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JULY/AUGUST 2015 ISSUE 08

Essential reading for hotel operators, owners, developers and investors

THE RISK OF BEING

SUSTAINABLE

Grand Hyatt Dubai

Ramadan Cultural stay package

Living outdoors

A supplier showcase for outdoor furniture

What hotel owners and operators need to consider before investing in sustainability initiatives

Top hotel Wellness A dedicated look at the regional wellness industry


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OPINION

Top hotel Middle East is published in association with Signature Media LLC & Freizeit-Verlag Landsberg Gmbh.

The risk of being sustainable SIGNATURE MEDIA FZ LLE P. O. Box 49784, Dubai, UAE Tel: 04 3978847/3795678 Email: info@signaturemediame.com Exclusive Sales Agent Signature Media LLC P.O. Box 49784, Dubai, UAE Publisher: Jason Verhoven jason@signaturemediame.com Director: Deepak Chandiramani Deepak@signaturemediame.com Managing Editor: Munawar Shariff munawar@signaturemediame.com Art Director: B Raveendran ravi@signaturemediame.com Production Manager: Roy Varghese Roy@signaturemediame.com

Printed by United Printing Press (UPP) – Abu Dhabi Distributed by Tawseel Distribution & Logistics – Dubai

FREIZEIT-VERLAG LANDSBERG GMBH Johann-Arnold-Straße 32b+c, D-86899 Landsberg am Lech Postbox 101255, D-86882 Landsberg am Lech Telephone +49 (0)8191- 947 160 Fax +49 (0)8191- 947 16-66 www.tophotel.de

Sustainability in hospitality businesses is the way forward, however before investing in initiatives, it makes sense to consider the risks involved in investments. A few of the prominent risks tackled in our cover story on sustainability (Page 20) are investment risk, operational risk, technology risk, construction risk, utility price risk and project financing risk. Because doing business is all about making profits. Even being greener and caring for the environment are responsibilities for the hospitality industry hence why shouldn’t incorporating that be another contributor to annual profits eventually? In our regular Operator Interview section we spoke to Jean-Jacques Vallet, CEO of Constance Hotels and Resorts based in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean (Page 16). He speaks in detail about how the right opportunity is integral in order for the brand to debut in the region. Interestingly he says that for a hotel operator, destinations where local governments are willing to invest on logistics – the UAE – and infrastructures – such as the road system in the whole of the UAE, or the connection between the different islands of Abu Dhabi, as well as the development of both Palm Jumeirah and Palm Deira – are of great value to brands. We have a supplier showcase in this issue (Page 42), wherein we have focussed on outdoor furniture and spoken to four suppliers giving them an opportunity to display their top selling items for hoteliers to look at. We also have a few iftar and suhour suggestions for the few remaining days of Ramadan. I hope you enjoyed the magazine and we’ll see you in September.

Managing Directors: Thomas Karsch, Eckhard Lenz Contributor’s opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editor and while every precaution has been taken to ensure that the information contained in this handbook is accurate and timely, no liability is accepted by them for errors or omissions, however caused. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Signature Media FZ LLE & SIGNATURE MEDIA LLC and cannot be reproduced in any form without written permission. 2 JULY/AUGUST 2015

Munawar Shariff Managing Editor munawar@signaturemediame.com


CONTENTS

JULY/AUGUST 2015 ISSUE 08

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20 04 TOP HOTEL UNDERCOVER Old world charm

Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz Carlton Hotel, Muscat, is nestled in between the Hajar Mountains and the Oman Sea. Read the unbiased review

08 NEWS

All the latest from hotels in the region

16 OPERATOR INTERVIEW A discerning vision

Constance Hotels and Resorts, Mauritius, is looking for the right opportunity to make its debut in the region. ThME speaks to Jean J Vallet, CEO

20 COVER STORY

Sustainability and its many risks Are your sustainability initiatives missing a critical component? Kevin A Goldstein, President of HVS Energy and Sustainability, provides a perspective on the key areas of risk

28 DUBAI’S HIDDEN GEM Per Aquum Desert Palm’s GM James Reeves, about location, revenue and market share

32 FIXED EXPENSES AREN’T REALLY FIXED!

Few costs are uncontrollable in a hotel. There are simply some expenses which

COVER ILLUSTRATION: B RAVEENDRAN

42 take longer to reduce than others! Kirby D. Payne, President of HVS Hotel Management and HVS Asset Management – Newport, elaborates.

38 ATheGRAND CITY SOJOURN Grand Hyatt Dubai is an iconic

landmark in the heart of the city. One night here is definitely not enough to see it all.

42 LIVING OUTDOORS A showcase for outdoor furniture by

Falaknaz – The Warehouse, Casual Life, Nakkash Gallery and Kudos

48 FROM SUNSET TILL DAWN Hotels and Ramadan tents around

town are offering a range of iftar and suhour buffets for your indulgence. Take your pick from our list of the best, most scrumptious

50 TOP HOTEL PROJECTS

Hospitality market snapshots

Tophotelprojects.com presents a roundup of the up and coming hotel projects in the region, and the companies that are set to add to their portfolio in the next few years

54 BEAUTY REDEFINED Youssef El Sahli, the Regional Group

Marketing Communications Manager, Clarins, tells ThWellness how Clarins is always adapting to changing consumer trends

56 THE SPA BIKE The spa bike at The Pearl Spa, Four

Seasons, Dubai Jumeirah Beach, is a unique exercise bike inside a jacuzzil

58 TREATMENT REVIEW Effective exfoliation

Dermalogica’s Bio Active peel

60 SPA REVIEW

The diamond rose experience

Natura Bisse’s special treatment launched especially for Ramadan – the Diamond Rose Experience

63 SUMMER ESSENTIALS The heat is on out there. How should you be protecting your skin? Firstly by staying out of the sun as much as you can and then, taking the right precautions before you step out into the sun.

66 INSTANT RADIANCE The Hydrafacial at Grand Hyatt’s

Ahasees Spa, is possibly one of the best treatments being offered in the country

68 COMMUNITY Giving it back

In the holy month of Ramadan, companies and hotels around the country are showing their compassionate side by organising iftar for those less fortunate

JULY/AUGUST 2015 3


TOP HOTEL UNDERCOVER

Old world

charm

Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz Carlton Hotel, Muscat, is nestled in between the Hajar Mountains and the Oman Sea. It is a pristinely kept property that gives off a very exclusive vibe once you enter into its grand lobby

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About Top hotel Undercover Building on the legacy established by our big brother publication - Top hotel - in Germany, Top hotel Middle East sets out to highlight all that is great and good about the fivestar properties in the Middle East, as well as the things that such prestigious properties should really do better. Top hotel has built its reputation on fair and balanced assessment of five-star hotels in Europe and beyond; we now pledge to carry on that tradition in the Middle East. We hope that by highlighting the good and the bad, we can help to raise standards across the region and recognise the properties that have clearly got it right.


TOP HOTEL UNDERCOVER

RESERVATION Simple enough, through an online travel portal.

CHECK-IN I reached the hotel exactly at check-in time of 3pm. I was met at the reception by an Omani member of staff who offered me a welcome drink and a hot towel to freshen up while the lady at reception asked for my reservation details and identification proof. I was assigned a room on the fifth level and was informed about restaurants and breakfast and escorted to the room with my luggage. The gentleman showed me directions to the breakfast restaurant before we got into the elevator. Evaluation: Good

JULY/AUGUST 2015 5


TOP HOTEL UNDERCOVER

ROOM 513 The hotel is huge with 198 guestrooms and 52 suites which meant a long walk in the corridor to reach the room. The style of the doors is also very classic, not very common these days. While checking in I was told the property is a few decades old and has been a Ritz property since the last five years. Once you get past the opulence of the grand lobby, the rest of the property looks a bit tired. The room opened into a passage with the bathroom on the right and closets on the left, an area to store the luggage after the closet and the tea and coffee-making facilities after that. Once you cross this you are inside the room. A large king sized bed was on the right, opposite which is the television. The study table was on the same side of the room as the television. Opposite the study was a chaise and a small coffee table. It was spacious and looked very comfortable. Evaluation: Good

THE BATHROOM The bathroom was of a nominal size with the washbasin as you entered on the left the water closet in front and the tub on the right. Amenities were of Asprey as is in all Ritz Carlton properties. Evaluation: Okay

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TOP HOTEL UNDERCOVER

ROOM SERVICE: The room service menu had quite a few options. And the chefs went out of their way to accommodate a number of requests in order to make my food as delectable as possible. Everything arrived on time and was again explained to me in detail as some ingredients had been replaced upon my request. It was extremely kind of them to go out of their way to ensure my comfort. Evaluation: Very good

BREAKFAST BUFFET AT AL KHIRAN TERRACE RESTAURANT The view from this restaurant is amazing ‌ a long serene walk right into the Sea of Oman. However not quite worth it in this heat. The breakfast options were vast; international, regional, south east asian to name a few. There were gluten free options as well, however not many options for other allergy/ intolerance sufferers. The arabic food area besides having the usual suspects of foul medammas and grilled halloumi, had a live saj and manakish station. And the regular breakfast options were there too eggs made to order, pancakes, waffles, fresh fruits, vegetables, all types of breads and baked items. Evaluation: Good

CHECK OUT: 11.50AM Smooth enough took about a few minutes. I requested for the receipt to be mailed to my email address.

renovation) the service levels are exemplary. Even though a few of my requests took a while to be fulfilled, the way this was communicated to me was very pleasant. Really, at the end of the day it is the service which makes all the difference.

Despite repeated reminders two to three days after the check out, the receipet has yet to come into my inbox!

COMMENT So although it is an older property (which could do with a full-fledged

Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz Carlton Hotel, Muscat Reservation: Good

Top hotel ratings 0-20 - Un-satisfactory 21-40 - Poor 41-60 - Satisfactory 61-80 - Good 81-100 - Excellent

Check-in: Good Room 513: Good Bath: Satisfactory Floor service: Satisfactory Landscaping: Satisfactory Breakfast buffet: Good

Top hotel Undercover opinion:

41-60 Satisfactory

Fitness: Satisfactory Corridors, elevators, stairs: Satisfactory

Total: 51%

Housekeeping: Satisfactory Check out: Good 0

20

40

60

80

100

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SCTDA discusses updated classification system for hotels WITHIN THE framework of its continuing efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of hotel services in the emirate, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) organised a meeting with the emirate’s hotel sector representatives to discuss an updated hotel classification system and its implementation mechanism. The meeting was held in the presence of HE Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Director General of SCTDA. Addressing the meeting, HE Al Midfa underlined the focused approach of SCTDA towards concrete initiatives that enhance

the overall tourism experience in Sharjah, and stressed the importance of cooperation between the hospitality and tourism sectors to improve Sharjah’s tourism products and hotel services to its visitors from all around the world.“The new hotel classification system will be a key step towards achieving the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract more than 10 million tourists to our emirate by the year 2021,”said HE Al Midfa. SCTDA recently launched Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 by focusing on four main pillars - Ideal Family Tourism Destination, Innovative Tourism

Approach, World Class Tourism Facilities and Capabilities, and International Cultural Hub - to

strengthen the status of the emirate as a leading destination for family tourism.

Emaar Residences at the Fairmont Makkah celebrates blissful living

EMAAR MIDDLE EAST, a subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC, is celebrating blissful living in the unmatched setting of luxury serviced apartments in Emaar Residences at the Fairmont Makkah, in close proximity to one of the holiest sites on earth. Elegantly designed and ably serviced, the Emaar Residences at the Fairmont Makkah are immediately available and ready to live

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in. Several residents have already moved in to their new residences, which open to breath-taking views of the Holy Kaaba, Haram, and the Holy City of Makkah. Located directly on the Haram Plaza in the tallest tower of Abraj Al Bait, the residences are on the 30th to the 41st floors of the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, which registers as among one the world’s tallest

skyscrapers, standing at 601 metres. The tower is home to the distinctive 40 metre clock face, five times the size of London’s famous Big Ben. Apart from the varied amenities within the tower, owners of the Emaar Residences at the Potential investors can call, + (966) 9200 22566 or visit: www.emaar.com/makkah for more details.


Shangri-La hotel, at the Shard, London presents suite dreams

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, At The Shard, London has unveiled its Signature Suites, the three final and most spectacular suites. The Signature Suites include one of the largest and most extraordinary hotel suites in London, the Shangri-La Suite. At 188 sq mts, on Level 39 of Renzo Piano’s iconic skyscraper, The Shard, guests experiencing this one-bedroom jewel in the Shangri-La crown will enjoy access via a private lift, 24hour personal butler service, private chauffeur service, large living areas with entirely custom-designed furniture, and a 180-degree view of London’s iconic landmarks from one of the

capital’s most rare addresses. Two further Signature Suites, also designed by FM – Architettura d’Interni Studio, present sophisticated custom furniture, carpets and silks - the London Suite and the Westminster Suite are situated on levels 37 and 38, respectively.

All three Signature Suites each enjoys its own unique layout, although all combine the formal elegance of Shangri-La’s Asian heritage with the innovation of The Shard’s architecture through a richness of precious details and an expanse of natural light.

Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort + Spa wins four awards at WTA LE ROYAL MÉRIDIEN Beach Resort + Spa has walked away with four awards at the 2015 World Travel Awards (WTA) Middle East ceremony. This year, the internationally renowned hotel was

awarded for being the ‘Middle East’s Leading Beach Resort’, as well as the ‘Middle East’s Leading Spa Resort’,‘Dubai’s Leading Spa Resort’ and the ‘UAE’s Leading Spa Resort’.

Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai appoints new Director of Communications

SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, Dubai has announced the appointment of Hayley Sturgess as the new Director of Communications. With previous experience at two UK marketing agencies, handling PR and events for clients throughout various industry sectors, paired with hotel experience at InterContinental and Crowne Plaza Dubai, Festival City, Al Badia Golf Club, and, most recently, Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa; Sturgess, a British national, has a deep understanding of the market and industry. Sturgess will be responsible for all marketing and communication initiatives throughout the hotel, agency relationships, event sponsorships and guest communications.

The Middle East edition of the WTA, which was held in Dubai for the eighth consecutive year, applauds the very best travel, tourism and hospitality organisations in the region. The awards recognise several types of establishments such as hotels, exhibition centres, tour and transport companies, and tourism organisations based on votes from around the region.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 9


Tourism Australia and Etihad Airways deal provides boost for Australia tourism TOURISM AUSTRALIA and Etihad Airways have deepened their commercial partnership by signing a five-year, A$30 million (AED 84.9 million) marketing deal to promote Australia to leisure and business travellers in key overseas markets. The new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ extends an existing three-year deal worth A$12 million (AED 33.9 million), which expires this year. Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan, said the new deal highlighted Etihad Airways’ commitment to the Australian market. “This is a landmark agreement which will provide valuable support for Tourism Australia’s global campaigns and marketing activities, as well as some of the industry’s most important trade and business events.” The agreement will also cover targeted support for Tourism Australia’s trade and business events programme, including continued support for Dreamtime. The airline will also provide international tickets for media/trade and business events fam programmes.

From left to right: Lindsay White, Etihad Airways Vice President for Asia Pacific South and Australasia and John O’Sullivan, Tourism Australia Managing Director celebrate the organisations’ new five-year $A30M tourism marketing deal at Australian Tourism Exchange 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.

CampbellGray hotels announces refurbishment plans for the Phoenicia, Malta

10 JULY/AUGUST 2015

CAMPBELLGRAY HOTELS is to start an extensive refurbishment programme of The Phoenicia Hotel, Malta, between 14th November, 2015 and 31st March, 2016, when the hotel will close its doors to allow work to take place without the risk of disruption to its guests. Following an investment of Euros 15 million (AED 61724842.99), the five and a half month-long restoration programme of this much-loved grand hotel in the old-town heart of Malta’s capital Valletta will include a complete refurbishment and upgrading of all 136 guest bedrooms and bathrooms, the creation of new rooftop Sky Suites, the addition of a new outdoor infinity pool with sweeping views of the harbour, a complete re-landscaping of the hotel’s grounds and terraces, and much more. Said Gordon Campbell Gray,“The philosophy behind the renovation of The Phoenicia is very much about restoring it to its original grandeur, while, at the same time, making it feel like now, and therefore more relevant to the current international traveller.”


Head Chef Daniel Johnson takes the helm at Alila Jabal Akhdar WAY OVER 2,000m above sea level up in the crisp-air of Al Hajar mountain range of Jabal Akhdar, Alila Jabal Akhdar, a luxury resort, will now offer a tempting array of palate pleasing dishes, thanks to the appointment of Head Chef Daniel Johnson. Since its opening in May 2014, Alila Jabal Akhdar has rapidly gained repute for the refreshingly healthy and authentic dishes. With fresh produce delivered every day to the resort from local Omani farmers, the international menu – inspired by the golden age of Omani cuisine – exudes a rich variety of flavours crafted to a gastronomical level.

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Abu Dhabi National Hotels bag prestigious awards ABU DHABI National Hotels (ADNH) is celebrating the winning of two prestigious awards, being named one of Forbes Middle East’s Top Companies in the Arab World, as well as being a National Winner

Paul Smith joins Liwa Minor LLC THE COFFEE CLUB, Australia’s largest café chain, and Liwa Minor’s first brand in the UAE, opened its first store in January at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall, and now boasts a second store, with plans to open four more by the end of the year. Overseeing the expansion of the group is the new CEO of Liwa Minor Food and Beverages LLC, a joint venture between the Thai based Minor Group and the Al Nasser Holdings Group; Paul Smith. Smith will lead the joint venture as it aims to become one of the most recognised F&B businesses in the region measured by Customer Engagement, Operational Excellence and People Development. Smith comes into the role with a track record of delivery in PLC, Joint Venture, Private and WFOE businesses, and a reputation for business development, especially in highly culturally diverse, complex international environments.

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in the MEED Quality Awards for Projects, for the success of its Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas on Saadiyat Island. Said Hareb Al Muhairy, Board Member and Managing Director of ADNH,“We are

honoured by this extensive recognition. We regard every award as an endorsement of our commitment towards contributing to the success of Abu Dhabi as a globallyrecognised tourist destination.”


Starwood brings iconic St Regis brand to the Maldives STARWOOD HOTELS & Resorts Worldwide, Inc announced the signing of an agreement with Residency Resorts Malé Private Limited, part of the Chennai-based leading property developer, Appaswamy Group, to debut the renowned St Regis brand in the Maldives. Set to open in 2016, The St. Regis Vommuli Resort, Maldives will bring the brand’s hallmark luxury services to one of the world’s most magnificent destinations, ideally situated

on the private Vommuli Island in the Dhaalu Atoll.“We are pleased to partner with Starwood to bring this hotel to life: marrying the bespoke service of the St Regis brand with the ‘barefoot luxury’ mentality of the Maldives,”said Ravi Appaswamy, Managing Director of Residency Resorts Male Private Limited. “The brand’s allure, coupled with Starwood’s powerful loyalty program, is sure to entice affluent travellers to visit this enchanting destination.”

Research reveals impact of summer Ramadan on Dubai hotel revenue ANALYSIS INTO spending patterns reveals that hotels can boost in-house guest spending by 44 per cent during a summer Ramadan by personalising their communications to individual guests. The data from SweetBeam reveals that guest spending across Dubai’s luxury hotels drops by an average of 15 per cent when Ramadan falls within the summer months. When paired with the dip in occupancy typical of the period, total revenue from overnight guests can decline by as much as 35 per cent.

However, the data does also reveal that on-spend per room during the Ramadan period actually increases. A combination of the hot weather and guests wanting to enjoy the various Iftar and Suhour events means that they are spending more time on resort than usual. This subsequently means hotels have the opportunity to increase on-spend per room night considerably. Hotel spas are the biggest outlet to benefit with spas experiencing an average of 44 per cent increase on-spend per room

night compared to rest of the summer months. Additionally, with the various Iftar and Suhour offerings during the Ramadan period, hotel restaurants see an increase in guest spending.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 13


SCTDA road shows target new markets in Europe IN LINE WITH its ongoing efforts to promote the emirate of Sharjah as a leading family and cultural tourism destination, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) organised a series of

road shows in cooperation with tourism and hospitality sector partners across major European cities in June, covering, for the first time, markets such as Bulgaria, Czech Republic and Poland.

SCTDA stressed the European road shows held considerable significance in the light of the recent launch of the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021 that aims to attract 10 million tourists by 2021. The SCTDA road

Emirates Palace optimises revenue management in the Cloud with Infor INFOR, THE INDUSTRY cloud company, announced that Emirates Palace has successfully implemented Infor EzRMS in the cloud to enable a more integrated approach to revenue management. Emirates Palace is the first Kempinski Hotels property in the Middle East to become fully operational with Infor’s hospitalityspecific revenue management application as part of the global agreement signed by the international hotelier. Utilising Infor EzRMS, Emirates Palace benefits from the ability to analyse comprehensive data from all revenue streams within the hotel in real-time, which helps the organisation optimise revenue by creating a property-

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specific set of recommendations that promote a more accurate balance between demand and supply. Infor EzRMS integrates with the existing property management system at Emirates Palace using Infor ION®, a flexible middleware platform, which allows the application to act as a single resource for reporting and analysis without the need to manually consolidate information. The application automatically considers all influential factors such as room type and guests’ ancillary spending, which enables a higher level of forecast accuracy and more targeted recommendations regarding room rates.

shows included workshops and meetings with leading government and private sector players, investors and market leaders and representatives from the travel and tourism industry from the continent.


IHG and MIK Corporation to bring First Crowne Plaza® Hotel to Phu Quoc Island

INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS Group (IHG®) has signed a management agreement with leading real-estate investor and developer in Vietnam, MIK Corporation, for a 300-room Crowne Plaza hotel on the island of Phu Quoc. Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Starbay will be one of IHG’s first hotels in Phu Quoc, and the company’s third Crowne Plaza in Vietnam, joining Crowne Plaza West Hanoi and Crowne Plaza Danang. Slated to open in 2017, Crowne Plaza Phu Quoc Starbay will be part of the new Star Bay/ Green Hill development, which will also feature a lagoon, beach village and a range of shops, restaurants and bars.

Grosvenor House Dubai awarded Middle East’s Leading Business Hotel at the ‘Oscars of the Travel Industry GROSVENOR HOUSE Dubai has received two awards at the 2015 World Travel Awards (WTA) – Middle East held at the Four Seasons Resort, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Identified as a leader in the travel industry, Grosvenor House Dubai was named the ‘Middle East’s Leading Business Hotel’ and ‘Dubai’s Leading Business Hotel’. Commenting on this year’s success, Pam Wilby, Complex General Manager of Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort + Spa, said,“These awards continue to highlights our position as a revolutionary hotel that is renowned for impeccable quality and service year-after-year. This is a remarkable achievement and a result of unwavering dedication by my world-class team of associates.”

Banyan Tree Resorts RAK wins ‘Best Sustainable Hotel’ and ‘Best Boutique Hotel’ at Middle East Hotel Awards BANYAN TREE Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah received two prestigious awards at the Middle East Hotel Awards. Banyan Tree Al Wadi was awarded ‘Best Sustainable Hotel’, whilst Banyan Tree Ras Al Khaimah Beach was honoured with ‘Best Boutique Hotel’, underscoring the commitment of both properties to the environment through Banyan Tree’s global ‘Stay for Good’ campaign, as well as their position as leading luxury hotels in the region. Axel Jarosch, General Manager, commented, “Our aim is to always provide socially responsible and quality service standards to both our properties in Ras Al Khaimah, a quality which is clear through all Banyan Tree resorts. We are honoured to be acknowledged with two such esteemed awards.”

JULY/AUGUST 2015 15


OPERATOR INTERVIEW

A discerning

16 JULY/AUGUST 2015


OPERATOR INTERVIEW

Halaveli Maldives presidential villa

Constance Hotels and Resorts, Mauritius, is looking for the right opportunity to make its debut in the region. ThME speaks to Jean J Vallet, CEO, about strategy, the attractiveness of the country and vicinity and how there’s no magic formula for staying ahead in the game

Halaveli Maldives beach view

What is your current growth strategy? Are there any plans for a regional Constance property anytime soon? Constance Hotels & Resorts, now established as one of the key players in the Indian Ocean, aims at becoming a reference point in the High End Leisure hospitality segment, managing either large luxury unique resorts, or smaller ultimate exclusive hotels. We are thus looking to expand our collection of luxury hotels and resorts in the Indian Ocean, as well as in the Middle East and Asian region, for we are confident that those destinations will bring added value to our current portfolio. We also feel that we can be attractive to our extensive range of clients in these exclusive regions. That being said, our growth will always be subject to keeping high standards and we, at Constance Hotels & Resorts, remain open to alternative solutions, depending on the destination and quality of the asset. What is your opinion on the hospitality landscape in Dubai and Abu Dhabi? It is an ever changing and ever growing landscape, sometimes hard JULY/AUGUST 2015 17


Halaveli Maldives double storey beach villa

Halaveli Maldives double storey beach villa

to keep up with! Both destinations have managed to combine business and leisure travel in an impressive way, and have brilliantly succeeded at catering for both demands something that only places like London, Paris, Barcelona, New York or Bangkok have managed before. With the World Expo 2020 coming to Dubai, and the projected doubling of hotel room capacity, we are positive that it is a region for the future and that demand will meet the projected supply. It is therefore important for international brands to be present there. For a hotel operator, destinations where local governments are willing to invest on logistics – Emirates and Etihad are obviously key to the success of these destinations, and the future airlift will surely drive tourism numbers forward – and infrastructures – such as the road system in the whole of the UAE, or the connection between the different islands of Abu 18 JULY/AUGUST 2015

Halaveli Maldives sandy beach

We are thus looking to expand our collection of luxury hotels and resorts in the Indian Ocean, as well as in the Middle East and Asian region.

Dhabi, as well as the development of both Palm Jumeirah and Palm Deira – are always a pleasure. It is truly refreshing to see that innovative development is not only welcome here, but also encouraged. What plans does Constance have for the Middle East region and Africa? Right now, we have a very experienced and willing team that is looking at these regions and analysing all possibilities and opportunities. We believe in the strength of the Middle East and Africa, and it is obvious that these are destinations where Constance Hotels and Resorts would like to have a presence within the next five years. Yet, we are taking our time, for we want to make sure that we pick the right option to start with. How are relationships with owners/investors managed?

We have a very hands-on, close and transparent approach with our owners, and this pays off. For example, 10 years after our first collaboration to create the Constance Lemuria Seychelles in 1999, the owners of this hotel chose us to continue developing new hotels in the Seychelles, with the Constance Ephelia Seychelles. Today, with these two hotels, we are considered the biggest hotel operator in the archipelago. Our strength, and the main reason for the success of our relationships, is that we deliver what we promise. Moreover, I believe that we need to have an Asset Manager approach to our way of thinking and managing, so as to align the objectives of the owners and the operator. This is the only way for a sustainable, long-term relationship between the two parties. This is also why we can be picky concerning the projects we choose to be part of, for there are many factors


OPERATOR INTERVIEW

gets into this business should have hospitality at heart and should look at client satisfaction surveys before looking at the balance sheet. Profits will come when one is consistent on delivering quality, and we at Constance Hotels & Resorts are a living proof of it.

Halaveli Maldives beach villa

Halaveli Maldives beach villa

Halaveli Maldives presidential villa

that can influence our choice. How are you, as an experienced and highly successful management company, able to stay on top of forecasted trends, in keeping the guest engaged and satisfied, and having the edge over the competition? As in all things, the key is hard work and dedication. There is no magic formula, other than surrounding yourself with great professionals who care about their job, who are willing to go the extra mile, but are also humble enough to constantly look at what is happening and adapt to novelty. Global trends are always evolving; it is essential to be aware of that and to translate these trends successfully into our operations. Our continual drive towards quality and attention to detail has successfully placed our brand as the number one small luxury brand in 2014 by Review pro. We are extremely proud to have been voted into this position by our

guests. We like to believe that listening to our guests not only helps us stay one step ahead of the competition, but also protects us from being washed out by temporary fashion waves. What is your take on all the new players in the market? I believe that there is enough space in the luxury hospitality segment for new players, and also for older ones to reshuffle their approach. There are several ways of doing things, and it is obvious that different guests look for experiences that cover a larger range. Moreover, every successful new player will bring with him new ideas and innovations to the hotel landscape. In this competitive world, this is what keeps us on our toes and raises the bar for the whole industry. New blood is thus essential, not only for the survival of this segment, but also for the tourism industry as a whole. The only element that I feel is not negotiable is that anyone that

Tell us about the brand experience at Constance. Will there be any new brands coming anytime soon? Essentially Mauritian at its core, Constance Hotels & Resorts has now developed beyond what it represented at its birth. We do everything with passion, which is the DNA of our brand, and I believe that this is felt by our guests. We support diversity, and encourage our teams to express their cultures and customs because it is our people who make our brand. Personalisation is also a key component of what makes our guests feel truly pampered and taken care of. It can be as simple as remembering the customer’s name, the temperature at which they like the thermostat to be set in their suite, or remembering their favourite drink. The Constance Hotels and Resorts is built around our two collections, Ultimate and Unique. Our Ultimate Hotels are exclusive, intimate, serene, luxurious, and tailor-made to the needs of each of our guests, while the experience of our Unique Resorts revolves around a feeling of authenticity, service, warmth and total relaxation, involving each guest in a casual, yet high-end atmosphere, complete with a vast range of facilities. The growth of our group will be based on the development of those two collections, for we feel we cover the whole range of the high end leisure spectrum. What about growth beyond the Indian Ocean? As we mentioned earlier, we are studying growth opportunities, but we are only looking for the right hotel in the right destination. The Middle East is a region that appeals to us, but we are also looking at other fantastic destinations in South East Asia, North Africa and the Mediterranean. In any case, we truly look forward to introducing ThME to these projects in the near future. JULY/AUGUST 2015 19


COVER STORY

Sustainability and its many

ives t a i t i n ility i b a n i a evin r sust K u ? t o n y e Are VS ompon H c f l a o c t i t i n g a cr reside P , n i missin e dst vides o r p , A Gol y it inabil a t s u of risk S s a d e r n a a y the key n o Energ e v i t ec a persp nt into utility e tm s e v in to nability i relating a t s u s d n projects a y c n e i c ďŹ f e ow owners h d n a , s e v ti ia init osure p x e e s i m i can min vestment in operators f o s e s a h during all p into their properties 20 JULY/AUGUST 2015


COVER STORY

It has been contended that sustainability initiatives should focus on utility efficiency and be driven by the bottom line. But a valid business case exists for numerous types of investments in building equipment and enhanced operating practices, and across the hospitality sector, there are literally thousands of good projects with strong return on investment that are waiting to be undertaken. While it has been observed that a growing number of case studies describe the cost and savings of various building equipment upgrades, it would be remiss to have a conversation about investment without some consideration of risk. Thus, here is a perspective on several key areas of risk relating to utility efficiency. What types of risk should be considered? Relating to investment in building equipment, there are six basic types of risks. These include: 1) Investment Risk 2) Operational Risk 3) Technology Risk 4) Construction Risk 5) Utility Price Risk 6) Project Financing Risk. JULY/AUGUST 2015 21


COVER STORY

Investment risk For the vast majority of building equipment upgrades, an owner’s investment decision is based on both upfront cost and annualised savings. While the investment numbers may appear straightforward on paper, owners and operators should ask the following, prior to moving forward: Have I done everything possible to optimise the ROI from this project? There are a number of steps that can be undertaken to manage risk during each phase of the investment process. First and foremost, a strategy should be in place to secure the lowest possible installed cost. Although there are multiple ways to lock in a competitive price, the most straightforward manner is to negotiate with vendors or contractors in an open bid scenario that is based on a common definition of the proposed improvements. Owners and operators should also remember to differentiate between the gross cost and net cost of a project. It is easy to overlook opportunities for significant rebates and incentives from utility providers or municipalities – all of which can significantly reduce the final out-of-pocket cost. Relating to the investment returns, the financial projections of cost savings are only as valid as the competency of the individual or firm that has completed the calculations. For example, if complex mechanical improvements are under consideration, does the entity that has calculated the savings have extensive HVAC/MEP experience in an applied hospitality context, and was a professional engineer (PE) engaged in the process? On a coinciding note, were the savings projections prepared by a person or company with an agenda that may not entirely align with the owner’s best interests? To minimise the risk of savings not materialising as promised, owners and operators can consider commissioning an independent, vendor-agnostic evaluation of the cost/benefit of the contemplated improvements. Because sustainability initiatives are oftentimes implemented in clusters of projects that are bundled together, it has been observed that individual projects that may not meet ownership’s investment objectives occasionally slip 22 JULY/AUGUST 2015

There are a number of steps that can be undertaken to manage risk during each phase of the investment process.

through the cracks and are installed anyway – which in turn diminishes the returns from other, more viable projects. Projects should therefore initially be evaluated on a stand-alone basis to determine conformity with the owner’s investment parameters. However, since there is oftentimes interactivity between various efficiency initiatives (especially relating to energy conservation), it is also advisable to consider the combined impact of projects, since the aggregate savings can oftentimes be less than the sum of the parts.

Operational risk Stated simply, operational risk is the probability that an equipment retrofit project may not perform according to its specifications, or may have unanticipated externalities associated with ongoing hotel operations. Operational risk is of paramount concern to hoteliers, who, in most cases, will not proceed with projects if there is even the slightest potential for the project to negatively impact guest experience or satisfaction.

As an example of operational risk, consider a project involving the upgrading of the guest room HVAC controls. Although the technology may appear user-friendly, based on the vendor’s demonstration and product cut-sheets, such an installation could unintentionally result in large thermal swings or cause confusion on the part of guests who cannot operate the units correctly. There may be significant differences or operational anomalies amongst competing vendor’s products – with some systems functioning ideally, while other systems miss the mark. This type of risk can usually be minimised by conducting proper due diligence on the manufacturer and equipment, as well as visiting properties (or speaking with personnel at other properties) where the technology has already been installed. Hotel operators should also meet with the local manufacturer’s representative for installations, which may require ongoing support, as the quality of service will typically only be as good as the local representative’s expertise.


COVER STORY

Technology risk There are multiple layers of technology risk inherent in sustainability initiatives – especially those relating to energy, where significant advances in equipment and controls seem to be occurring every year. However, an owner or operator will most likely have two simple questions relating to a new or emerging technology: Does it work, and does it make sense to wait as the technology evolves? The greatest indication of the viability of a new or emerging technology is its performance in a realworld operational context. As such, the first step in the due diligence should be to speak with owners or operators who have the technology already in place at their properties – or better yet, schedule an in-person tour to discuss the system’s performance and costeffectiveness. Owners should be aware that a relatively new technology or product (within one – two years) may not provide an adequate indication of longer term performance and maintenance costs, both of which

factor into the final return on investment. Therefore, if the hotelier is being asked to take on some level of technology risk, the vendor should be accommodating this risk in the form of a discount on the equipment and/ or service. Regarding whether it is advantageous to apply the ‘wait and see’ approach, it really depends on the scale of investment required, and the payback period for the project. If a project has a relatively rapid ROI, the opportunity cost of postponing installation can be significant. However, for large-scale capital improvements with extended payback periods, it may make sense for an owner to wait as technology is further developed (especially if significant research and development is occurring in a particular area of technology).

Construction risk At some point, building equipment retrofits will advance from a concept into reality – which is where construction risk enters the picture. The more obvious impacts to ongoing

The greatest indication of the viability of a new or emerging technology is its performance in a real-world operational context.

hotel operations can be controlled via careful construction scheduling and sequencing, as well as selecting contractors who are familiar with the challenges of working in a hospitality environment. Owners and operators can consider engaging a specialised construction manager or owner’s representative to serve as a liaison between the property operations team, the contracting team, and ownership. This can reduce the likelihood of conflicts between the contractors and operator, as well as minimise delays and the extent of impact on guest experience. Likewise, an experienced construction manager or owner’s representative can review contractors’ qualifications and experience, and administer the bid process – which further defines the level of risk to be borne by the owner and contractors during the preconstruction and construction process. Under a traditional Design-BidBuild approach, the owner controls the design and construction process, thereby increasing the probability that JULY/AUGUST 2015 23


COVER STORY

the project’s technical characterisation and financial inputs/outputs are in accordance with ownership objectives. The open bid approach assures maximum competitiveness in the final contract price; however, the project schedule can be lengthy, and the owner also assumes a level of financial responsibility for delays or change orders resulting from incomplete or erroneous design. Under a Design-Build or Construction Manager at Risk approach, a level of risk is transferred from the owner to the Design Builder or Construction Manager. The maximum construction cost can be fixed earlier in the process, and the project schedule can be expedited (since construction can commence concurrent with final design); however, the owner loses a certain level of control over the final project deliverable. Both of these approaches can be modified to include an Engineer-Assist, wherein an engineering firm can remain engaged in the process to help ensure the owner’s interests are accommodated during the design and construction phase. To identify a preferable construction delivery approach, consideration should also be given to the complexity of the project and the qualifications and experience of local contracting firms – both of which will define the level of risk associated with the project. Regardless of the contracting mechanism that is identified, the owner should assess the level of risk based on the specific contractual terms and dispute mechanisms, as well as the amount of time / commitment that is required on behalf of ownership.

Utility price risk Of all of risk topics, utility price risk is probably the area with the most uncertainty. Commodity prices are based on a wide range of macroeconomic and local market factors that can be daunting to navigate. Utility rates are impacted by regulatory activity, aging infrastructure, energy policy, security, smart grid technology, and renewable energy targets - to name 24 JULY/AUGUST 2015

Commodity prices are based on a wide range of macroeconomic and local market factors that can be daunting to navigate.

just a few. Although complex, there are nevertheless a range of sources that can be used to gauge high-level trends in commodity rates. In the US, these include various reports and market indices published by governmental agencies (US Energy Information Administration), private consultancies (eg Black & Veatch), and others. An understanding of local market conditions can also be helpful in anticipating future shifts in rates. For example, many municipalities have embarked on major investment programmes in infrastructure. The costs for these improvements are oftentimes passed along to utility rate payers, which are reasonably foreseeable by following local media coverage and political proceedings. Likewise, market forces will typically prevail to drive prices higher in areas with commodity scarcity (eg frequent brownouts due to lack of adequate electrical grid capacity, or water shortages in areas with ongoing drought conditions). In the context of evaluating the cost and benefit of utility efficiency initiatives, one can apply a sensitivity analysis based on varying commodity rates – to enable owners to ascertain a range of returns under best case, worst case, and middle-of-the-road scenarios. The commodity rates used in the sensitivity analysis can be adjusted, based on both national-scale projections and historic local tariff patterns.

Project financing risk In the case of turn-key installation of onsite power generation systems (including solar PV, cogeneration plants, and fuel cells), it has been observed that there is anywhere from a moderate to a substantial level of risk associated with alternative financing structures (including performance contracting, energy purchase agreements, and other emerging financing mechanisms). While the specific terms of the contract will dictate the proportional level of risk to be borne by the owner and investor, below is a typical alternative financing structure – a power purchase agreement (or PPA).

A PPA would typically involve third party ownership and installation of a more efficient energy plant system – along with a corresponding agreement to sell energy to the hotel owner. To properly evaluate a contractual relationship such as this, it is essential to understand which party is assuming the commodity price risk and performance risk associated with the installation – both of which may be negotiable as part of the contract structuring. A couple of basic questions relating to risk that an owner should consider include: 1) What happens if commodity rates change and conventional energy (eg electricity from the municipal grid) becomes more competitive than the rates specified in the PPA?; 2) What equipment downtime could be anticipated, and which party would be at risk under existing and/or modified tariff structures? Relating to turn-key agreements where a third party will finance or own the building equipment, it is recommended that hotel owners should conduct their own due diligence regarding the actual costs of construction, available incentives to offset the capital cost, and levels of savings generated through the project. In some cases, it may be more advantageous to self-finance installation of a project if the returns are strong enough, but this decision can only be made if the owner aggressively attempts to understand all of the facts regarding the project.

Putting the pieces together – integrated risk for retrofit projects The level of risk associated with a particular utility efficiency initiative or equipment retrofit project is oftentimes a factor of the complexity and number of moving parts of the project itself. Any particular project can have multiple layers of risk inherent in its financial projections, technical implementation, and operations. Hotel owners and operators can substantially minimise their financial exposure by engaging in open conversations about risk with their consultants, vendors, and contractors. Are your sustainability initiatives missing this critical component? -www.hvs.com


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‫ألنه في كثير من األحيان يتم‬ ‫التطبيقية‪ ،‬وهل شارك مهندس‬ ‫محترف (‪ )PE‬في عملية احتساب تنفيذ مبادرات االستدامة في‬ ‫هذه الوفورات؟ وهل كانت توقعات مجموعات من املشاريع املدمجة معا‪،‬‬ ‫فقد لوحظ أن املشاريع الفردية التي‬ ‫التوفير من قبل شخص أو شركة‬ ‫لديها جدول زمني قد ال يتوافق مع قد ال تفي باألهداف االستثمارية‬ ‫مصلحة املالك؟ لتقليل مخاطر توفير للمالكني تخرج أحيانا عن املسار‬ ‫لن يتحقق كما الوعد به‪ ،‬يجب على املرسوم لها ورغم ذلك يتم تنفيذها‬ ‫املالكني واملشغلني النظر في تكليف على أي حال ‪ -‬وهذا بدوره يقلل‬ ‫عائدات بعض املشاريع الواعدة‪.‬‬ ‫متخصص تقييم مستقل لتحديد‬ ‫لذلك ينبغي في البداية أن يتم تقييم‬ ‫التكلفة ‪ /‬املنفعة من التحسينات‬ ‫املشاريع على أساس مستقل لتحديد‬ ‫املنصوح بها‪.‬‬

‫مدى تطابقها مع معايير االستثمار‬ ‫للمالك‪ .‬مع ذلك‪ ،‬ونظرا ألن هناك‬ ‫في كثير من األحيان تفاعالت بني‬ ‫مبادرات الكفاءة املختلفة (خاصة‬ ‫تلك املتعلقة باحلفاظ على الطاقة)‪،‬‬ ‫فإنه من األفضل أن ننظر في األثر‬ ‫املشترك للمشاريع‪ ،‬ألن الوفورات‬ ‫املجمعة قد تكون في كثير من‬ ‫األحيان أقل من املجموع الكلي‬ ‫لألجزاء‪.‬‬ ‫‪26 JULY/AUGUST 2015‬‬


‫‪COVER STORY‬‬

‫االستدامة‬ ‫ومخاطرها الكثيرة‬

‫هل مبادرات االستدامة اخلاصة بك تفتقد عنصرا حاسما؟ كيفن غولدشتاين‪ ،‬رئيس شركة‬ ‫‪ HVS‬للطاقة واالستدامة‪ ،‬يقدم وجهة نظر جديدة للمجاالت الرئيسية للمخاطر املتعلقة‬ ‫باالستثمار في مشروعات كفاءة املرافق ومبادرات االستدامة‪ ،‬وكيف ميكن للمالكني‬ ‫واملشغلني تقليل التعرض للمخاطر أثناء جميع مراحل االستثمار في ممتلكاتهم‪.‬‬

‫يرى البعض أن على مبادرات‬ ‫االستدامة التركيز على كفاءة املرافق‬ ‫وعلى حتقيق الغرض الذي من أجله‬ ‫جاءت‪ .‬ولكن تبقى نقطة أساسية في‬ ‫العديد من االستثمارات في معدات‬ ‫البناء وممارسات التشغيل احملسنة‬ ‫وقطاع الضيافة‪ ،‬إذ أنك جتد هناك‬ ‫بالفعل اآلالف من املشاريع اجليدة‬ ‫املتوقع لها حتقيق عوائد استثمار‬ ‫كبيرة تنتظر الشروع فيها‪.‬‬ ‫في حني لوحظ أن عددا على الرغم من أن‬ ‫متزايدا من احلاالت‬ ‫الدراسيةمن التكنولوجيا قد تبدو‬ ‫تصف التكاليف والوفورات‬ ‫مختلف ترقيات معدات البناء‪ ،‬سهلة االستعمال‪،‬‬ ‫فإنه سيكون من أوجه التقصير اعتمادا على عروض‬ ‫قصر النقاش حول االستثمار‬ ‫املخاطر‪ .‬املورد وبيانات املنتج‪،‬‬ ‫دون التطرق إلى بعض‬ ‫وهكذا‪ ،‬إليك عزيزي القارئ قد ينتج عن تركيب‬ ‫منظور جديد للعديد من مثل هذه املنتجات‬ ‫املجاالت الرئيسية‬ ‫للمخاطر تقلبات حرارية‬ ‫املتعلقة بكفاءة املرافق‪.‬‬

‫ما هي أنواع املخاطر التي‬ ‫يجب أخذها في االعتبار؟‬ ‫فيما يتعلق باالستثمار في‬ ‫معدات البناء‪ ،‬هناك ستة أنواع‬ ‫أساسية من املخاطر‪ .‬وتشمل‪:‬‬ ‫‪ - 1‬مخاطر االستثمار‬ ‫‪ - 2‬املخاطر التشغيلية‬ ‫‪ - 3‬مخاطر التكنولوجيا‬ ‫‪ -4‬مخاطر البناء‬ ‫‪ - 5‬مخاطر أسعار املرافق‬ ‫‪ - 6‬مخاطر متويل املشاريع‬ ‫‪JULY/AUGUST 2015 27‬‬

‫كبيرة أو ارتباك من‬ ‫جانب الضيوف الذين‬ ‫ال ميكنهم تشغيل‬ ‫وحداتهم بشكل‬ ‫صحيح‪.‬‬

‫مخاطر االستثمار‬

‫بالنسبة للغالبية العظمى من ترقيات‬ ‫معدات البناء‪ ،‬يستند قرار املالك‬ ‫باالستثمار على كل من التكاليف‬ ‫االبتدائية وحتقيق وفورات سنوية‪.‬‬ ‫بينما قد تظهر أرقام االستثمار‬ ‫واضحة على الورق‪ ،‬يجب على‬ ‫املالكني واملشغلني أن يسألوا أنفسهم‬ ‫التالي قبل شروعهم في التنفيذ‪:‬‬ ‫هل فعلت كل ما هو ممكن لتحسني‬ ‫العائد على االستثمار من هذا‬ ‫املشروع؟‬ ‫هناك عدد من اخلطوات التي ميكن‬ ‫اتخاذها إلدارة املخاطر خالل كل‬ ‫مرحلة من مراحل عملية االستثمار‪.‬‬ ‫أوال وقبل كل شيء‪ ،‬يجب وضع‬ ‫استراتيجية لتوفير أقل تكلفة‬ ‫تركيب ممكنة‪ .‬على الرغم من وجود‬ ‫عدة طرق للحصول على أسعار‬ ‫تنافسية‪ ،‬فإن الطريقة األكثر شهرة‬ ‫هي التفاوض مع املوردين أو املقاولني‬ ‫بشكل مفتوح من أجل الوصول‬ ‫إلى تعريف مشترك للتحسينات‬ ‫املقترحة‪ .‬ينبغي على املالكني‬ ‫واملشغلني أن يتذكروا أيضا أن عليهم‬ ‫التفرقة ما بني التكلفة اإلجمالية‬ ‫والتكلفة الصافية للمشروع‪ .‬من‬ ‫السهل إغفال الفرص املمكنة‬ ‫للحصول على التخفيضات واحلوافز‬ ‫من مقدمي خدمات املرافق العامة أو‬ ‫البلديات ‪ -‬وكلها ميكن أن تقلل‬ ‫بشكل كبير من التكلفة النهائية‪.‬‬ ‫فيما يخص عوائد االستثمار‪ ،‬يجب‬

‫توضيح أن التوقعات املالية و وفورات‬ ‫التكاليف هي صاحلة بقدر جودة‬ ‫الفرد أو الشركة التي احتسبتها‪ .‬على‬ ‫سبيل املثال‪ ،‬إذا كانت التحسينات‬ ‫امليكانيكية املعقدة قيد النظر فيها‪،‬‬ ‫يجب أن نعرف هل اجلهة التي‬ ‫حسبت الوفورات لديها خبرة واسعة‬ ‫في مجال اخلدمات الكهربائية‬ ‫وامليكانيكية والصرف الصحي‬ ‫(‪ )MEP‬ومجاالت التكييف والتهوية‬ ‫والتدفئة (‪ )HVAC‬من منظور الضيافة‬


GM INTERVIEW

28 JULY/AUGUST 2015


GM INTERVIEW

Dubai’s hidden

The location of Per Aquum Desert Palm gives a unique edge to the property, managing to make it exclusive yet within close proximity to the centre of town. ThME spoke to James Reeves, General Manager, about location, revenue and market share

P

er Aquum Desert Palm stands a little distance away from the city centre, a location that was carefully chosen, according to James Reeves, General Manager of the retreat.“It was key to reposition the Retreat in both the local and international market as an urban oasis so as to communicate that we are part of Dubai city, and not be perceived as being located in the desert. The verdant surrounds of four championship Polo fields makes the hotel almost the ‘Hamptons of Dubai’, where it continues to be a perfect city escape, only a 15-minute drive from Downtown Burj Khalifa and DIFC,”he says. Per Aquum Desert Palm is a refreshing contrast from the conventional flamboyance of the city’s skyscraper hotels. They enjoy a loyal following, thanks JULY/AUGUST 2015 29


GM INTERVIEW

to the regular review of the requirements and feedback from their repeat guest following across rooms, F&B, Spa and Fitness. The team adds that personal touch with guests, by recognising and communicating with them through various channels, even as the brand broadens its horizons to offer their unique experiences to markets like India and China. Says Reeves,“About 87 per cent of our customers are leisure guests. However, the hotel has corporate clients who continue to use the facilities, and are provided with corporate rates and additional services with little touches to make their stay more manageable. These include complimentary pressing, assistance with transportation to get them efficiently to where they need to be in Downtown, etc. Our proximity to Dubai Airport also makes it perfect for business travellers.” In addition, Per Aquum Desert Palm offers a state-of-the-art conference facility, where companies conduct training sessions, strategic brainstorming sessions or host their top executives for a retreat as an incentive. A comprehensive hotel experience also includes an enjoyable culinary experience, of course.“Approximately 30 per cent of our revenue contribution is delivered from F&B. We continually evolve our offerings to ensure we remain fresh with out-of-thebox concepts such as the REVO Pop Up in RARE, or our traditional and renowned Vintage Friday Brunch. Destination Dining is an ultimate dining experience as it offers six unique and intimate locations over the space of 160 acres of greenery, where you can enjoy having a set course dinner with private waiter and chef. It is one of those unforgettable experiences to have in Dubai,”he smiles. During the polo season, which runs from October until May, Jewel Afternoon Tea, which is served in a classic threetier style, can be enjoyed on either the polo fields or terrace, coupled with an exhilarating polo match. In terms of events, Per Aquum Desert Palm is often booked for company trainings and brainstorming sessions, which contribute to 40 per cent of the total F&B revenue. The hotel offers personalised team building events, geared around company’s long term strategies, which is kept unique through themed coffee break upgrades. “Instead of standard coffee breaks, we offer truly unique breaks, such as Healthy starts to the morning, Organic Pick-meup breaks, Energy breaks, etc, alongside a 30 JULY/AUGUST 2015

competitive Day Delegate Package. The Day Delegate package is about taking work out of the office environment and getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life,”explains Reeves. Weddings also form a significant part of the events held at Per Aquum Desert Palm, where the celebrations are customised with the assistance and expertise of their dedicated wedding planner. The nature of the retreat attracts many inquiries for equestrian themed weddings.“The Olive Garden is a high-demand wedding venue, featuring 300-year-old Tuscan Olive trees, which

provide a perfect setting for a grand affair, whereas more intimate venues such as The Trophy Room are ideal for boutique ceremonies,”adds Reeves. “Our occupancy rates have remained the same since the hotel opened, despite adding additional keys over the last four years. Because our staffto-guest ratio is so high, no matter what the occupancy, we are able to ensure the guest experience is not compromised. However, most hoteliers will tell you that it is when a hotel is quiet that a drop in service levels is more pronounced,”he states.


Per Aquum Desert Palm believes in smart technology, providing guests with the comfort that makes their daily routine easy to manage without quirky and complicated gadgets. They offer complimentary WIFI, cars/transfers to anywhere in the Retreat, and durable high quality products such as Apple, Bose and Olufsen. They reinvest in the property every year, taking on board guest feedback, and creating new experiences. They operate on the ethos of driving the business forward as opposed to reaping profits, so that the hotel can continue to perform well.

Per Aquum Desert Palm has global representation throughout Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. While the GCC has the largest market share, followed by the UK and Germany, the hotels are in constant touch, updating each other on current events to ensure they are always on the same page. “We are in a transient business, and people come and go. However, we maintain a very low staff turnover, which assists us in building and maintaining a great team. With over 26 nationalities working together in such a small property, there is a family

atmosphere and support for one another, which our guests recognise and appreciate. There is a genuine desire to look after our guests, and because the team is established, they know what to look for and are able to identify specific guest needs. It never takes long for new team members to feel at home and be indoctrinated into our service culture. I am proud of the team at Per Aquum Desert Palm, and what they achieve year on year and through our Associate Engagement Survey, we know that they are proud of where they work too,�says Reeves proudly.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 31


ANALYSIS

32 JULY/AUGUST 2015


ANALYSIS

Fixed expenses aren’t really

fixed! In most hotel P&Ls, usually towards the bottom, is a heading called Non-Operating Income and Expense, formerly known as Fixed Expenses. Few costs are uncontrollable in a hotel. There are simply some expenses which take longer to reduce than others! Kirby D. Payne, CHA, President of HVS Hotel Management and HVS Asset Management – Newport, elaborates

S

omewhere on most hotel financial statements, usually towards the bottom, is a major heading called Non-Operating Income and Expense. Before the 11th Edition of the Uniform System it was known as Fixed Expenses. I firmly believe that General Managers and Comptrollers created the former title for two reasons: Either owners handled the items bundled in there or General Manager and Comptrollers didn’t want to assume responsibility for the items they placed there. This section includes items such as rent, real estate taxes, personal property taxes, building and contents insurance, interest expense, depreciation and amortisation. Other items that might appear there are equipment leases and miscellaneous costs that an operator or manager dismisses as out their control. While not classified as

fixed expenses payroll taxes, unemployment insurance and other benefits - both those discretionary to the operation and those which are mandated by government regulation – are commonly thought of as fixed expenses by many hoteliers. There are very few costs that are actually uncontrollable in a hotel. There are simply some expenses which take longer to reduce than others! Many of these are the same ones that should be controlled by planning and negotiation when the acquisition or development is planned. General Managers and Comptrollers (management) should not divorce themselves from these issues any more than an owner would. One way an owner can enhance these key employees’ interest in these expenses is to make their incentive pay tied to the owner’s real profitability. This is also true of management company incentive fees.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 33


Real estate taxes Real estate tax assessments, their calculations and their payment are a matter of public record. By researching other hotels’ assessments at the county offices and understanding their calculations, management can begin to ascertain whether the taxes assessed their particular hotel are relatively fair or not. If they appear to be unfairly high 34 JULY/AUGUST 2015

relative to the competition and the hotel’s circumstances, management can, at a minimum, sit down with the tax assessor and discuss the issue. S/ he will answer questions, ask for more information and possibly lower the assessment. In areas where there are personal property taxes, the system works much the same way. If the assessments are apparently unfairly high and the assessor does not

agree, management, with the owner’s approval, can begin the appeals process. In a simple case, much of the work can be done by management. In addition to HVS Property Tax Services there are lawyers who specialise in this area of the law. Both can be retained on a fee or contingency basis. Real estate taxes should be examined every three or four years, depending upon local circumstances.


ANALYSIS

There are simply some expenses which take longer to reduce than others! Many of these are the same ones that should be controlled by planning and negotiation when the acquisition or development is planned.

available to a particular hotel. Another factor affecting workers compensation insurance is a particular location’s claims experience. Records of previous losses must be reviewed and action taken, either through staff training, physical changes in the hotel or in methods of accomplishing tasks. Any claims must be managed aggressively to keep the insurer’s outlay to a minimum by getting the person back to the work force as soon as possible and monitoring payments to object to unnecessary treatment. Remember, even an injury sustained while walking out to their car can result in an accepted workers compensation claim. We had one workers compensation claim for an employee who tripped over a cat on the way to her car. In many places, the regulations have created a burdensome system. The limits are high, the definition of injuries, the time limits and the bureaucracy all contribute to higher expenses than the surrounding states. By lobbying together with your local hotel association to making legislatures and the administration aware of the problem, management can contribute to reducing this expense.

Workers compensation Workers compensation insurance, in countries where it is required, can be attacked from several directions. The most obvious is to ensure that all employees are properly classified because different classifications have different insurance rates applied to them. Next, management should ensure that workers compensation insurance is being bought from the least expensive source

Minimum wage Minimum wage is also a“fixed expense”by acting as a baseline, or “floor”for wage calculations. At the local, state or province, and national levels, one must participate in the process of government to affect change. In the United States, with many local governments, various states, and the JULY/AUGUST 2015 35


ANALYSIS

U.S. Congress contemplating increases, one must be doubly careful. Remember, when there are two or more different laws on the same subject, the one most beneficial to the employee, not the employer, is the one that applies. In the case of local governments in the United States, some of the new extreme minimum wages discriminatorily apply only to hotels but not the adjacent freestanding restaurants, retail businesses or other establishments. In some cases hotels a short distance apart in in two different towns have very different minimum wages and labor regulations creating unfair competitive situations. Managing your labor force more efficiently, reducing staff and outsourcing some activities will help mitigate increases. For instance evaluate the option to purchase more pre-cut vegetables, prepared sauces, possibly even the unthinkable, using a laundry service. Again, consider joining with others in the hospitality industry through your local hospitality associations in addition to, in the United States, the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Interest and lease expenses Getting your interest and lease expenses reduced may be as difficult as reducing government-mandated expenses. Interest and lease expenses are negotiable at the time the agreements are entered into. However, many times they can be reduced simply by asking at a strategic later time. The hammer that the owner has is that the lender/lessor knows that you can go out and get a new loan, buy out the lease or do business in the future with another lender or leasing company.

If they appear to be unfairly high relative to the competition and the hotel’s circumstances, management can, at a minimum, sit down with the tax assessor and discuss the issue. S/ he will answer questions, ask for more information and possibly lower the assessment

It is a difficult and time consuming task, but a worthwhile one. Given the current low interest rates, deals made in the most recent few years may be as good as they can be for the foreseeable future. Work with your owner and network with your local banks to make sure the hotel is getting the full benefit of the situation. From the networking you should at least be able to get their rooms, meeting and party business! When considering new loans or leases, remember that the items or equipment you are purchasing are a separate transaction from the loan or lease. Just like soap and toilet paper are commodities, so is money. No lender or leasing company is doing you a favor by giving you access to money. You are a customer helping them reach a sales budget. Shop for the best deal. The leasing company suggested by the vendor may not necessarily offer the best deal.

Insurance cost is controllable Insurance of all types is a completely controllable expense within certain limits. Deductibles, co-payments and proper valuation of the building and furniture, fixtures and equipment

replacement cost are all components of the insurance premium. The hotel’s loss record enters into the calculation also. Changes in any or all of these items will affect your premium cost. Different insurance companies charge different rates for insuring hotels based on their loss experience and appetite for hotel insurance risk at a particular time. Work with your insurance agent to understand what and where s/he has been shopping for your insurance. Are the companies (agencies refer to insurance companies as“markets”) your agency has been considering regular insurers of hotels? Ask your agent why s/he doesn’t investigate other markets. Use two agencies and have the second agency shop other markets. Look for agencies which have several other hotel clients and experience handling hotel claims. If you have the financial stature to do so, give serious consideration to self-insurance.

In-room entertainment Cable and satellite TV expense are also manageable. Reducing premium channels offerings is a quick way to reduce cable expense. Do your guests really expect or want those channels? Viewing tastes have changed in recent years and not just among younger travelers. Don’t let cable companies fool you with their claims of regulations and community controlled tariffs. Usually those only apply to residential consumers. There are more alternatives to bringing TV signals and internet bandwidth into a hotel than ever before. Look into pay-per-view providers satellite companies now so you will be prepared when the current cable contract expires. In many cases, pay-per-view can be layered on top of the cable system so the hotel can earn some offsetting revenues.

Summary In summary, look at every expense and don’t skip by those commonly considered to be fixed. You can often make a greater impact on the bottom line through some of these items than by reducing food cost and most don’t require attention to maintain on a daily basis. -www.hvs.com 36 JULY/AUGUST 2015


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HOTEL REVIEW

38 JULY/AUGUST 2015


HOTEL REVIEW

A grand

sojourn

The Grand Hyatt Dubai is an iconic landmark in the heart of the city. Within a few minutes drive from a number of other Dubai locations, this 674 rooms and suites property has 13 restaurants and is set in lush gardens in an area of 37 acres. One night here is definitely not enough to see it all

JULY/AUGUST 2015 39


Grand Hyatt Dubai, luxurious room, king suites

T

he Grand Hyatt Dubai is an iconic landmark right in the centre of the city. It is literally a few minutes drive from most of Dubai’s landmarks - Dubai International Airport, Burj Khalifa, Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai Mall to name a few. Besides just being centrally located, it is a huge property with 674 luxurious rooms and suites, a serviced residences area and 13 award-winning restaurants. So much to see and literally so little time. This year for Ramadan, the hotel is running a special promotion - the Ramadan Cultural Stay package where in the guest gets to make the most of the culture and traditions of the city in this holy month. The timing of this package is ideal because the Grand Hyatt Dubai, lobby

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city as well as hotels are relatively less crowded as most of the schools are out for the summer and people are away on holiday. The city is a lot less crowded and add to that Ramadan and the city and its hotels are much more open to peaceful exploration. (See box for more information.)

The experience Surely for all old Dubai citizens, residents and regular visitors the hotel has played a part in many lives. I remember celebrating many occasions with family and friends at the property and also attending many work-related events at the hotel. So this was a special opportunity experiencing a stay here. Getting there, as mentioned earlier, was very easy and a few minutes drive from work. The entrance Grand Hyatt Dubai, lobby interior dhow

of the hotel is enormous with marbled floors and columns and activity everywhere in the form of staff and guests mingling and going about their business and routines. We completed check in formalities and were led to our room by a very amiable member of the welcome team - Ludmela. The room was voluminous with two large twin beds and large bathroom and a spacious seating area and work desk. The view from the room was very interesting and diverse. Right below us were the lush gardens of the property. From the room, the gardens look thick, lush and very inviting. I promised to come back in winter to do just that. The outdoor pool was in our view and beyond the hotel we could see the metro running to and fro at regular intervals, we could see the Creek Park, Splashland and much beyond.


HOTEL REVIEW

Ramadan Cultural Stay package Come experience a culturally rich journey as Grand Hyatt Dubai offers you insights into Ramadan in Dubai. For the first year running, Grand Hyatt Dubai has put together a Ramadan cultural stay package which lets visitors discover the city of Dubai in its most special time of the year. Avail the great offer of the cultural basic package or upgrade to the premium package for only AED160 per person per stay, where guests receive a tailor-made cultural discovery map upon check-in; including insights into the must visit places during this holy month, exclusive vouchers, an evening meal at their Grand Iftar once during the stay and much more…

Grand Hyatt Dubai, festival tent

Iftar at Al Ameera Ballroom This might possibly be Dubai’s best kept secret. The iftar was set up as if a major celebrity event with an array of cars at the gate, guest lists at the door and red carpets the only thing missing were real celebrities. Well, this is the case with most iftars in Dubai, but had to be mentioned. Inside, the buffet was enormous. Set up in the centre of the ballroom, with identical dishes on either side to avoid crowding, the buffet had a large variety of dishes, Ramadan drinks, chefs especially flown in for the occasion from neighbouring Gulf countries, the desserts station and coffee bar. With so many options, it’s quite overwhelming to try and finalise what one might end up eating as a little bit of everything goes a very long way.

For Suhour, the hotel has a special tent set up on the grounds. More information can be obtained by calling the hotel. Suhour for us was set up in the room, we ordered from the specially prepared Ramadan Suhour menu sumptuous lentil soup, lamb ouzi, and a host of other sides to go with the mains. Definitely too much for a person coupled with the fact that we were eating again only a few hours after iftar. The time to check-out was left to us, since the hotel wanted us to sleep in and be relaxed the next day after an early morning Suhour. This was very thoughtful indeed. Something wihch makes me recommend this property to everyone I meet. This one night at the Grand Hyatt was a memorable experience, one that I will fondly cherish. Grand Hyatt Dubai, exterior pool

Cultural basic package: Stay at Grand Hyatt Dubai during the holy month of Ramadan starting from AED 535 on a room only basis and enjoy a free upgrade to a Creek view room. Receive a special Ramadan in room amenity daily at sunset. Children below 12 years stay for free (maximum of 2 kids per 2 adults). Bookings: http://dubai.grand.hyatt.com/en/hotel/offers/ offer-detail.html?offerId=55662365&code

Upgrade to cultural premium package Experience what Ramadan in Dubai is truly about and receive numerous benefits in addition to the regular cultural package for only AED160 per person and AED80 per child per stay duration. Receive a tailor-made cultural discovery map upon check-in; including insights into the must visit places during this holy month and exclusive vouchers to explore and enjoy Dubai. Indulge in an evening meal at the Grand Iftar in our impressive ballroom once during the stay and relish Arabic coffee and sweet in Al Nakheel lounge once during the stay. The upgraded package can be requested upon arrival at the reception desk when the cultural basic package is booked.

More about the Grand Iftar All throughout the holy month of Ramadan, Grand Hyatt Dubai has the pleasure to host a variety of special and unique Arabic restaurants from around the region that are known for their heritage and cuisine. Enjoy a truly authentic Ramadan experience renowned in Amman, Damascus, Beirut and Cairo through the presence of our specialty guest chefs: - The guest chef from Habiba Kitchen from Amman will be presenting the best in kunafeh - Enjoy a wide selection of classic Arabic drinks created by chef Abou Alaa’ from Syria - Savor the original Bakdash ice cream from souk Al Hamidiya of Damascus - Gahsh Restaurant of Cairo presents traditional Egyptian delicacies and foul Furthermore, Egyptian style koshari and Syrian saj manakish sit alongside the best of Lebanese cuisine from Grand Hyatt’s own Awtar restaurant. …be ready to explore the buzzing and vibrant city of Dubai as it comes alive at night like never before! JULY/AUGUST 2015 41


SUPPLIER SHOWCASE

Living outdoors Preparing for winter seems to be all our favourite past times. Hotels, too, need to be equipped to meet the influx of guests who only want to be seated outdoors when the season arrives by the end of September. In preparation for this coveted time of the year, this feature looks at four different companies that are supplying outdoor furniture to major five-star properties in the region – Falaknaz – The Warehouse, Casual Life, Nakkash Gallery and Kudos Global

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FALAKNAZ The Warehouse The Warehouse has been operating in Dubai`s furniture world since 1996. Originally focusing on providing Dubai with teak wood indoor furniture, they have broadened their product range to include modern synthetic rattan and teak garden furniture, designer furniture, gazebos, umbrellas, ceiling fans, lighting, and accessories. All products can be viewed at their shop on Sheikh Zayed Road. Their contracts team are already catering to an impressive list of clients, including many leading hotels and restaurants in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE, where they have supplied outdoor furniture and gazebos. With a direct link to their own manufacturing unit in Bali, Indonesia, they can offer clients custom-made furniture, as well as commercial designs. Gazebos, joglos and shade structures supplied and erected by The Warehouse are all around the country’s hotels.


SUPPLIER SHOWCASE

Casualife Casualife Furniture is truly all weather furniture - their furniture has been tested for strength and durability, and it can withstand extreme weather conditions, like we have in the Gulf. Their collection includes chairs, tables, sofas, loungers, day beds, umbrellas, gazebos and hammocks, all made with a selection of high quality materials that are individually designed to not only look good, but to also last. This also applies to their range of coverings and fillings, frames and weavings, which incorporate synthetic wicker, teak wood, aluminium and stainless steel. These materials are used in harmony to create perfect outdoor furniture. Some of the materials they use include teak wood, the finest grade, sourced from PT Pherutani, the Indonesian Government wood agency, which is environmentally controlled. Kiln dried to below 14 per cent moisture, and manufactured using mortice and tenon construction methods, and solid brass parts where necessary, it’s a sight to behold. They also offer use Synthetic Wicker, either Rehau (Germany) with a five year warranty, or Viro (Indonesian) with a three year warranty against wicker splitting, cracking or fading. Their frames are heavy duty aluminium, then powder coated and hand woven in numerous patterns and colours. Also, their stainless steel is ‘marine grade’ quality and above, for more protection. They also offer ‘electroplished’ finish, which gives a protective, more brilliant look to the furniture. Casualife is also introducing a remote controlled umbrella, with a battery powered by the sun, as well as centre pole umbrellas and side pole versions. Depending on the product and its function, each piece is created to offer the customer maximum comfort and the durability required to outdoor furniture.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 43


SUPPLIER SHOWCASE

Nakkash Aiming to add a distinctive touch of elegance to every design situation and refine the lifestyle of their clients, Nakkash Gallery houses a diverse array of styles and embodiment of luxury in indoor and outdoor living. Offering more than just timeless furniture, the innovative design team offers a complete lifestyle solution for both personal and professional clients. Representing a diverse set of brands in the region, including Keno Bros, Hickory, Celerie Kemble, Swan, Eichholtz, Cattelan Italia, Dedon, Kenneth Cobonpue and Tuuci among others, they offer the best among the best.

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SUPPLIER SHOWCASE

Kudos Global | Premium Outdoor Furniture Kudos is an outdoor furniture brand by the Absolute Group of companies, which specialises in supplying premium outdoor furniture to the hospitality industry in the Middle East, predominantly five-star hotels, clubs and restaurants. The main focus is to customise furniture to clients’ requirements, and consulting on large corporate projects with interior designers, architects and developers. Several unique aspects of our firm is within our brand name, Kudos: praise and honor received for an achievement. Besides the warranties and guarantees that all other furniture companies provide, our relationship with our customers begins after we deliver the furniture. The customer’s trust in Kudos has built on the relationships and the strong brand identity that we carry today, and having an after sales service maintenance team to care and provide any immediate services thereafter make us the leading outdoor furniture supplier in the UAE.

Location: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residences, Dubai Product Featured: Zen Collection, Lounging Range Summary: “Redefining the sharp milieu, the Zen collection perfectly establishes itself as a centre of attention, fusing a calm state of mind with the environment”

Location: The Montgomery Golf Academy, Dubai Product Featured: Jade Collection, Dining Range Summary: “Adding to the ambience of the golf club, the Jade collection emphasizes it’s simple yet elegant design that encompasses fine dining and aesthetics”

Location: Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Abu Dhabi Product Featured: Moonstone Collection, Pool & Beach Range Summary: “Overlooking vast dunes as far as the eye could see, the Moonstone collection is as natural as the sun to sand providing supreme comfort and relaxation for the wadi-like poolside” 46 JULY/AUGUST 2015

Location: The Club, Abu Dhabi Product Featured: Hamilton Collection, Bar Range Summary: “With the organic ambience, the Hamilton collection naturally devotes a harmonious experience with the golden warmth of the sun, making it an unforgettable moment”.


Casualife supply Outdoor Furniture and Banquet Furniture par-excellence.

We use the best quality raw materials and manufacturing techniques and supply factory direct pricing via our local company owned U.A.E Office. Over 350+ 5 star projects supplied worldwide! Offices also in Vietnam, China, Hong Kong & Australia, with agents worldwide. Casualife Supplying Fine Hotels since 1981! Casualife Middle East LLC Unit 416, Pinnacle Business Building, Sheikh Zayed Rd. Al Barsha, Dubai, UAE, Tel: +971 4 3928600 Email: sales@casualife.ae www.casualife.ae


SPECIAL FEATURE

From sunset till dawn

Hotels and Ramadan tents around town are offering a range of iftar and suhour buffets for your indulgence. Take your pick from our list of the best, most scrumptious

HYATT REGENCY CREEK HEIGHTS

THE ADDRESS DUBAI MARINA

Iftar Buffet at Sufra

Iftar at Constellation Ballroom

Sufra, the hotel’s destination restaurant will host a daily Iftar buffet, serving up a mouth-watering Ramadan feast, with a range of cuisine from the Levant and Mediterranean regions. The stylish outlet boasts floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Creek Park, providing a relaxed urban garden setting to celebrate with family and friends. Sufra is committed to delivering the freshest of ingredients, providing a culinary journey through the Levant region. Signatures dishes will include Kousa Bil Laban, Roasted Baby Chicken with Freekeh and Seared Seabass with Sayadiah Rice. The feast is priced at AED 160 per person, and will commence from sunset to 9.00 pm daily during Ramadan.

Celebrate the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan at The Address Dubai Marina, where guests can mark the season of camaraderie with our traditional hospitality. Enjoy the warm and welcoming delicacies of an Iftar Buffet, complemented by refreshing Ramadan juices, in the stylish setting of their Constellation Ballroom. Featuring an extensive selection of seasonal favourites, Arabic flavours, and international dishes with an Asian flair, including a variety of sweets and desserts, Iftar at The Address Dubai Marina is guaranteed to be nothing short of memorable.

Private / Corporate Iftar

For those looking to host a private Iftar, Hyatt Regency Creek Heights introduces the newly opened Al Manzil, a classically elegant events enclave, which provides the ideal setting for a luxurious Iftar for up to 100 guests. Al Manzil redefines the traditional event experience - accessible through its own private entrance, and offering an exclusive residential-style entertainment venue for business and social gatherings, the space is manned by a team of professionals providing impeccable service and culinary excellence. Guests will be treated to their own private chef, who can customise bespoke menus to suit personal tastes and preferences; the perfect setting to host a sophisticated and unforgettable private Iftar this holy month. Apart from Al Manzil, the hotel offers two luxurious ballrooms and smaller function rooms, which can host between 30 and 400 guests. Prices start from AED 160 per person, and can be booked throughout Ramadan from sunset until 9.00 pm. For reservations, please call +971 4 553 1234. 48 JULY/AUGUST 2015

Shades

An extensive array of shisha flavours, and a la carte suhour can be enjoyed at Shades, from 8.00 pm onwards as well. Starting from sunset, the iftar is priced at AED 190 per person, inclusive of juices, coffee and tea. Iftar buffet at Constellation Ballroom and Shisha at Shades is priced at AED 250. For reservations or details, please call +971 4 436 7777 or email meet.dubaimarina@ theaddress.com.


THE MEYDAN HOTEL (‘RAMADAN IN THE SKY’) Sky Bubble (located on level 8 of Meydan Grandstand)

Indulge in a Middle Eastern/Arabic buffet, including hot and cold mezzeh, live cooking stations, soft drinks, Ramadan juices, etc. To keep repeat guests interested, the menu will be on rotation with lots of varieties on offer. The buffet is open from sunset to

THE PALACE DOWNTOWN DUBAI Iftar at Ewaan

The Arabesque appeal of The Palace Downtown Dubai comes alive with the taste of traditional cuisine at Ewaan, and Iftar is the perfect time to savour it. Their iconic Ramadan tent welcomes you to the authentic flavours of Dubai’s most eagerly anticipated Iftar buffet. Come together with family and friends in the true spirit of generosity. The buffet is open from sunset until 9.00 pm, and priced at AED 230 per person, inclusive of Ramadan juices and water. For reservations, please call +971 4 428 7806, email dine@thepalace-dubai.com or visit theaddress.com. Suhour at Ewaan

As the evening progresses into night-time,

9.00 pm, and is priced at AED 170 per person, with a 50 per cent discount for children (ages 5 to 12). Suhour will be served a la carte from 9.30 pm to 3.00 am in the Ramadan Tent. Shisha is also available. For reservations, call +971 4 381 3111. They also offer special corporate Iftar packages for groups of 10-1,000 guests upon request.

the Ewaan Ramadan tent invites one and all for an inimitable Suhour experience in air-conditioned comfort, while the Lakeside Tents with views of the Burj Lake and Burj Khalifa, the gentle melodies of the Oud and the fragrance of shisha create an ambience without equal. Choose from the a la carte menu for an intimate gathering, or put together an irresistible set menu for larger groups. Suhour is served from 10.00 pm until 2.00 am while the Lakeside Tents are open from 8.00 pm until 2.00 am. The Suhour at Ewaan Ramadan Tent is available for a minimum spend of AED 180 per person, and the Lakeside Tents need a minimum spend of AED 600 per cabana, with set menus starting from AED 250 per person. For reservations, call +971 4 428 7806 or +971 4 888 3444, email dine@thepalace-dubai.com or visit theaddress.com.

BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT AND SPA Al Hadheerah Restaurant at the air-conditioned tent offers a unique experience with an Arabic Band (Tabla and Oud Player), and a mesmerising camel and horse caravan show. The iftar runs from sunset till midnight, and is priced at AED 225 per adult, with a 50 per cent discount for children (ages 5 to 12). For reservations, call +971 4 809 6498.

Events at The Palace, Downtown Dubai

During the Holy Month, the memories that linger longest are created in venues that make a lasting impression. The Royale Ballroom, with its elegant terrace and inspiring views of the Burj Lake, is the perfect setting for your Ramadan event. Book an exceptional experience with a generous Iftar or Suhour buffet, and give your guests an experience to remember. Packages start from AED 160 per person, with pricing dependant on group size. For bookings, please call +971 4 428 7938, email events@thepalace-dubai. com or visit theaddress.com. JULY/AUGUST 2015 49


Hospitality market snapshots

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Tophotelprojects.com presents a round-up of the up and coming hotel projects in the region, and the companies that are set to add to their portfolio in the next few years Four Seasons to open second property in Dubai Within months of the successful opening of its first hotel in Dubai on Jumeirah Beach Road, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has announced the development of a second, complementary location in the heart of the city’s International Finance

Centre, Four Seasons Hotel Dubai at DIFC, expected to open in 2016. New York-based Tihany Design, which also designed several of the restaurants at Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach, is creating the new hotel’s modern interiors. With entrances at the ground level reception area, and from the upper level retail concourse, Four Seasons will blend seamlessly with the surrounding 110 acre (45 hectare) International Finance Centre while providing a welcoming retreat within. Its 106 rooms will be characterised by impeccable craftsmanship, bespoke details and high tech efficiency, as will four executive-style meeting rooms.

Starwood Hotels to double Middle East portfolio in the next five years Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced it will double its portfolio in the Middle East, aggressively expanding its luxury, upper upscale and mid-market brands with plans to open 50 hotels by 2019.


TOP HOTEL PROJECTS

Reaffirming its growth commitment to the region, the company has signed five new projects under its Aloft and Element brands in Dubai (UAE), Doha (Qatar) and Muscat (Oman), adding up to a total of seven signed deals to date. Starwood’s mid-market brands – Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and Element – are experiencing unprecedented growth momentum, representing nearly 50 per cent of the company’s pipeline in the region. Spearheaded by Aloft, the company’s mid-market portfolio will more than quadruple by 2019. Hotel projects: Aloft Dubai Airport and Element Dubai Airport (400 rooms); Aloft Dubai World Central (150 rooms); Aloft Doha (240 rooms); Aloft Muscat (204 rooms).

Opening highlights of 2015/2016 * Three new hotels in Dubai with Al Habtoor City, one of the Middle East’s largest developments. The project will introduce the St Regis and W Hotels

brands to the city, along with a new Westin, further strengthening the company’s footprint. * Expansion across other parts of the UAE with Starwood’s first property in Sharjah this year – Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa. Further, Abu Dhabi will welcome its second Aloft, with the opening of Aloft Al Ain in 2016. * The introduction of the Westin brand in Qatar with the opening of The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa in September. * The launch of The Luxury Collection brand in Lebanon with Grand Hills resort in Broumana, set to open in Q3 of this year. * The company’s return to Iraq after 20 years, and introduction of the Sheraton brand with Sheraton Dohuk. * Growth momentum in Saudi Arabia with the introduction of Aloft in Riyadh and Dhahran, and the opening of Le Méridien Riyadh. * Two new hotels in Jordan with the openings of The St Regis Amman

and W Amman in 2016, doubling the portfolio and marking the entry for both brands in the country.

St Regis Hotels to open the first polo resort in Dubai

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the signing of the first-ever St Regis polo resort, The St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, in partnership with Al Habtoor Group LLC. Scheduled to open early 2017, the 136-room hotel will be the centrepiece of a six-million square-foot equestrian sports complex in Dubai. The St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club will feature 136 luxury guest rooms, 24 luxury St Regis branded bungalows, and various culinary venues. In addition, there will be a further 138 residential villas within the resort, alongside a polo club, a state-of-theart polo academy, and a riding school with 500 stables. Guests will also have access to the polo academy, which will offer a wide range of programmes, including dressage, riding and show jumping for riders of all ages. The resort will also be home to four world-class polo fields, which will reinforce Dubai’s role on the global polo circuit. United Arab Emirates – 152 Led by British architects WS hotel with 56,700 rooms Atkins & Partners, the design Oman – 32 with 6,500 rooms of the resort will be inspired Qatar – 40 with 12,400 rooms Saudi Arabia – 117 with 40,000 by Andalusian architecture. The St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor rooms Polo Resort & Club will be Projects in Dubai, UAE part of Dubailand, a landmark project on Emirates Road, (selection) just 25 minutes from Dubai QE2 Heritage Hotel – 400 International Airport. rooms – opening in July 2015

Hotel projects in the Middle East

St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club

Anantara Dubai Creek Hotel – 290 rooms – opening in 2018 Rotana Creek District Hotel – 280 rooms – opening early 2017 Oyster Resort Dubai – 1,784 rooms – opening not scheduled aloft Dubai Raffa – 165 rooms – opening early 2018 Meliá Downtown Residences Dubai – 258 rooms – opening in 2018 Hotel Indigo Dubai The Sustainable City – 170 rooms – opening in 2017 Mövenpick Hotel Dubai Media City – 251 rooms – opening in spring 2017

About Tophotelprojects Tophotelprojects.com is the leading data provider for hotel projects data worldwide. The databases contain more than 5,000 hotel construction projects with detailed information and contact data for the supplying industry. The multi-lingual team of Tophotelprojects gathers project data from around the globe directly from developers, hotel operators, architects and interior designers. Learn more: www.tophotelprojects.com JULY/AUGUST 2015 51


La Collection de Grasse

Experience the finest L’OCCITANE creation and bring back home an unforgettable moment. La Collection de Grasse by L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE amenities. Jasmin-Bergamote available in 30 ml, 50 ml, 75 ml and 50g soap bar. Honoring the heritage of Grasse, the perfumerie capital of the world, this inspiring collection brings together ingredients from close & distant lands to create exceptional fragrances, with superior Grasse expertise. L’OCCITANE created the refreshing Jasmin floral range inspired by selected refined ingredients: bergamot essential oil from Italy and jasmine absolutes from Grasse (France).

Top note: Bergamot, Mandarin Middle note: Jasmin, Lemon leaves Base note: Santal, Cedar. An eco-friendly paraben free range (certificates available), satisfying your VIP guests, adapted to all genders from all over the world, with special ingredients, reassuring gentle formulas for all skin types ensuring sensorial textures and experience. To come: Turndown, VIP gifts, Green Tea scented range.

Contact: Myriam Redouane / 048128300 / 055 710 4252/ Myriam.Redouane@mailmac.net / http://www.chalhoubgroup.com/

loccitane.ae


Clarins redefines beauty

Summer essentials

Grand Hyatt’s HydraFacial


Beauty redefined Youssef El Sahli, the Regional Group Marketing Communications Manager, tells ThWellness how Clarins is always adapting to changing consumer trends. As the consumer is at the helm where the brand is concerned

54 JULY/AUGUST 2015

“I created Clarins out of love and respect for women’s beauty” – Jacques Courtin-Clarins.

This, in a few words, sums up the essence of the Clarins brand.“Women are at the heart of Clarins,”reiterates Youssef El Sahli, Regional Group Marketing Communications Manager, Clarins. Clarins is defined by its unique expertise in plants - using the best plants in their optimal concentration, combining nature, science and respect to always create more efficient and distinct products. Its revolutionary manual massage methods, body shaping, sunscreens, anti-pollution, the concept of ‘feeling good and looking good’ – these innovations are what define the brand. Clarins develops its products by


BRAND FOCUS - CLARINS

exploring the different parts of plants, and how each can fulfil a specific beauty need.“Clarins realised that the power of plants should be used for the benefit of beauty and well-being. Our laboratories have collaborated with some of the leading experts in fields such as contouring, sun care and anti-aging. They draw up for every active ingredient, a fact file proving its safety and efficacy - nearly 4,000 raw materials are thus monitored each year,” informs El Sahli. Clarins determines the focus of each of its skincare lines by listening, observing, and understanding the needs of its customers. Every need is answered with a tailored formula, texture and application method. “Clarins was the first to invent the combination of product benefit/feeling/

wellbeing. With pioneering innovations that are often imitated, classics that are ceaselessly reinvented, and best-sellers that stand the test of time, Clarins has made creative its ‘trademark’,”boasts El Sahli. In order to develop its groundbreaking concepts and formulas, Clarins has remained true to a guiding principle: to rely on its own research laboratories, and to control the entire production process from start to finish. Formulation, evaluation, microbiology, packaging, regulation Clarins Research is involved at every stage of product development.“Even if a formula is already number one, it will be enriched and enhanced to ensure it delivers more efficacy, more quality, more pleasure and beauty,” informs El Sahli.

Women in Europe tend to use less make-up as they prefer natural beauty, and have more vigilant skin care routines in order to have a perfect, natural-looking skin, while the tendency in the Middle East goes more into make-up

Clarins’ presence in the Middle East is since the early 1970s in Lebanon. Subsequently it was rolled out in the Middle East in the following years. The Middle East market is still small compared to Europe and the USA due to several factors, like age, beauty routines, and beauty habits.“Women in Europe tend to use less make-up as they prefer natural beauty, and have more vigilant skin care routines in order to have a perfect, natural-looking skin, while the tendency in the Middle East goes more into make-up, and that is why our make-up line is extremely strong in the Middle East,”he says. According to El Sahli, the skin care market is growing though.“The main difference is that we have a young target audience, while in other, mature markets, the target age group is not that young; therefore, there is a difference in their skin care needs. At Clarins, we have lines that cater to those different needs, and as such, the Multi-Active line targeting women in their 30’s is popular in the Middle East, while the Super Restorative line targeting women in their 50s is very popular in Europe. We also have the Double Serum, which is an antiageing serum that strengthens the five essential functions of the skin, and is popular everywhere as it suits women from the age of 25 onwards,”he says. Clarins is already in the top two skin care brands in the Middle East within the luxury market. But El Sahli believes that there is a huge potential for their make-up lines to grow in the region. “We are planning to focus on the region with a new range of products that cater to Middle Eastern women,” he concludes. JULY/AUGUST 2015 55


e h T 56 JULY/AUGUST 2015

e k i b a p s

The spa bike at The Pearl Spa, Four Seasons, Dubai Jumeirah Beach, is a unique exercise bike inside a jacuzzi with pressurised water jets massaging the legs as you spin and burn calories


WELLNESS TRENDS

T

he spabike is an entirely new concept in losing weight and maintaining health. Offering innovative and private aqua therapy, this unique exercise machine is available for sessions at the Pearl Spa of the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. The spabike is a hydro-massage bath with an integrated biking system in it providing a unique environment for an aquatic workout. It is the leading product in the emerging field of private aqua biking. Combining exercise, hydrotherapy and massage, the spabike offers a highly efficient and soothing way to get and stay in shape.

The experience Once I had changed and stepped inside the spa bike, the spa attendant turned the machine on, which started off the water jets at a slow intensity, she told me the intensity of the water jets would increase in about a few minutes. She handed me the ipad which had a video taking me through 20-25 minutes of a healthy calorie burning session on the bike. As the trainer in the video asked to increase intensity, I was dreading the state of my thighs the next day as I felt the burn. At the end of the session, I had managed to burn around 600 calories. A one hour session usually burns about 700 calories, depending on your own efforts calories can be burned faster. This was my first time hence the low score. Oh well, I promise to do better next time. The best part was the next day there was no pain, stiffness or tightness in the thighs. The best thing about an aqua workout, you don’t feel a thing and you get in shape too! You have to try this. JULY/AUGUST 2015 57


Dermalogica’s Bio Active Peel at the Dermalogica store in Dubai Mall

Effective exfoliation

Dermalogica’s Bio Active peel is a gentle exfoliating treatment, that gives instant results and no down time. Skin feels cleaner, and softer more radiant. Another plus is that the treatment doesn’t take more than 30-35 minutes 58 JULY/AUGUST 2015

It’s always a good thing to get rid of facial dead skin cells. Because skin that is cleaned and exfoliated on a regular basis is more able to absorb the active ingredients in your serums and creams. The Bio Active Peel is a fast treatment that works with the comfort level of the user’s skin. And hence takes only about 30-35 minutes for the treatment to be complete To prepare skin for the peel, it is prepped by sloughing off epidermal skin cells, this process removes the lipids that block the penetration levels of the peel. Once this is done, next is time for the peel. Once the active ingredients are applied to the skin, it digests keratin protein, speeds up the cellular resurfacing and renewal process, this also stimulates the collagen


TREATMENT REVIEW

and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGS) within the dermis and increases the natural ceramides in the skin. Once the peel process if over the neautralising liquid is applied on the face which stops the work of the active ingredients immediately by calming and soothing skin which was undergoing the peel and this also balances the skin’s natural pH levels. Like Dermalogica’s other peel treatment the Bio Surface Peel the therapist was asking me about any reactions of discomfort I might want to report every step of the way in order to ensure complete comfort and administer the treatment in the right way. Skin was clean, smooth, looked rested and somehow more supple. This treatment can be repeated every fortnight for exceptional results.. JULY/AUGUST 2015 59


The diamond rose experience Natura Bisse’s special treatment launched especially for Ramadan and summer – the Diamond Rose Experience body treatment at the spa at the Address Downtown Hotel is a unique treatment that was launched at the recent awards season in Hollywood 60 JULY/AUGUST 2015

N

atura Bisse, the luxury Spanish skin care brand, launched their exclusive Diamond Rose Experience for face and body at the recent awards season earlier this year for the stars to look and feel red carpet ready in the UK and the US. It was only a matter of time before this treatment would make its way to other locations around the world. The experience was launched in the country in time for Ramadan and for summer Using the range of products created with the damask rose - the Diamond Experience Rose Scrub, Rose Touch, Rose Mist and Rose Oil, the treatment does not overwhelm you with the smell of the flower. Instead it is so subtle that you


SPA REVIEW

expect it to fly away in about a few minutes after leaving the treatment room. In fact, the subtle smell of roses and the oil penetrates so deep into the skin that the entire body is smelling softly of roses, and is thoroughly supple and moist with the oil. The treatment began with the application of the scrub, all over, the scrub is gentle enough to be removed with a cloth and does not stay on the skin. Once the skin is clean and ready the mist and the oil is mixed together and applied all over the body coupled with a soothing massage of the entire body. You are left feeling renewed and rejuvenated and smelling of roses! Highly recommended. JULY/AUGUST 2015 61


UNWIND

Y A D O T E IB

R C S SUB

JULY/AUGUST 2015 ISSUE 08

Essential reading for hotel operators, owners, developers and investors

THE RISK OF BEING

SUSTAINABLE

Grand Hyatt Dubai

Ramadan Cultural stay package

Living outdoors

A supplier showcase for outdoor furniture

What hotel owners and operators need to consider before investing in sustainability initiatives

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7/7/15 20:36


PRODUCTS SHOWCASE

essentials The heat is on out there. How should you be protecting your skin? Firstly by staying out of the sun as much as you can and then, taking the right precautions before you step out into the sun. Here are our favourites for this month

CLARINS SUPER RESTORATIVE TOTAL EYE CONCENTRATE: This little miracle in a bottle, does its job excellently. No fine lines, no puffy under-eye bags, no dark circles, just bright, clear and moisturised skin around the eye area.

BLISS THE YOUTH AS WE KNOW IT ANTI AGING NIGHT CREAM AED364: Does what it says. It might appear thick in the jar, however glides on smooth and disappears into the skin instantly. After two weeks, visibly reduced fine lines, plumped skin ‌ oh and the smell is divine!

ELEMIS SPA AT HOME BODY BRUSH AED169: Dry body brushing comes highly recommended for improving blood circulation and simultaneously stimulating skin cells to eliminate and regenerate. Also disperses cellulite. This brush does all that and gives you the softest skin ever after regular use.

JUNE JACOBS AFTER SUN HYDRATOR: A cooling and relaxing lotion that calms skin that has been out in the sun for long periods of time. Alternatively, the lotion is soothing and relaxing for even normal skins. Win win for all.

CLARINS GENTLE REFINER EXFOLIATING CREAM: This exfoliation product is really gentle on the skin. But it cleans all the dirt off the face leaving it soft, smooth without any kind of tightness. Light yet effective.

JULY/AUGUST 2015 63


ELEMIS LIME AND GINGER SALT GLOW 410G, AED316: For all over smooth, summer skin, look no further. A shower with this salt scrub leaves the skin soft glowing and vibrant. Just what you need for fresh-looking summer skin.

ELEMIS CELLUTOX ACTIVE BODY OIL, AED274: The smell of this oil is fabulous. The fact that is does other wonderful things besides just smelling like it does, is such good news. This oil helps eliminate toxins that accumulate inside as a result of stress and sedentary lifestyles.

CLARINS CLEANSING MILK WITH GENTIAN: Smooth gentle cleanser that removes all traces of make-up, perfect for oily and combination skin. Gently warming a small amount in your hands before pressing it onto the face is the best way to use this.

CLARINS HYDRAQUENCH CREAM: As the name suggests, the cream is a powerful hydrating potion for normal to dry skin. The skin literally drinks this up leaving behind no residue. And the smell, it’s just right, subtle and fresh. 64 JULY/AUGUST 2015

BLISS THE YOUTH AS WE KNOW IT ANTIAGING MOISTURE LOTION SPF30 AED340.75: This daily moisturiser with sunscreen, is easily absorbed into the skin leaving it supple and moisturised. Its lightweight consistency provides a perfect base for adding more skin care products or makeup.

JUNE JACOBS LIP RENEWAL SPF 20: Winter or not, this lip renewal cream makes your lips perfect. The many fine lines on the lips become less prominent and visibly plumped so lipstick goes on and looks smoother.

BLISS THE YOUTH AS WE KNOW IT CLEANSER, AED138.50: A little goes a long way with this cleanser. Very effective results however this is best used together with a cleansing milk/lotion in order to get completely clean skin.


PRODUCTS SHOWCASE

CLARINS EXFOLIATING BODY SCRUB: An excellent body scrub, with a subtle scent and a non-oily texture. Also the fact that it’s in a tube makes it easier to handle in the shower. Leaves the skin soft, all those bumps on the knees and back of elbows disappear!

CLARINS BODY SHAPING CREAM: Clarins have a large range of products that are aimed at slimming and tightening the face and body. This cream has been around for years and is now in sleeker packaging. The product is rich hence a little goes a long way. It boosts circulation and helps firm and hydrate the skin.

CLARINS WATER-COMFORT ONE-STEP CLEANSER: A comfort for those days when you don’t have too much make-up on and are feeling lazy about going about the entire makeup removal regime. Gentle, amazing smell and the skin is sparkling clean.

JUNE JACOBS ULTRA-LIGHT CITRUS MOISTURIZER: This is your summertime best friend, extremely lightweight, fits perfectly well under makeup and moisturises as it should. The consistency is much like a thick serum and smells great, too. CLARINS TONING LOTION: This alcohol free toner is refreshing, non-drying and great for summer temperatures. The smell is fresh and subtle and makes the skin feel clean after application. A great addition to the daily skin care routine.

CLARINS ONE STEP GENTLE EXFOLIATING CLEANSER WITH ORANGE EXTRACT: This fresh smelling gently exfoliating cleanser can be used daily after cleansing the skin of make-up or better still in the morning. Keeps the skin feeling clean and fresh.

JUNE JACOBS PROTECTIVE MOISTURISER SPF 30 BROAD SPECTRUM: This moisturiser is a thick, luxurious product so a little goes a long way. Also, it’s best to wait a while before applying anything else so as to allow this to absorb in the skin as much as possible. JULY/AUGUST 2015 65


Instant radiance The Hydrafacial at Grand Hyatt’s Ahasees Spa, is possibly one of the best treatments being offered in the country. It is your pass to the most gloriously smooth skin … you can literally see things reflected on your face! 66 JULY/AUGUST 2015

The HydraFacial at the Ahasees Spa, Grand Hyatt, Dubai Coming out of a spa treatment feeling like a million dollars is what this treatment is going to make your skin feel like. This has got to be one of the top treatments I have tried ever. And I’ve tried quite a few. The Hydrafacial is an advanced medical grade facial resurfacing treatment that removes all surface debris to reveal soft, extremely smooth, clear, shiny, beautiful, clean skin. The treatment can be experienced in three durations of 30 minutes - express, 60 minutes and with additional add ons at 90 minutes. This facial is different and one shouldn’t go in with expectations of it being like a regular spa treatment. The therapist first began with a few questions asking about any recent peels that might have been done on the skin. It is preferred if there is at least a fortnight gap in between any skin resurfacing treatment even at home peel treatments.


SPA REVIEW

The treatment began with a thorough cleansing of the face and neck. Then the therapist examined the skin under a bright light and began the treatment. My cheeks area are extremely dehydrated and clogged whereas the t zone is quite oily, based on this she applied antioxidants, hyaluronic and lactic acid on the face and began using the vacuum-like tool heads attached to the machine. Using upward movements she literally sucked out all the debris from the skin starting at the base of the neck. This procedure was done three times. By the time she applied the serum like liquids before using the machine I could feel her hand and the serum gliding on my face, I could feel how soft and smooth the skin has become. This is a treatment that gives you instant results that last for a long time. Continuous home care and getting the same repeat facials is what you need to look your most fabulous best at all times. Highly recommended is an understatement! JULY/AUGUST 2015 67


COMMUNITY

Giving it back As the holy month of Ramadan dawns upon us, companies and hotels around the country are showing their compassionate side by organising iftar for those less fortunate. Here’s a compilation of a few of the many initiatives underway this month Novotel Al Bustan Abu Dhabi

InterContinental Dubai Marina

Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan distributed Iftar meals to the capital’s taxi drivers this month. The charitable initiative saw 250 drivers receiving a full meal to break their fast – the hotel’s executive team helped serve the meals at the front of the four-star property. Executive Chef Akil

Thanking some of the city’s busiest workmen and women, a team from the new InterContinental Dubai Marina distributed hundreds of meal boxes filled with Arabian delicacies and refreshments over the course of three days, just in time for Iftar.“Taxi drivers play a key role in showing travellers around the Emirates, especially in the heat of the summer when our guests rely on their valuable services more than ever. We wanted to show our appreciation for their efforts and commitment through this gesture during the holy month of Ramadan,”said Michael Martin, GM, InterContinental Dubai Marina.

Partnering for a caus

Ahmad had put delicious chicken biryani, fresh fruit salad, yoghurt, fresh juice, and a selection of dates and water on the menu. Novotel Abu Dhabi Al Bustan General Manager Dominique Mercier, who helped with the distribution of the meals enthused: ‘This initiative is our way of giving something back, a way of saying thank you to taxi drivers in the capital who continuously work to provide high standard transportation for our guests and people across the city.’

Starwood’s Iftar for cabs Starwood Hotels & Resorts is celebrating its sixth annual ‘Iftar for Cabs’ initiative at more than 40 participating Starwood hotels in the Middle East. On Wednesday, July 8th 2015, all cab drivers who drive through the main entrance of any of the participating Starwood hotels will receive complimentary Iftar packs to break their fast. This year, Starwood is also extending the gesture to its partner-drivers at Uber. Conceptualised by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the ‘Iftar for Cabs’ initiative has been running since 2010, and last year, the brand delivered over 3,000 Iftar packs across the region. Said Guido de Wilde, Senior Vice President & Regional Director, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Middle East,“Iftar for Cabs embodies the spirit of Ramadan, and we are extremely proud of our hotel teams as they unite to give back and recognise important members of our community,” 68 JULY/AUGUST 2015

The employees of Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha, Citi, Alcatel Onetouch, Bloomberg and EFS Facilities Services partnered in an event that invited low income workers from EFS for Iftar. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Citi’s Global Community Day, over 200 volunteers from these companies shared a meal with 150 low income workers at The Gem Garden restaurant at the Holiday Inn. To mark the occasion, Alcatel Onetouch donated 150 phones, Citi provided an additional 150 SIM cards, and Holiday Inn donated toiletries to the EFS workers. Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha launched the ‘Loves You Campaign’ in 2007 as part of the hotels endeavour towards CSR. Roxana Jaffer, CEO of Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha, has pledged that every Iftar meal at The Gem Garden restaurant will enable a donation to feed four needy people in the world.

Respite for city’s construction workers To mark the generosity of the season, The Rezidor Hotel Group’s Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson properties in Dubai will distribute juice, water and fruit to construction workers in Dubai, throughout the Holy Month. The weekly distributions are sponsored by Al Ain Dairy, and will continue till the end of August. This community initiative is inspired by Carlson Rezidor’s Responsible Business programme. The Think Together pillar of the programme ensures the company is committed to upholding the highest standard of responsibility, and is encouraged to give back to the community socially and economically. “Rezidor has proudly supported the UAE’s construction workers throughout the year. With the assistance of our partners, Al Ain Dairy, it is our pleasure to give back to the community. We aim to distribute to 250 workers, once a week,” said Bob Busman, Regional Responsible Business Coordinator Middle East, The Rezidor Hotel Group.


t: +971 43629625 f: +971 43629223 e: oďŹƒce@thewellness.ae www.thewellness.ae


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Top Hotel July August 2015 Issue  

Top Hotel Middle East is a bi-monthly business journal for senior level hoteliers, hotel owners, hotel investors and investment companies, a...

Top Hotel July August 2015 Issue  

Top Hotel Middle East is a bi-monthly business journal for senior level hoteliers, hotel owners, hotel investors and investment companies, a...

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