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7-8 2017










Top hotel Wellness A dedicated look at the regional wellness industry

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

SIGNATURE MEDIA FZ LLE P. O. Box 49784, Dubai, UAE Tel: 04 3978847/3795678 Email: Exclusive Sales Agent Signature Media LLC P.O. Box 49784, Dubai, UAE Publisher: Jason Verhoven Sales Manager: Sunil Ross Managing Editor: Munawar Shariff Art Director: Tamara Eger Production Manager: Roy Varghese

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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 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.

The guest experience Despite the conditions, hotels in the country are doing well. Hoteliers are taking the time and opportunity to better themselves as well as quickly adapt to the changing needs and requirements of today’s traveller. We spoke with Olivier Harnisch, CEO, Emaar Hospitality Group about a number of topics. Most prominent being room rates, adapting to the new traveller, the mid-market segment and technology. He spoke of how technology is one of the most important things on the agenda for the hospitality company when it comes to moving the guest into the comfort zone he/she deserves when they choose to stay with an Emaar property. There are a number of projects under way where in the friction of daily actions are being worked on to be smoothed out. He says,“Friction happens when there is a repetition of activity. You go to the gym, you like to work the treadmill at a certain speed, in your room you like the shower to dispense water at a certain temperature and speed and force. We want to ensure we have your preferences so whenever you visit you don’t have to set these things for yourself. As a traveller, I have felt this when I travel extensively, and we would like to ensure our guest feels completely comfortable, at home and welcome.”This is just one of the many intricate details of guest behaviour the company wishes to capture for the comfort and ease of their guest. So yes, focussing on improving the guest experience is the way this company is handling the quiet time. Honestly, though, going by their occupancy levels and room rates Emaar hotels are doing very well. This was just our cover story, we have a whole range of topics covered inside this July edition. We hope you enjoy it and we will see you in September.

Munawar Shariff Managing Editor










An equestrian heritage

How The St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, will become the new Dubai hub.

10 NEWS All the latest from hotels in the region

The Middle East region - chaos, consolidation and opportunity HVS’s Aaron Laurie, Associate and Hala Matar Choufany, Managing Partner, HVS Dubai, give us the low down on the status of the hospitality industry in the Middle East region



Changing lanes

Read about every revolutionary change taking place within the hotel industry


Command and conquer

A detailed chat with Olivier R Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group


Waiting on the world to change

How hotels are taking on their social responsibility and championing “green” tourism


Journey of a chef

Cüneyt Asan, co-founder of Gunaydin, on what his life as a chef and what it takes to become one


Behind the curtain

Pascal Dupuis, GM, Address Boulevard, tells Munawar Shariff about what went into opening the unique new property in Downtown Dubai


NATURA BISSE Being present

Natura Bisse’s treatment encourages being in the present moment


Beautiful summer skin

Every product you need to ensure you not just survive the summer, but thrive in


Breaking bread together

How the hotel industry spent the Holy Month of Ramadan

DERMALOGICA Trend forecasting in skincare

Aurelian Lis, CEO, Dermalogica talks about the skincare industry and its regional growth


GUERLAIN Younger and fresher

The Orchidee Imperiale Prestige Treatment at the Guerlain Spa


Skin vitamin boost

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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 five-star 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.



An equestrian heritage

St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club

The St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, is a fresh, new property in an area which once fully developed will be the new heart of Dubai. Dubailand is a promising new destination and this hotel is definitely at the right place and open at the right time

St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, is a new property located in Wadi Al Safa 5 in the vast Dubailand area. The location is up and coming with lots of upscale neighbourhoods and this property was much needed for residents in the area. The fact that there is a horse riding and training academy adds to the appeal of the homes in the vicinity as well as the homes within the property. The hotel recently opened in March 2017 is quiet, cosy and has a home away from home feel and appeal. Service is superlative and worth mentioning. The guest is made to feel completely at ease and absolutely welcome. The property was easy to get to being a bit away from the main city but with lots of satellite navigation apps nothing is really difficult in terms of area and location accessibility. The only challenge being destinations such as popular malls, and other worth-visiting sites in and around the city are an approximate 20-minute drive from the property.

RESERVATION After checking online to get an idea of rates, we called the property. The response was good with full information on all our queries. Even though the reservation desk was not available when we called, we received a call instantly and were informed on the rates and other details. If you are a Starwood member of a Marriott Rewards member, booking through the property entitles you to even better rates than what is advertised on all the leading online travel agency (OTA) sites. Including breakfast and taxes, a personal butler and the Tourism Dirham, the rate was AED 818 per night.

Evaluation: Good



CHECK-IN In between events and meetings, we arrived a bit later than check-in time and our room was ready and waiting for us. We were given a beautiful polo fields facing room on the first level. The view of the polo field was serene with sprinklers continuously watering the massive green area. A sight for sore eyes in the sandfilled sweltering city. Of course, this view was best from the air conditioned confines of the room.

Evaluation: Good

ROOM 112 The room was large. It had a spacious entry way with the bathroom on the right as you entered and spacious closet space facing the bathroom with a large mirror in between the closets denoting a dressing area. As you entered the room there was the stool to keep your luggage and beside that another small table which was the mini-bar. This was all on the left. The table beside this had the flat screen television as well as a few magazines and then a cosy seating area. The bed was on the right. Facing the entrance was the expansive balcony which had ample seating space and was well lit.

Evaluation: Excellent

BATHROOM The bathroom was all marble - the walls as well as the floor. Marble adds that touch of understated glamour, and richness to its surroundings. So double sinks, as expected, a tub and separate shower and WC rooms. Amenities were by Laboratoire Remede. And of course the fluffy and luxurious bathrobes.

Evaluation: Excellent

BREAKFAST AT ANDALUCIA The breakfast buffet from 6.30am-10.30am had everything one would expect to see at a five star property. All of that and more. The restaurant is located in what is a central courtyard of the property so all the corridors where the rooms are located are looking into this restaurant from all sides. Add to that the grand criss cross staircase and the scene is quite spectacular at any time during the day or evening and night. The restaurant was huge and the best part was there weren’t too many people when we arrived and we got a very beautiful table for breakfast. The entire breakfast menu was fantastic with a large variety to choose from.

Evaluation: Excellent

CHECK-OUT 14.00 Check-out was smooth and swift.

Evaluation: Good



St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club









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







Abu Dhabi Ports’ Cruise Terminal celebrates recordbreaking year ABU DHABI PORTS, the master developer, operator and manager of the Emirate’s commercial and community ports as well as Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), celebrated the successful close of its bestever cruise season at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal with the maiden call of Princess Cruise Lines’ Majestic Princess. The company recorded booming growth for the year with a 40 per cent increase in vessel calls and 48 per cent overall increase in passengers to Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas

from last year. The 2016/2017 cruise season saw more than 345,662 tourists visit the Emirate, up from 232,605 in 2015/2016. Likewise, vessel numbers increased from 115 in 2015/2016 to 161 in 2016/2017. Abu Dhabi Port’s two cruise destinations are Zayed Port and the Sir Bani Yas Island Cruise Beach, which was launched

during last year’s season as the first dedicated cruise beach and eco-tourism stopover. Following on last season’s success with a 16 per cent growth in passengers, this year the company recorded a 48 per cent increase in passengers arriving at the terminals - close to six times the 8 per cent increase expected by the company last year. Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi Ports said that the record-breaking season was a testament to the growth of Abu Dhabi, as a global hub for both commerce and tourism. “For several years, we have made significant investments in our port infrastructure and tourism offerings to build a world-class cruise hub here in Abu


Dhabi. We offer market-leading services to provide cruise passengers with value added services that address all their needs and support the maritime tourism sector’s role in enhancing Abu Dhabi’s appeal as a leading tourism hub. Today, I’m proud to say that the Company’s vision and strategy is paying off with another record-breaking year,” said Captain Al Shamisi. While most years the company has typically seen the cruise season end in late April/early May, the Majestic Princess vessel’s arrival at the terminal this June is a testament to passenger demand to experience Abu Dhabi. It also underscores the important role that Abu Dhabi Ports, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, is playing as the Emirate delivers against Vision 2030 and the national economic diversification strategy.

The largest Mercure in the world appoints Hotel Manager and Director of Rooms valued guests’ expectations.” MERCURE DUBAI BARSHA Heights Joining John Raffoul is Hany Samuel Hotel Suites & Apartments has announced taking on the role as Director of Rooms. the appointment of the new Hotel ManHany is a service-focused and innovative ager, John Raffoul and Director of Rooms, individual within the senior management Hany Samuel. With more than 14 years’ experience in the hotel industry, John Raffoul has extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry in the Middle East and beyond, having helped no less than five UAE high-end properties extend their market lead since 2005. Since 2009, John has worked in five-star properties including Sofitel The Palm, Dubai, Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre and international luxury hotel chains. John Raffoul said,“I am delighted to be continuing my journey in the AccorHotels portfolio and am working with the team to ensure phase one of our extensive renovation lives up to our Hotel Manager, John Raffoul

Hany Samuel, Director of Rooms

team and has extensive international experience. With expertise in the pre-opening, opening, takeover and rebranding of hotels and resorts, Hany develops robust foundations through policy and process and delivers effective solutions to diverse business challenges, succession planning, budgetary and organisational objectives.

Victoria Kashakashvili appointed as new assistant F&B Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai FOUR POINTS BY Sheraton Bur Dubai is delighted to welcome back Victoria Kashakashvili as Assistant Food & Beverage Manager. In her new position, Victoria will be in charge of all F&B outlets at the 125room business hotel located in the historic heart of Dubai and take charge of all F&B operations. Victoria’s journey with Starwood started in 2002 on home ground at Tbilisi, Georgia. After a stint in Kuwait, Victoria came on board the F&B team at Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai from June 2006 till 2015,

where she served across various F&B positions in the hotels 5 outlets, understanding the pulse of the dynamic gastronomic landscape of Dubai. Her most recent position was F&B Service Manager of the Pre-Opening team at ACCOR Group. Victoria moved back to Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai recently to head the growing F&B team. Victoria’s appointment comes at a time when the hotel is continuing to showcase a series of new food & beverage developments including the relaunch of the Italian speciality restaurant Ricetta.

Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai


Rosewood Abu Dhabi launches revolutionary mobile app to enhance customer experience GLOBAL HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT software company Xn protel Systems and Neorcha announced that Rosewood has implemented the Neorcha myHotel mobile application in its brand-new Rosewood hotel in Abu Dhabi. The application creates guest loyalty and encourages direct bookings and upsells, before, during and after the guest’s stay. Rosewood Abu Dhabi is the brand’s first presence in the United Arab Emirates. Defining new standards, this five-star hotel offers residents and tourists a distinct and person-

alised luxury lifestyle experience in the heart of the city. Rosewood Abu Dhabi features 154 spacious guest rooms and 35 luxurious suites offering dramatic views of the Arabian Gulf and the Abu Dhabi skyline. As strategic partners, Xn protel Systems and Neorcha help hotels deliver exceptional guest experiences. The Neorcha myHotel mobile app (iOS, Android, BlackBerry) is a fully native application that provides additional functionality for in-room hotel technology, which can be used on a guest’s own mobile

device, or on provided in-room devices. It integrates with the property’s hospitality systems and, with a connection to the PMS, provides a wider range of functionality to the guest’s mobile device. Ravi Veerasawmy, CHTP | Director of Information Technology, Rosewood Abu Dhabi, said,“We sought out the latest technologies for Rosewood Abu Dhabi so that we can provide our guests what they need, where and when they want it. Exceptional guest experience is paramount for us.

Fairmont’s first hotel in Istanbul welcomes over 5,000 GCC guests since opening FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS opened its doors to Fairmont Quasar Istanbul in January 2017 and has since reported successful guest numbers from across the GCC. A welcomed addition to the city’s glittering skyline, Fairmont Quasar Istanbul has hosted over 5,000 travellers from the GCC since opening - a staggering 50 per cent of the hotels overall guests. The luxury property continues to deliver cultural elements and promotions ideal for the Middle East traveller including Ramadan special rates and increased family offerings. Rising above the slopes of The Bosphorus, Fairmont Quasar, first hotel for Fairmont in Turkey, serves as a genuine hub for the well-travelled, uniting the sophistication of modern Istanbul with the unique


lineage of its location, steeped in centuries of sacred history. A new icon for the vibrant Mecidiyeköy district, Fairmont Quasar sits at a crossroads in Istanbul – where eclectic neighbourhood bazaars and colourful side streets meet modern shopping centres and commercial properties. Set on the site of the 1930’s Robert Mallet Stevens’ designed Art Deco liquor factory, Fairmont Quasar blends a sense of urban culture and industrial flair with the city’s storied traditions and a strong sense of place. Chris Cahill, CEO, AccorHotels Luxury Brands, said,“Fairmont Quasar Istanbul is a landmark hotel for Fairmont – it brings the company’s history of hospitality to the heart of one of the world’s most compelling cities.

Istanbul is a city that has fascinated GCC travellers for millennia; a meeting point between East and West, old and new. We are set to become an intrinsic part of Istanbul’s dynamic future, with timeless style, unrivalled service and an incredibly personal experience for every guest, whether travelling for business or leisure.” Positioned within easy reach of Istanbul’s most important cultural landmarks – Taksim Square, the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque – as well as the financial district, Fairmont Quasar Istanbul offers an authentic experience of the city for leisure and business travellers. Access from Istanbul’s two airports is easy and efficient, while guests travelling on a tight schedule have to access to a private helipad.

The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel signs MoU with The German Medical Wellness Association THE RETREAT PALM Dubai MGallery by Sofitel is set to become the first holistic wellbeing resort in the Middle East. The exciting new property is scheduled for soft launch in summer 2017 and has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the German Medical Wellness Association. The MoU was signed in the presence of Lutz Lungwitz, President of German Medical Wellness Association and Vanessa Waldow, Director of Sales and Marketing, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. This collaboration has followed the recent partnership agreement signed with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) which is set to boost wellness tourism in the United Arab Emirates. With Wellness Tourism projected to grow by more than per cent by year end (2017), nearly 50 per cent faster than overall global tourism, the market is well prepped for the opening of the UAE’s first holistic wellness resort. Part of MGallery by Sofitel’s Serenity Collection - an assortment of boutique hotels worldwide, who’s architecture and locations are inspired by serenity, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, promises true relaxation and restorative well-being. Situated along the exclusive coastline of Palm Jumeirah’s East Crescent, the idyllic

resort will offer guests a unique and tranquil environment in the heart of vibrant Dubai. The beachfront destination will showcase 255 luxurious rooms and suites, designed with natural elements, earthy tones and harmonising feng shui, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel synonymous with serenity and calmness. trade in goods and services in the medical Featuring the world’s first ever Rayya technical division, tourism programs, and Wellness Center offering 360-degree hointernational exchange programs. listic wellness solutions, guests can choose Samir Arora, General Manager, The from a variety of all-inclusive retreat packRetreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, ages, expertly designed for each individual said,“We are proud to introduce the first to embark on a journey of relaxation and holistic wellness resort in the UAE, the rejuvenation to improve mind, body and property provides guests with an unrivalled spirit. Rayya Fitness will showcase a state of resort experience, different to anything else the art gym, tennis court and yoga rooms offered in the Middle East. We are delighted whilst Rayya Spa will feature a distinctive to be recognised by an international body array of wellbeing therapies and signature responsible for more than 20 years of spa treatments using the finest organic success in advancing the wellness concept products exclusive to the resort. worldwide. Wellness is a self-responsible The German Medical Wellness Associastrategy we are all accountable for, The Retion is a non-profit umbrella organisation for Medical Wellness in Germany. A key tar- treat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel allows for each guest to become an architect of his get for the association is the development or her own wellness.” of international health hotels & resorts, the

Six Senses Zil Pasyon wins the Editor’s Award for best new hotel in the world SIX SENSES ZIL Pasyon has won the Editor’s Award for Best New Hotel in the World by Ultratravel, the luxury travel pages of the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The award was presented at the annual ULTRAS Dinner – Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards – at the Savoy in London on May 22. Attending the 2017 ULTRAS Gala Dinner were Left: HRH Princess Beatrice of York Sarah, Duchess of York, HRH Princess Beatrice of York and HRH Princess Eugenie of York who was representing Children in Crisis, the nominated charity for this year. Already making its own imprint for discerning travellers since its opening in 2016, Six Senses Zil Pasyon is set on Félicité, a private island and one of the most dramatically beautiful in the Seychelles, with pictureperfect beaches and massive granite boulders. Embrac-

ing and celebrating nature, the resort offers every creature comfort within its tropical expanse. It is located northeast of Mahé International Airport and is accessible by a scenic 20-minute helicopter journey or an exhilarating one-hour boat trip. Six distinctive food and beverage venues serve cuisine inspired by flavours from the Seychellois spice route and an incomparable harvest from the surrounding waters. A Six Senses Spa nestles amongst towering boulders and offers a wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of skilled therapists and regular visiting practitioners.


Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel invests AED 1.6 Million in expansion of laundry facility BAHI AJMAN PALACE Hotel, managed by HMH, has invested AED 1.6 million in the upgrade and expansion of its laundry facility doubling its daily capacity. The project was completed in five months including MEP and civil works as well as the installation of various machines and equipment. The facility will not only cater to inhouse guests but will also provide laundry services to other hotels. Ferghal Purcell, COO of HMH – Hospitality Management Holding, said,“We are proud to unveil one of the most innovative and technically advanced laundry facilities in Ajman that allows us to be more efficient and competitive. It is a very significant project for us as the objective is not solely to manage our own in-house laundry requirements but to drive incremental revenue streams to the Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel. In times when despite strong occupancies, daily average room rates remain under immense pressure, every opportunity to drive additional income streams must be explored and applied if viable. The doubling of the existing laundry capacity is an ex-

HMH COO Ferghal Purcell with Trishna Hundal, Executive Housekeeper

ample of this opportunity being evaluated and applied”. Equipped with the most sophisticated machines, the current load of the plant varies between 66 to 90 tons daily depending

upon the hotel’s occupancy. Purcell said, “We expect the load to be doubled once we start receiving linen from other hotels. In accordance, we will also be hiring additional staff to support this growth”.

Hospitality Management Holding appoints new General Manager at Coral Dubai Deira Hotel HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT HOLDING (HMH) has appointed Rafat Gotta as the new General Manager at Coral Dubai Deira Hotel. With a strong track record of accomplishments, Gotta brings over 18 years of experience in the industry having worked at properties managed by international brands like InterContinental Hotel Group, Kempinski and Marriott International. Prior to taking over the new role, Gotta was the Hotel Manager at Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport. Making the announcement, Ferghal Purcell, COO of HMH, said,“We are delighted to welcome Gotta to our team and believe he is the perfect candidate to lead the team at Coral Dubai Deira Hotel. Having worked in reputed hotels across the UAE, Qatar and Jordan, he brings extensive experience and is well familiar with the region’s business


and cultural landscape. We are confident Gotta’s expertise will prove to be invaluable in optimising Coral Dubai Deira’s performance and building on its success.” Coral Dubai Deira Hotel is a distinctive 4-Star property that has been designed to meet the needs of both modern business and leisure travellers. The hotel is conveniently located on Al Muraqqabat Street, merely a 10 minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport and just 600metres away from the Al Rigga & Salah Al Din metro stations. It features 147 luxurious guestrooms, 2 award-winning restaurants (Rasoi - Indian and Al Nafoora - Mediterranean) and a 24-hour coffee shop. Coral Dubai Deira Hotel also provides exceptional conference and leisure facilities including 2 banquet halls, a small meeting room, a roof-top swimming pool and an

Rafat Gotta

outdoor Jacuzzi, sunbathing area, refreshments and snack service, massage facility, a fully-equipped gym & separate saunas for men and women, business center, a travel desk, beauty salon, souvenir shop, 24-hour room service and valet parking.

GROHE adds new touchless faucets to its Essence and Eurocube lines A WORLDWIDE DESIGN revolution for electronic faucets – this is what GROHE has set out to trigger with its restyled and re-engineered Essence E and Eurocube E lines of faucets. These two new faucets feature arguably the most expressive and captivating designs in today’s infrared faucet sector. Whether it’s the organically flowing lines of Essence E or the straight geometric posture of Eurocube E, the design potential of electronic faucets has clearly been taken to the max here. Already a long-time feature in public and commercial washrooms, touchless faucets are also gaining in popularity in residential bathrooms due to their unique combination of comfort and hygiene. The two new GROHE faucets demonstrate that they can

Grohe Essence - Colour range

also make bold design statements. Whatever the décor and the ambience, Essence E and Eurocube E offer the ideal faucet. Their perfect proportions ensure maximum comfort in use with lots of space under the spout for hand-washing. Their intuitive design means they are optimally suited for bathrooms and sanitary facilities used by children and older people. Both faucets can be optimally paired with numerous washbasin variants. Their bi-directional sensors are positioned for flawless functionality even when mounted on washbasins with elevated edges. For added versatility, the modern infrared units come with seven pre-programmed standard settings for the most common applications. In addition, facility managers can retrieve important information on water consumption and faucet usage. As always, the element of sustainability has also been taken into account: the sensor-controlled start-stop function automatically ensures that water only flows as long as a user’s hands are detected below the spout. At the same time, the faucets economies on water by capping consumption at 5.7 litres per minute without compromising on user comfort.

Thailand shopping and dining paradise 2017 offering amazing bargains and discounts THE TOURISM AUTHORITY of Thailand (TAT) recently launched this year’s Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise 2017 campaign with the theme“Dining, Shopping and Travelling”on the“world’s longest shopping route”in Bangkok. The two-month campaign, formerly known as the Amazing Thailand Grande Sale, is being held from 1 June to 31 July, 2017. H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanvrangkul, Thailand’s Minister of Tourism and Sports said,“The Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise 2017 will be introduced to shopping aficionados, both local and foreign visitors, through a series of special events in Bangkok and four other cities in Thailand’s Special Economic Zone. Now in its 19th year, the re-named Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise is bigger than ever, reflecting the huge popularity of Thailand as a destination for people who love great shopping, delicious food and unbeatable bargains.”

The opening event in Bangkok, which took place on June 2, celebrated the fact that Bangkok is home to the world’s longest shopping route, starting at the Siam Paragon shopping mall, and taking in the CentralWorld and EmQuartier shopping complexes. Mr. Noppadon Pakprot, Deputy Governor for Tourism Products and Business said,“The Thailand Shopping & Dining Paradise 2017 highlights seven types of products and services from 2,000 participating partners, including hotels and accommodation; transportation (airlines/yachts); dining; entertainment and theme parks; department stores and malls; health and wellness and beauty centres; jewellery and accessories shops, etc. They are offering promotions to encourage local and international visitors to shop, dine and travel domestically with discounts of up to 80 per cent on some products and services. ”

The First group’s new dedicated food & beverage division to bring innovative dining concepts to Dubai IN A MOVE that marks a significant expansion for the Dubai-based property development firm, the new division will fill the gap in the market for affordable lifestyle-driven dining concepts, as demand in the midscale and upscale hospitality sectors starts to boom. Heading up the new venture is one of the region’s leading F&B experts, Duncan Fraser-Smith, who was recently appointed Director of Global Food & Beverage for The First Group, will draw on his extensive experience defining and developing unique high street and hotel-based bars, cafés, restaurants and lifestyle outlets to pioneer“industry-disrupting concepts” that are designed to take Dubai’s dining scene by storm. The dedicated F&B business will create fresh brands and bring new and established franchises to the city, with the first outlets to be rolled out at properties developed by The First Group including Wyndham Dubai Marina, Metro Central in Barsha Heights and the soon-to-open TRYP by Wyndham Dubai, also in the Barsha Heights precinct. “Dubai’s F&B sector is booming, but while the budget and high-end dining scene are well served, the midmarket is not as well catered for. The First Group’s new venture bridges this gap,”said Rob Burns, Chief Operating Officer, The First Group. “Just as demand for the midscale and upscale hotel sector is gaining pace – a market we are targeting with our expanding portfolio of hotel properties – so consumer appetite for affordable dining has never been so strong.” The UAE’s F&B market was valued at more than USD 11.7 billion in 2015, according to KPMG’s Hungry for More? 2016 UAE Food & Beverage Report, citing data from market research firm Euromonitor. This figure is set to rise to USD 13.2 billion by the end of 2018, achieving an annual growth rate of 4 per cent, while revenue growth is likely to outstrip outlet growth by around 30 per cent as tourism arrivals rocket in the lead up to Expo 2020 Dubai.


Hotels operated by Hospitality Management Holding in UAE demonstrate exceptional performance HOTELS OPERATED BY Hospitality Management Holding (HMH) in the UAE exceeded expectations with an outstanding year-to-date performance. While Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel recorded an impressive 23 per cent growth in revenue, Coral Beach Resort Sharjah and Coral Dubai Deira averaged between 5 to 10 per cent increase in revenue year-on-year. Ferghal Purcell, COO of HMH, attributes this exceptional performance to a diversified and balanced business mix, as well as an increase in the wholesale business. Purcell said,“We have been witnessing extremely positive trends with certain markets performing better than expected. There has been a very strong return of the wholesale market from the CIS and Europe including the Nordic and Baltic States, which helped boost the numbers. In addition, the GCC market remains very strong with very successful school holiday periods”. Highlighting the significance of tapping diverse market segments, Purcell added,“Appropriately, a diversified and an optimal business mix enabled us to drive improved revenue and profit outcomes. Our strategy has been to drive business across all verticals that have given us a steady mix of corporate, long-stay, leisure, ecommerce and FIT segment; which in turn has kept our figures firm.”

Ferghal Purcell

Coral Beach Resort Sharjah - Pool

Bahi Ajman Palace

Conrad Hotels & Resorts welcomes second property in Japan THE CONRAD HOTELS & Resorts brand celebrates further expansion in Japan with the opening of Conrad Osaka. Situated on the 33rd to 40th floors of the Nakanoshima Festival Complex, and located on the prime stretch between the Umeda and Namba districts, Conrad Osaka welcomes guests to “Your Address in the Sky.”The hotel, which is the brand’s first in Western Japan, commands impressive views of the Osaka cityscape through floorto-ceiling windows in all public spaces, as well as all guest rooms and suites. “The arrival of Conrad Osaka under-


scores Conrad Hotels & Resorts commitment to growing the brand’s presence in Japan, complementing its sister property Conrad Tokyo,”said Daniel Welk, vice president luxury operations, Asia Pacific, Hilton. “Conrad Osaka’s personalised service, stylish accommodations, and breathtaking views will inspire guests and become the pinnacle of luxury hospitality in Osaka.” Exuding modern chic style infused with traditional Japanese elements, Conrad Osaka also introduces guests to authentic and vibrant experiences within West Japan’s largest city. With Conrad 1/3/5, guests will

be able to enjoy unique and curated itineraries reflective of the region’s culture, art, food and adventure, developed to be experienced within one, three and five hours. “Today marks the start of an impressive new chapter for Conrad Hotels & Resorts, as Japan continues to be a significant business and leisure destination in Asia, as well as a priority market in our growth strategy,” said John T. A. Vanderslice.“We are excited to begin welcoming guests and providing them with the intuitive service and stylish accommodations for which the brand is known.”

— A 5 star experience with ABB Writing the future of buildings today In today’s world the hospitality industry is ever evolving and so are its guests. Hotel operators are increasingly focused on reducing their energy consumption and enhancing the customer experience for discerning guests, who expect to tailor their own environment, with automated lighting, temperature, blind control and preferences. And with ABB’s portfolio of Building Automation solutions, it allows you to intelligently network your building - providing increased levels of comfort, flexibility, safety and energy savings of up to 30%. Energy efficiency has become a top priority for the hospitality industry as hotels are high energy consumers and have to cope with the new rules for energy efficiency in buildings. Guests are looking for maximum benefits and the best possible experience, whereas the management want everything to run smoothly and the investors focus on the income. Building Automation by ABB is governed by its core values and meet the highest requirements in terms of technology, management and the end user. These values are: Economic efficiency, safety, Energy efficiency, Durability, Design and Sustainability; all of which play an important part in creating the perfect hotel. There are always new solutions – for the increasing demands of guests and the increasing expectations in terms of profits. Management and operators can count on ABB for everything. Each individual product provides exactly what is needed both now and in the future – for every concept, for every hotel. However the whole package is greater than the sum of its parts and ABB can supply a hotel with an entire solution from source to socket. First impressions count and guests not only judge their experience on how the comfortable the bed is but how personalized their stay is. And thanks to the KNX standard, of which ABB products are proven, everything which uses energy can be controlled precisely, automated in a complex

way and consistently checked. The KNX technology covers the complete spectrum of applications: from lighting and blind control to heating, ventilation, air conditioning, energy management, security and surveillance; and offers its users uncompromised comfort and flexibility. Nowadays, guests expect to select their own preferences and enter into the same bespoke environment each time they frequent the property. It’s an emotional experience that ABB’s KNX solutions, in cooperation with DigiValet offers. DigiValet is a state of the art software and hardware solution for luxury hotels and integrates seamlessly with ABB guest room management systems. With a single touch on its simple and sophisticated interface that is available in various languages, hotel guests can adjust the room conditions according to their personal preferences. The easy to use interface for guests to use room controls, Television control, Movies on Demand, Order Food and much more. Safety is a constant requirement: all functions must be guaranteed at all times so that investors and the management can be sure of having a profitable property without any malfunctions. Hotel guests enjoy their stay and don’t notice the technical expertise in the background and are certain to be left in peace, even in the event of a power failure. ABB is a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. They have been present across the Middle East since 1926, with its first office in Cairo, Egypt. Today it is one of the largest multinational organisations operating worldwide in the field of electrical engineering.

JULY/AUGUST 2017 17 signs regional GCC agreement with Amadeus to enhance its e-Commerce offering MUSAFIR.COM, THE UAE’S first homegrown, premium-experience travel website, has signed a new regional GCC agreement with Amadeus, a leading technology partner in the global travel industry, to further enhance its e-commerce offering. The agreement will see Amadeus provide the company with its industry-leading business intelligence technologies and access to global travel content through the Amadeus system, for the benefit of Musafir. com’s customers across the GCC region. The company’s website will be powered by Amadeus’ latest advanced solutions such as Master Pricer, Business Intelligence, Fare Optimiser and Productivity Tracker to make the booking experience more efficient and convenient. The announcement marks the latest milestone in’s regional growth journey, following the recent launch of its online websites across the region and previous collaboration agreements with global partners including VISA, Singapore

Tourism Board, Jordan Tourism Board and leading banks in the region. “As the UAE’s first home-grown, premium-experience travel website, we are well positioned to lead the online travel sector in the Emirates and beyond,”said Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development and Cofounder of “Forming a strategic agreement with global industry leaders such as Amadeus, allows us to access premium travel products and further boost our technological progressions, which is something that matters most to our customers and partners. We are therefore delighted to be partnering with Amadeus who will lend us their extensive expertise, consultancy and fuel our future growth.” The agreement comes at a time when the online travel industry in the UAE is witnessing some of its biggest growth to date. Online travel bookings are expected

From left: Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani and Antoine Medawar, Sachin Gadoya

to generate USD 12 billion in sales in 2017, up from USD 7 billion in 2014, according to a recent report by Amadeus and PhoCusWright. This is largely driven by increasing mobile and smartphone penetration in the region, buoyed by the UAE’s 73.8 per cent smartphone penetration ranking the highest in the world. This trend has been reflected by’s booking data, which shows that over 60 per cent of all bookings are made via smartphones.

InterContinental Hotel Group announces opening of Staybridge Suites in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS Group® (IHG®) has announced the opening of Staybridge Suites® Jeddah Alandalus Mall, one of the most important shopping destinations in Jeddah with an annual visitor rate exceeding 13 million visitors. The hotel’s connection to Alandalus Mall makes it an attractive location for families as well as transit guests to Makkah. Business travellers and tourists can now choose this ideal location, situated in the heart of modern Jeddah. The hotel is linked to the most important and vital roads to the south, west and east, including King Abdullah Road and Prince Majed Road, which connect it to the new King Abdulaziz Airport, with a commute of fewer than 15 minutes. The hotel is also close to Al Haramain Train Station, allowing guests to reach the Grand Mosque in less than 20 minutes. Mr. Hathal Al Utaibi, Chief Business Development Officer, Alandalus Property Co, said,“We are honoured and delighted to partner with IHG in order to launch


Staybridge Suites Alandalus Mall Jeddah Lobby

Staybridge Suites in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom maintains the largest economy in the Middle East, and as a result, corporate travel within the country, and particularly in Jeddah, is considerable. As the GCC’s economy continues to expand, Jeddah will continue to grow as a commercial hub for industries such as engineering, real estate, construction, and IT/telecommunications. This means an ever-increasing number of visitors who need long stay options in the city. Staybridge Suites Jeddah Alandalus Mall now offers business travellers a world-

class extended-stay experience whenever they make Jeddah their home-away-fromhome.” The new hotel will comprise of 164 suites: a mix of studios, one and two bedroom suites, complete with spacious living areas, fully equipped kitchens, guest laundry rooms and high-speed internet connections. Additionally, the Jeddah Alandalus Mall location will offer 7 meeting rooms, a banquet hall, outdoor swimming pool, a spa, a gym, and a business centre. * Figures as at March YTD 2017.

Emaar Hospitality Group and Jabal Omar Development Company sign management agreement for flagship Address hotel in Makkah JABAL OMAR DEVELOPMENT Company (JODC) announced that Emaar Hospitality Group’s premium luxury hotel brand Address Hotels and Resorts has been selected to manage its flagship hospitality project in the Holy City of Makkah. This also marks the first expansion of Address Hotels and Resorts to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Jabal Omar Address Makkah, scheduled to open in 2019, is located just steps away from the Grand Mosque. With two elegantly designed identical towers, Jabal Omar Address Makkah is centrally located and forms the tallest towers within the master development. An interconnecting bridge linking the two towers serves as a visual landmark of the project. With a built-up area of about 2 million square metres, Jabal Omar features residences, hotels, malls, retail amenities, prayer areas and other support facilities. Jabal Omar Address Makkah will meet the growing need for luxury accommodation in Makkah with Address Hotels and Resorts to manage 1,490 hotel rooms and suites including units available for freehold sale. Yasser Faisal Al-Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of Jabal Omar Development Company, said,“As our single-largest development and located in the heart of the Holy City of Makkah, Jabal Omar development is our prestigious project that complements our goals to promote a robust infrastructure

that supports Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. We wanted to ensure that the Jabal Omar Address Makkah stands out for its unique brand identity and exceptional service standards. Address Hotels + Resorts has proven expertise in managing world-class luxury mixed-use projects, and by choosing a brand that has its roots in the region, we are confident of delivering a hospitality choice that will support the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote religious and cultural experiences.” Every aspect of the hotel is thoughtfully created; while a guest room is 40 square metres in size, the suites are at 59 square metres and the presidential suites span almost 390 square metres. Over 3,000 square metres of the hotel will be set aside for two lounges featuring cafes and retail outlets. There will also be two signature restaurants, lobby cafes, six meeting rooms, two business centres and two fitness clubs.

Jabal Omar Address Makkah will also have easy connectivity for visitors with the opening of the Haramain High-Speed Rail that links the Holy City with Madinah via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

Travelport boosts Middle East presence with Oman’s Mezoon International Travel & Tours TRAVELPORT, (A LEADING Travel Commerce Platform, announced a new multi-year agreement with Mezoon International Travel & Tours (MITT), via Travelport’s distributor in Oman which will see one of the largest travel agencies in the Sultanate of Oman, and an affiliate of BCD Travel, access Travelport’s unrivalled choice of travel content. By connecting to the Travelport platform, MITT can now benefit from intelligent, fast, and accurate searching and booking to offer its customers content from more than 400 airlines, including low cost and network carriers, more than 650,000 hotel properties and more

than 37,000 car rental locations around the world. MITT can also take advantage

of Travelport Smartpoint as its agency desktop to search beyond rate and availability to book more personalised and tailored travel, work smarter and increase revenues. Riyaz Kuttery, Chief Operating Officer of MITT, said,“We are delighted by this agreement and look forward to benefitting from Travelport’s content and merchandising capabilities. Travellers increasingly expect more choice and personalization when booking travel and Travelport’s customer-centric technology enables us to deliver better-quality service, as well as to give our business continuing opportunity to grow.”





Every change in the hotel industry is unprecedented. We chart the rise of hotel apartments across the world, Japan’s growth in the hospitality sector and Marriot’s new policy changes you should know about


eople will point out to the fact that despite the global drop in markets, the hotel industry continues to get bigger and better. This is no coincidence. The hotel industry is a dynamic one. The big players know that irrespective of how well they’re doing now, it won’t matter if they’re not malleable to the times. We take a look at how businesses within the hotel industry are innovating their way forward, whether that means catering to millennials or disrupting the way coffee is made and served at their respective hotels.

The Ascott Limited and the rise of serviced residences



Ascott Limited is one of the world’s leading providers of serviced residences. Operating over 208 properties internationally with over 23,000 guest rooms and apartments in their service, Ascott offers guests the best of both worlds; home and hotel. Serviced apartments and aparthotels are on the rise, especially with the millennial generation, business travellers and digital nomads, who want the privacy and autonomy of an apartment but with the luxury of a variety of services such as a concierge, laundry and maid service, which take chores out of everyday living. Ascott’s properties appear under a number of brand guises in the 60 countries in which they operate, mostly located in the Asia Pacific, European and Gulf markets. Ascott The Residence is geared specifically towards business travellers who seek refinement and luxury in their lodgings coupled with unimposing service. 12 4-star residences are located in key cities across Asia and Europe, including Dubai and Jakarta. Citadines Apart’hotels are one of Ascott’s primary brands, appealing to energetic and experienced travellers who are looking for convenience and somewhere to relax after a long day. Citadines has a modern flair and in May of this year, Ascott announced plans to debut the brand in a stunning 125-room New York property on the legendary Fifth Avenue. This will be the brand’s first residence in the US. Ascott’s Lyf brand is the newest and most innovative of the group’s offerings. Aimed at younger travellers and millennials, in particular, Lyf strives to create an environment where creativity and collaboration can thrive. These boutique residences


Serviced apartments and aparthotels are on the rise, especially with the millennial generation, business travellers and digital nomads, who want the privacy and autonomy of an apartment but with the luxury of a variety of services Capri by Fraser

will have a focus on design and will cultivate co-living experiences for their guests.

Design trendsetters Capri Fraser expand brand footprint with location in Berlin

As efforts accelerate throughout the global hospitality industry to meet increasing demand among millennial travellers, Frasers Hospitality, which is a division of Frasers Centrepoint Limited, is expanding its Capri by Fraser brand footprint into Berlin, opening a location there. What’s especially noteworthy for those who are interested in hotel design is that during the construction of this property an archaeological excavation site was discovered by chance. This site will now be carefully preserved and showcased within the hotel through a glass floor. Swings will also be added above the excavation site, allowing guests to view the area in a playful and novel way. This dual combination of unique local character and a one-of-akind experience is one that millennials often crave while travelling. The design will capitalise on the discovery of the archaeological site further with apartment dÊcor that adopts the same approach as the swing – glass floor combo, juxtaposing signs of modernity, such as maps of current cities, with historical graphics of relevant iconic buildings. Atop it all, the Capri by Fraser Berlin will have a ceiling structure accented by rich gold and warm colours that create a convivial atmosphere, taking major inspiration from classic bygone architectural aesthetics. While the discovery of the archaeo-

logical site was a total chance, it is fitting that it was the Capri by Fraser brand that came upon it. Using local history within hotel design is seen as desirable among millennial guests, and Capri by Fraser is a brand that caters toward this them. Take for example its Spin & Play concept, which resists more traditional and expensive hotel laundry models to offer launderettes that have the latest gaming consoles. Guests at these properties also enjoy a 24-hour gym, as well as an all-day restaurant, bar and deli. On the business side of things, the brand features meeting and conference facilities that are fully-equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual capabilities, including interactive touch-screen panels and integrated whiteboardprojector features. The brand also takes pride in customising authentic and unique local experiences for guests. Capri by Fraser Berlin is conveniently situated in the heart of the German capital, providing easy access to many international organisations, cultural attractions and other popular tourist destinations. There are ample connections to public transportation in the vicinity, with the closest underground station located a mere 4-minute walk away.

Schaerer Coffee Club is changing mornings for hotel guests

There is a certain type of hotel guest that puts a high value on the quality of his or her morning cup of coffee. They may be a business traveller, or maybe a couple on a honeymoon, or the parents of a family on vacation, but the one thing they have in common is that they will be very upset if the coffee options do not meet their expectations.


For these guests, instant coffee is unacceptable. This provides a challenge for hotel owners and operators, especially those who wish to maintain available and open spaces in their guest rooms. Fortunately, a new entry-level model that is perfect for the hospitality industry has started brewing in the world of professional coffee preparation. The Schaerer Coffee Club is a perfect fit for hotel owners and operators who have long sought a way to pamper guests who must have a morning coffee. The device is compact, with dimensions that span 325mm wide, 570mm deep and 501mm high. It can fit easily on countertops, as well as in cabinets beside the mini bar, or anywhere else spaceconscious operators seek to place it. The Schaerer Coffee Club is also rich with the latest industry technology, including a 7-inch touch display that features a vertical swipe function. It also uses something called a Milk Smart system to prepare most speciality drinks and a simple cleaning concept that makes it easy to use again on subsequent days. It even has a steam wand JULY/AUGUST 2017 21


that guests can use to foam milk and make authentic lattes or cappuccinos that taste like they were made by an actual barista. The Schaerer Coffee Soul is capable of making up to 250 cups of coffee a day, perfect for a hotel’s morning breakfast rush. It has a gastronomical look, too, one in keeping with the increasingly repurposed and localised aesthetic that younger travellers are now craving, and at 33 centimetres, it’s also a slim, unobtrusive device. Like the Schaerer Coffee Club, the Schaerer Coffee Soul uses an 8-inch touch display interface, one that has large writing and icons that can be easily operated by older guests. It’s a versatile option that hotels can choose to have operated by their staffs or placed in a way that enables self-service. It’s really up to a manager’s discretion.

Why is the hospitality industry in Japan steadily growing?

The Japanese have a term called“Omotenashi,”which signifies the traditionally correct and proper way to treat a guest. The term has become somewhat of a guiding principle for much of the island nation’s hospitality industry. Perhaps it is this long-standing commitment to hospitality that has driven steadily increasing interest in Japanese tourism in recent years from both domestic and international investors. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cause, but what is certain is that the investments are increasing and new hotel developments are accelerating in kind to accommodate growing numbers of inbound tourists, according to a 2016 report by the real estate firm CBRE. A great example of the Omotenashi ethic that is still driving daily services for many hotel operators can be found at Hoshino Resorts, which has been a family business for more than 100 years and is comprised of 35 resorts throughout Japan, including the brands Hoshinoya, Kai and Risonaire. One of the things that have distinguished Hoshino’s commitment to Omotenashi is how the company requires all of its employees to be well versed in the many facets of hospitality, not just their specific jobs. Which is to say that the employees of Hoshino Resorts are specialists in more than just one role—for example, reception, housekeeping, or kitchen 22 JULY/AUGUST 2017

duty—becoming well-versed instead in all duties, a practice that allows the Hoshino Resorts’ staff to deliver the ultimate experience to each guest. In addition to the commitment that is inherent to Omotenashi, general interest in Japan has helped fuel this steady increase, Hoshino Resorts CEO Yoshiharu Hoshino has said in interviews. Basically, international interest and curiosity in Japanese culture has driven demand for luxury resorts on the island. This assertion was backed by the CBRE report, which found that foreign visitors are flocking to Japan, especially to gateway cities that have well-known reputations overseas. Of these cities, Tokyo topped all other regions in terms of foreign visitors, with Osaka coming in second. Stakeholders in the Japanese market, of course, hope to build upon this success, and they’ve set a goal of welcoming 40 million international travellers each year by 2020 when Tokyo is scheduled to host the Olympics and the Paralympics. To help the country reach this goal, Japanese leadership has recently cleared the way for a full legalisation of Airbnb-style short-term accommodations, which have helped to make locations across the world more accessible for would-be guests. While these sorts of businesses have at times caused chaos within traditional hospitality models, Hoshino has said that for a destination to thrive, it is

important for it to offer both short-term Airbnb-style rentals as well as resorts like his, as the two markets don’t necessarily accommodate the same types of travellers. Travellers, he noted, are a diverse group that have many different needs.

Hotel crowdfunding is under construction

In the sharing economy of the last few years and decades to come, crowdfunding seems to be seen as a more serious alternative to financing initiatives, even within the hotel and hospitality industry.


Nida is“Uberising”hotel rooms. The concept is that as a Virtual Hotel Operator, the Nida brand doesn’t own or operate its rooms. It simply sublets rooms in existing hotels and exploits them by using strong internet branding and quality standard. The company focuses on small hotels (60-80 rooms) that are individually branded – but“good hotels” that provide six key items – clean rooms, comfortable beds, air-conditioning, WiFi and functional amenities. The company has already attracted four rounds of venture capital, getting a total funding of $11.1M from 5 investors.

Property Partners

Property Partner combines residential real estate crowdfunding with a second-

Stakeholders in the Japanese market hope to welcome 40 million international travellers each year by 2020 when Tokyo is scheduled to host the Olympics and the Paralympics

Japan Hotel Investments

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ary exchange upon which investors can trade their holdings. Until now, mainly residential properties have been funded, although hotel rental income will be considered as an add-on in the future. Property Partners is based in the UK and raised $32.36M in 3 rounds of crowdfunding from 10 investors.


Housers could be called the Spanish version of Property Partners. It’s a crowdfunding platform that enables individuals to invest in real estate projects. Investors can receive monthly income from rents, and gains by the revaluation of the property. Housers also charges buyers when they receive dividends and do not charge commissions on portfolio and other platforms. Some projects are directly aimed at tourists. Housers raised $2.39M funding in 2 rounds from 1 investor.


The Amberlair Project

More recent and with fewer details known about their funding is the world’s first crowdsourced boutique hotel. Their investors come from around the world, in all shapes and sizes – the project leverages on the fact that owning a part of a hotel is not just yield on capital, but also something psychologically fed by a certain wanderlust and considered as ‘fun’ investment. Co-owning in hospitality is not completely new. Hapimag was founded in 1963 with a profit-oriented business model and has over the years adopted a co-operative model to become one of Europe’s most successful time-share providers. Its 130,000 shareholders and members can now choose from over 5000 holiday apartments in 60 resorts in the most beautiful locations in Europe,

In the sharing economy of the last few years and decades to come, crowdfunding seems to be seen as a more serious alternative to financing initiatives 24 JULY/AUGUST 2017

the USA, Turkey and Morocco. The model is different (stays are only possible for members and shareholders), but the idea of co-financing vacation rentals to get the best return is definitely at the centre of the whole idea.

Marriott changes their cancellation policy

Hotel giants Marriott have changed their 24hr cancellation policy. Now guests must cancel at least 48 hours before they are due to check in, doubling the cancellation time, meaning stricter rules for guests and fewer losses for Marriott. With this new cancellation policy, guests who do not meet the required 48hr cancellation limit must pay the equivalent of one night’s accommodation. Although a number of Marriott’s properties had been operating a 48hr, or in some cases even a 72hr cancellation policy, the majority operated on a 24hr basis, giving customers more flexibility when it came to staying at their hotels. The policy was implemented June 15th and will be enforced in hotels that are not yet operating in this manner in the

United States, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. It will primarily affect those hotels that are operated under the Starwood brand, which Marriott acquired in 2016, but will not apply to Design Hotels, which, although operated by Marriott, are owned independently of the company. A spokesperson for Marriott has stated that the reason for the policy change is to facilitate last-minute bookers, as late cancellations have resulted in empty rooms, but that potential guests were being prevented from occupying them because they were technically already reserved. The impact of the policy change is obviously not yet known, but could potentially negatively affect the hotel group if people decide to choose a hotel where the cancellation policy is shorter, or even non-existent. With filters in search platforms like Booking. com where cancellation policies are easily visible, guests might be driven away from Marriott towards competitors with a more lenient cancellation policy. Marriott has said that anyone who booked before June 15th is not subject to the new 48hr rule.


SMART HOTEL SOLUTIONS … powered by QLITE’s smart technology

The smart hotel operators of today are looking for the solutions that provide a luxurious hotel experience for the guest, and at the same time reduce the energy bills by using smart technologies that works 24x7 in the background. Moreover, with more and more regulatory authorities around the world enforcing green building compliance norms for reduction in carbon footprint, the adoption of energy saving technologies is the need of the hour.


espite years of continuous efforts, hotels’ energy and resource use is still considerable, and that opens the scope for further sustainability efforts in the areas of intelligent lighting and lighting controls, guest room automation including adaptive HVAC controls, among other initiatives. The characteristic of a ‘great’ hotel that differentiates it from a ‘normal’ hotel is that the guest is happy to come back frequently and spend more inside the hotel rather than outside. The key attributes that define a ‘great’ hotel are guest comfort, value for money, friendly staff and efficient support systems. In order to support these ‘great’ hotel attributes, and to enhance the guest comfort to the next level, simple yet highly user friendly in-room systems play a very important role. The in-room systems pamper the guest by

providing the guest with full control of their room in terms of creating mood lighting, adaptive climate / shade controls and secure room access. The adaptive HVAC controls inside the guest room automatically controls the HVAC operation based on the room occupancy condition, based either on key card or motion sensor or combination of both. This provides energy savings to the operator without sacrificing on the guest comfort. This is to be complemented by matching wiring accessories and media hub, that supports playing music from the smart phone, creating the perfect room ambience.  The lighting inside the hotel also plays a crucial role in invoking the right emotion in the guest as per the hotel space they are in - be it the relaxed lobby lounge, the themed guest room corridors, the comfortable all

day dining restaurants, the energizing spa or the cozy guest rooms. The adaptive lighting controls in the hotel ballroom provide mood lighting for every occasion – business meeting, marriage reception, product launch etc. by simple one touch control from the operator’s smart phone. QLITE’s intelligent lighting controls provide a great customer experience without compromising on energy saving targets of the hotel operators. QLITE delivers bespoke sustainability solutions for the hotel industry covering • Guest room management systems • LED lighting solutions (Indoor / Outdoor) • Dimming & lighting controls • Motion sensors • Wiring accessories • Media hubs  Supported by its strong R&D, QLITE’s modular solutions adapt to the techno-commercial needs of the hotel operator/owner and contribute towards tremendous savings in energy costs.  QLITE has many years of experience working as professional partner to electrical consultants, architects, lighting designers and contractors. A unique understanding of latest contemporary design trends and flexible design concepts make QLITE ideal partner for the hospitality industry.  For more information on QLITE’s sustainability solutions, visit  



Command and

conquer Address Dubai Creek Harbour 26 JULY/AUGUST 2017


Munawar Shariff speaks to Olivier R Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, about the company’s unparalleled growth in the region and its investment in the mid-market segment


conomically speaking, 2016 was a challenging year for the hospitality sector all over the world. Despite all the varying economic forces like currency fluctuations, low oil prices, an economically challenged Europe or regional economic fluctuations, Emaar Hospitality Group has continued to go from strength to strength. Olivier R. Harnisch, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, says that the group’s performance in the past year has been robust and maintains that all three hotel brands Address Hotel + Resorts, Vida Hotels and Resorts and Rove Hotels – lead in their respective market segments. “We have a virtuous circle of quality, excellent service and great brand recognition that allows us to hold on to our rates,” says Olivier R. Harnisch. “Our occupancies in 2016 were higher than the industry average on an

Olivier R Harnisch

average between 30 and 40 per cent above their segments and five per cent more than occupancy levels in 2015. And we see our brand growing positively in 2017. Our latest brand Rove Hotels is very well received by the market and we are very optimistic about our performance.”

High service standards A lot of that goodwill for this latest brand stems from the brand’s location, price and reviews. Also, today the consumer is looking for other things in the place he/she chooses to stay at. “The consumer is looking for a brand with a sharp profile, a very strong brand and a strong brand is one which is easily recognisable which holds its promises and at the end of the day when a customer chooses where to stay it is based on location price and reviews. So we have our hotels located in the best areas, we provide exceptional quality which allows us to

charge the price,”he says. This isn’t just talk. Besides being at the top of the market segments in terms of average room rates, six hotels from Emaar’s Hospitality Group were among TripAdvisor’s top 25 out of 550 hotels in Dubai. In fact, Rove Healthcare City ranked number nine, ahead of many five-star and luxury hotels. This is significant because it stands as proof of Emaar Hospitality’s insistence on quality, as opposed to discounts to attract customers – a practice by some other hotel operators. That’s not to say the group is completely immune to short-term changes in the market. Rates are set based on demand and they do remain flexible based on market conditions. Harnisch believes that the better the brand profile, the more it can distance itself from market forces that affect rate changes.“Our revenue management

The occupancy levels we have here is something that European hotels only dream of



is very sophisticated it’s really about combining the volume and rates to get the highest revpar as possible, that said the market has its own forces, but the better we are and the more quality we provide, the sharper our brand profile, and the more we can decouple ourselves from market forces.”A prime example of this steadfastness is Ramadan or the summer months. While some other players in the industry succumb to deep discounting, Emaar Hospitality Group hotels manage to hold on to rates which are close to those in normal market conditions.

Dubai - the destination It bodes well for the wholly-owned subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC that Dubai has cemented itself as a global destination not only for leisure

Address Dubai Marina 28 JULY/AUGUST 2017

but for business as well. Add to that the government’s target of getting 20 million tourists by 2020 and you see why Emaar Hospitality Group is so optimistic and upbeat about the market. UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s clear vision for the city of Dubai catalyses the hospitality sector. Right from the offset, the government and the industrial players have done everything they can to increase visitor traffic into Dubai. The introduction of initiatives such as visa on arrival for certain countries is the kind of thing that makes a difference. It’s what makes a country more attractive to visitors.

Everybody focuses on luxury and upscale hotels because they think that wealthy customers would always opt for luxury. That is not the case

It isn’t just Dubai either. The synergy between the various emirates to promote the country as a whole is also a big plus. Even the rest of the world is taking note of the UAE as a whole as opposed to just Dubai. Emaar Hospitality Group has been doing its part to facilitate. “We recently announced a new Vida hotel on Reem Island,’ says Harnisch. “Each emirate offers something different to travellers, and complement each other.” This synergy in diversity is what’s raising the profile of the country. Today, Dubai is the fourth most visited city in the world with the highest average amount of spending. That’s a noticeable change from where it stood about 20 or 30 years ago. This influx is what keeps the hotel industry afloat as well as on their heels. The


Address Montgomerie

rising demand brews competition which, in turn, forces every hotel in the region to bring their A-game. This drive for excellence creates a healthy environment for the business. Harnisch adds,“The occupancy levels we have here is something that European hotels only dream of.” The group plans to grow. With Rove Trade Centre now open for business, Emaar Hospitality Group now operates 11 hotels. Even more astonishingly, its 11th opening - the Rove Trade Centre - is also the fourth Rove hotel within the span of a year of introducing the brand in the UAE market. And if you think that’s bullish, the group has already identified 58 markets where it plans to grow further. Obviously, the bulk of these markets is in the GCC with a few in growing economies like China and India. The advantage with these markets is twofold since they moonlight as source markets in Dubai. Twenty key cities in Europe have been identified as well as a few in the Mediterranean aree where all three Emaar brands are being planned to open.“The good thing about Emaar

Rove Trade Centre

Six hotels from Emaar Hospitality Group were among TripAdvisor’s top 25 out of 550 hotels in Dubai. In fact, Rove Healthcare City ranked number nine, ahead of many five-star and luxury hotels

Rove Healthcare City



Hospitality is that we have a very large toolbox meaning all the tools that are available to hotel companies to develop, we have them. So we are not restricted at all we can buy hotels, we can lease hotels. Management agreements are non-existent in certain European markets so we are also selectively looking at leases in those markets. It all comes down to competing against bigger chains and we have the required competencies to do just that. Our flexibility and ability to think like a hotel owner give us great benefits.� This is where Rove Hotels stands out. While Vida and Manzil are upscale lifestyle, Rove Hotels is a contemporary lifestyle brand. Emaar Hospitality Group sees significant opportunity in this segment, especially with the growth in millennial travellers and the ongoing preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai. Having said that, Emaar being Emaar does things differently. Midmarket hotels, with their box-like designs, can be very boring. Emaar’s

Palace Downtown

Al Manzil, Downtown 30 JULY/AUGUST 2017


Vida Dubai Creek Harbour Vida, Downtown

Vida, Dubai Marina

Rove Hotels are anything but that. The design approach here is more pragmatic while staying true to Emaar’s attractive aesthetic. This concentration on the mid-market segment also helps address an industry white space in Dubai: its lack of mid-market hotels. Unlike Paris and London, a majority of hotels in Dubai are upscale or luxury. “Everybody focuses on luxury and upscale hotels because they think that wealthy customers would always opt for luxury. That is not the case,” says Harnisch.“I will say we have to change our paradigms about midmarket hotels in the type of guests that stays in midmarket hotels. Everybody focuses on upscale luxury because the think that the wealthy customer will always

choose luxury and upscale; that is not the case today. The guest who stay in the midmarket hotels is not necessarily a guest with less spending power, they deliberately choose to spend a lower percentage of their travel budget on accommodation in order to spend more on entertainment and dining.”

Source markets Over 50 per cent of Emaar’s Hospitality’s business comes from the GCC and KSA. The next biggest source of revenue is India. The markets in Russia, China and UK, are also a key focus for growth. Saudi Arabia is a very important market because apart from its size and proximity to the UAE, hotel supply is much lesser. Hence the new hotel

in Makkah. It won’t stop there.“We have a lot of discussions happening in Saudi Arabia and so we can expect further announcements very soon,” says Harnisch. Emaar Hospitality Group’s robust planning and expansion policy is also underpinned by the brand’s reputation. It isn’t simply numbers the group is after. It also wants to be the most innovative hotel company. “We want to push boundaries,” Harnisch says.“We want to be disruptive, to challenge how hotels are constructed and operated. Hotels can be conceived, planned differently. They can be much more engaging if we harness the power of technology.” That line of thinking is consistent with Emaar Properties and Dubai. JULY/AUGUST 2017 31


Waiting on

the world to


There’s a case to be made that given the hotel industry’s high standards and demands in the region, it is the largest consumer of energy. Thankfully, the industry is working in overdrive to give its customers a “green” tourism experience



ABB- guest room management system


overnments around the world are pushing for regulations to be implemented in order to make buildings greener and less impactful on the environment. This is especially the case for the hospitality industry. Hotels require a significant amount of energy in order to operate. In an economy growing and diversifying as rapidly as the Gulf, the hospitality industry is among the largest consumers of energy. Hotels in the region consume an immense amount of energy - especially given the region’s high benchmarks of quality to cater to the luxury travel market, and due to harsh weather conditions

that call for the extensive use of air conditioning throughout the year. At such a time, it is important to note two things. Firstly, hotels can no longer endlessly expend scarce energy resources, negatively impacting the world’s carbon footprint. Secondly, consumer expectations have changed in the last few years. In fact, with more people are seeking a more responsible and “green” tourism experience, the travel and hospitality market is being redefined.

ABB ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lower-

Whether the hotel is servicing tourists or business users, ABB has a solution for every application - from high voltage to low voltage – from source to socket

ing environmental impact, has a solution for every application. Whether the hotel is servicing tourists or business users, ABB has a solution for every application - from high voltage to low voltage – from source to socket. ABB can provide a host of sustainable options, from solar power rooftops and electric vehicle charging to the light control systems and guest room management systems – all networked to the building management systems. The aim is to enable buildings to be selfsufficient and rely on their own resources as much as possible; to generate enough energy to JULY/AUGUST 2017 33


Lowering energy consumption shouldn’t mean lowering expectations, it means providing a more efficient and sustainable option for a better world

sustain the operational capacity of the hotel and potentially give back to the community. ABB Building Products adhere to global benchmarks such as the LEED certification – a Green Buildings Council who rate energy efficiency globally. “Lowering energy consumption shouldn’t mean lowering expectations, it means providing a more efficient and sustainable option for a better world. ABB Building Products make lives safe and easy,” says Michael Lotfy, Head of Building Automation, Asia Middle East & Africa.

Hanan Darwish, Schneider Electric’s President for Gulf Countries and Pakistan

Schneider: Single Solution for Guest Room and Public Areas

As a global market leader in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric has introduced various technologypowered solutions to help hotel owners, developers and managers save energy

Schneider Electric Hanan Darwish, Schneider Electric’s President for Gulf Countries and Pakistan, believes hotels can make the transition to sustainability by investing in intelligent, big-data-powered technologies that enable energy savings and by creating widespread awareness on the importance of controlling water, lighting and HVAC usage. In the recent years, reputed hotel chains such as Hilton Worldwide and Marriot have spoken about their efforts in environmental sustainability. The government is also complementing private sector efforts towards this. For example, in 2017, Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) spearheaded the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative to encourage the hospitality industry to become more sustainable and resource-efficient. In fact, DST even conducted workshops 34 JULY/AUGUST 2017

Schneider solutions: Areas of usage

Schneider: Control from anywhere


on best environmental sustainable practices for hoteliers - a positive indication that awareness and adoption of green practices are on the rise in the region. As a global market leader in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric has introduced various technology-powered solutions to help hotel owners, developers and managers save energy. The solutions include things like Guestroom Management Solutions (GRMS), which uses a combination of patented motion sensors, presence detectors and door contacts to automatically detect when a room is unoccupied, adjusting temperature or lighting condition while guests are away. And, KNX open bus solution, which technology links presence detectors to switching and dimming actuators for flexible and expandable automated control. The presence detectors

activate artificial lighting if and when natural light is below a preset level, and automatically switches off lights when areas are unoccupied or when there is sufficient natural light. This product uses 35 percent less energy by tailoring consumption to occupation patterns.

INTEREL Hoteliers are increasingly looking for ways to measure, manage and reduce their energy and water consumption without impacting guest comfort and experience, whilst guests are becoming more aware and conscious about how their travel impacts the environment. “Whilst significant advancements have been made in the management of heating and lighting in hotels through intelligent thermostats and guest room management systems, water consumption remains a challenge for hotels especially for properties in

INTEREL Water Management System

INTEREL Thermostat and Light



water-distressed regions of the world, such as the Middle East, says Florian Kriechbaumer, Director of Operations & Development, INTEREL. In 2015, INTEREL launched the world’s first TCP/IP-based water control and management system for the hospitality industry, which was named Top Global Hotel Innovation at the 2016 Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) TechOvation Awards. Earlier this year, the group was recognised as the winner of the Clean Technology, Green Building and Innovation in Sustainable Technologies categories at the Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards. Through the group’s revolutionary online Water Management System, hotels are able to save up to 30 percent of water every year while improving the guest experience. INTEREL’s Water Management System allows hotel guests to have

INTEREL Water Management System 36 JULY/AUGUST 2017

In 2015, INTEREL launched the world’s first TCP/IP-based water control and management system for the hospitality industry, which was named Top Global Hotel Innovation at the 2016 Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) TechOvation Awards


instant control over the water flow and temperature in their room. This means they can select personal water preferences with the simple touch of a button, instead of adjusting unknown basin and shower faucets to achieve a preferred temperature and wasting water in the process. Hotels benefit from significant OPEX savings through reduced water and energy consumption with features such as dynamic maximum temperature settings for guest and housekeeping staff, shutting down water when the guest leaves the room automatically or reducing maximum flow. Access to online real-time water consumption and usage data, with the ability to adjust the system accordingly, as well as fewer leaks and a

longer life for the property’s plumbing infrastructure, as pipes within the room are no longer required to be under pressure are some additional improvements over traditional mechanical solutions. Along with these advantages comes a major CAPEX saving on the plumbing infrastructure of each room, as the innovative solution replaces the two traditional hot and cold pipes with one blended during the construction of the hotel. Hotels can achieve digital guest controls, cost and consumption reduction through leveraging the benefits of IoT and Big Data – all while saving substantial amounts of water, decreasing overheads and enhancing guests’ comfort and experience.

Hotels can achieve digital guest controls, cost and consumption reduction through leveraging the benefits of IoT and Big Data – all while saving substantial amounts of water, decreasing overheads and enhancing guests’ comfort and experience




Journey of a

Cüneyt Asan, co-founder of Gunaydin, tells Munawar Shariff about his life as a chef and even has advice for aspiring ones




very chef starts at the bottom. You can only rise to the top if you have started from the bottom, learning the nooks and crannies of the kitchen. You start by learning to maintain stations, peel, chop, and engage with other colleagues. You move on to help prepare the menus, and be part of the logistics as well as heavily involved in the cooking. There is greater knowledge as you learn a different set of skills in each step, which is

important in becoming a well-rounded chef. The only way a head/executive chef can solve any kitchen related matter, be it big or small, is if he himself has an idea of how it works. You cannot tell your subordinates how to do their job if you yourself don’t know how it is done. It also humbles a person if they start at the bottom and teaches them how integral each member is in the kitchen. Like any industry, mentorship in the culinary industry is absolutely essential in the career of a chef.“There is always

somebody who does things better, is more established, and will be able to teach the mentee tricks of the trade and bestow tools that can be used throughout their professional journey, says Chef Cüneyt Asan, co-founder of Gunaydin.“Everyone seeks some form of guidance and in the culinary industry, chefs are constantly learning and this process never ends.” Of course, mentors are not always in the kitchen. Inspiration can come in any shape or form, even outside the confines of a kitchen. It could be the JULY/AUGUST 2017 39


There is always a new restaurant, new food trend, new food craze. One day kale, avocados and everything organic is popular, the next day it’s ‘unicorn’ and fried ice cream


manner in which one interacts with people, manages their life or runs a business. What defines a chef though, is the food he makes. Chef Cüneyt Asan isn’t one to skimp on what goes into his edible masterpieces.“Every dish at Günaydin has been carefully prepared with specially sourced ingredients for authentic Turkish flavours,”he says. “You should never compromise on the quality of ingredients when preparing a meal, no matter how basic it may be as it will compromise the overall taste of the food.” For the most part, Chef Asan has stuck with Turkish and Anatolian cuisine. Ever the grafter, he prefers

using his hands over automated equipment; especially when dealing with meat; be it deboning or mincing. He believes it helps bring out the original essence of the meat. Chef Asan’s style also revolves around subtlety.“I try not to overpower my dishes with an abundance of ingredients that will overwhelm the palette,”he tells us.“Just keep it simple. Use high-quality elements, and enhance the natural flavours of ingredients.” So obstinate is the chef, that he wouldn’t let Günaydin sway from its authentic Turkish and Anatolian roots by succumbing to international food trends. That’s not to say he isn’t open




to change within his kitchen. He would allow for cooking techniques that may streamline a process in the kitchen. The rejection of food fads is only because he believes Günaydin is more classic than modern. “There is always a new restaurant, new food trend, new food craze,”Asan says.“One day kale, avocados and everything organic is popular, the next day it’s ‘unicorn’ and fried ice cream.” When you’re a chef, the daily pressure can be crumbling. When you’re in the kitchen, you work long hours and drain yourself physically. When you step outside that battleground, is the pressure of operating it efficiently. In his 40 years under this incredible pressure, Chef Cüneyt Asan claims he’s achieved more than he first set out to. He now presides over a successful chain of restaurants in Turkey and Azerbaijan and now Dubai. In fact, in under a year since opening its doors in Dubai, Günaydin will be in two other premium locations in the city. Asan


There are only a few hundred restaurants in the world with Michelin recognition, and yet thousands if not millions of other restaurants that are supremely successful without a star badge


THE SIX-QUESTION APPETISER says,“I hope to open Günaydin in every country in the world and teleport guests to Turkey in every bite of their meals.” With all this success, talk about a Michelin is natural. Chef Asan, however, isn’t miffed.“I have a lot of respect for Michelin star restaurants and chefs. Although it is the ultimate accolade to receive a Michelin star rating, it is not the only measure of success,” he says.“There are only a few hundred restaurants in the world with Michelin recognition, and yet thousands if not millions of other restaurants that are supremely successful without a star badge.” When he’s not taking the reigns at his own kitchen, Chef Asan prefers dining at Play Restaurant and Lounge.

He calls it one of the best restaurants in Dubai. And while a large fraction of chefs will tell you they revere the likes of Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, Chef Asan saves his admiration for Chef Dario Cecchini, an internationally acclaimed Italian butcher. To aspiring chefs, Asan says,“Be ready to face the pressure, believe in yourself and work hard. If possible, get the best training out there. There are more learning tools available nowadays than when I started professional training that can really ease the journey. No job is big or small, do not expect to start as a sous chef and be a dishwasher if you have to, as long as you keep learning and keep improving. Always be humble and always be nice no matter what your position may be.”

Best meal you’ve eaten: My mother’s meat stuffed vine leaves. Worst meal you’ve eaten: A fish restaurant in Dubai. Best restaurant experience: Arzak Restaurant in San Sebastián, Spain. All-time favourite comfort food: Anything and everything my mother would cook. Your favourite spice: Black pepper. It enhances all types of food. Why you became a chef: I was sent by God on earth to be a chef, it was my destiny. JULY/AUGUST 2017 43

Where Hospitality is redefined.

Dubai World Trade Centre 18 - 20 September 2017 The Hotel Show Dubai is the Middle East’s most prestigious hospitality event; it is where hoteliers come to do business. If you are a GM, owner / operator, procurement professional, interior designer, executive housekeeper, architect, chef or head of F&B, The Hotel Show Dubai is the perfect platform to meet the international suppliers you need. You will be joining a pool of 50,000 decision-makers and buyers from hotels, resorts and restaurants worldwide in discovering the very latest products and trends across the interiors, lighting and design, technology, security and catering sectors at more than 500 exhibitor stands, brought together from 85 countries. Global hospitality leaders will also be on hand to deliver hard facts and strategic insights in the “GM Leadership Forum“ series of interactive discussions, while the entire event will be studded with entertaining and educational live features like “The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions” and “The Runway” for the region’s most influential Executive Housekeepers; “The Great Taste Theatre” for leading chefs and F&B directors, and “The Tec Innovation Zone” for IT and Engineering Directors.




The Middle East region

chaos, consolidation and opportunity Tumultuous times for the Middle East means quite the same for its many industries and businesses. HVS’s Aaron Laurie, Associate and Hala Matar Choufany, Managing Partner, HVS Dubai, have created this detailed, comprehensive and in-depth report on the status of the hospitality industry in the Middle East region



2016: Year in review The Middle East and North Africa continue to face distraught on the back of ongoing wars, failed military coups, and a weakening energy sector. The region has undergone a range of socio-political and economic shifts that have undoubtedly continued to impose ramifications pertaining to the MENA hotel industry. Countries including Libya, Iraq, Yemen and Syria continue to face enraged conflict. The Syrian war entered its sixth year in 2016 as civilians continued to experience conflict routed by regional and international proxies. Oil prices in January dropped to as low as US$27, the lowest in over a decade, challenging the subsistence of various GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia. As a result, general business activity slowed, large infrastructure and private investment projects have been halted, and large energy companies remain subdued. Egypt continues to face economic challenges, boasting some of the largest account deficits in the world. The deficit worsened as a result


Demand for international tourism grew nearly three per cent to reach 1.2 billion overnight visitors in 2016 according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation

of Egypt’s lack of foreign reserves. Unemployment in the country remains high at nearly 13 per cent. In July 2016, a military coup challenged Turkey’s government, shifting the country’s institutional integrity. The country’s lack of support from Western governments during this sociopolitical occurrence altered Turkey’s foreign relations as a result. Atop the macroeconomic and socio-political landscape, HVS data suggests that the MENA hotel market performed at an occupancy of 54 per cent and an average rate of US$129, registering a 12 per cent drop in RevPAR over 2015. While the region’s key performance indicators reflect a downturn, hotel supply continued to grow registering a six per cent increase over 2015. This supply increase was soundly supported by an approximate 1.2 per cent increase in accommodated demand in 2016. Globally in 2016, the industry was witness to Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts for US$13 billion, making it the world’s largest hotel company. The industry was further livened with Accor’s purchase of Fairmont Raffles Hotels International for US$2.9 billion. Both companies, as a result, have made leaps and bounds in expanding their existing distribution while aggressively pushing forward their development pipeline in strategic MENA primary and secondary markets.

Tourism overview

Despite a series of international threats amongst increasing sources of conflict, demand for international tourism grew nearly three per cent to reach 1.2 billion overnight visitors in 2016 according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation. 2016 marked the seventh consecutive year of sustained growth following the 2009 global economic downturn. When comparing overnight travellers by region, Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth at eight per cent, attributed to robust demand derived from intra- and interregional source mar-


The Restaurant at Address Boulevard, Dubai

kets, followed by Africa, which enjoyed a rebound after a year of decreasing tourism arrivals. It should be noted that Middle East tourist arrivals decreased by approximately four per cent as a result of ongoing conflict, and a weak energy sector preventing corporate travel. Visitors to Dubai increased 7.2 per cent in 2016 and it continues to boast the most tourist arrivals amongst the GCC. Dubai represents nearly 30 per cent of all passenger movements in the Middle East. Doha experienced noteworthy passenger traffic growth in excess of 24 per cent reaching a record breaking 37.3 million passengers. For the third consecutive year, Hamad International Airport in Doha has been named the best airport in the Middle East. Three cities were witness to decreasing tourist arrivals including Bahrain, Istanbul, and Kuwait, noted at -5.5 per cent, -1.9 per cent, and -3.2 per cent, respectively.

Visitors to Dubai increased 7.2 per cent in 2016 and it continues to boast the most tourist arrivals amongst the GCC. Dubai represents nearly 30 per cent of all passenger movements in the Middle East

2016 Hotel openings In 2016, the MENA region was witness to nearly 13,000 additional hotel rooms, an approximate eight per cent increase in supply over 2015. This new supply was represented by 31 different brands, of which 46 per cent of the rooms were five-star, 24 per cent of the room were four-star, and 31 per cent of rooms were three-star. The majority of this new supply was derived from the UAE (approximately 4,600 rooms) and Saudi Arabia (approximately 3,700 rooms).

Saudi Arabia

A weakened oil and gas sector and an optimistic reform programme aimed at diversifying the economy and increasing private sector participation were the key themes that Saudi Arabia was presented with in 2016. While corporate-oriented markets including Riyadh and Jeddah were susceptible to significant drops in RevPAR as a result of the weakened energy market, religious tourism markets including Makkah and Madinah continued to thrive on the back of increased visa issuances into the country.

Riyadh In 2016, Riyadh was presented with the opening of five new hotels including the 281-room Aloft Riyadh. While the current supply in the market is heavily represented by four- and five-star hotels, the market presents a prime opportunity for mid-market hotels and serviced apartments. Marketwide JULY/AUGUST 2017 47


Unlike many Saudi Arabian hotel markets, Makkah experienced a strong 27 per cent increase supported by strong visitation for Hajj

RevPAR dropped 27 per cent in 2016, the largest decrease of any Saudi Arabian primary market. The declining performance is largely attributed to the weakened energy sector and cuts in subsidies combined with the aforementioned supply increases. As purchasing power continues to decrease, the market will continue to experience a greater demand for mid-market hotels, providing ample opportunity for developers. The hotel development pipeline indicates a heavier concentration of projects currently underway in North Riyadh and King Abdullah Financial District.

Jeddah Jeddah witnessed a 20 per cent drop in RevPAR owing to reduced corporate demand. The market welcomed the opening of five new branded hotels, representing an approximate 18 per cent increase in supply. This new supply comprised the entry of the 191-room Sofitel Jeddah Corniche and Saudi Arabia’s first Centro by Rotana – Rotana’s affordable lifestyle brand. While Jeddah’s performance is also heavily influenced by the weakening energy sector, it offers a wider range of market segment opportunities, providing it with a greater chance of rebounding from Saudi’s current economic fall. Over the short-to-mid-term, demand is anticipated to be induced largely by the King Abdullah Airport Expansion, Jeddah Economic City, and the re-development of the Jeddah Corniche.

Makkah Unlike many Saudi Arabian hotel markets, Makkah experienced a strong 27 per cent increase supported by strong visitation for Hajj. The market’s average rate performance was enhanced with the opening of the Marriott Makkah and Hyatt Regency Makkah in 2015, and the Conrad Makkah in 2016. The pipeline for Makkah features a large supply of three-star hotels to enter the market over the next five years. Looking forward, accommodated demand is expected to increase significantly in the mid-term owing to the announcement of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah removing restrictions on quotas for foreign pilgrims. Additionally, the near completion of

Makkah, Saudi Arabia 48 JULY/AUGUST 2017


Sheikh Zayed great white mosque in Abu Dhabi

the Haramain High Speed Railway and construction of the Makkah Rail Transit System will improve accessibility to and within the city.

Dammam Metropolitan Area (DMA) In 2016, the DMA witnessed a 17 per cent reduction in RevPAR owing to decreased corporate activity. The market experienced a noticeable shift of corporate accounts moving from four- and five-star hotels to three-star hotels. As a result, the mid-market experienced the hit to a lesser extent. The market saw the opening of three new hotels comprising approximately 600 rooms, including the 262-room Aloft Dhahran. The market presents prime opportunities for branded three-star hotels and serviced apartments catering to price-sensitive families and leisure-oriented guests.

Development pipeline: Rise of the mid market Despite a series of current and future

White Land Tax: Sparking new supply In June 2016, the Saudi Arabian government announced regulations for the introduction of the White Land Tax. The tax is imposed on owners of “white land” – an empty plot of land designated for residential and/or commercial use within growing urban neighborhoods across Saudi Arabia. The rate of tax is noted at 2.5 per cent of the value of site. The new Tax will impose pressures on developers that own vacant land resulting in the following: • Developers will bring forward plans to build income-generating real estate developments to avoid the tax burden • Owners will sell land to avoid the tax burden resulting in lower land values • Lower land values will stimulate real estate development and diversify the range of real estate types and classes. This bodes well for developers looking to capitalize on the development of threestar hotels.

macroeconomic challenges, the MENA hotel development pipeline remains strong, particularly amongst mid-market branded hotels. HVS was provided the development pipeline from 20 major hotel operators, comprising a total of 564 proposed hotels featuring approximately 156,000 hotel rooms and serviced apartments. Given the extent of the development pipeline, supply is expected to grow by approximately 16 per cent in 2017, 20 per cent in 2018, and 17 per cent in 2019.

Pipeline leaders With Marriott International completing its acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in September 2016, it now boasts the largest development pipeline in the MENA region at approximately 27,000 rooms. Its pipeline is heavily focussed and led by the development of the full-service Marriott branded hotel, which is closely followed by its select-service, mid-market brands: Four Points by Sheraton and JULY/AUGUST 2017 49


Courtyard by Marriott. Hilton boasts a development pipeline comprising approximately 26,000 rooms. The Hilton development pipeline, by number of rooms, is heavily characterised by its full-service Hilton brand in the MENA region, while also continuing to expand its distribution through its Doubletree by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn brands. Accor has gained traction following its acquisition of FRHI Hotels in July 2016. As a result, Accor’s development pipeline has nearly doubled, growing from approximately 14,000 rooms in 2015 to a near 26,000 rooms in 2016. Accor’s pipeline, by number of rooms, has a strong emphasis on the expansion of FRHI’s former brands, Fairmont and Swissôtel. Meanwhile, Accor will continue to broaden its mid-market presence in the MENA regions with a strong pipeline of Ibis Styles.

Overview of the mid-market segment The development of the mid-market hotel became one of the fastest growing and successful segments in North America more than a decade ago. For starters, developers were drawn to the appeal of the midscale hotel investment model – in many cases, an investment supported by low development and operating costs, which in turn generated higher returns than their full-service, four- to five-star hotel counterparts. Not to mention, the mid-market hotel proved to be more resilient to the credit crunch and global economic downturn, experiencing a lower overall decrease in RevPAR than the typical four- to five-star hotel during this time. The mid-market remains a growing segment in well-established North American and European markets, which poses the question: what’s prevented the mid-market from gaining popularity amongst developers in the Middle East?

Why build mid-market now?

• Changing source markets: Increased visitation from source countries such as India and China have forced developers and operators to offer more affordable hotel options. • Changing Demographics: The influence of the rising millennial traveller has shifted the focus from traditional luxury hotels towards modern, practi-


cal forms of accommodation. • Corporate Budget Cuts: As oil-rich markets begin to destabilise, corporate travellers are forced to downgrade from upscale to midscale. • Lower Development Costs: Midscale hotels are less cost intensive to build owing to lower space requirements and lower cost of building materials. As such, these factors translate into lower development risk which allows for increased access to financing. • Higher Operating Margins: Midscale hotels often boast more lenient fixed operating cost structures supported by high levels of flexibility and lower labour costs, thereby generating higher relative returns.

KPI Given the MENA region’s heavy reliance on the energy markets, several primary markets throughout the region experienced declining RevPAR figures in 2016. HVS has categorised each major markets’ key performance indicators by hotel positioning. During a time of economic downturn, three-star hotels are often the most sought-after hotel, typically experiencing lower RevPAR declines than their four- and five-star hotel counterparts. Three-star hotels are not to be perceived as recession proof, as made evident by several declines in occupancy and average rate over the 2014 to 2016 period in the following primary markets. However, in cases of economic downturn, three-star hotels will continue to boast higher gross operating profit (GOP) figures as a result of demand derived from travellers trading down from four- and five star to three star, and minimal operating expenses associated with operating a three-star hotel. It is important to note that the following aggregated key performance indicators (occupancy, average rate, and RevPAR) are inclusive of new hotels, which in many cases, decrease marketwide occupancy. However, the GOP margins below have been adjusted to reflect only hotels with stabilized levels of operation, to better provide context as to the typical GOP margin of a branded hotel in a particular market. In 2016, the three-star segment amongst the following primary market boasted an average GOP margin of 47 per cent, while the four- and five-star categories both registered an approximate 42 per cent and 39 per cent GOP margin, respectively.


Alternatively, leisure oriented markets will continue to face the challenge of attracting international attention. However, events such as Dubai Expo 2020 and Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and increased visa issuances permitting foreign pilgrims to enter Makkah and Madinah will largely aid in these particular markets’ ability to increase accommodated demand in the mid-to-long term. As primary markets continue to mature and saturate with four- and five-star hotels, and secondary markets begin to progress supported by improved modes of accessibility and infrastructure development, the Middle East will witness a healthy influx of three-star hotels entering the market. As this mid-market expands with contemporary, yet affordable branded hotel product, primary markets will be susceptible to significant average rate pressure. However, our outlook remains optimistic in light of the region’s tourism potential which will ultimately support high levels of accommodated demand. The World Travel and Tourism Council projects for the Middle East a total travel and tourism contribution to GDP growth rate of 4.8 per cent per annum reaching US$382 billion by 2027. This growth is expected to be well supported by tourism investment, estimated to rise 6.4 per cent per annum over the next ten years, reaching a total of US$99 billion.

Top and bottom performing markets Only eight markets were witness to increases in RevPAR in 2016 including, but not limited to, Cairo, Makkah, and Aqaba. Overall, the MENA hotel market experienced a 12 per cent decline in RevPAR. The highest occupancy levels were achieved by Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras-Al Khaimah, while the highest average room rates were achieved by Makkah, Kuwait City, and Jeddah. Given its high levels of accommodated demand combined with its aggressive rate growth amongst the five-star hotel category, Makkah overtook Dubai as top RevPAR performing hotel market in 2016.

Outlook The Middle East consists of a diverse range of hotel markets that are stimulated by varied segments of demand. In oil-driven markets, particularly throughout Saudi Arabia, expectations for improved economic conditions were high following the 2016 OPEC announcement to cut oil production; however, GDP is forecast to only grow minimally, at 0.8 per cent in 2017. This forecast reflects the impact of lower oil production combined with the effects of cuts in government spending and an upward adjustment in taxes. As a result of the aforementioned, non-oil growth is not anticipated to be as significant as it has been historically during periods of strong oil prices.

VAT AND ITS IMPACT As a result of GCC countries shifting their economic reliance away from oil reserves, all GCC countries have agreed to the Unified Value Added Tax (VAT) Agreement in February 2017. As a result, VAT will be imposed at a 5 per cent rate in 2018 in the UAE, and fully implemented in 2019 across the entirety of the GCC. As many GCC markets attempt to diversify their segmentation of demand, with a greater focus on price-sensitive, millennial travellers, this added-tax has the potential to alter consumer behaviour by discouraging guests from booking due to higher fees. As a result, hotel operators may need to modify their average rate and fee-based strategy. JULY/AUGUST 2017 51


Behind the curtain

Pascal Dupuis, GM, Address Boulevard, tells Munawar Shariff about what went into opening the unique new property in Downtown Dubai

M Pascal Dupuis


aking a hotel stand out on its own is hard. Making the fifth edition of a hotel stand out is a lot harder because now you not only have to make it different from other chains, you also have to differentiate it from your other properties. That was a conundrum the Address team was faced with when they started with the Address Boulevard.“When you’re starting work on the fifth Address in the region, you really have to look at what’s missing in Dubai,”says

Pascal Dupuis, GM, Address Boulevard. “With the Address Boulevard, we feel we’ve delivered on providing something refreshing.” The word refreshing is key here. From the moment the hotel’s design process started in 2013, they have strived to give the people from Dubai, as well as tourists, a place that can transport them to a whole new world while giving them a feeling of familiarity. It’s a very fine line to manoeuvre. Racing against time to get everything ready for the opening day isn’t easy. First, there’s the legwork involved to


bring something new to the table. In order to do this Dupuis calls upon his travel experiences from Mauritius to India – anything that could conjure up a new, exciting idea. The next step is planning the opening, which is exciting yet taxing. Following that is planning operations wherein he decides on his team, thinks about their training etc. Despite all the duties involved, it’s the last month before opening that takes the most toll.“The month before opening is when the adrenaline starts pumping in overtime,”says Dupuis.“That’s when a lot of issues from each phase start cropping up and you’re meant to think on your feet and deal with it.”

One of the most exciting parts of embarking on a new journey is having the chance to handpick whom to take with you. The current team behind the new Address Boulevard is diverse, to say the least. Dupuis says he’s made sure to surround himself with people who he understands very well and who he knows have it in them to go above and beyond in providing superlative service to guests. Since the Address Boulevard was about four years in the making, the people that are involved in its dayto-day workings become crucial. One of the biggest objectives for

The month before opening is when the adrenaline starts pumping in overtime. That’s when a lot of issues from each phase start cropping up and you’re meant to think on your feet and deal with it

the luxe property was to have people who understood the business. Dupuis claims that about 58 per cent of the staff at Address Boulevard is comprised of internal transfers – people who have been moved from various Address properties. The adopted policy has proved to be a big hit among the hotel’s customers.“The feedback has been amazing,”says Pascal Dupuis.“Our customers are always talking about how helpful, passionate and professional our staff is.” JULY/AUGUST 2017 53

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Natura Bisse The mindful touch

Elemis Superfood facial

Guerlain Prestige treatment


Trend forecasting in skincare Aurelian Lis, CEO, Dermalogica, was in town a couple of months ago. Munawar Shariff had the opportunity to meet him at one of the brand’s product launches. In a brief 10-minute chat, they were able to touch on a number of important topics

What is the status of the skin care industry globally? Skin care is a part of the luxury beauty sector but unlike the beauty sector it doesn’t have so many fluctuations. Let’s say for example, the fragrance industry; a new wave of teenagers arrive and demand for a particular fragrance goes up or plummets based on if they either love a fragrance or hate it. Our industry is not that volatile. It’s a steady industry, all the brands invest heavily in everything – the quality of ingredients, the research and development all of this contributes in making this a worth the long term investment. But having said that, our industry does not see the enthusiasm that the makeup industry enjoys! I would like to see that kind of audience response, interaction and enthusiasm for our skin care market as well from consumers. I’d like to see consumers have more passion, persistence, so that they are interested in coming to learn professionally all the latest about skincare.

Aurelian Lis


With the evolution of social media, and increased brand exposure, this following has definitely increased, hasn’t it? Yes, it has, definitely, we have more than 100/200k followers or more on Instagram and facebook. We have even live launched new products say for example on Fb live sessions lasting 20 to 30 minutes. Being on social media makes a huge difference. It connects like-minded people and companies together. Our reviews section is something which is very unique because we don’t monitor the content that users put on there. It is completely uncensored. Users put their experiences with the products on there … questions are posted there and someone from the community answers them. So it’s healthy, it keeps everyone pushing forward in the right direction.


What in your opinion is the trend forecast for brands in terms of the future of advertising? One of the things we see now is so much noise happening everywhere, it’s as if everyone is shouting at the same time and this is causing problems as no one hears it and I see the same things happening in the advertising world. When that happens, how do you then find out about what you need to do, what’s right, what’s wrong? For us, this is where the therapist comes in. She usually has a black book of pre-existing, loyal following of her clients who are the consumers and they guide us about next steps. Earlier, we used to be able to talk with our customers about a regimen. Which is four to five products, however, that is not happening now. The concentration isn’t there. Today the need is to focus on a single product. And if I can’t explain something in one sentence, the chances of anyone listening are bleak. Now our consumer isn’t giving us that time. Who is your target audience? Age wise we target young teenagers to women in their 60s. All of our consumers are independent, are looking for a product that delivers skin health, is something they can trust, is something that works without the glitz and glamour and delivers real results. As gentleman what is your opinion on the products? I think the products are very much for men and as they are for women.

Our industry does not see the enthusiasm that the makeup industry enjoys! I would like to see that kind of audience response, interaction and enthusiasm for our skin care market as well from consumers

Our founder Jane Wurwand, wanted to do a men’s range but she believes she did not make a range for women so why should she make one for men. From the beginning, the brand has always created packaging that appears accessible to both. There are more similarities to the condition of skin in men and women thank differences. I use Special Cleansing Gel, Daily Superfoliant, the Phyto Replenish Oil, Barrier Repair among many others. How important is the Middle East market for Dermalogica? It’s an interesting market. We have got a very decent growth ongoing here, we have an established heritage as well as have the opportunity to build many loyal customers. So we will continue to build here as compared to in other parts of the world. JULY/AUGUST2017 57


Younger and fresher

Have you ever had one of those revolutionary treatments, that make you look completely like a renewed version of yourself? Like you look into the mirror after the treatment and almost don’t recognise how good, fresh, young, relaxed and amazing you look? This treatment will give you these astonishing results Guerlain Spa treatment room, One & Only Royal Mirage, The Palm 58 JULY/AUGUST 2017


The Orchidee Imperiale Prestige Treatment at the Guerlain Spa, One & Only Royal Mirage, The Palm Walking into the spa is an exciting journey amongst the lush gardens of the One & Only, The Palm. The Spa is modern, luxurious, unique. It has on display in a plush looking living room type reception area all the brand’s makeup and fragrances. This is enough to really make a beauty editor very happy and get the interest piqued. Waiting with a welcome drink and filling out a consent form is the first step. The therapist then comes in to welcome you into the treatment area. Unlike other spas, there is no separate changing area etc as each treatment room is equipped and large enough for the guest to relax in before and after the treatment. It also has it’s own showering and toilet facilities as well as a private outdoor space should the guest want to spend some time there. So after getting changed, the therapist, Diki, did the foot cleansing ritual all the while asking about the skincare routine followed at home on a daily basis to figure out the requirements of the skin from the facial experience in order to determine which range of Guerlain products from the the Orchidee Imperiale range would best suit the skin.

The treatment is pretty much the same as all facial treatments - cleanse, tone, exfoliate, mask, massage, moisturise. And that’s where the similarity ends. As this is one of the all time best selling range of products by the Guerlain brand, the treatment had to be a one-of-a-kind experience. So here is where the expertise, experience, training of the therapist comes into play. The massage of the face was phenomenal. This cannot be replicated. Couple that with the finesse and quality of the Orchidee Imperiale range to give such fabulous results. The skin felt fresh, the face looked thinner! No kidding! It was perhaps the massage that drained all the lymph nodes that were holding onto the unnecessary liquids in the face (accumulated over time). The results as mentioned from the start of this review, were phenomenal. A must have treatment from time to time as it is quite expensive. But worth every fil! Duration - 90 minutes, AED 1,070





Skin vitamin boost It’s not everyday that a product comes along that replaces everything in your beauty cabinet. Elemis’s Superfood Facial Oil was a product which did just that. So a treatment with the oil has to be one not worth missing



Elemis Superfood Pro Radiance facial at Cleopatra Spa Wafi

The Elemis Superfood Facial Oil which is the basis of this treatment is meant to supply the face with vitamins and minerals that we lose or lack due to discrepancies in our diets and lifestyles . The oil is a fantastic product which really gives the results it promises to give the skin and then some. So when this treatment was recommended by the therapist after examining the skin, it was something to really look forward to. When explaining the benefits of the treatment, the therapist mentioned that it will provide a boost of nutrition to stressed, dull and lack-lustre skin. There are a lot of active ingredients that will leave the skin plumper, tighter, illuminated and looking rested. The hour long treatment began with a cleansing of the eyes and face followed by toner. The cellular recovery skin bliss casule was applied next followed by the ProRadiance Illuminating Flash balm. Once this was applied the eye are was treated with the Hydra Active Soothing Gel mask. On e the face, the Exotic Cream moisturising

mask was applied. While the mask was left on the face to work its magic the hands were massaged. Once the face mask was removed, the super food facial oil was applied followed by the eye renewal cream the Pro-Collagen Lifting Teatment for neck and bust as well as the finishing by the application of the the Procollagen Marine Cream and the Pro-Radiance Illuminating Eye Balm. The treatment was over, but the deeply nourishing effects of the massage and the skincare products on the face were to stay for a long time. There were lots of compliments of the skin looking radiant, illuminated, tighter and brighter. A treatment every three weeks is recommended in order to keep the skin looking beautiful and to maintain its ability to renew and rejuvenate itself. Duration: 60 minutes


Excellent! JULY/AUGUST2017 61


Being present

How many times have we heard that living in the present moment is very important for us to be able to think rationally, make the right decisions and be happy. But how many of us are really in the present moment? Not too many. This treatment teaches you how to focus your mind into being present in each and every moment of your life



Natura Bisse’s The Mindful Touch Spanish brand Natura Bisse is a revolutionary trailblazer when it comes to being ahead of its peers. The brand has come up with a virtual reality solution to enhance our mindfulness in order to get the most from any experience, especially when it is about relaxing the mind and body and easing the thoughts and processes in our brains in order to be completely present in any given moment or experience. The treatment begins with a selection of essential oils that most suit our body’s needs. How is that determined? By the therapist encouraging you to smell all the four oils for energising and hydrating, to detox and purify, for fitness and to relieve and to de-stress and sooth - as the body is able to decide what exactly it needs the most. Once the oil is chosen the therapist explains the entire process of the mindful touch experience. Samsung has worked closely with Natura Bisse’s research and development department to curate and master this experience in order to have the customer, completely at ease after experiencing the ability to stay in the present and not allow the mind to wander into unnecessary and unrequired thoughts. Which is perhaps one of the most difficult things

to do. Ever tried meditating? You will know the struggle to silence the mind. The art of it is patience and experience. It is only through this that one is able to master control over the mind. What’s more is the entire experience takes place inside Natura Bisse’s Oxygen Bubble. So again, a win-win combination. The therapist has to be commended here as her touch on the body is firm. Somewhat reminding the client to remain in the present moment. The programme and the therapist work hand-in-hand in order to get the experience in the right flow. While being in the present moment you realise that the time flies by very soon. This is definitely a revolutionary experience, one which must be definitely tried. The body felt quite sore afterwards, But a feeling of refreshed energy was what the body was left feeling within a couple of hours. Duration 60 minutes




Beautiful summer skin


Top skincare brands spend an immense amount of time and investment on creating revolutionary new products that take the skincare game to the next level. All the products featured here are doing amazing things for our skin. If the present looks so beautiful the future is only going to make everything even better

Elemis Pro-Definition Facial Oil, AED 586, House of Fraser Abu Dhabi and leading stores in the country: This oil restores much needed hydration and moisture in mature skins. It works even for excessively dry, neglected skin. The oil is thick and absorbs in the skin quickly leaving behind no traces of shininess or oiliness. When left overnight the skin looks well taken care of and rested.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30, AED 740: What took Elemis so long to come up with this cream. The Pro-Collagen cream is an award winning cream that is proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines within 14 days of continuous usage add to that the spf 30 factor and we have a winner for daytime use. The cream is a definite winner.

Dermalogica Daylight Defense Protection 50 Sport spf 50: This is summer’s must-have product on your beauty shelves. It is hydrating while being simultaneously a barrier against harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. It is not heavy on the skin, is non-greasy and does not break out even the most sensitive skin.

June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Hand and Foot cream: Rich, luxurious, keeps skin on hands and feet looking and feeling supple, youthful and the way hands and feet should look. Over time the cream helps soften hard heels and calluses on feet and dry cuticles on fingers.

June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Hydrating Cleanser: Ideal for when you want to get some work done before washing your face at the end of the day. Put this on, gently rub it in the skin finish your work while this works its magic on the most stubborn makeup and once you wash your face, you will your skin moisturised and clean without being dry.



Elemis Hydra-Boost Serum, AED 385: Elemis products are a delight to use. This serum will also get you looking forward to the time you have to put this on the skin. It instantly hydrates and you can see it on your skin. The product is a dream come true for all of us. Really helps smooth out fine lines and improve the look and quality of the skin.

Guerlain’s Oud Essentiel: This perfume is a glorious representation of oud, the most highly acclaimed and sought after ingredient in the Oriental fragrance industry. The fact that this fragrance is light and pleasant without being overpowering is what makes it a winner. Both men and women can use this fragrance.

Natura Bisse Diamond Instant Glow: This brand is so far ahead of the game. This revolutionary product is going to get you hooked from the minute you use it for the very first time. This is what happens when you use any of the products from the brand, honestly. So this product is a three-step at home mini facial for use before an important event as it plumps, illuminates, hydrates and keeps your skin looking great for more than eight hours after you apply it on the skin. The experience we had with this though kept our skins looking fantastic for days and not just hours. You need this in your life, ladies and gentlemen!

Elemis Gentle Foaming Facial Wash, AED 241: For all skin types, this face wash is light yet has a luxurious lather. It cleans deeply, removing all traces of make-up in one wash. It doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight or dry. Rather fresh, clean and moist.

Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist: A lot of people swear by the benefits of this mist toner. Trying this first hand, proved all of the research to be true. You will get hooked on to this toner. It leaves behind a gentle layer of moisture preparing the skin to receive the next product. It can be used to calm the skin after an exfoliation session or just as a daily boost of everyday luxury.

June Jacobs Intensive Age Defying Body Emulsion: If ever there was a moisturiser which left you with unbelievably soft, beautiful skin, it’s this one. You will not forget how your skin feels once you are done applying this all over after your shower. Even on dry skin this moisturiser leaves the skin feeling soft and amazing.



Breaking bread together The hospitality industry is hugely involved in many charity initiatives around the country all year round and especially more so during the recently past month of Ramadan. We have put together a few examples of the industry’s willingness to give back to its community


he UAE has always been a hub not only for business and trade but also for it’s ability to attract such a plethora of nationalities to peacefully coexist in its land. And as during the olden days so is today, the country’s leadership is light years ahead of all others in setting an example of peace and harmony. On June 14, The Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Mosque in Al Mushrif, a district in the capital Abu Dhabi, was renamed ‘Mariam, which translates from Arabic to English as ‘Mary Mother of Jesus’. The change was ordered Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. According to the UAE’s official news agency WAM, the change was ordered“to promote the social connections between the followers of different religions”. The country even has a Minister of State for Tolerance HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi (appointed last year) and launched a Tolerance Charter last year, all efforts to promote harmony. It’s not just one community spreading the love either. On the same day, Sharjah’s St. Michaels Church hosted Iftar for


Catering teams at more than 70 participating Marriott hotels in the Middle East, including 38 in UAE prepared Iftar packs which included a diverse selection of food and beverage items

400 Muslim workers who were served food by 200 Catholic volunteers of various nationalities. Even Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Chairman of government relations of the Sharjah government, attended the Iftar. Here’s what some of the UAE’s biggest hotels were up to during the Holy month:


‘Iftar for Cabs’ initiative by Marriott properties, Dubai

TIME Hotels distributed 200 Iftar boxes to the needy through Al Shabab Al Arabi Club. The 200 boxes were prepared by staff at the TIME Oak Hotel & Suites and TIME Grand Plaza Hotel

For the third year running, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai, celebrated its ‘Iftar for Cabs’ initiative. During the hour of Iftar on June 14, cab drivers who drove through the main entrance of the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai received complimentary Iftar packs to break their fast. Associates from across various departments within the hotels, including catering, administration and guest services joined forces to make the initiative possible. Catering teams at more than 70 participating Marriott hotels in the Middle East, including 38 in UAE prepared Iftar packs which included a diverse selection of food and beverage items. Launched in 2010, the ‘Iftar for Cabs’ initiative has turned into an annual tradition for many cab drivers throughout the region. The initiative has

been widely appreciated by hotel owners, local communities and transport authorities. “We thank the cab drivers who support our hotels and provide our guests with transportation services throughout the year,” said Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International.“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.”

TIME banks on Al Shabab for Ramadan food donation In line with the UAE’s Year of Giving campaign launched by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan UAE-headquartered TIME Hotels distributed 200 Iftar boxes to the needy through Al Shabab Al Arabi Club.



The 200 boxes were prepared by staff at the TIME Oak Hotel & Suites and TIME Grand Plaza Hotel, with delivery managed by the Al Shabab Al Arabi Club in coordination with Dubai Municipality. The boxes contained: biryani, salad, hummus, dates, a Ramadan sweet, pickles and juice. Mohamed Awadalla, CEO of TIME Hotels, said,“It is important, especially during this the Holy Month of Ramadan, that we remember those less fortunate than ourselves. This is a tremendous gesture from Al Shabab Al Arabi Club and Dubai Municipality and we are delighted to support this initiative.” TIME Hotels also distributed 100 Iftar boxes to taxi drivers over a two-day period during Ramadan.

Our team will continue to reach out and share blessings not only during the Holy Month but throughout the year

Ramada Downtown Dubai gives back to community During the Holy month of Ramadan, Ramada Downtown Dubai reached out to the community by handing out Iftar meals to labourers and cab drivers. The hotel team distributed 200 Iftar boxes consisting of dates, biryani, fruits, laban milk and water, and joined the labourers at Al Quoz Industrial Area in breaking their fast. The team also


distributed 50 Iftar boxes to RTA cab drivers. Shahzad Butt, GM, commented: “Ramada Downtown Dubai has always been actively involved in various CSR activities, and this Ramadan, we have beefed up our initiatives to show appreciation to the people who play important roles in our society. Our team will continue to reach out and share blessings not only during the Holy Month but throughout the year.”

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Top Hotel July August 2017 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 2017 Issue  

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