekends away floating on the crystal clear seas, waves lapping at the edge of vessels often as large and luxurious as floating hotels. For members more used to dry land, a booming yachting scene and the development of Dubai Harbour (due for completion in 2021) means that now could be the time to set sail. Allow Scene to guide you through the world of yachts.

The time is now “Dubai has always been a hot spot for yachting owners,” says Senior Director of Marine Projects at Meraas Holdings, Luc Khaldoun. “During the winter the climate is perfect and the surrounding waters are good. But one of the issues has always been berthing space – there’s no point coming if you have no mooring. Dubai Harbour will cater for yachts of all sizes in the region in a way that hasn’t been done before.” Given that GCC residents own 12 per cent of the world’s super yachts

(with an average length of 63 metres, according to the Superyacht Builders Association) and it’s estimated there are around 5,000 yachts across the UAE alone, it’s no surprise the harbour project, in which Khaldoun describes the Ruler of Dubai as being “very much a key player”, is moving ahead at a rate of knots. We’ll come to the details of the largest marina in the MENA region later but first let’s look at the advantages of owning a yacht rather than staying in a series of luxury hotel rooms. “A yacht is a very expensive asset to own,” cautions Khaldoun, who has 22 years experience in the superyacht world, many of which were spent as sales and charter director for several prominent yacht brokerage companies. “But you must remember every tiniest detail of it is designed to cater for your personal taste. You are not entering the suite of a hotel that might or might not appeal, with staff that you have to teach about your likes and dislikes. The crew [on a yacht] knows exactly how you take your coffee, when you like to eat, even your favourite colour of swimming trunks. You never have to repeat yourself.”



“First of all, you need to ask yourself why you want a yacht. If you want it for the status, you want it for the wrong reason. The right reason is privacy.”


Bigger is better with Dubai Harbour When it comes to berthing ships, size really does matter and with the development of Dubai Harbour, Dubai’s maritime facilities will be unparalleled in the region, if not the world. “We are building a unique animal,” says Khaldoun. “If you take it by the amount of berths it’s probably in the top 50 marinas in the world but if you look at it by berth mix, there’s Antibes in France and Fort Lauderdale and that’s about it. We’ve identified the need to berth large yachts – it’s not really been done before.” The new harbour will have berths for around 1,100 vessels (currently the emirate can berth around 3,000 to 3,500) and will also have the ability to house larger yachts of up to 150 metres in length. But that’s just the beginning. As Khaldoun puts it, the harbour will “create a new community all together”, with 10 million square feet of new residences, as well as Dubai Lighthouse, a tower over 100 metres high, which will house a luxury hotel, an observation deck with seascapes and an unbeatable view of the Ain Dubai wheel. The stunning new space will also feature two 150,000 square foot cruise liner terminals capable of handling 1.2 million passengers annually. These facilities are the first of their kind to be developed simultaneously and will help Dubai tap into the burgeoning cruise industry (market research suggests over 40 million people will travel by cruise annually by 2030). The project, announced by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2017, has already broken ground. Launching the ambitious project, Sheikh Mohammed said: “Dubai Harbour represents a unique and innovative new addition to the region’s tourism landscape. I am confident that the project will have a highly positive effect on our entire region’s tourism sector. We are keen to encourage new projects and promote investments that will contribute to bringing to the region more tourists interested in experiencing this part of the world.”


Go for broke For those who like the idea of never having to repeat themselves, it’s worth putting yourself in expert hands rather than trying to go it alone. “It is not like buying a house or a car; I’d strongly advise going through a broker,” says Khaldoun. “A good broker will know his market, understand the needs of his client and, despite his fee, will save you hundreds of thousands of dollars. “But first of all, you need to ask yourself why you want a yacht. If you want it for the status, you want it for the wrong reason. The right reason is privacy. While a yacht is definitely a flamboyant asset – I’ve even seen a yacht with a snow room onboard – it’s the best place to conduct business, as nobody knows who’s on it. It also provides a fantastic family community centre; yes, it’s big, but you swim together, you sit down to eat together and you never get bored.” Once the right maritime motives have been established, the next question a potential buyer needs to ask is whether the yacht needs to be new or not. “If you want to build one, it’s going to take three to four years,” says Khaldoun. “It’s not a question of how much your money can buy, it’s that everything on it is custom made and there are only so many man hours in a day. “But there’s a strong market in second hand. There’s a large availability and the purchase is immediate – some people don’t want to wait. But you must remember that the yacht you are considering has been built for somebody else’s tastes. They might not match your own.”


Beware of the hidden costs


Captains of industry keen to become captains of their own ship, so to speak, should also be aware that it’s not just the initial outlay that stings yacht owners, it’s the constant upkeep of a luxury vehicle that requires constant maintenance and eats fuel. “If you’re looking to save money, you’re not going into the right business,” laughs Khaldoun, before going on to list the costs of maintaining a yacht, even at entry level. “If you want to buy a 20-metre yacht, brand new, that would probably start at 1.2 million US dollars, which is one of the main currencies we use in the industry. Then it goes up very fast. For a 60-metre yacht, prices might start at $45 million and go up, depending on the level of finish. When you are the owner of a 150-metre yacht, you only want the very best. “Then you’ve got to provision it – cigars, beverages, food, fuel. You could easily spend $50,000 for one week’s provisioning. You also have to maintain it. You cannot afford to close the door, switch the systems off and go home. There are regulations. You can go down to a skeleton crew but the sea is a very unfriendly element and it’s crucial you maintain your yacht to the highest standards.” The CEO of Gulf Craft, one of the region’s largest yacht manufacturers, Erwin Bamps estimates the annual maintenance costs could be as much as five to ten per cent of the yacht’s value, while berthing costs have to be factored in as well. And while there’s no shortage of places to berth your vessel (there are around 15 marinas across Dubai alone, while those on the more economical end of the spectrum have the option of berthing in Ras Al Khaimah and Umm Al Quwain), the cost of the berth goes up depending on the size of the vessel.


1. The pool deck on the Eclipse super yacht 2. Gulf Craft’s fleet at the Dubai International Boat Show 3. Dubai Boat Show 2018



18 4.

Yachts of money – the top 3 yachts in the world The most opulent offerings on the market…


162 metres, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A familiar sight to residents of The Palm, the Ruler of Dubai’s stunning vessel is the third biggest yacht in the world. Estimated to have cost $400 million and able to accommodate over 100 people, the construction was originally planned for Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei.


162.5 metres, owned by Roman Abramovich. Narrowly beating Dubai to claim the title of the world’s second largest yacht, Eclipse is owned by Russian oligarch and business tycoon Roman Abramovich.


180 metres, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Although on its completion in 2013, the ownership of this extraordinary superyacht was shrouded in secrecy, it is now known that the owner is the President of the UAE.


CC members splash down at Dubai International Boat Show In keeping with Dubai’s reputation as a major player within the yachting market, this year marked the 26th anniversary of the Dubai International Boat Show, the region’s most notable celebration of all things nautical. A delegation of interested Capital Club members visited the show, which ran from 27th February to 3rd March. Held at Dubai Canal for the first time, while construction begins at the new harbour site, the show featured 350 exhibitors and 800 brands from over 40 countries. Exhibitors ranged from the most super of super yachts to some of the world’s best diving sites. Keep an eye on the Club’s website and newsletter for more opportunities to get insider access to the biggest and brightest events across the region.




Meanwhile, more expense comes in the form of licence and registration for your boat (not to mention a licensed crew if the vessel is large enough) and the ubiquitous insurance for protecting what may well be your most valuable asset. “Marinas in the UAE are unlikely to accept berthing your craft without an insurance policy so consider your coverage options,” says Bamps. “Needless to say, a yacht or boat is an investment worth protecting.” 4. Azzam, owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan 5. Dubai has developed a thriving yacht rental industry 6. The right reason to buy a yacht is privacy

If it flies or floats In the maritime world, there is a famous saying that if it flies or floats it should be rented by the hour and Dubai has developed a thriving yacht rental industry. There are dozens of companies

offering yachts for charter with or without captains and crew (depending on your level of expertise) with prices ranging from as little as Dhs40 a head on a pay-as-you-go basis to annual memberships of around Dhs25,000 a year. “There’s a huge market in people wanting to rent a yacht for two or three weeks,” says Khaldoun. “It’s not that they can’t afford to buy but they don’t see the economics of bearing the full costs of crew and maintenance when they are only going to use it two or three weeks a year. Owning a yacht is definitely an indulgence but if you allow yourself to have it, it’s fantastic. It’s the most expensive piece of luxury kit you can own but it provides the most fantastic way of living in the world.”


T a l k i n g a b o u t a



What do the social and economic reforms sweeping through Saudi Arabia mean for foreign investors? We investigate‌





IT’S A SERIES of changes that American ex-CIA director David Petraeus has called “a revolution not a transition” – and the world is watching. Since Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (MBS) was named the heir to the Saudi throne in June 2017, he’s begun an arresting programme of change, the likes of which the country has never seen before. Unofficially recognised as the power behind his father’s throne (King Salman is 82), the Saudi stock market jumped 17 points on the Crown Prince’s ascension, concert halls opened for the first time and from June women will be allowed to drive legally. The Crown Prince also recently said that wearing an abaya or hijab was a woman’s choice. But MBS’ plans don’t stop there. Instead, they centre round an ambitious economic strategy known as Vision 2030, designed to wean the kingdom off the oil it’s depended on for decades. Later this year, national oil company Saudi Aramco will float in an IPO that could raise $100 billion to be pumped back into the economy. Yet the country that MBS now helms is a disjointed one, with a bloated public sector (the government employs 70 per cent of Saudi workers), a dwindling economy (after the oil rout of 2014 to 2016 Saudi Arabia has burnt through its reserves and the economy

began to flatline in 2016 before falling into recession last year), systemic corruption, a controlling religious elite vehemently opposed to modernization and only 22 per cent female participation in the workforce. Scene takes a closer look at the Saudi reforms and the impact they might have on foreign investors. Social changes The historic decision to allow women to drive, designed to capture the support of the country’s substantial youth population (75 per cent of Saudi Arabians are in their thirties or younger) has been well-received internationally, making headlines around the world, while four out of five Saudi women said they planned to drive from June. It’s also expected to boost the economy – the first female driving school had 165,000 online applications within its first few days of opening, while BI Economics predicts opening the roads to female drivers could add up to $90 billion by 2030 as international dealerships like Rolls Royce and Bentley scramble to deal with what they hope will be a surge in demand. Meanwhile, the lifting of the 35-year ban on cinemas has already attracted

Saudi Arabia is expected to publicly list up to five per cent of state-owned Saudi Aramco, shortlisting New York, London and Hong Kong (either singly or in combination) for the international portion of the listing


international investment, with British chain Vue announcing plans to open 30 multiplexes in the country. Vue founder Tim Richards called the deal “a huge moment” in cinema history, while American rival AMC also revealed it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund to “explore a range of commercial opportunities for collaboration”. But internally the wheels of change, particularly for women, have had a mixed reception – with ‘the people reject women driving’ the top-trending hashtag on Twitter in the days that followed the announcement. And while concert halls and cinemas may be opening up, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch continue to criticize the country. Some

commentators say that Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights has actually worsened, which may continue to make some international businesses concerned about the implications of investment possibilities. Economic affairs While Saudi’s new social policy might be what grabbed the headlines, the real cornerstone of Vision 2030 is its economic reform. Saudi Arabia is expected to publicly list up to five per cent of state-owned Saudi Aramco, shortlisting New York, London and Hong Kong (either singly or in combination) for the international portion of the listing, while China has offered to buy up to five per cent directly, according to Reuters’ sources late last year. The

profits from the sale will be used to shore up the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund (Vision 2030 aims to raise non-oil revenue to $160 billion by 2020 and $267 billion by 2030) and invest in construction and infrastructure development across the region. Plans include the rehabilitation of the King Abdullah Financial District into an economic free zone with visa exemptions and a direct connection to the airport, while one of the flagship infrastructure projects, Neom, a $500 billion tech hub that will be the size of New York City when it’s completed, is already attracting significant foreign investment interest. COO of Dubai-based research and strategy centre Tahseen Consulting, Wes Schwalje says: “With the announcement of Neom and the public



1. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud (centre) at a ceremony with local Saudi emirs 2. The first female driving school had 165,000 online applications within its first few days of opening





investment fund, Saudi Arabia is communicating to the world that the kingdom is open for business.” Foreign visitors Saudi is open for pleasure too. Tourist visas were issued for the first time this year, while a series of resorts has been planned along the Gulf coast. The General Entertainment Authority organized 160 events aimed at attracting tourists last year and there are plans to build an entertainment city to rival Las Vegas, which has attracted the interest of British billionaire Richard Branson. The resorts and visa regulation relaxation is aimed at almost doubling the number of visitors to the region, with a target of 30 million by 2030.

International support When it comes to winning over the support of international heads of state for his plans, MBS has scored some early successes, making connections with the global superpowers. In March, the Crown Prince made his first official visit to London, while he’s also built a positive relationship with President Trump. On the other side of the political spectrum, he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have coordinated their efforts towards slowing oil production to boost prices and there is the beginning of an accord regarding their approach to Syria. At a business level, the World Bank’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business report also recognised Saudi Arabia as the second most reformed country over the past year,

although it failed to make a significant move in its overall global ranking [positioned 92nd among 190 countries]. In response, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment began an initiative to streamline business set-up procedures, even allowing women to register a business without the permission of a male guardian. The change, which will allow key registration processes to be conducted electronically, is aimed at encouraging foreign businesses into the region. Writing in The Times, London-based cultural consultant Martyn Best, who has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 1989, urges exporters interested in cracking the kingdom not to be put off by the excessive bureaucracy. “Something I’ve noticed over the past few months is the growing number of Saudis interested in setting up businesses in the cultural and entertainment industries,” says Best. Chief Executive of the Saudi British Joint Business Council, Chris InnesHopkins says for those prepared to invest in partnerships, the circumstances are right. “They’re looking for companies that will establish a local presence, employ Saudis, share technology and increase local content,” he says. It is advice the banking sector is certainly taking seriously. Citigroup


5. 3. International dealerships like Rolls Royce and Bentley are hoping for a surge in demand 4. Vue plans to open 30 cinema multiplexes 5. The resorts and visa regulation relaxation is aimed at almost doubling the number of visitors

where those who had been arrested – on various charges of corruption – were held. The Saudi government has since claimed that the process, which raised more than $100 billion, has been completed. However, the idea that men as high profile as Prince Miteb bin Abdullah (once a contender for the Saudi throne) and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal can be arrested and asked to hand over billions of dollars has made some global tycoons wary of doing business in the country.

“With the announcement of Neom and the public investment fund, Saudi Arabia is communicating to the world that the kingdom is open for business.”

obtained a Saudi investment banking licence in April 2017; Goldman Sachs has applied to the capital markets regulator to trade equities, while JP Morgan and HSBC are both planning to add staff to their Saudi Arabian operations. Market jitters But late last year, in a move that sent shock waves through the stock market, Vision 2030’s positive impact came under threat with the arrest of more than 300 people, among them royals, politicians and business leaders. The detentions came just a month after a major global investment seminar concluded at the same Ritz Carlton

Prospects for the future Reuters reports that in a bid to mitigate the impact of the arrests, MBS subsequently met with several senior international business leaders to reassure them the crackdown was over, according to at least five Saudi and Western sources present at the meetings. MBS stressed that there would be no more mass detentions and that business should continue as normal. In addition, the meetings preceded a huge change in military personnel, including a female minister and, more notably, the appointment of Prince Turki bin Talal Al Saud as deputy governor of the Asir region. Prince Turki bin Talal is the brother of Al-Waleed bin Talal and his advancement suggests a balancing of government and a more conciliatory approach to other elements of the Royal Family, which should alleviate international business concerns. The shake-up also unseated military chief of staff General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan, which could point to a change in direction regarding the war in Yemen, which has faced criticism on the international stage. As with most things in Saudi Arabia much remains to be seen but what is clear is that the country is definitely open for business with a government focused just as much on attracting foreign revenue as it is on internal reform.



orein store

Scene examines the impact e-commerce is having on traditional shopping malls – and how Dubai malls are fighting back






1. THE SHOPPING MALL is dying, or so we are led to believe. It’s been three years since a major shopping centre opened in America and with malls in their masses closing some US operators are speculating that the last mall in the land has already been built. It’s a picture being played out across the globe, as disused malls get ripped down or requisitioned into schools, sports and aquatic centres. Meanwhile, the Internet booms. “By 2022, bricks and mortar retail spaces will be little more than showrooms,” says Mitchell Harper,

founder of e-commerce software provider BigCommerce, pointing to the total market domination of Internet titans like Amazon and Apple (Amazon’s reach is now so huge that ironically it’s expanding into shopfront retail with over 100 physical stores worldwide, while locally it bought out popular website souq.com in 2017 for an undisclosed sum). In the face of such evidence, Harper’s conclusion is hard to argue with. Except when it comes to Dubai, where despite being a world leader

in connectivity (the UAE leads global smartphone penetration with 73.8 per cent of the population owning smartphones, while 91.9 per cent have Internet access, according to research by Google), the traditional mall culture continues to expand. Against the background of huge growth in e-commerce (this year the market is expected to be valued at Dhs36.7 billion, while online regional payment platform PayFort expects e-commerce to more than double by 2020, making it one of the fastest growing businesses in the


region), major malls still continue to be built. In 2020, flagship development Meydan One will offer consumers a five million square metre extravaganza, with a massive indoor sports facility, ski slope and a water fountain display to rival Dubai Mall’s. So what’s going on? Have Dubai developers discovered a way to buck the trend or are they staking their future on buildings that will gape with empty units in the next few years? Happily, the answer appears to be trend-bucking rather than fortunes built on foundations of sand – one of the 2.

Dubai Mall is particularly effective at “blending digital with real life – social media penetration is very high here and the mall and its surrounding area offers plenty of content creation opportunities.”

reason malls are not just surviving but thriving in Dubai is because operators have found a way to use technology to complement their offering rather than attempting to compete with it. “Bricks and mortar retailers must work hand-in-hand with the e-commerce boom by adopting and integrating technology, as well as creating unique experiential elements in-store that consumers can’t find online,” advises Chris Chong, Chief Executive of Singaporebased Orchard Turn Developments. It’s advice that Dubai-based shopping malls are taking seriously. Integration of technology via the medium of content creation, digital displays and the utilization of social media is something that malls in Dubai are very good at, agrees Harper Bazaar editor Louise Nichol. She singles out Dubai Mall as being particularly effective at “blending digital with real life – social media penetration is very high here and the mall and its surrounding area offers plenty of content creation opportunities.”


1. Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue 2. Dubai Fountain lake ride 3. The Dubai Mall aquarium




4. Put simply, as shopping malls will never be able to compete with the ease of pajama-clad consumers ordering from the comfort of their bedroom at the click of a button, they need to be able to offer extra incentives. “It’s critical that malls be about more than stores,” leading management consultancy firm McKinsey concluded in its 2014 retail report. Which is where Dubai’s extraordinary consumer culture comes in. Established complexes like Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall have created such sophisticated shopping that consumers go there not just for the shopping but also for the experience. At Dubai Mall, the ten million litre fish tank, combined with the enormous softplay Kidzania centre, transform what could be a miserable experience

5. dragging children from unit to unit into the ultimate family day out. It’s a pattern we see replicated at Mall of the Emirates, with its extensive ski slope and children’s theatre – and it’s one that new entrants to the market like the Meydan One development are looking to mimic (Meydan One’s ski facility will feature the world’s longest indoor slope and a beach, amongst other attractions). And it’s this multi-layered focus on creating a shopping experience that is helping offline retailers fight against online oblivion.

“Time in a location directly impacts conversion rate,” says Jonathan Schley, whose real estate consultancy Schley Inc. represents luxury brands like Byredo and J.W. Anderson. Talking to fashion website The Business of Fashion, he continued: “If you can keep people in the mall for four hours with dinner followed by drinks, versus 30 minutes or an hour just shopping, that’s the correct way forward for malls.” In addition to this ability to offer more than just a purchase, bricks and mortar retailers are able to give shoppers




4. Meydan One development 5. Meydan One’s ski facility will feature the world’s longest indoor slope 6. Mall of the Emirates strive to make a visit an experience 7. Retailers are able to give shoppers customer service and expertise in a way that e-commerce can’t challenge 8. Ski Dubai in Mall of the Emirates


8. customer service and expertise in a way that e-commerce can’t challenge, which is particularly relevant for the fashion side of retail. Despite advances in technology, when it comes to recommending items to flatter shape and form, nothing beats well-trained sales assistants with a clever eye and relationships that are built up over years of investment on the part of the retailer. That’s not to say e-commerce isn’t catching up. Understanding that in today’s increasingly global world each

website will have to work harder for revenue, leading e-commerce sites are focusing on customer feedback. More than eight in ten of us would trust a review from a friend, according a study by global information company Nielsen so innovative websites are placing new emphasis on online reviews (internet research suggests the same amount of people would trust an online review as much as a personal one), as well as offering other incentives like free shipping, same day delivery and free

returns, all in a bid to compete with the ability to walk into a shop that you know, try on something under the guidance of someone you trust and leave having purchased something that fits. These extra incentives all have an impact on profit margins but e-commerce companies like Ounass, Nisass and Nass (all of which launched in the last two years) are prepared to pay the price because they know the Dubai market is one worth accessing. Consumers here might shop online less frequently than the global average but they spend the most per splurge. Research by KPMG last year found that, although UAE shoppers browsed for less time than their global counterparts, their average ticket size of Dhs1,219 per hit was the highest in the world. Meanwhile, property developer CBRE’s research found that those same UAE shoppers had the third highest spend in the world per mall visit, proving that there’s more than enough custom to go around – for now. In the future, as competition gets fiercer and both e-commerce and bricks and mortar push the boundaries to dominate the market, it could be anyone’s game.



1. 2.




How to get the most out of your business club membership…

1. Cigar Lounge 2. Burj Khalifa Terrace 3. Tokyo Room 4. Bollinger Garden 5. Gallery Lounge

4. 5.

GRAUCHO Marx famously said he wouldn’t want to be a member of any club that would have him as a member. But in the business world, things couldn’t be more different. Membership to the best business clubs is hugely competitive, hotly contested and seen by many as the most effective networking tool on the market (the Capital Club was voted one of the top ten most exclusive members’ clubs in the world by CNN in 2014). But it’s not enough to simply get through the door – to really feel the benefits you’ve got to maximize your membership. Insiders at the Capital Club tell Scene how. “Use it,” laughs General Manager Ian Palmer when Scene asks him how to get the best out of the region’s premier business networking club. “You pay for the privilege of being part of an institution and the best way to make the most out of it is to make good use of it. The more often you come, the more people you will meet.” At the Capital Club there are certainly plenty of things to attend. From early mornings on the golf course with the Golf Club to late nights debating the merits of merlot versus pinot at the Wine Society or settling in to discuss a classic with the Book Club, there are a host of events to cater to every member’s taste. Not to mention the more formal talks and programmed events, each of which begin with some form of hospitality (business breakfasts or early evening canapés) that provide members with at least 30 minutes to network before the event begins.




34 8.

“Have a stack of your business cards at the ready,” advises our club insider, who confides that some extremely social members are more drawn to the pre-event networking than the events themselves, while Palmer points out that, even aside from the programme of talks and socials, the Club also provides weekly opportunities for members to forge new connections. “Our terrace social evenings every Thursday are an interesting way to connect, as are our Club Table events,” he says.

The Club Table, a tradition that dates back to the 1800s that Palmer brought over from his time at the helm of the prestigious Home House club in London, encourages members to sit and join whoever is eating at the Club Table, often breaking bread with total strangers rather than dining alone. “It’s such a great concept that we’ve decided to ask an interesting and significant Club member to host the conversation every week,” says Palmer. “Members can still pop along for a quick lunch and meet interesting people but

we will now be expanding it so that you can get an audience with a member who knows a lot about something you want to know a lot about. “We’ve also started a monthly members’ reception hosted by the general manager, all as a means for our members to forge connections.” But while the Club sees facilitating business relationships within its community as an integral part of its function, Palmer emphasizes the member has a part to play too. “It’s not just about being a member of the Club here, it’s about being proud to be a member. Whether you are travelling the world, utilizing the reciprocal clubs [of which there are over 250 worldwide], introducing your friends and colleagues and the people that you’d like to do business with — it’s a privilege to be here.”

6. The Gallery 7. New York Room 8. Louis XIII lockers in the Members’ Bar


9. Indeed. Membership of the Capital Club is strictly by invitation and plenty are turned away. “We would never comment on why we turn anyone down,” says Palmer. “But it would be purely to do with protecting the membership and the ethos of the Club. But we are looking forward to welcoming exciting businesses and entrepreneurs this year. Our doors are always open to those who want to rub shoulders with the great and the good of the business world.” Once you’re through the hallowed doors, it’s not just a case of what you know, but who. “Don’t be afraid to use your membership manager,” advises Palmer. “Those who have got the inside track are definitely those that keep their ear to the ground. Read Scene, read the newsletter, check the website and befriend the staff. Being informed is definitely the way to go. “The other incredibly good way of making the most of your club is by holding your own events here. Birthday parties, cocktail parties – you’re entitled to hold them here and our rates are very competitive. You’d be surprised at how many times your friends or colleagues will bump into someone they know at the Club and make an introduction.” For new members or new arrivals in Dubai who might feel daunted when caught off-guard in an introduction, Palmer advises letting the other person lead the exchange and remember that genuinely listening and paying attention is far more effective than hijacking a conversation. Don’t forget everybody was a new member once. “You just have to get involved,” he says. “I can think of one member – he joined about six months ago – and now we see him most days, conducting business and meeting friends in the bar.

10. Even though he hardly knew a soul here when he arrived, he’s come at every opportunity. He knows he doesn’t have to traipse across the city looking for good places to meet with clients and he doesn’t have to jostle through busy bars. He just came here right from day one and it put him on the fast track to meeting new connections and above all nice people. He says it’s one of the best lifestyle and business decisions he’s ever made.” 11.


9. Club Restaurant 10. The Club’s humidor 11. Luxurious Junior Suite 12. D5 Executive Gymnasium 13. Members’ Bar




B A N D O F B R O T H E R S America’s oldest retailer, Brooks Brothers celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. Scene delves into the brand’s history









The Golden Fleece symbol is adopted as the company’s trademark. The logo, a sheep suspended in a ribbon, had served as the emblem for Philip the Good, The Duke of Burgundy and his Order of the Golden Fleece in the 15th century. Later, wool merchants in Europe adopted the symbol as a way of advertising woolen wares to a largely illiterate public, and the four Brooks brothers, who wanted to associate their shop with the European sartorial tradition, did the same. Henry S. Brooks’ youngest sons, Daniel, John, Elisha and Edward, assume leadership of the company and change the firm’s name to Brooks Brothers.

Brooks Brothers bucks tradition and reverses the stripe direction of the wellknown regimental neckties of the United Kingdom (formerly left to right, or “from heart to sword”), separating form from meaning and opening up the pattern to everyman. The best-selling striped rep tie is born.

Loyal customer Abraham Lincoln wears a Brooks Brothers greatcoat purchased from the Grand Street store on the occasion of his second Presidential inauguration. It has an intricately embroidered lining, bearing an eagle and the inscription “One Country, One Destiny”. Sadly, this was the same coat he was wearing when he was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, two weeks later.










In April 7, 1818, at the age of 45, Henry Sands Brooks opens H. & D.H. Brooks & Co. on the northeast corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in New York City. As “Makers and Merchants in One,” the firm assumes absolute control of its offerings, ensuring customers the highest level of quality.


“The first to embark on that which is now a leading commercial pursuit,” wrote the editors of Carroll’s 1859 New York City Directory about Brooks Brothers’ introduction of ready-made tailored clothing. Pioneers of the California Gold Rush, unable to wait on the whims of a tailor, flock to Brooks Brothers to pick up ready-made suits, an innovation Brooks introduced to aid the fortune seekers in their quest.


At a polo match in England, John E. Brooks, grandson of the founder, noticed something peculiar about the players’ collars: they were fastened to the body of their shirts to prevent them from flapping in the wind. John brought his discovery back to Brooks Brothers, and thus the button-down-collar shirt, a Brooks classic and what some have called “the most imitated item in fashion history”, was born. This shirt also embodied a second fashion innovation of the time, an attached collar. Until this point, gentlemen typically purchased their shirts separately from their collars.


Find Brooks Brothers stores throughout the UAE at: Mall of the Emirates, Dubai; Dubai Marina Mall; Dubai Festival City Mall; Mirdif City Centre; Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Mall.



The pink shirt gained widespread popularity and was featured in a prominent fashion magazine in 1949, when Brooks Brothers introduced one specifically for women — a move motivated by the desire to keep women from depleting the stocks of the boys’ department.





Brooks Brothers introduces a more youthful collection, initially conceived as a line of Ivy League–inspired sportswear. It evolves into the Red Fleece Collection, a modern lifestyle brand with a twist on classic preppy style, featuring slimmer fits and versatile workdayto-evening designs — all while reflecting the same attention to quality and detail that has defined Brooks Brothers for 200 years.

1979: FIRST INTERNATIONAL STORE The original Japanese flagship store opens in the Aoyama area of Tokyo. Today, Brooks Brothers has more than 80 stores in Japan and more than 1,000 points of sale outside of North America.



Following the completion of Grand Central Terminal in New York City, Brooks Brothers relocates to 346 Madison Avenue, its present-day flagship location. The surrounding area had become the preferred location for New York’s most prominent university and social clubs, whose members clamored for a Brooks store in the neighborhood. The company kindly obliged.







Brooks Brothers introduces the first successful 100% cotton non-iron shirt, billed as the ultimate travel shirt. It was a worthy successor to the company’s 1953 version, the wash-and-wear Brooksweave shirt, which had the distinction of being the first piece of clothing ever to feature Dacron®. Brooks’ non-iron shirts continue to be among the company’s most popular items.



Through constant innovation, adaptation and style disruption over the centuries, Brooks Brothers achieves a milestone not held by any other American retail brand: 200 years in business (and counting).





Brooks Brothers debuts its first collection by world-renowned fashion designer Zac Posen, named Creative Director of Women’s Clothing and Accessories. Posen, well known for his techniques in artisanal craftsmanship, fuses the brand’s heritage with ultra-feminine constructions in exquisite fabrics and buoyant prints.






West Contemporary artist Robi Walters talks beating the odds to succeed

Photo: Rob Greig

FINDING the extraordinary in the ordinary is Robi Walters’ trademark and it’s a quality as applicable to his own life as it is to his work. An artist who counts actors Thandie Newton and Stellan Skarsgård amongst his collectors and has collaborated with music legends like Paul McCartney, U2 and Mary J Blige, Walters’ work focuses on transforming everyday household items like used packaging and broken LPs into mixed media pieces, featuring trademark petal shapes inspired by his love of meditation. In other words, he turns other people’s trash into treasure. “I like to make what people throw away beautiful,” explains Walters when Scene catches up with him in the run-up to Chorus, his solo exhibition at the Club, currently on display in our fourth floor gallery space. “Instead of pointing the finger and saying this system is wrong, I looked around my kitchen and saw all the recycling and wondered, ‘Where does it go?’ I think the arts are fundamental to making statements and helping people see from a new perspective.” This focus on transformation and the ability to allow something to transcend the confines of its original shape and purpose comes as no surprise in the context of Walters’ background. Entirely self-taught and from a childhood he describes as “troubled”, Walters has fought his way into the art world on a combination of talent and sheer hard work, retaining his characteristic humility even as the value of his work soars and he’s named one of the ‘Top Creatives in the UK’ by the Daily Telegraph’s Art and Culture section. “I still struggle with the thought, ‘Am I any good at art?’” he admits, before confiding it was an inability to express himself in the face of adversity – Walters spent time in care as a child – that first made him pick up a paintbrush. “When I was young, I wasn’t very good at expressing myself and art seemed to be a good way to do so without using words,” he says, before going onto credit the investment of time from one of his school teachers as a turning point.




1. Gold Love Riddim 2. New Bell 3. Tomorrow Comes Today 4. Eternal Journey






5. & 6. Woodcut series 7. Portrait for Jillionaire from Major Lazer

“My school teacher Mrs Burton played a very important part in pushing me into taking art more seriously,” he says. “The list of my inspirations is very long.” One of those inspirations is Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili. Spotting Walters’ early promise, Ofili urged him to hone his craft through practice and, above all, believe in his own ability. “My early art mentor Chris Ofili once said to me to draw every day and it’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever had as an artist. I asked him if I should apply to the Royal College of Arts but he told me just to get on with it; that I didn’t need to go back to school. “Art is one of the few disciplines that has no rules and allows people to explore and express new ideas freely,” says Walters, who took Ofili’s advice literally. Not only did he not go back to art school but he also began to diarise the end of every day with a piece of work to reflect it. “Every day I do a daily art project – I started in 2011,” he says. “My life is becoming more demanding since I opened my own gallery; it’s hard to stay focused on the daily practice but it’s still extremely important to me and I try to stick to it as much as possible.”

Opening his own gallery [the Robi Walters Gallery opened in Soho, London, in 2017] is the realization of one of Walters’ childhood dreams and it’s tempting to wonder whether this focus on the need for bricks and mortar is a reflection of a childhood spent moving around. “There are many reasons to having my own space,” he responds when we probe. “Turning a dream into reality is fundamental to creating and guiding your own future. It’s really about creating my own path and working with people I trust and care about. I’ll be able to collaborate with others; I just love meeting and connecting with people from all walks of life.” Walters also does a lot for charity – he works prolifically with local schools, encouraging the use of art for problem-solving and self-expression with children – and is heavily involved in West Contemporary’s Anderson Foundation, which raises money for children with autism in the UK. “I love working with kids, especially those that are left behind,” he explains. “Kids are our future – why would we

not want to open their minds? Exposing them to new and wonderful things has an immeasurable impact on them and us.” Often these charitable collaborations bring him into contact with stars of the screen, music and sporting world and it’s here again that Walters’ humility rises to the surface, albeit chased with a side of steely determination. “I never really thought there was a way to get famous people to collaborate with me. I would never take it for granted. When I collaborated on a piece with Mary J Blige and her manager asked if I wanted to meet her, I was too shy!” But Walters cast his shyness aside for sprinting superstar Usain Bolt, an athlete that shares Walters’ desire to push the limits of possibility. “I made the Usain Bolt artwork in 2012 before his second Olympics,” says



Photo: Rob Greig


Walters, warming to his story. “He was a don then but not a legend. It was one of the largest pieces I made; friends thought I was crazy making work for someone I had no connection to. For five years I asked everyone I knew to help connect me to him. Eventually a friend, Ryan Bish, who owns Cirque le Soir, told me Usain was having the after-party after his last race there and to bring the artwork along. A section of the club was shut down so I could present my art to him. Usain loved it; it was one of the most inspiring moments of my career.” Recognition from Bolt – who promised that the piece depicting the sprinter’s famous celebratory pose would be sitting next to him on the plane back to Jamaica – might be the high point of Walters’ career but he’s an artist at the peak of his power. Last year he exhibited his work in London, Paris, Miami and Los Angeles. While in Dubai, he’ll be appearing at Art Dubai and has already had his art selected for Art Nights, here at DIFC (see box-out for more details). And that’s just the start. “I have six different shows planned in my gallery in Soho,” says Walters on plans for the future. “I’ll also be working with [British TV channel] Channel 4, Nike and [the chef] Tom Kerridge. I have some big projects planned.” Talking to Walters, one gets the impression of a man who despite knowing and embodying the power of hard work still can’t quite believe his luck. Does he still wake up some days and pinch himself, we wonder?

“I still feel like I’m at the beginning, believing against the odds that I can get my elbows out in a very competitive, complex art market,” he says. “It helps me remain humble and always learning.” As Walters goes on his way, cutting a swathe through the art world, Scene can’t help reflect that he’s not only always learning but also always teaching – not just about the power of art to transform but more importantly about the power of believing in yourself. Robi Walters’ ‘Chorus’ exhibition will be on display at the Club until 30th June. Discover more about Robi’s work at: west-contemporary.com/robi-walters

He owns the night In addition to its role as the epicentre of business in Dubai, the DIFC is famous for being an arts and culture hub, with support of the industry culminating in the popular twiceannual DIFC Art Nights event. Five thousand people flocked through the gates of DIFC to enjoy the first showcase of this year, on 19th March. It featured nine of Walters’ works, exhibited just outside the Club, along with a mixture of installations, live shows and art from renowned artists, as the DIFC partnered with Dubai Arts and Culture Authority for the season. The theme was ‘Bridging The Gap’ and as Walters goes from success to success while still carving out the time to help those coming up behind him, we can’t think of a more appropriate title.


TRAVEL.endangered destinations


Go before they’re


Scene’s pick of the most endangered tourist destinations on the planet… The Great Barrier Reef Australia’s most famous landmark is an icon under threat. In addition to the environmental impact of storms and bad weather on the coral, human influences have also caused a 50 per cent decline in coral cover since 1985. Bleaching caused by warmer weather and climate change means the reef itself is slowly dying and experts believe it will exist in drastically altered form, if at all, by the end of the century. n Where to see it from: The Whitsunday island group offers the best place from which to access the reef. Scene recommends staying on either the luxury Hayman Island resort or the equally well-equipped Qualia on neighbouring Hamilton Island.

TRAVEL.endangered destinations


TRAVEL.endangered destinations

The Maldives


With a flight time of just over four hours, no Dubai resident should need an excuse to travel to this island paradise. Should one be required, however, it is this: this stunning sea green archipelago, which at its highest point is just under eight feet (a summit regularly reached by statuesque basketball players!), is sinking. High sea levels and climate change mean the islands are being slowly submerged. Travellers looking for total luxury should jump at the chance to visit the Maldives while they still can. n Where to see it from: A favourite destination for honeymooners, any number of the numerous resorts within this island group will offer barefoot luxury and stunning vistas but for Scene the real island treasure has to be Velaa, a luxury private island with a spa to die for and a golf course designed by José Olazabál.

The Great Wall of China One of the modern ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, The Great Wall of China is so monumental it can be seen from space. Unfortunately the wall, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, is collapsing due to erosion threats from illegal mining carried out too close to it. Some parts have already collapsed, while large sections have exposed cracks and stones falling away. n Where to see it from: Parts of The Great Wall are accessible from Beijing via daytrip. The Rosewood, The Peninsula or the Waldorf Astoria are just some of the luxury hotels available in the city.

TRAVEL.endangered destinations

Venice When experts think of Venice, they get a sinking feeling. The tourist magnet is in danger not just from rising sea levels but also from the huge cruise ships and the masses of tourists that they bring flooding in. UNESCO has threatened to put Venice on its in-danger list but the priceless art and artefacts on display in this jewel of a city still make it worth visiting. Travelling out of season is the best way to bypass the crowds. n Where to see it from: The Clooneys spent their wedding night in the Aman Canal Grande and if this 16th century palazzo is good enough for Hollywood royalty, it’s good enough for us.


Mount Kilimanjaro Since Ernest Hemingway wrote his famous short story, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, scaling the magnificent peak in the heart of Tanzania has become a bucket list item for many. But while the mountain isn’t going anywhere, the snow at its icy summit is disappearing – 85 per cent of the snow has already melted and experts predict 2030 as the last time the glacier will be there. n Where to see it from: Why not tie Mount Kilimanjaro in with visiting the rest of Tanzania? Home to the famous Serengeti National Park, Tanzania offers some of the most stunning safaris in the world. There are numerous luxury camps and lodges available across the country but we like the Four Seasons Lodge for a luxurious respite from roughing it.


BOOK REVIEWS Our top picks from the most popular authors at the Emirates Literature Festival

THE LITTLE BOOK OF HYGGE – THE DANISH WAY TO LIVE WELL MEIK WIKING With Denmark regularly voted the happiest nation in the world, there are plenty of ‘How To Hygge’ books out there, but this is definitely one of the best. Author and CEO of the Danish Happiness Institute, Meik Wiking has made the pursuit of happiness his life’s work and argues convincingly that how happy we are depends on movement of the moment, ‘hygge’. ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) roughly translates as ‘feeling cosy’ and at first glance seems to be little more than lighting a candle and enjoying time with friends. But Wiking proves it’s about so much more. The book outlines a series of practical ways to bring more hygge into your life and explains that the Danish ability to live in the moment and find the joy in small things is totally portable and relevant to any region in the world. The happiness guru finishes the book by advising that all it takes is a bit of mindfulness and some decent furniture (just don’t go to Ikea!) for everyone to experience a slice of Danish happiness. Hygge for that!


HUSSAIN ALI LOOTAH Written in the lyrical prose that readers may recognize from Lootah’s poetry, Between Two Wives tells the semi autobiographical tale of a man torn between two spouses. Speaking at the Emirates Literature Festival, the Emirati lawyer and poet warned audiences his book was not intended to justify the religious reasons behind multiple wives, but to explain his own story to his family and friends. The book follows the story of Yusuf, as he struggles to balance his life in Dubai with first wife Aliyaa, and his secret marriage to second wife Maria, who lives in Abu Dhabi. As expected, all good things come to an end and his deception comes crashing down, forcing both wives to band together and forge a life, despite opposition from some quarters of the community. Although it ends on an ambiguous note, encouraging the reader to tackle some difficult moral questions, author Lootah found the process of penning the novel cathartic and revealed that both his wives supported his decision to write it. A challenging but enlightening read.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS KEVIN KWAN A light-hearted romp of a read, Crazy Rich Asians tells the story of the upper echelons of the super rich in Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China. The fastpaced tale follows the fate of one such scion from a Singaporean dynasty and the tsunami that is unleashed when he returns to his home country with his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend. Hidden beneath the frothy layers of food, fashion and female rivalries is an insight into rules and regulations that surround old money and the delicate matter of marrying into it, as well as a hilarious pastiche of family dynamics that everyone, regardless of their background or their bank balance, can identify with. Kwan’s presentation at the Emirates Literature Festival was one of the most popular events and the film adaptation of his book is due to hit the big screen this summer. While there are a few factual inaccuracies and a couple of badly sketched stereotypes, this is a great holiday read for anyone interested in learning how things really happen in Asia.


Shuja Jashanmal Director of the Jashanmal Group and one half of the distribution dynasty that’s dominated business in Dubai since the beginning… While his business may be all about family, Shuja Jashanmal tells us why there are no free rides in the Jashanmal Group and how every family member has had to work their way up…

FAMILY is important to Shuja Jashanmal. You can hear it in his voice when he reminisces about his grandfather Rao Sahib Jashanmal, who set up the celebrated Jashanmal Group, in Basra, in 1919, and you can see it in his eyes when he talks about his own children. And perhaps it’s because he cares so much that he has very different plans for the next generation of Jashanmals, plans that may not include the family dynasty at all. “As a parent, all you want is for your kids to be happy,” he tells Scene over a morning coffee on the Club terrace. Fresh from dropping his eldest son at the airport to catch a flight back to the university he attends in Canada, he continues: “It doesn’t matter if they have a bakeshop in a corner of France or a high-tech company in the Bay Area, as long as they’re following a passion. If my kids or Tony’s kids [Shuja’s first cousin, Tony, is Executive Director of Jashanmal] don’t have a passion for retail or trading, there’s no point forcing it. If they do, we have a deal that they’ve got to work ten years outside the company, then we’ll consider them, provided they are better qualified than the best person we’ve got.” It’s a very different route to the one Jashanmal’s own father, Hiro, took. The third of Rao Jashanmal’s sons, he was called into the family business in 1956 after Rao had already set up thriving stores in Kuwait and Bahrain, which he then handed over to his eldest two sons. “My father hadn’t actually finished high school,” smiles Jashanmal. “My grandfather said, ‘Right, the store is up and running and you’ve got to come’. And he did. My elder uncle in Bahrain came back and forth to supervise but it was my

father manning the store and meeting the clients. This kid from high school! “It was different for me. My father said, ‘Go to university, pursue what you like but if you do come back to the family business, it will make me very happy. That’s the window – if you like it, go through it.’ I didn’t know what I wanted to do until my third year of university. Then I finished my last exam at 11am and by 5pm I was on a flight [Jashanmal attended university in Los Angeles] back to Dubai. I started working at Jashanmal the next week – at the bottom of the pile. I had to work my way up.” The Dubai that Jashanmal came back to was very different to the one he left. “When I was born, Dubai was in the Middle Ages – water used to come in oil drums on the backs of donkeys,” he laughs. “But it always had the attitude to succeed – it knew where it wanted to go. Trade’s always been in the blood of the ruling family here and they’ve been blessed with tremendous foresight. “When I was young I met the late Sheikh Rashid many times – my father knew him quite well – and I could see he was a man with passion. He would talk about projects that nobody could get back then – they couldn’t see what the future needed. But he could.” Those days when Sheikh Rashid used to open

each of the Jashanmal stores are long gone – with over 100 stores across the Gulf, the logistics make such personal attention unfeasible. And the group is expanding, broadening into e-commerce – “Tony’s son Narain works for one the leading social media e-commerce companies and we’re taking our cues from him” – as well as “aggressively looking at opportunities in Saudi Arabia”, as Jashanmal closes in on 100 years of trading. “Next year is our centenary,” says Jashanmal proudly. “It goes without saying that we’ll have a party but we are also focused on giving back to our employees and customers. We were one of the original pioneers of retailing and now with the world changing, we want Jashanmal to be one of the new pioneers again.” As Jashanmal finishes his coffee and heads back into the Club, Scene feels quite certain it will be, probably with a next generation Jashanmal at the helm. Once they’ve paid their dues, that is.



Time flies when you’re having


FUN The Capital Club marks its ten-year anniversary this year…


HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum pulls the chord at the opening

could meet, relax, socialise together and also Picture the scene. It’s early evening on 9th do business,” explained Board of Governors April 2008. Amidst the flash of cameras and member, CEO and co-founder of Signature Clubs the clink of glasses in a room teeming with International Guy Guillemard at the opening. And excited members numbering the great and the although the Club’s membership increases by good of the city, HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al around six per cent a year, it’s clear that in the ten Maktoum, uncle of the Ruler of Dubai, honorary years since it began the Capital Club’s vision and chairman of the Capital Club and the man who’s values have stayed the same. spearheaded the success of Emirates airline, Members still rave about the quality of the pulls the chord and the red curtains fall away to food, the service and the caliber of the people recognize the efforts of the Board of Governors that frequent the Club. And although General and open the Capital Club for the first time. Manager Ian Palmer was talking about the Club’s Incepted after its founders recognized a need to Table, an open salon held every Thursday, when found a club in the region in which members could he said, “You come get together on both a social for a lunch but and business level in an you leave with a appropriate space, the Club meeting”, he could has grown exponentially just as well have since then, hosting been talking about international royalty and the Club itself. power players from across As we look the globe, and being voted forward to our by CNN as one of the 10th anniversary world’s most exclusive party, Scene takes a members’ clubs. “We saw a need for a nostalgic trip down haven where top people memory lane… Shuja Jashanmal, Director of the Jashanmal Group

“Private members’ clubs are about a high level of service and the quality of people – the Capital Club has both”




distinguished guests of the Capital Club His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark


Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan



British activist and singer Sir Bob Geldof

10 key moments since the Club’s formation


DIFC opens.


The Capital Club welcomes its first members.


The Capital Club opens the doors to its DIFC site, one of 747 companies to do business in DIFC.


Lehman Brothers folds, beginning the global financial crisis.


Sheikh Mohammed visits the Club as we celebrate 1,000 members.


The Burj Khalifa opens, renamed (it was due to be known as Burj Dubai) and behind schedule but a sign Dubai is starting to recover from the financial crisis.


DIFC reaches the 1,000-company milestone.


DIFC launches its 2024 Strategy, which aims to triple the size of the Centre over the next decade.


Dubai’s population hits three million and is expected to increase to five million by 2030. DIFC now houses 1,750 companies.


Gate Avenue is on course to open, spanning 660,000 square feet and linking the podium levels of every building within the Centre. Meanwhile, the Capital Club celebrates its tenth birthday.

Princess Caroline of Monaco


04. 05.

British politician Boris Johnson

His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York

06. 07.

Former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani

Ex-US President Jimmy Carter



Italian Formula One manager Flavio Briatore

Saudi astronaut Sultan Bin Salman Al Saud


“I ask myself every now and then what it is about the Club that I absolutely love… and it’s the tranquility.” Mark Beer, Chief Executive of DIFC Dispute Resolution




10 things you didn’t know about the Club

01 .

The youngest member of the Capital Club is a youthful 23,

while the oldest member is a sprightly 88 years old…


Which is not quite as old as our oldest cognac, a

beautifully aged 100-year old Remy Martin Louis XIII.


Premium alcohol is something the Capital Club

prides itself on – perfect for celebrating those special occasions. One member recently spent Dhs49,000 wetting his baby’s head – one of the largest bar bills to date.

04 .

Over the years, 11 Presidents and Prime Ministers have

passed through the Club’s doors, cementing its reputation as a power player in the region.

1. Edward Quinlan, Mark Beer & Abdulla Karam; 2. HH Sheikha Lubna & Greg Malouf; 3. The opening ceremony


05. 06.

The artwork on the walls is worth Dhs15 million.

We have over 100 brands of cigars available for the connoisseurs amongst you.


While travellers might like to visit the Capital Club’s other outposts in Bahrain or Kenya, we are also soon to open in Lagos.


If you need a means to get there, one member of staff could probably fly you. Our Head of Marketing learnt to fly while at university, while other secret skills amongst those who make the Club run smoothly are a professional ski guide qualification, an employee who was a top fashion model in Venice and one who can speak five of the 16 national languages of Zimbabwe. Wow – or should that be kushangaza!


A club is only as good as the people who run it – the

Capital Club has always had an emphasis on getting the best. When we first opened, we interviewed 4,500 candidates for just 150 positions. Even today, every member of staff has a private interview with GM Ian Palmer before they’re hired.


That’s because as a club, we definitely mean business.

Around 2.1 million minutes’ worth of business has been conducted at the Capital Club since its inception, but it’s also played host to birthday celebrations, private dinners with celebrity chefs, fashion shows and, of course… the parties, the most spectacular of which is yet to come. Don’t forget to RSVP to the Capital Club’s 10th anniversary bash (see page 5).


CLUB DIARY.Last Tuesday

Last Tuesday Tradition High-end destination property and high-end fashion were the themes of this season’s popular Last Tuesday events. Members mingled over drinks and canapés generously provided by Ayia Napa Marina, Eighteen Islamabad and Armani in the Members’ Bar, as they debated the eternal questions: what to be seen in this season – and where to be seen in it.





1. Harsh Kamani, Essam Elashkar & Sanchay Bisaria; 2. Brendan Bilgen & Chalotte Mak; 3. Nikolina & Daniel Pacic; 4. Khaled Akouch


CLUB DIARY.Last Tuesday

5. 6.





5. Ilaria Zambetti, Oana Matei & Anders Kristensson; 6. Nawar Abdul Wahed & Henri Zoleyn; 7. Johnny Hammond & Theo Braund; 8. Mariam Al Hammadi & Natasha Howe; 9. Meryem El Harrouz, Charlotte Mak & Bob Bagga

CLUB DIARY.Wine Society

The Wine Society’s taste of Penfolds The Wine Society’s event in association with Penfolds was particularly well-attended – with members and their guests taking the chance to find out more about the best grapes and blends produced by one of Australia’s oldest and best-regarded vineyards.




1. A selection of Penfolds; 2. Ebonnie & Graham Martins; 3. Rachael McDonnell & Imelda Dunlop


CLUB DIARY.Wine Society

4. 4. Farrokh Shahmir, Michael Armstrong & Hussein Sultan; 5. Niall & Paari O’Toole; 6. Madina Artsueva & Edward Matti; 7. Raul Burgos & Tice Parker; 8. Samuel & Jurgen Herre







1. 1. Daniel Evans, Rajiv Pathak, David Collins & Adam Forsyth; 2. Guy Guillemard; 3. Johnny Conran; 4. Smbat Pogosyan, Stamen Stantchev, Johnny Conran & Stan Ennor-Glynn; 5. Umair Javed & Abdul Aziz Khalid; 6. Will Page




Time for Tee A team of eight Club members teed off against an established team at the Els Club this season. Playing in pairs, the Capital Club was able to score one win and one draw in the first of two annual events the Golf Society holds at the Els Club (where our members also enjoy preferential rates). Although the Club couldn’t claim a victory, everybody had a great time and the game is definitely on for the return match in November.






DBWC’s Monthly Mingle Held in conjunction with the Dubai Business Women Council, the Club hosted IvyWise educational consultancy for its March ladies’ networking event. At an evening held in our glorious Bollinger Garden, educators from the consultancy discussed how the next generation can win places at their top choice universities and how best to help them.





1. Mihaela Nina, Andrea Slater & Kellie Slater; 2. IvyWise educator Scott Clarke discussing higher education placements; 3 & 4. The ladies listen intently

Generation game the

Popular TV chef Brian Turner CBE reveals how his father ignited his passion for cooking and why he wants to do the same for the children of the future…

BRIAN TURNER might be the most cheerful chef Scene has ever met. He’s oozing positivity when we sit down with him at the beginning of his three-night stint as guest chef in the Capital Club’s kitchen, and he exhibits none of the brooding over ingredients or food pretensions that one might expect from a chef of his caliber. Instead, the straight-talking Yorkshire man, who was awarded a CBE in 2002, reveals it’s simple food that gets him going and that, when it comes to fame and fortune, he’s still counting his blessings. “My philosophy has always been that I’m extremely lucky,” he says. “It’s the kind of profession that if you don’t really like it, you can’t stay long in it – the hours are poor, though they’re not as bad these days, and the pay and conditions can be as well. But I always say I’d much rather have done that than work in a factory or go down the mines, which were the only alternatives back then. I’m 70-odd and I’ve had a great time doing what I’m doing. I don’t think I’ll retire – I’d rather drop dead on the job and that’s that.” Turner’s commitment to the industry peppers our conversation. As well as extensive TV work (Turner can claim to be one of the first ever TV chefs after his debut on long-running show Ready Steady Cook), he’s a prolific writer, has opened restaurants the length and breadth of the UK, works with the Prince’s Trust in creating opportunities for young people and is currently the president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. All that and he’s in the process of curating a menu for the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, an authentic Elizabethan theatre that will stage productions in York between May and September every year. “It’s very exciting,” says Turner. “Like all these things it’s a little bit frightening but I’m excited. It’ll be street food – peasant food from the day, pertinent to the kind of things they were eating at that time – that the masses will want to buy. The aim is to create something – maybe with




“At whatever level, you want to make people happy through the medium of food, drink and hospitality around the table.” 60 2.

puff pastry, although my favourite at the moment is brisket, smoked and sliced into a bap – that mum, dad and the kids can walk down the street, all enjoying. When you really sit down and think about it, that’s what cooking is. At whatever level, you want to make people happy through the medium of food, drink and hospitality around the table. And when they’ve partaken you want people walking out with a smile on their face, thinking, ‘I enjoyed that’. My father was that kind of cook. He wanted to do his best.” Turner’s father, who he credits with inspiring him to enter the industry, ran a transport café, which Turner helped out in when he was growing up. “It was more of a greasy spoon than a restaurant,” he laughs. “It was poor fare, cheap – he used to supply the great factories and the locals. I remember we’d get lunch orders for 100 different kinds of sausage sandwiches. He’d take the order on the phone; make all the different demands and then half an hour later he’d take it in a huge takeaway box up to the factory to feed everybody. 1. Chef Brian Turner busy He very much enjoyed that social aspect and the in the Club’s kitchen enthusiasm spread to me.” 2. Turner keeps hungry Listening to Turner talk about his father, it’s clear diners entertained the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. “My father was conscripted to cook for the forces in the war,” he explains. “He had this excitement about feeding people. He was in Belgium and a lot of those men lost their lives. He said he hoped that those people would die with a smile on their face.” While Turner may not be in the trenches himself, he is a powerful instrument for change in the industry, focusing on encouraging young people into cooking through his work with the ‘Adopt a School’ scheme and the Prince’s Trust. “It’s a great industry to be in,” he says. “The reason I like to encourage people is here I am sitting in Dubai with it; if you can cook or wait on tables, it’s a transferable skill and you can do it wherever you go. It gives you lots of opportunities if you’re capable of taking them.” Any mention of his role as a mentor has Turner retreating behind a modesty that seems characteristic. “The only reason most people get ahead and get recognized is because of the team behind them and the people they work with,” he says when his place on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list comes up. When pushed, he admits: “Obviously to be awarded a CBE was fantastic, it gave me a fantastic feeling.” But it’s self-respect, he says, rather than success that sends him off to sleep at night. “I can go to bed and go to sleep soundly because I know I’ve done something good today,” Turner elaborates. “It is not a bad motto to live by, even if the good is only doing your job properly so everybody walks



3. Chef Brain Turner mingles with guests 4. Member Christophe De Mahieu says a few words before dinner

“Breaking people down in the kitchen is one thing, as long as you pay it back by rebuilding them and making them better people.”

out of the restaurant saying they’ve had good food. That’s self-respect.” Respect in the kitchen is important to Turner – the only time a frown crosses his face during the interview is when the name Gordon Ramsay is brought into conversation. “I wouldn’t like to be compared with Mr Ramsay,” he says, when the subject of hot tempers and huge personalities in the kitchen comes up. “Breaking people down in the kitchen is one thing, as long as you pay it back by rebuilding them and making them better people. But [Ramsay’s] highlighting of bullying in the kitchen distorts the actual picture in my opinion and I even had a disagreement with him in one of my restaurants about it. There has to be a discipline in the kitchen.” Turner may be a far cry from fiery Gordon Ramsay but the celebrated chef isn’t as squeaky clean as he might first appear. “I have been known to drive well above the speed limit – don’t tell the law – up the M1 to get to Yorkshire to have my favourite fish and chips,” he laughs when asked about the type of food that gets his stomach rumbling. His predilection for the British staple is typical of a chef who describes himself as having an old man’s approach to flavour. “My tastes are classical,” he says. “That of an older man. I was lucky enough to be here when [Michelin-starred] chef Valzelli cooked at the Club and while I thought his food was very interesting, he hadn’t cooked much of it – most of it was al credo. Consequently, everything on my menu is cooked.” Turner might have made his name with the classics but admits he’s still got a few surprises 4. left, which is one of the reasons he loves coming to Dubai. “I look upon Dubai as an interactive catalogue for design and ideas,” he says. “You can go around There’s another delicious event to pop in all the hotels and restaurants. You might see some your diary. As part of the Club’s celebrity things you don’t like or understand but you’ll also chef series, Galton Blackiston, owner of see some great things you can draw inspiration from England’s Michelin-starred Morston Hall when you go home. Professionally, it’s good to keep County House, turns up the heat from 26th moving around. When I come here I will go and see to 28th April. From selling homemade Gary Rhodes – he used to work for me – but that’s cakes, biscuits and preserves on a market social as well. In my industry it’s not a good idea to stall as a teenager, Blackiston has gone on go anywhere twice.” to be named the UK Craft Guild of Chefs’ As our time with Turner comes to an end and he ‘Chef of the Year’ and is a regular on TV. waves a cheery goodbye, we can’t help hoping he’ll Treat you tastebuds and don’t miss out when make an exception for the Capital Club. Blackiston takes over the Club’s kitchen.




says TIM TOGOHOME, who’s fed up with freeloaders and thinks there’s a reason we’ve all chosen to live abroad…

FOR a start, all they do is moan – if they’re not complaining about the weather back home (which, given that’s what they’ve usually come to escape, seems to occupy a lot of both their attention and their conversation), they’re bleating about the cost of everything in Dubai. Not that it matters – most of them aren’t prepared to put their hands in their pockets – and if they do offer to pay for anything, they expect a marching band and a round of applause. Frequent comments about how nice it would be to live tax-free start to grate, especially when they’re eating you out of house and home. And the two bottles of duty free plonk they walk out of arrivals waving like a winning lottery ticket (oh, yes, the airport shuttle service you’re expected to run regardless of the time of day and night is the closest you’ll get to frequent flier points during visitor season) don’t even begin to offset the dent they’ll make in your hard-won wine collection. The real crux of the problem? They’re on holiday and you’re not. And worse, because you live in one of the sunshine capitals of the world and they only come and see it at its best (our spare room


is the only breezy thing in the city come June, July and August), most guests labour under the misapprehension that you’re on holiday as well. They want late nights and beach days and can’t seem to get a handle on your daily grind. Helpful suggestions that you take a day off here and there show a complete lack of understanding about the Dubai necessity of hoarding holidays so you can escape the furnace-like heat of summer for a little while at least. On repeat like a broken record, house guests can even be annoying enough to make you dread returning to your home town or city for the summer. So that in one fell swoop, visitor season has ruined not just home but away too. You’re welcome. Or not as the case may be.

Visiting order Are house guests more trouble than they’re worth? No,

says MIA THE-MORE-THE-MERRIER, a fierce proponent of the mi casa, su casa school of thought…

There’s nothing I love more than the taste of home a houseful of visitors brings – and I’m not just talking about the duty free delights they’ll have stashed in their suitcases. One of the hardest things about being away from home is knowing our children are missing out on growing up with their grandparents but visitor season means a double dose of all the family they’re missing throughout the rest of the year – enough to melt the heart of even the most reluctant host. Plus, if it all gets too much you can always turn their flying visit into a fleeing visit by taking advantage of the free babysitting and slipping away yourself. Visitors also mean a fresh perspective on this place we call home. Hearing horror stories about rain, wind and snow while you adjust the angle of your sunbrella is one way to feel like you’re

winning at life. And while it might be tiring taking them up the Burj Khalifa for what feels like the hundredth time, sniffing out new places in a city that’s always on the move is one way to fall back in love with it. For all its good points, Dubai is a transitory place. With all the coming and goings, there are times when it feels like life is nothing more than a series of the same conversations, as you wave goodbye to those on their way out and make small talk with those on their way in. Family, for all their faults, don’t do small talk and for that I’m forever grateful.

Profile for Capital Club Dubai

Scene Issue 3  

Scene Issue 3