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3-4 2017

Middle East

Essential reading for the hotel industry


Accelerated growth momentum



staying ahead

the address dubai mall



Chef Alberto’s spectacular touch

Andiamo, grand hyatt dubai

A luxury evolution

Top hotel Wellness A dedicated look at the regional wellness industry

More than meets the eye

Mobile Acces compatible

Online capability (wireless)

New stylish reader design

RFID reader with improved reading distance

Powered by

When it comes to smart security, less is more. With the new VingCard Essence, you get more advanced technology in a clean, minimalistic design that blends with any hotel decor. And now the industry’s most uniquely beautiful and functional locking system is even smarter. Available with wireless online capabilities, VingCard Essence is now also available with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access, powered by secure Seos technology. This revolutionary solution allows guests to bypass the front desk, using their smartphone or watch as a secure digital key. Learn more today www.assaabloyhospitality.com/essence mea.hospitality@assaabloy.com *US patent number 8047030

Did someone forget to open the back door? With a network video solution from Axis, you’ll be the first to know when a truck pulls into your delivery zone – or someone walks off with merchandise. Our network video solutions can inform security staff when deliveries come in. And set off an alarm if an unauthorized vehicle or party crosses a predefined line. You can also choose to monitor high-quality live video from a central location. Either way, you’ll save resources and money – and prevent theft – without the need for constant staff presence. Want to learn more?

Visit www.axis.com

INNCOM The World’s Most Collaborative Room Automation System

Š 2016 Honeywell International. All rights reserved.

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while reducing energy and operational costs www.inncom.com

For more information, please visit www.inncom.com

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: info@signaturemediame.com Exclusive Sales Agent Signature Media LLC P.O. Box 49784, Dubai, UAE Publisher: Jason Verhoven jason@signaturemediame.com Sales Manager: Sunil Ross Sunil@signaturemediame.com Managing Editor: Munawar Shariff munawar@signaturemediame.com Sub Editor: Umaima Tinwala Art Director: Tamara Eger tamara@signaturemediame.com Production Manager: Roy Varghese Roy@signaturemediame.com

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

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

Luxury - an evolution What does luxury even mean for the ultra high networth individual (HNI) - the ones that fly many miles and hours to spend a few weeks or months in the middle of nowhere. Of course this nowhere is full equipped with all the possible facilities and amenities. But is luxury being able to wear no shoes throughout the duration of your trip, being able to drink pure unbranded water that uses the glass bottles to create works of art once they are of no use to the resort. Sonu Shivdasani, CEO Soneva, has done exactly this and more when it comes to offsetting the many miles his guests travel by air to get to one of his properties in the Maldives or Thailand. The Soneva world is a haven, Shivdasani has created a world where for the first time kids can roam around the entire length and breadth of the resort unsupervised and barefoot day in and day out. That sense of security is definitely the definition of luxury today. And this is only one aspect of this beautiful haven. Read a detailed article on page 26. This and a whole lot more are in these pages for you to discover … news, views, strategy, wellness, launches and lots more. We’ll see you soon in May with another packed issue. Munawar Shariff Managing Editor munawar@signaturemediame.com

March/april 2017 3

Soneva Fushi, Villa11, Master bedroom, by Sandro Bruecklmeier


march/April 2016 Issue 16



06 Top hotel Undercover 44 Taking over with

A reliable city hotel - The Marriott Al Jaddaf

The Marriott Al Jaddaf has definitely made its place in the locality as well as in the minds of its clients

10 News All the latest from hotels in the region 20 Keeping up-to-date Tophotel.news brings us the highlights

of what’s happening in the global hotel industry

26 Cover

Elegant and sustainable - the Soneva world Sonu Shivdasani, CEO Soneva, is redefining luxury


David Garner, Minor Hotels Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, on building the Avani brand

Mamma mia

Chef Alberto, Chef de Cuisine, Andiamo at Grand Hyatt Dubai, talks about the a-z of Italian cuisine

business change

Mark H Keith, Managing Director of HVS Executive Search in Hong Kong, explores the reasoning behind why corporate giants fail

4 march/april 2017

Keeping the environment clean Ramada Ajman wins Waste Management Award

52 Setting the tone Middle East hotel industry experts

forecast strong investment opportunities ahead of AHIC 2017

58 Hungarian beauty secrets

60 The signature scent Guerlain’s latest fragrance - Mon

40 Mindset change =

The best skin care

These are the best of the best brands out there in the local and international market

68 Community

A prominent Address

36 GM Interview

Mohamed Samir El Sayed, General Manager, The Address Dubai Mall, talks about how he and his team stay ahead of the game in a highly competitive market

64 Products review

49 Chef Interview


Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, one of the co-founders of Omorovicza, shares her story about this exclusive, all-natural brand

Guerlain, launched recently in Dubai

62 Enhancing the

customer base

A new look and an evolution of the brand ESPA




Find the perfect shade to suit you at: www.falaknazthewarehouse.com

Top hotel Undercover

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.

6 march/april 2017

Top hotel Undercover

A reliable city hotel -

The Marriot Al Jaddaf

The Marriott Al Jaddaf is visible from many angles around its location, getting to it is a bit complex. However once you are there, you are well taken care of. Before this property came up in the locality, it never seemed like the area needed another city hotel there. The Marriott Al Jaddaf has definitely made its place in the locality as well as in the minds of its clients The Marriott Al Jaddaf is right in the centre of the city. It is not too close or too far from other hotels. This location is quite suited to the property as there is no hotel in its immediate vicinity. Being right in the middle of everything is also a huge advantage for this Marriott. It is however not as grand as its sister property the Marquis. But of course a variety of hotels offer different services and facilities to different clients. It was busy when we arrived, with many cars lined up in the quite small entrance drive-way. However, the valet efficiently got our bags and ushered us in to the reception area. It is a spacious and airy reception.

Reservation As always before calling the property, we checked rates online and got the exact same rate when we called the property. Including breakfast and taxes and the Tourism Dirham, the rate was AED 960.80 per night.

Evaluation: Excellent

Check-in We arrived a bit later than check-in time and our room was ready and waiting for us. We were given a room with a city view of the Dubai skyline with the Burj Khalifa. The view was indeed spectacular.

Evaluation: Excellent

march/april 2017 7

Top hotel Undercover

Room 309 The room was large. It had a spacious entry way with the bathroom on the left as you entered and a floor to ceiling mirror on the opposite side. The closet was beside the mirror and then came the refreshments and minibar beside the closet. Then you entered into the room. Beige carpets and white walls. The entrance area had hardwood floors. The bed was on the left and the study and television on the right opposite the bed. There was also a small chair beside the study table right at the end of the room. Beside this was the window overlooking the Dubai skyline. The room was faultless had teal and yellow accents in the form of cushions and throws contrasting with the white sheets. It could have done with more lighting though. Especially around the large mirror on the entrance.

Evaluation: Excellent

Bathroom A fairly large bathroom. The counter space was limited though and also a bit low. The shower area was on the right as you entered and the tub on the left. The vanity on the front. The wc was enclosed beside the vanity. Which you are bound to miss on initial inspection! Amenities were by Acca Kappa.

Evaluation: Good

Breakfast at The Market Place on the ground level The breakfast buffet from 6am-11am had everything expected from a five star breakfast experience. With all the usual suspects and many more choices. The decor of the restaurant was beautiful with different sections of the restaurant done up in different settings. There was an outdoor area as well, however, having nothing to look at was a huge minus.

Evaluation: Good

Check-out 11.45am Check-out was smooth. Our car took a really long time to come however!

Evaluation: Good

8 march/april 2017

Top hotel Undercover

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









Floor service:




Breakfast buffet:




Corridors, elevators, stairs:




Check out:

Good 0






Total: 77% Top hotel Undercover opinion:


march/april 2017 9

Anantara prepares to debut in Europe Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas is preparing to launch the first Anantara in Europe, with Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort scheduled to welcome its first guests on April 1st, 2017. Located along southern Portugal’s picturesque Algarve coast, Europe’s first Anantara will offer a tranquil retreat, overlooking the Arnold Palmer designed Oceânico golf course, just 15 minutes from Faro International Airport, close to the ocean and stunning beaches, and a five-minute drive from the glamour of Vilamoura. The property is currently operating as Tivoli Victoria, with a number of key renovations being undertaken prior to relaunching as Anantara Vilamoura. The refurbishment includes the main lobby, the Anantara Spa and the gym. In addition, the brand new Anantara Explorer’s children’s and teens’ club, which has been designed by World Wide Kids Company, will ensure world-class family-friendly experiences. Four swimming pools include Cascades, an adults-only pool with golf fairway views, and a children’s pool for family enjoyment with deckchairs by the kids’ club. Guests will be able to stay active at the floodlit tennis court and state-of-the-art fitness centre with a dedicated Personal Trainer. The rebranded Anantara Spa will offer signature Ayurveda based treatments and centuries-old Mediterranean therapies with a serene vista of golf greens. Yoga and tai chi sessions complement the wellness offering. Anantara’s signature culinary concepts will offer unique and engaging experiences. The renowned Anantara Spice Spoons Cooking Class will combine a tour of the Loulé food market, with an interactive cooking class in an open theatre kitchen with a Portuguese Chef. The resort will also offer spectacular settings and venues for all types of events.

Dining by Design at Anantara Vilamoura

10 march/april 2017

Anantara Vilamoura - exterior facade and arrival

Presidential Suite Bedroom

Main pool with golf course backdrop

Emaar Hospitality Group unveils Address Boulevard Address Hotels + Resorts has unveiled its new city lifestyle resort, Address Boulevard. With its inspiring art-deco architecture, design and décor, Address Boulevard offers a unique experience for guests and builds on the strong credentials of Address Hotels + Resorts in managing mixed-use luxury hotels and serviced

Address Boulevard by Emaar Hospitality Group

residences. Address Boulevard has 196 spacious rooms, including 116 Deluxe Rooms, 44 Deluxe Club Rooms, 28 One-Bedroom Suites, seven Two-Bedroom Suites, and a luxurious Presidential Suite, offering spectacular views of The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. In addition, there are 532 serviced apartments,

including duplexes and two penthouses, with short-term guests at the residences also guaranteed access to the hotel’s facilities. The new destination is inspired by classic European finesse underlined with contemporary understated luxury. A core theme of the hotel is the notion of timeless elegance.

Address Boulevard lobby

sbe to open its first hotel in the Middle East sbe will open its first hotel in the Middle East with the launch of Mondrian Doha, Qatar, in spring (quarter two), 2017. This soft opening will set the stage for Mondrian Doha’s grand opening celebration, which follows in late September, 2017, and promises to be an outstanding showcase of the property. The lavish 270-room hotel has been designed in collaboration with worldrenowned Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders, along with South West Architecture - the architectural company of record for Mondrian Doha, responsible for the design of the building. The hotel will be an exceptional lifestyle offering for Doha, and will be Marcel Wanders’ first hotel for the region. Guests can choose from five distinctive room categories including penthouse suites, studio suites, one and two bedroom suites, and a range of standard guestrooms - all of which share the universal design details of Swarovski crystal chandeliers and sumptuous bespoke furniture in hues to mirror the desert. Sensitively rooted in local Arabic culture, Mondrian Doha will express tradition with a modern point of view throughout. The hotel will incorporate bespoke Marcel Wanders design features with influences from the beauty of local patterns, ornate Arabic writing and historic souks. Standout, memorable elements include giant columns with golden eggs, a ‘tree of life’ comprised of flowers, falcon video art, giant shisha, patterned carpets, ornate stained glass, and intricate mosaic tiling.

sbe Mondrian

march/april 2017 11

The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel honours 380 years of service The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa with its owning company National Hotels Company BSC, recognised their employees who have completed years of service ranging from five to 35 years at its Annual Staff Party held last month at the Grand Ambassador Ballroom. On this occasion, CEO Abdul Rahman Morshed, said “Employees are the lifeblood of any organisation. Its growth, development, stability and success is through their unwavering service. The company has achieved recognitions over the past 35 years, and we are proud to see that they are part of it.” The ethos of Yes I Can! is the driving force behind the success of all employees, like Waheed Ameen, a Bahraini, who works as Laundry Valet, and has completed 35 years of service. Another success story is about Mahmood Hajji, Bell Captain, who has served 23 years and won the Group Picture with General Manager Employee of the Year 2016 award.

From left: Mohamed Al Shaikha (front office manager) – Mahmood Haji (Bell Captain) – Panos Panagis (General Manager)

From left: Waheed Ameen (Laundry Valet) – Panos Panagis (General Manager)

Hansgrohe Group appoints Markus Singler as MD Middle East Hansgrohe Group has announced the appointment of its new Managing Director for the Middle East – Markus Singler. With nearly ten years of experience in the company, he has relocated from the Group’s South Africa office, and plans to build on the great

12 march/april 2017

success Hansgrohe enjoys in this region. The Middle East region is an important market for both brands, AXOR and Hansgrohe. “When it comes to high profile luxury projects, the UAE is the engine of the region. This region has huge potential, and many growth op-

portunities. I have set myself clear goals: position both our brands, AXOR and Hansgrohe, as the number one choices for luxury and high value projects in the whole Middle East region, and to bring those brands closer to the end consumer,” he states.

Dusit Thani extends lease on prime Bangkok city-centre plot

Dubai International Hotel has received three prestigious awards and accolades recently. The luxury airport hotel won the ‘Best Airport Hotel’ on a continent level at the 2016 Haute Grandeur Global Hotel Awards, which recognises exceptional contributions by outstanding hotels. The awards are a prestigious achievement in luxury hospitality, honouring an unbiased result of only the finest in the industry. Winners are chosen by giving due importance to the quality of guest feedback rather than the quantity of votes. Consolidating its position as a leading airport hotel, Dubai International Hotel was also voted as ‘Regional Winner - Luxury Airport Hotel’ at the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards. World Luxury Hotel Awards recognises the accomplishments of hotels in the luxury hospitality industry. Winners are chosen on the basis of guest votes. Ever growing in popularity, Dubai International Hotel’s Ahlan Business Class Lounge has recently taken the coveted Number One spot on Trip Advisor’s list of ‘Restaurants in Dubai’, out of a total of 8,733 restaurants in the city.

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Hospitality Management Holding unveils new logo HMH - Hospitality Management Holding has unveiled a new logo in keeping with the group’s unique selling proposition ‘Beyond Hospitality’. It has been developed to not only meet the evolving needs of the market, but also to reflect the group’s distinctive character, exceptional brands, and aggressive expansion strategy. Launching the logo, Ferghal Purcell, Chief Operating Officer of HMH, said,“The new HMH logo demonstrates a decade of

HMH Logo Launch

success. Reflecting our brand culture, built on our commitment to excellence and consistent quality of service, the new identity has been designed to broaden our appeal at every level of our business. The rationale behind our new logo is to highlight the fact that we offer more with added value and have the formula for both growth and success in the dry segment. The uniqueness of the new logo says it all and allows us to embrace the future with a contemporary and energetic look.”

HMH Logo Launch march/april 2017 13

Miral confirms 29 rides, shows and attractions at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi Miral confirmed that Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, an indoor theme park spanning 1.65 million square feet, will be home to 29 immersive rides, entertaining shows, and interactive attractions. The fully-immersive world-class park will also include retail outlets featuring a wide collection of merchandise inspired by Warner Bros franchises, as well as a full range of

Mohamed Al Zaabi CEO Miral

dining options, from full-service sit down, to grab and go. Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi will bring together Super Heroes and Super-Villains from the DC Universe, including Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, as well as Warner Bros’ iconic animated properties such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and Tom and Jerry, creating a family-friendly

destination for fans of all ages. Theming is currently underway throughout the park. Factory acceptance testing for all rides is nearly done, and delivery and installation of rides has already started. Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi comes as part of Yas Island’s commitment to attracting 48 million annual visits by 2022.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

ATM to focus on MENA wellness tourism sector A Wellness Symposium, which will throw the spotlight on the US$ 8.3 billion industry in the Middle East/ North Africa (MENA), will be launched at Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre in April. A partnership between the World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio of events and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the symposium has been organised as part of a schedule of events in ATM’s Wellness Lounge. It will also analyse MENA’s thriving domestic (four million trips) and inbound (4.5 million trips) wellness tourism markets – as

14 march/april 2017

well as trends in outbound wellness tourism from the Middle East. The UAE leads the Middle Eastern wellness tourism market. With an average of 1.7 million wellness trips generating US$ 2.7 billion annually, it accounts for 14 per cent of the MENA spa market, according to research from Colliers Experiential Travel Series. Designed as a hub for wellness and spa professionals, the lounge returns to this year’s event and will host two days of up to 35 pre-scheduled appointments with high calibre Middle Eastern buyers, and up to 35 international wellness suppliers.

Ellis Susie

Executive Chef Fernando Galbiati brings gastronomic excellence to Trump International Golf Club, Dubai Set to take Dubai’s thriving culinary scene by storm, Executive Chef Fernando Galbiati brings an impressive pedigree and dynamic, innovative energy to create an exemplary dining experience at the recently opened Clubhouse at Trump International Golf Club, Dubai. Italian through and through, he constantly pushes boundaries with inspired flavour combinations and creative flair, delivering inventive, yet approachable cuisine, becoming an up-and-coming chef to watch in the region. Chef Fernando’s passion for cooking

grew at the private chef school at Collegio Ballerini, and he worked across multiple countries before coming to Dubai in 2012 as Sous Chef at the Cavalli Club. He has also worked at Bice Restaurant at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach, and Social by Heinz Beck at The Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah. He now oversees the dining at Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, having assembled a talented team that shares his passion and vision, with a culinary philosophy centred around simple, honest, and uncomplicated food, combined with a strong foundation of classic Italian cooking. Chef Fernando Galbiati

World of Hyatt welcomes new era Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the launch of World of Hyatt, Hyatt’s new global platform, grounded in the simple idea that a little understanding goes a long way. This reflects Hyatt’s purpose and reaffirms its commitment to building genuine and trusted experiences, and engaging its community of loyalists in a way that is meaningful to them. World of Hyatt is building personalized experiences to promote understanding through travel. These experiences are designed to bring the World of Hyatt community together to learn, connect

and celebrate the world. Collaborating with AFAR, a company that was founded on the notion that travel brings about understanding, allows World of Hyatt a way to engage guests beyond traditional hotel stays. The launch of World of Hyatt is supported by an unprecedented integrated marketing campaign, ‘For a World of Understanding’. The campaign debuted its anthem spot with a universal message during the 89th Oscars® broadcast, leveraging a series of personal vignettes that speak to the power of understanding.

The anthem features GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Andra Day singing, “What the World Needs Now is Love”, the timeless song from Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music composition). Created by MullenLowe, the spot was filmed earlier this year in Thailand, Morocco and Spain, and explores how people from different cultures unite through simple human connections. The global campaign will extend across TV, digital, social, out-of-home, in-hotel, print, and events throughout 2017 with an emphasis in the United States, China and India.

march/april 2017 15

Water Sustainability Machine launched at Gulffood One of the UAE’s biggest banks has signed up with a Dubai SME to provide four-year, interest-free payments for buyers of revolutionary machines that literally convert air into water. The deal between Emirates NBD and Dubai-based Sky River

was signed at Gulfood 2017. Emirates NBD said the buyer-plan backing is aimed at supporting the UAE’s SME community, particularly those engaged with socially-conscious concerns. “As a business bank, when someone in the local community has a venture such as this, we feel it is our duty to support them and help them grow their business,” said Hussam Al Hashimi, Executive Vice President and Head of Priority Banking and Business Banking.

Sky River launched its futuristic, gamechanging water coolers that capture the air around it before filtering and cooling it into the purest form of drinking water. With global water shortages well-documented, Sky River CEO, Faheema Mohamed, believes her company has the technology, the will, and the way to tackle the issue. With seawater containing about 80,000 parts per million (ppm) of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and bottled water roughly 100-200 ppm, Sky River claims its airturned-water contains just 10-20 ppm, making it the “best” drinking water.“The filtering system even clears out the ‘bad’ air, so there is no issue with airborne germs – even if people are coughing and sneezing around the machine. You could even have a car engine running next to it and not have to worry,” adds Mohamed.

Mövenpick Resort Petra enhances Go Healthy menu with traditions of local olive oilr In its efforts to support small communities through buying from local suppliers, as well as highlighting the health benefits of olive oil, Mövenpick Resort Petra has enhanced its progressive ‘Go Healthy’ menu with specialities containing local olive oil from Wadi Musa. In an area cherished for its strong sense of community and belonging, the annual olive-picking season is a revered event that everyone eagerly looks forward to. ‘Go Healthy’ is a global signature service of Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, featuring tasty, nutritious dishes that are good for both people and the planet. A key element revolves around using locally sourced seasonal products from environmentally conscious suppliers. Mövenpick Resort Petra is located in the culture-rich valley of Wadi Musa, an area most famous for being the gateway to the Rose City of Petra, and recognised for growing olive trees. Each year,

16 march/april 2017

family members, friends, and neighbours gather to collect the year’s harvest. With folkloric chants in the background, buckets of olives can be seen making their journey to the nearby presses. By buying these olives, Mövenpick Resort Petra enhances its dining culture by providing wholesome, nutrient-rich products that come straight from the farm, as well as sharing a part of the area’s history, culture and traditions. Mövenpick Resort Petra’s Executive Chef Suliman Mashaleh has taken extra care to select and prepare dishes utilising the finest and purest olive oil the valley has to offer. They include traditional Jordanian dishes such as mushakhan (roasted chicken with onions and bread dipped in olive oil), zaatar manakeesh (a thin thyme and dough breakfast dish), labneh balls (dried yoghurt for breakfast, snacks and dinner) and makdous (walnut-stuffed mini-eggplant for breakfast, snacks and dinner).

Local Olive Oil

Meliá earned GB€ 100.7 million in 2016 of €100.7 million (AED 454706993 / US$ 123810650) in • Net Profit: GB€ 100.7 million (+ 180 per cent) 2016, an improve(AED 454706993 / US$ 123810650) ment of 180 per cent • Global RevPAR: +14 per cent (80 per cent attributable to price over the previous improvements) year, and remark• Melia.com increases sales by over 30 per cent able, considering • Further improvement in the positioning and contribution of core assets that hardly any • Successful assets’ rebranding and repositioning strategy capital gains from • Ebitdar and Ebitda margins’ improvement asset rotation were generated over the Financial management: year. Excluding the • Debt reduced by GB€ 226 million (AED 1020494344 / effect of capital gains, US$ 277867000) over the year company EBITDA • Net debt/EBITDA ratio at historically low multiple (1.9 times) improved by 14 per • Significant reduction in financial expenses, with savings of cent, and revenues GB€ 28 million (AED 126432927 / US$ 34426000) compared to 2015 reached GB€ 1,798.4 • Cost of debt below 3.5 per cent million (AED 8121927371/ US$ Expansion strategy: 2211492480) (+seven • The company opened 17 new hotels in 2016 and schedules 23 new per cent). Total openings for 2017 revenues including • Among other dynamic and safe destinations in the Mediterranean and managed hotels and Caribbean, Asia Pacific will lead growth asset sales reached • The company remains committed to keeping its leadership in Spain, GB€ 2,882.4 million with three new hotels for 2017 (AED 13017483984 / US$ 3544487280). Outlook for 2017: The improvement • On a global level, Meliá expects to increase RevPAR by a medium to in EBITDA margins high single digit of almost 100 basis • Results remain robust in resorts and in hotels in cities popular with points is also very tourists (bleisure) positive, even more • The reopening of important hotels after renovation and/or re-branding, so as it has been such as Paradisus Los Cabos, or ME Cancun, among others, will achieved while still increase their contribution to revenues and brand value meeting the growth and repositioning objectives, which are fundamental to comGabriel Escarrer Jaume, Vice pany strategy. Financial results also saw 49 Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of per cent improvement, attributable both to Meliá Hotels International, proudly informs consistent reductions of company debt, and that 2016 results show a strong performance from the hotel business as a result of a reduction in the average interest rate of 90 basis points. a positive international travel environment, The spectacular performance of the hotel especially in resorts. He also credits a sucbusiness demonstrates that it is supported cessful strategy over recent years, laying the by a consistent strategy in which Meliá groundwork for more profitable and qualitative growth in the coming years.“Together believes the key factors are: • Digital transformation: melia.com has with a significantly healthier balance sheet, become a key sales channel for improving and a business model increasingly based results, growing by 30 per cent in 2016 to on international growth and managereach GB€ 430 million (AED 1941964396 / ment agreements, all of this places us in an US$ 528771000) in sales. The new MeliaPro unbeatable position to face the significant online channel for professional clients (B2B) geopolitical, economic, social and technological challenges that affect the industry on also registered spectacular growth of 71 per cent, and the company also highlights the a global level,” he says. Meliá Hotels International earned profits growing contribution of the MeliaRewards

Business performance:

loyalty programme, with 44 per cent more members, 58 per cent more stays, and 43 per cent more revenues compared to 2015. • Revenues culture: In connection with the above, Revenue Management strategy combined with intense investments in hotel renovation and repositioning has allowed an improvement in prices, responsible for 80 per cent of the improvement in global RevPAR. As a result, Meliá has led the international hotel industry in RevPAR growth, with 27 consecutive quarters of increases and an average annual growth rate of 9.75 per cent ever since the second quarter of 2010. • Selective and qualitative international growth: Along with more than 30 new hotels signed up over the year, Meliá also opened 17 new hotels in 10 countries. In 2017, this figure will rise to 23 new hotels in at least 15 countries. The expansion strategy prioritises the safest and most dynamic resort destinations, together with cities with a large ‘bleisure’ component (attractive to both business and leisure travellers). • Powerful, differentiated brands: As a hospitality company, Meliá faces the major challenges in the industry such as the proliferation of disruptive business models like vacation rental with the support of a portfolio of powerful and well-positioned brands, and remains committed to better brands, better quality, and better service. In 2016, the company has carried out an exhaustive analysis and repositioning of its brand architecture and service culture, generating greater visibility and definition of the experience they provide to guests. • The Meliá Hotels International Real Estate strategy pursues a dual objective. First, to enhance company assets through asset rotation by taking advantage of the evolution of the real estate cycle, and second, to strengthen its Joint Venture model as a vehicle for growth both through the transformation of assets in need of significant investment as well as through the addition of new hotels. The EMEA region had a very strong performance in 2016, with an increase in RevPAR in the region of 12.4 per cent, thanks to the extraordinary performance of hotels in Spain and Germany, and to the slow but consistent recovery of markets such as the United Kingdom and France in the fourth quarter.

march/april 2017 17

at the apan

TIME Hotels to support Ajman tourism sector TIME Hotels operates two TIME TIME Hotels has added a fourth Residence properties in Dubai: Oak TIME Residence to its expanding UAE TIME Residence and Oak Villas TIME portfolio of serviced apartments, by Residence, all of which target long stay launching the first of two properties business travellers and families looking in Ajman, Palm 1 TIME Residence. for flexible, quality-led accommodation Launching in March 2017, the property in the urban heart of the city. Further will host 16 apartments for long-stay plans exist to take the TIME Residence guests, each with state-of-the-art brand to Fujairah, with the launch of interior features and fittings, and a Platinum TIME Residence this year, range of facilities in the building to allowing TIME Hotels to position itself provide comfortable and convenient strategically in the emirate’s expanding living. Located on Hafiz Ibrahim Street, hospitality market. the property is only minutes away The openings from the beach and close are part of the to Ajman’s shopping hospitality district. This launch will be company’s regionfollowed by Palm 2 TIME wide expansion Residence, featuring 20 plans, which will add long-stay apartments. three new hotels in Ajman’s primary Dubai – TIME Asma source markets remained Hotel, TIME Royal unchanged in 2016, Hotel & Spa and with UAE staycations TIME Express Hotel remaining the strongest Al Jaddaf – and a market, generating further four hotels 134,900 guests, followed across Egypt, Saudi by the GCC nationals Mohamed Awadalla, Arabia and Qatar. (84,310) and other Arab CEO, TIME Hotels nationals (89,631).

Brazilian grill specialist, Joanna Portella, heats things up in RARE’s theatre kitchen Joanna Portella joins the team at RARE, and introduces her specialist capabilities on the Asado grill, bringing out flavours and aromas in meat, seafood, and produce. With her love of open-fire cooking, RARE at Desert Palm PER AQUUM introduces Latin flair to a global basket of ingredients. From the menu, her dishes can be enjoyed individually or shared, which is ideal for a social dinner with friends or a romantic meal for two. Guests can choose from a selection of beginnings from the Raw, Cured and Smoked sections, with her extensive menu featuring fresh spicy tuna or shrimp ceviche, beef tartare, to Rangers Valley Farm aged beef from Australia. She has also created exclusive marinades for RARE blending various spices and different types of peppers. To make the signature meat marinade, she uses smoked paprika, Jalapeños, onion powder, pink salt, dried parsley, mustard seeds, and cloves as some of her secret ingredients.

Musafir.com partners with India’s Ministry of Tourism

New Executive Housekeeper for Capital Centre Arjaan

Musafir.com, in collaboration with the India Tourism, Dubai (Incredible India - an international marketing campaign by the Government of India), formed a comprehensive partnership to promote tourism in India, and to raise awareness about India as a leisure destination among UAE travellers hailing from diverse backgrounds, and to highlight India’s vast culture, demography and rich heritage among the UAE travellers. With the association and rigorRajesh Pareek ous promotion of India during December, January, and February, Musafir.com witnessed a growth of 12 per cent in their flight bookings to the Indian sector out of the UAE, and 21 per cent increase in holiday packages sold by Musafir.com to India. Musafir.com has managed to create an awareness amongst the UAE population, (specially expats) through their digital acquisition campaigns, with a strong focus on popular Indian tourist destinations such as Himachal, Goa, Kerala, the Golden triangle, etc.

Sailesh Nagavenkatha has joined Capital Centre Arjaan by Rotana as the hotels new Executive housekeeper. Nagavenkatha, an Indian national, holds a degree in Hospitality Management from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He boasts eleven years of experience in the industry, and has worked with internationally renowned brands. Prior to this, he held the role of housekeeping manager at Hyatt Place Hotel, Dubai. As Executive Housekeeper, he will be responsible in ensuring the department complies with the Rotana Brand standards, and will work very closely with the management to ensure utmost guest satisfaction during the stay is achieved along with the hotels overall upkeep.

18 march/april 2017

S Pellegrino returns - calling young chefs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for the Young Chef Award S Pellegrino Young Chef Award is back for the third year to find the world’s best young chef.Young chefs from around the world, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are invited to submit an application with their signature dish at www. sanpellegrino.com, which will serve as the new digital hub of the competition. Applying chefs must be 30-years-old or younger, and have at least one year of experience working in a restaurant as a chef, sous chef or chef de partie. The submission form and process

have been further streamlined to manage the application phase in the most effective way possible. The deadline for submitting entries in April 30th, 2017. What’s even more exciting is that this year, the Middle East and Africa region semi-final event, which is scheduled for October 2017, will take place in Dubai for the first time. Last year, UAE-based chef Gregoire Berger won regional challenge, and represented the MEA region at the international grand finale in Milan. The third edition will take place over the course of 18 months, with final event taking place in Milan in June, 2018. The extended duration for this edition will allow candidates more time to work side by side their assigned Chef Mentors to improve their signature dishes and refine their skill set in preparation for the finals. In addition, applications will now be accepted in English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French and

Interel wins multiple Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards for Best Innovation in clean, green and sustainable technology INTEREL has been recognised as the winner of the Clean Technology, Green Building and Innovation in Sustainable Technologies categories at the Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards last month. Presented by Eng Mohamed Al Hosani, MD of Tandeef, the awards provide recognition for companies and individuals implementing outstanding sustainability and CSR initiatives across the region, and aim to support organisations and businesses as a vehicle for sharing best practice and for promoting continuous improvement, learning, and personal development. Focused on enhancing the hotel guest experience and optimising an operator’s energy consumption, INTEREL’s system philosophy is driven by their social responsibility towards the environment – seeking to deliver greener and more sustainable operations by building on the efforts of hoteliers who are focused on reducing their properties’ energy consumption and costs. Said Florian Kriechbaumer, INTEREL’s Director of Operations & Development, “Through our revolutionary online Water

Management System, a hotel is able to save up to 30 per cent of water every year while improving the guest experience.”INTEREL’s Water Management System allows guests to have 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.

At the awards ceremony, from left: Brijesh Dhruve, Chief Environment Officer, ENOC; Florian Kriechbaumer, INTEREL’s Director, Operations & Development; Eng. Mohamed Al Hosani, MD of Tandeef; and Mark Hamill, Managing Director of Awards International

Italian. Over the course of the contest – which last year, attracted over 3,000 applicants – 70 top chefs will be involved as jurors in the local competitions, 21 young chefs from 21 different geographic areas will be selected as semi-finalists, and 21 Chef Mentors will be assigned individually to the young chefs, providing guidance throughout their exceptional journey.

Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi appoints new General Manager Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has promoted Ahmed Issa from resident manager of Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi to General Manager of Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Issa has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years, 14 of which have been spent with the Shangri-La Group. His extensive experience in food and beverage operations within five-star luxury hotels led him to being a part of the pre-opening team at Shangri‑La Hotel, Dubai and Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Under his leadership, the team garnered multiple hospitality awards, including ‘Best in Class Restaurant’ for Sofra, Bord Eau, Shang Palace and Hoi An.

march/april 2017 19



up-to-date www.tophotel.news brings you the highlights of what’s happening in the global hotel industry

Highlights of Marriott’s Fourth Quarter 2016 Results This month, Marriott International, Inc reported fourth quarter 2016 results. On September 23, 2016, Marriott completed its acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (Starwood). The company has shared results for the fourth quarter, in accordance with US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). To further assist investors, the company is also providing, one, adjusted results that exclude mergerrelated costs; and two, combined financials and selected performance information for all of 2016, the 2015 fourth quarter, and all of 2015, that assumes Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood, and Starwood’s sale of its timeshare business, had been completed on January 1, 2015, but uses the estimated fair value of assets and liabilities as of the actual closing date of the acquisition. Combined results also reflect other adjustments. In the information to follow, the business associated with brands that were in Marriott’s portfolio before the Starwood acquisition are referred to as ‘Legacy-Marriott’, while the Starwood business and brands that the company acquired are referred to as ‘Legacy-Starwood’. Arne M Sorenson, president and CEO, Marriott International, said, “The company delivered record high fee revenues in 2016, boosted by significant unit growth, RevPAR improvement, outstanding propertylevel margin gains, and the acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts. We added 11 leading brands to our portfolio as a result of the acquisition, and welcomed the 6,000th hotel to our system. Together with owners

20 january/february 2017


Together with owners and franchisees, Marriott and Starwood added more than 68,000 rooms during the year, and, despite a tightening credit market, drove our pipeline of hotels under development to more than 420,000 rooms and franchisees, Marriott and Starwood added more than 68,000 rooms during the year, and, despite a tightening credit market, drove our pipeline of hotels under development to more than 420,000 rooms. Looking ahead, we’ve never been more optimistic about our long-term prospects. Our expected new rooms growth for 2017 remains healthy, customers love our hotels and loyalty programmes, and owners and franchisees prefer our portfolio of brands more than ever. Around the globe, Marriott brands represent nearly one in four hotels under construction, and one in three hotels under construction in North America.” “Our strategy of managing and franchising hotels under solid, longterm agreements is proven. Over the years, we’ve shown that this business model delivers meaningful growth in the number and variety of choices for our guests globally, while generating strong sustainable cash flow. In 2017, we anticipate growing our rooms distribution by six per cent, net, and expect that our worldwide system-wide comparable constant dollar RevPAR for the combined portfolio will increase half to two and a half per cent. While we do not assume asset sales in our earnings guidance, we believe assets will be sold in 2017. Not including asset sales, we expect to return US$ 1.5 billion to US$ two billion to shareholders in share repurchases and dividends in 2017,”he added.

Hard Rock International announces launch of Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen

Marriott recently began the gargantuan task of streamlining the categorisation

of its many branches. Amid customer confusion over the identity of their now 30 brands, Marriott has started dividing its hotels, residences and condominiums into different sections. Hard Rock Hotels has announced the launch of its first hotel in China, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen. Slated to open in summer 2017, the new Hard Rock property will offer a luxury stay for modern travellers, who are seeking a reprieve from traditional accommodations. Blending pop culture and premium hospitality, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen promises a host of world-class leisure, dining, and entertainment options, and the thread that unites them all – music. Destined to become a new landmark in the Guangdong region, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen will continue the brand’s tradition of presenting memorable moments through music. Whether a guest prefers rap, pop, reggae, or R&B, travellers can create an unparalleled, hands-on musical experience with the brand’s signature ‘The Sound of Your Stay’ amenity programme, offering in-room Fender guitar check-out, and DJ-equipment rental, complimentary and delivered to guests’ rooms. Throughout the property, guests will enjoy rare and valuable memorabilia on display. Carefully chosen from Hard Rock’s world-famous, 80,000+ piece collection, each prized piece celebrates legendary music icons from around the world. The 258 rooms and suites feature a

Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen

creative mix of music-inspired décor and modern Chinese elements. A range of high-end accommodations, including Studio Suites, Rock Royalty Studio Suites, and Rock Star Suite® provide the ultimate all-access pass to a luxury VIP experience, as well as views of the entire property that covers more than 44,000 square metres. While music soothes the soul, food satisfies the senses, and Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen will boast a variety of dining destinations. Travellers can choose from the signature Hard Rock Cafe, the MC Frida rooftop pool bar, The Cake Shop, GMT+8 Lobby Lounge, or browse the all-day offerings at Sessions. Other facilities include the Body Rock® fitness centre, Rock Shop®, and Roxity Kids’ Club for budding little rockstars. Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen will also feature more than 1,000 square metres of event and meeting facilities. “We are proud to bring the Hard Rock Hotel experience to Mainland january/february 2017 21


Whether a guest prefers rap, pop, reggae, or R&B, travellers can create an unparalleled, hands-on musical experience with the brand’s signature ‘The Sound of Your Stay’ amenity programme China, where consumers are equally passionate about music and travel,”said Peter Wynne, Area Vice President of Operations – Asia Pacific Hotels, Hard Rock Hotels, adding,“While Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen will offer a one-of-a-kind luxury experience, guests can expect the same music-centred fun as other Hard Rock Hotels around the world. As our brand has proven over the years, nothing is more universal than a love of music and having a great time.” Located in the famed Mission Hills Centreville, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen offers convenient access to the world’s number one golf course and close proximity to an extensive range of leisure, wellness and entertainment offerings. Hard Rock Hotel is located 45 minutes from Shenzhen Bao’An International Airport, and 35 minutes from the city centre.

Mantra Group rebrands the iconic Airlie Beach hotel as a conclusion of the hotel’s multi-million-dollar refurbishment

Mantra Group officially opened the new-look, rebranded Mantra Club Croc hotel, following a major US$ five million refurbishment to bring a fresh design and upgraded facilities to the iconic Airlie Beach hotel. Situated close to the beachfront and Abell Point Marina, Mantra Club Croc is housed in a traditional Queenslanderstyle building, offering a glimpse into the region’s past, contrasted by its modern accommodation and facilities. Guests can now experience stylish accommodation with coastal inspired décor, a range of new and improved guest amenities, such as a large lagoon pool, with adjoining spa and lush 22 january/february 2017

Mantra Wallaroo Shores

Mantra Macarthur Canberra Hotel

tropical gardens, and locally-inspired cuisine at the hotel’s new contemporary poolside restaurant and bar. In addition to the refurbishment of all 160 guest rooms, the restaurant and bar, common areas and leisure facilities, the upgrade also includes an executive makeover of the hotel’s conference centre, which accommodates events from 20 to 200 delegates with a comprehensive range of facilities. Mantra Club Croc General Manager Luke Harley said the hotel’s rebranding marks the conclusion of the hotel’s multi-million dollar refurbishment programme.“The refurbishment has breathed new life into the much-loved hotel, and has brought it up to the premier Mantra brand standards,”he said. Originally opened 30 years ago, in 1987, and now meticulously restored and refurbished, Mantra Club Croc is an important property, not just for Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays, but also for the international Mantra brand. Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer Bob East said the addition of Mantra Club Croc supports the Group’s growth strategy in key regional tourism hubs.“The Whitsundays is experiencing a strong uplift in tourist arrivals into the region, driven by a weak dollar and lower airfares,”he explained, adding, “This strong performance is set to continue with favourable conditions forecasted for the Whitsunday tourism market.”Mantra Club Croc is Mantra Group’s third Whitsundays property,

joining Mantra Boathouse Apartments and Peppers Airlie Beach. “The addition of Mantra Club Croc perfectly complements our other Whitsunday properties, offering great service, bistro-style food, and accommodation at an affordable price,”said East. The hotel is managed by Mantra Group, and owned by Singaporean-based Well Smart Group. Work on the property commenced in October 2016, immediately after Mantra Group secured the long-term Hotel Management Agreement. Two other hotel projects currently under construction are: • Mantra Wallaroo Shores Mantra Wallaroo Shores Resort is located in the prime position of the 18.5 hectare Wallaroo Shores development. Facing the beach and the local marina, Mantra Wallaroo Shores Resort boasts unbeatable views, and an unrivalled location where the town meets the sea at Wallaroo. • Mantra Macarthur Canberra Hotel An existing office tower, located on the corner of Northbourne and McCarthur Avenues in the inner-city suburb of Turner, will be converted into a hotel, as part of a new master planned mixed-use precinct. The property will be known as Mantra Canberra Hotel, and will offer a mix of 136 hotel rooms and 40 suites across eight accommodation levels.

25-27 April 2017 Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai


Catalysts of Change Over 80 speakers already confirmed!

Discover which critical industry topics will be tackled by a powerhouse line-up. Visit arabianconference.com today!

Chris Nasetta President and CEO Hilton Worldwide

O r g a n i s e d by

SĂŠbastien Bazin Chairman and CEO AccorHotels

P l at i n u m s P O n s O r s

Olivier Harnisch Chief Executive Officer Emaar Hospitality Group LLC


The refurbishment has breathed new life into the much-loved hotel, and has brought it up to the premier Mantra brand standards Kempinski Hotels to open Cuba’s first 5-star hotel

W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, is collaborating with SBA group and Krause Sawyer to create a hotel located in the heart of Panama’s financial district. Cuba is set to receive the five-star treatment with the opening of a new hotel by Swiss group Kempinski Hotels, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Havana. Due to open in summer 2017, the luxurious Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana will have all the trappings you would expect from a highend Caribbean oasis, but is made all the more attractive because of its location. The hotel is located in the historic Manzana de Gómez, a former shopping arcade built between 1894 and 1917, in decadent European style. A colonnaded arcade wraps around the ground floor, while above, French windows define the building’s aspirational European aesthetic. The Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana will boast 276 rooms of impeccable taste, high ceilings, and stylish decor. The coveted presidential suite is a vast 150 square metres, and guests can take advantage of the roof terrace and swimming pool, which overlook the old city. The hotel is located near the seafront, and just 10 minutes away from the famous Castillo de Morro.

Havana has long been the haunt of celebrities and glamour, and the country has undergone many changes in the past year, including the death of its eminent, yet controversial leader, Fidel Castro. Last year, Cuba opened its borders to American tourists, after the Obama administration re-opened diplomatic relations with the island nation. As a result, Cuba is seeing a new wave of development to attract and accommodate this new tourism, with Melia Hotels and Resorts constructing a new development in Trinidad on the island’s south coast, Sofitel currently building

the Sofitel So La Habana in Havana, and The Luxury Collection refurbishing an existing Havana building to open Hotel Inglaterra later this year. Sofitel So La Habana The hotel will be located on the corner of the Malecón and Paseo del Prado. Hotel Inglaterra, a Luxury Collection The Hotel Inglaterra is being rebranded to become a member of The Luxury Collection. The Inglaterra first opened its doors in 1875, and is home to the Gran Café el Louvre, which has hosted artists and travellers for over a century. Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana Originally built between 1894 and 1917 as the first European style shopping arcade in Cuba, Gran Hotel Kempinski La Habana is situated in the heart of the old Havana with a direct view of the Capitol and the Great Theatre of Havana, and amidst UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Sofitel So La Habana

Hotel Inglaterra, a Luxury Collection

The coveted presidential suite is a vast 150 square metres, and guests can take advantage of the roof terrace and swimming pool, which overlook the old city

Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana 24 january/february 2017


This new pared-back approach will shrink the total of rooms from 63 to 37, a significant commercial sacrifice, but one in line with the intimate atmosphere of a boutique hotel

Proposed new GB£ five million (US$ 6.1 million) hotel in Belfast to undergo major changes before construction

The plans to overhaul an existing building to make way for a 63-room hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland, have been radically altered, following a change in ownership and vision for the project. The War Memorial building was set for a massive refurbishment, and plans previously submitted, that would have seen the former nightclub complex acquire a new extension, concrete canopy, and facade clean-up, have now been scrapped in favour of a much more modest, yet contemporary, proposal. Developers Chanro Investments acquired the project a few months ago, and put the Gravity Group at the helm of the new operations. The group’s change of course was inspired by two successful boutique hotels in Dublin and London, The Dean Hotel, and The Shoreditch Hotel respectively. Designers Dickson Fitzgerald Architects are proposing a less invasive remodelling of the building, and aim to respect the existing character of the structure and letting this inform the design. This new pared-back approach will shrink the total of rooms from 63 to 37, a significant commercial sacrifice, but one in line with the intimate atmosphere of a boutique hotel. The extension in the original submission has been eliminated, and a rooftop pavilion and bar, with a timber lattice covering, have been included in the new plans. The current facade will be retained and restored, celebrating the brickwork, stonework, and slate panels common to Belfast’s

material palette. The ground floor level will be completely open plan, and the restaurant will be relocated to the fourth floor. A landscaped courtyard will replace the car park at the back of the site. Construction work is due to start soon.

Top 10 countries for hotel construction worldwide

While the global hospitality industry is a vibrant one, changing year to year in many surprising and interesting ways, when it comes to the top 10 countries for hotel construction worldwide, the list is perhaps less surprising than one might think. The 10 countries that make up this year’s list are among the strongest economic engines for their respective regions, as well as strong perennial performers in tourism and recreation spending. In order of the country with the most upcoming hotel construction projects, they are as follows: The United States, China, Germany, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, India, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Russia, and Australia. What is perhaps also quite unsurprising is that the United States and China are somewhat far in front of the rest of the pack, in terms of rankings that are based on the number of ongoing projects, as well as the potential of new rooms that will be yielded once those projects are complete, according to data from TOPHOTELPROJECTS comprehensive database. The United States first place ranking is due to the 1,107 total projects the country has underway within its boundaries. Once completed, those new

hotels and resorts are expected to create a whopping 219,739 rooms. China has significantly less projects, with a total of 748 projects. The room gap, however, is not quite as pronounced, as China will have a total of 202,617 rooms once all those projects have been completed. Germany is third on the list, with less than 50 per cent of the total projects than China has. Germany currently has 315 hotel projects underway, which are expected to yield a total of 49,425 rooms once they are completed. The United Arab Emirates, a rising giant in recent years amid the global hospitality industry, is fourth, with 200 total projects, which should produce a grand total of 120,889 rooms, once they are all completed. The next three entries on the list are nearly interchangeable, and, in fact, India, which is number five, is actually expecting more total rooms than number four, the UK. The UK has a total of 181 projects underway that will yield 29,835 rooms, while India for its part only has 176 projects, but a total upcoming room count of 31,073. Saudi Arabia is at number six overall for number of projects with 146 underway. However, that country outpaces both India and the UK for number of rooms, clocking in at 54,299 rooms, which is nearly double the number in the UK. This is almost certainly because Saudi Arabia’s projects are much larger in scale than those in the UK or even India. The final three countries on this list find themselves in a similar situation, with the number of projects not necessarily serving as an accurate indicator as to which country leads in rooms. Indonesia has 114 projects with a total of 22,731 rooms, while Russia has 103 projects with 22,149 rooms, and Australia has 98 projects with a total of 28,813 rooms. -www.tophotel.news march/april 2017 25

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Elegant and sustainable -

the Soneva world

Soneva Fushi - Villa1, Dolphin Beach aerial, by Moritz Krebs

26 March/april 2017

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Sonu Shivdasani, CEO Soneva, spoke to Munawar Shariff about why experiences and luxury are about more than villas and amenities, and why he has banned bottled water on his properties

Soneva Fushi - Villa1 front aerial by Moritz Krebs


hen Sonu Shivdasani first visited the Maldives, on a holiday with his wife Eva, in the 1980s, they fell in love with the un-spoilt beauty of the country. But the hotel offerings were not impressive – no sweet water, no AC, limited electricity and terrible food. They decided to open a resort like none available there, one that was both elegant, yet sustainable. In 1995, Shivdasani founded Soneva Fushi, becoming CEO of the first luxury hotel in the Maldives, which, at the time, was a diver’s paradise. “We wanted to create a sustainable, yet elegant resort. There were a lot of naysayers at the beginning and many people thought we were mad for even trying. But Eva and I were passionate about sustainability, and we were shocked at the waste that other resorts around the world generated. We knew

that there had to be a better way,” he states. With the success of Soneva Fushi (which won Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘Best of the Best’ award within five years of opening), they had proven that luxury and sustainability do not compete with each other, they complement each other. This is the idea behind ‘Intelligent Luxury’. “Elegance does not have to be marble and gold; it can be a natural environment – sand under the feet, open bathrooms, a beach right outside one’s villa, and dining in the open under the stars. We also pride ourselves in having high ethics when it comes to resort food. We would never serve anything like wild caviar, boxed veal, turtle or shark fin soup,” he asserts. Shivdasani believes that Intelligent Luxury is all about creating un-

Elegance does not have to be marble and gold; it can be a natural environment – sand under the feet, open bathrooms, a beach right outside one’s villa, and dining in the open under the stars

march/april 2017 27

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Soneva in Aqua aerial 2 by Richard Waite

forgettable, enlightening experiences, whilst treading lightly on the earth. So they grow their own salads – organically, of course – and filter their own water, which is cleaner and healthier than any bottled water. “I am proud that Soneva is known as the original barefoot and sustainable luxury destination, and our clients welcome and respect this concept. We have 55 per cent repeat guests at Soneva Fushi, which is remarkably high for a long-haul destination like the Maldives,” he smiles. For Shivdasani, running his properties have been a lesson in life.“I feel privileged to have been in a position to have been able to have risked and learnt a lot. I have always described our earlier days in setting up the business and building our first resort as jumping off a high living board into an empty pool, where the water has just started to fill, with a hope that the pool will be full by the time I reach the surface. One has to be passionate and committed to whatever one does, 28 March/april 2017

Glass bottom bath tub by Richard Waite

Breakfast on the boat by Richard Waite

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and this leads me to the concept of ‘resources’ and ‘resourcefulness’,” he explains. Whereby ‘resources’ is people, capital, assets, etc, and ‘resourcefulness’ is values such as passion, integrity, etc. He asserts that resourcefulness is much more important in achieving success than resources. And as CEO, he focusses a lot of his time and attention in creating a culture and reinforcing that culture. Soneva, as a company, has evolved considerably over time. It started with Soneva Fushi, when Shivdasani was all of 26, and fresh out of University. Over the years, the business grew with him.“Initially, being a young entrepreneur, we would come up with a lot of differentiators that were physical and tangible, whether it was introducing a spa to a luxury resort, or having resorts where all the villas had pools or design, etc. Today, a lot of these dif-

ferentiators are now qualifiers. Today, we differentiate through our values and our beliefs, and the magic that our team create once our guests arrive at our properties,” he explains. Shivdasani currently has a few more resorts planned in the Maldives and Japan, hoping to expand to the Middle East by around 2020.“There are various criteria when it comes to new openings. We like to find locations that are ‘remote’, ie, feeling like in the middle of nowhere, for if someone who has travelled for 10 hours to visit us, they want to experience a unique, pristine environment. But the location must be such that we can render it accessible. We have managed to achieve these both at Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, and Soneva Kiri in Thailand, on the island of Koh Kood. Both resorts are in locations that feel like in the middle of nowhere, but are a short haul by our

It must serve and contribute to the society in which it operates, and it should not impact negatively on the environment in which it operates. This responsibility to one’s community is somewhat complicated for a company such as ours, whose guests jet in from all over the globe

Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani

Soneva Jani march/april 2017 29

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Soneva Fushi, Villa11, Master bedroom Seaview, by Sandro Bruecklmeier

From left: Master bedroom, Master bathroom and Gym, by Sandro Bruecklmeier

The Soneva Forest Restoration project has, since 2011, planted 511,920 trees of 90 different local species using Framework Species Methodology that regenerate the natural biodiverse forest rather than a plantation

30 March/april 2017

own private plane from the international airport,” he says. Shivdasani is partial towards Asia because that’s where his base is. However, he is clear that this is not a limitation, as their focus is the leisure client, not resorts.“Given that the sale of residences is also important to our business model, we need to find locations that are institutional, but still off the beaten track. Also, as populations grow and the demand for Resorts grow, we want to be in locations where there will be a limit to further expansion, as a result of lack of availability of suitable sites,” he shares.

In the spirit of giving back, Shivdasani has a lot of initiatives in place already.“When Eva and I opened our first resort in 1995, we held a belief that a company must have a clear purpose beyond making money. It must serve and contribute to the society in which it operates, and it should not impact negatively on the environment in which it operates. This responsibility to one’s community is somewhat complicated for a company such as ours, whose guests jet in from all over the globe. As a result, our social and environmental responsibilities are as much global as they are local. We set up the

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Soneva Foundation to focus on change at a level beyond the direct communities in which our resorts operate, and to recognise our obligations to society in general,” he informs. In 2008, they introduced an environmental levy of two per cent of room revenue, a pioneering initiative in the hospitality industry. To date, they have raised USD 5.8 million (AED 21 million), which is invested via the Soneva Foundation in projects that will mitigate far more than Soneva’s total carbon footprint (32,554 tonnes CO2 in 2014-15) – offsetting around one million tonnes of CO2 over the next seven years. “Our environmental levy compensates for unavoidable CO2 emissions, at the same time, improving the lives of families trapped in energy poverty. So far, we have improved the lives of 180,000 people,” he claims. The Myanmar Stoves Campaign, which is the first Gold Standard carbon credit project in Myanmar, is a prime example. Benefits of the project to the local community are extensive, including monetary savings for households, protection of biodiversity, training, and employment opportunities and health benefits from significantly reduced indoor air pollution. They have also started two ad-

The Den mother and kids by Mark Luscombe

ditional pilot projects in Myanmar. First, they are exploring the option for institutional stoves, which is aimed at places such as monasteries, monastic schools, coffee shops, and other places that cook for a large number of people. As little research has been done on this, they are initially testing a few places to see if there is a market for it, and what the potential savings are. Initial feedback is promising when it comes to both financial and carbon savings. Second, they have installed solar micro-grids in two villages in rural Myanmar as part of a pilot project for the Myanmar Rural Electrification project.“Myanmar is among the least electrified countries in the world, and our focus is on developing a model that gives the people clean and reliable electricity in a way that is economically sustainable,” he explains. Rather than each household getting its own solar PV array and battery, a central system is set up for a cluster of households. The households have to pay a monthly fee to access the electricity – similar to what they paid before in candles and oil lamps – which includes maintenance to the system. This saves the families from having to invest in an individual system that they would then have to maintain. The

The Den Big Tree by Martin Whiteley march/april 2017 31

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Soneva Fushi, villa11, Sunken Dinning night, by Bruno Aveillan 32 March/april 2017

cover story

Soneva Fushi, villa11, Sunken Sala, by Bruno Aveillan

pilot project brought access to clean, affordable and reliable energy to 23 households in Yone Kone village and 45 households in Kyat Tel village in Myanmar. “So far, the feedback has been very positive. One household, U Ohn Hlaing, is reporting USD one (AED 3.65) per day in additional income, which means he increases his monthly salary by approximately 35 per cent. This is a significant improvement in disposable income for a father of three,” says Shivdasani. Other examples include the Darfur Stoves Project, where benefits include less time spent foraging for firewood in dangerous areas – women spend up to 25 hours per week - and less indoor air pollution, one of the biggest killers of women and children in Africa. The Soneva Forest Restoration

project has, since 2011, planted 511,920 trees of 90 different local species using Framework Species Methodology that regenerate the natural biodiverse forest rather than a plantation. A total area of 300 acres of degraded forest land is being restored in Northern Thailand, mitigating 255,000 tonnes of CO2. The Soneva Wind Turbine is a 1.5 Mega Watt (MW) Suzlon wind turbine built to provide clean energy in Tamil Nadu, India. This will mitigate 70,000 tonnes CO2 over a 20-year-period through the production of 80,000 MWh of clean electricity.“We also co-initiated the Whole World Water project, following our decision to ban imported bottled water at all our resorts,” he says proudly. “We believe very much in engag-

Dubai is a perfect example of success via supply side economics, where, if one invests sufficiently in infrastructure, the tourist will come

ing with the local community. Our Sustainability team are very keen on measuring our impact. We maintain a Sustainability Report, which details how we go about measuring our impact on the Environment and the community that we operate in. The first ‘L’ in ‘Slow Life’ stands for ‘Local’, and this is why a majority of our employees come not just from the country that we operate in but more often from the neighbouring villages and islands. We have various programmes to engage with the local community and support them,” he adds. At Soneva, people are hired for attitude, because luxury and hospitality is defined by the magic created by the employees. And this ability has to come from the gut.“We believe that at Soneva, our Slow Life march/april 2017 33

coveR story

Treepod dining, by Antonina Gern

Tree Pod dining service - Soneva kiri. by Herbert Ypma 34 March/april 2017

Treepod dining, by Antonina Gern

cover story

Soneva Jani

Core purpose has a meaning beyond just enriching shareholders and paying employees a salary. Slow Life engages, motivates and instills a passion amongst our employees, and this is why we are renowned for the magical service that our employees deliver,” he explains. According to Shivdasani, Dubai is a perfect example of success via supply side economics, where, if one invests sufficiently in infrastructure, the

tourist will come.“Unfortunately, the disadvantage of this is that Dubai has grown so rapidly that it has forgotten its roots. There is a risk that the 21st century traveller might find the experience that Dubai has to offer too shallow,” he states. The industry is yearning for authentic experiences. Living in the moment is everything. To do that you need to experience. When guests go on holiday, they should not be

The industry is yearning for authentic experiences. Living in the moment is everything

watching television or doing whatever they do at home – they should escape, dream, feel.“For that, you need to experience. I strongly believe that a successful business is the one that combines apparent contrasts and make these ‘opposites’ compatible. When this is achieved, and it works, it creates such an experience that is both unique and admired, that one immediately develops a very strong level of loyalty from the guest,” he concludes. march/april 2017 35

GM Interview

a prominent

address The Address, Downtown Dubai

Mohamed Samir El Sayed, General Manager, The Address Dubai Mall, talks to Munawar Shariff about how he and his team stay ahead of the game in a highly competitive market

36 March/april 2017


he Address Dubai Mall is the second hotel to open under The Address Hotels + Resorts brand. The premium luxury hotel and residences brand aims to bring a fresh identity to the hospitality sector in Dubai and the region, with a unique value proposition.“This includes, not only our central location in Downtown Dubai, the world’s most-visited shopping and entertainment destination, but also the fact that we are linked directly with The Dubai Mall. As a homegrown brand, set next to the iconic Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, we have set distinctive standards in the guest experience we offer,” explains Mohamed Samir El Sayed, General Manager, The Address

GM Interview

The combination of facilities, amenities, and service standards makes The Address Dubai Mall the go-to destination for both national and international, business and leisure guests

Swimming Pool

Dubai Mall. Thanks to their location, the hotel attracts shoppers and visitors from The Dubai Mall, not only as hotel guests, but also to sample the fantastic array of international cuisines at their three contemporary dining venues Na3Na3, Cabana and Karat.“We also partner with luxury fashion brands and host high profile events, including seasonal collection launches, new fashion concepts, conferences,

exhibitions, award ceremonies and spectacular lifestyle events. These provide us the opportunity to reach popular influencers and interact with our target audience more frequently,” he adds. Typically, business travellers prefer a central location, demand effortless connectivity and all-inclusive amenities, while leisure seekers are generally more price sensitive, and have a greater interest in packages and deals, in addition to being keen on amenities such as pools, restaurants and spas. The combination of facilities, amenities, and service standards makes The Address Dubai Mall the go-to destination for both national and international, business and leisure guests. “Whether you’re here for a designer vacation, a fabulous fashion fix, or a bespoke conference, our offering of 244 signature rooms and suites, the two distinctive restaurants, a lobby lounge, a luxurious spa, and wellness facilities, and convenient business amenities, make for a memorable stay at our property in the heart of the city. The Address Dubai Mall is always in vogue – and appeals to both business and leisure guests with choices that meet their aspirations,” he explains. Food and beverage operations also contribute to a significant portion of the overall hotel revenue. The hotel is continuously introducing new in-

novative F&B concepts, such as the Brazilian Churrasco and Lebanese evenings, and new exciting offers and promotions to attract visitors and food enthusiasts from around the world. The hotel’s culinary team of awardwinning chefs and beverage experts ensure that the dining experience is satisfying in every way. “MICE represents an important part of our hotel business. As for the seasonality, the last three months of the year are crucial as the market demand is high. A competition rate analysis is usually conducted during summer to determine our selling strategies. Apart from that, a product comparison is also done to make sure offers are competitive and match the expectations of the guests. Added value offers and unique selling points play an important role in setting the strategies,” muses El Sayed. The personalised service and venues can also accommodate any type of wedding at The Address Dubai Mall. They tailor packages to suit every couple’s unique needs, and provide complimentary offers to sweeten the deal, ranging from pampering spa treatments for the bride and groom, culinary delights or honeymoon stays. “Our highly-trained lifestyle events team includes chefs from around the world, allowing us to complement the theme of any event with outstandMarch/april 2017 37

GM Interview

This incredible team of professionals is truly committed and passionate about what they do

Cabana restaurant and launge

Na3Na3, Farmers Market Experience

Neos restaurant 38 March/april 2017

Karat Restaurant

GM Interview

Cigar Lounge Terrace

The Spa

The-Address Downtown Dubai, Grand-Room

ing cuisine. In addition, our team of dedicated event experts can help plan every detail of dream weddings and a memorable experience for all,” he smiles. Being a part of Emaar Hospitality Group, and operating under The Address Hotels + Resorts brand, is a definite advantage for the hotel to achieve a leading market position in a challenging competitive market. The hotel’s occupancy has increased steadily year by year, achieving above industry results, without compromising on guest experience, claims El Sayed. Running a hotel is a continuous operation, and to that end, El Sayed

and his team constantly review their offerings and processes to maximise productivity and optimise operational efficiency.“We bring the latest technologies that add value to our guests and meet their lifestyle aspirations. Through our comprehensive digital and social media platform, guests can not only make bookings, but also engage with us in a very meaningful way. The innovative technological features enable the operations team to go above and beyond in delivering exceptional services,” he says. This, of course, is made possible by a highly-talented team that brings a wealth of premium luxury hospitality experience to the hotel and their ser-

viced residences.“This incredible team of professionals is truly committed and passionate about what they do, and ensures that our destination offers a truly inspiring lifestyle hospitality experience,” he boasts. The GCC countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are strong feeder markets for The Address Dubai Mall. Dubai is a top choice for visitors from the GCC, with numbers expecting to increase by 2020 in the run-up to Expo 2020.“To add to that, our digital and social media outreach, as well as the operations of our sales offices in overseas markets, enable us to strengthen our business with guests from across the world,” he concludes. March/april 2017 39


Mindset change = business change 40 March/april 2017


Mark H Keith, Managing Director of HVS Executive Search in Hong Kong, explores the reasoning behind why corporate giants fail. Even though they may see things changing, not changing with this knowledge of trends is eventually detrimental to business


ollowing the 2008 global financial crisis, one Chinese businessman observed,“With the best and brightest from the top business schools and advice from top consulting firms, the Western companies still didn’t see the crash coming”. Actually, some did, but simply knowing makes no difference. Those who suspected the looming financial disaster took no action. Knowledge is meaningless if no action occurs as a result of“knowing”. A good example is when, in mid-career, employees earn MBA degrees with honors for career advancement. It makes no tangible difference and adds no real value to the company if those graduates return to“business as usual” principles. The way we work, as corporate leaders, utilises a winning formula we developed early in our careers. In hospitality management, this may include exercising authority, giving instructions, follow-up, and having an eye for detail. This management positioning will get things done, get you noticed and promoted, and that formula for success seems to be the way to climb the career ladder as a valued company executive. Toward the top of the hierarchy within a hotel company, things change. Now, the manager needs to get things done through and with people who are not subordinates; they are business

partners, owners, suppliers, and competitors who need more than authoritarian guidance. With the wrong leadership tactics, you’ll discover your peers may respond negatively, making a collaboration more like a confrontation. You’ve seen owner-operator relationships deteriorate when one or the other crosses the line into aggression or bullying. Authoritarian hierarchies – and they’re found in every company – do not encourage change, innovation or even management ideas from younger, newer executives. The righteousness of authority suppresses input from below. Sébastien Bazin, CEO of AccorHotels knows all this and more. He was the keynote speaker at HICAP (Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific) 2016, and said his job within his company of more than 240,000 hoteliers with 4,100 sites is to awaken a “sleeping giant”.

Corporate giants move slowly

Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter analysed the mega-corporate environment in her book, When Giants Learn to Dance. As early as 1989, she suggested large corporate“giants”should look to replace their bureaucratic environments with faster, focused, friendlier, and flexible business plans. Almost three decades later, Sébastien Bazin says the giants of the hospitality industry are not yet dancing;

Those who suspected the looming financial disaster took no action. Knowledge is meaningless if no action occurs as a result of “knowing”

they are asleep. However, he seems to be in step with the music. He offers a perspective from the 1960s to 2000, a period when a handful of global hotel companies competed with each other in an industry with a steady demand at five per cent and a supply growth of two per cent. By the millennium, the music had changed. Digital innovators and OTAs (online travel agents) targeted a piece of the hotel pie. Next came the metasearch (internet searches that use another search engine’s data to produce their own results) innovators such as Trip Advisor, followed by the introductions of service apartments like Airbnb, that created a new service niche and effectively closed the gap between supply and demand. Online innovators have grabbed a massive 25 per cent of the hotel industry, and Bazin predicts that this will rise to 45 per cent in 5-7 years. How could they do this right under the noses of the hotel industry? Did someone notice – and do nothing? The explanation, according to Bazin, includes certain dynamics: • Most of the“creators”are under 35 years of age. • They create from scratch, without a legacy holding them back. • They utilize newer, better technology and invested more resources. • They see their audience as global first; March/april 2017 41


With the wrong leadership tactics, you’ll discover your peers may respond negatively, making a collaboration more like a confrontation. You’ve seen owner-operator relationships deteriorate when one or the other crosses the line into aggression or bullying they don’t “start small and grow”. • Their organizational structure is flat and therefore unlike the tiered, pyramid organization charts of the hotel industry. • The digital players hold their clients up-close and personal, with weekly – even daily – communication and follow-up; hotels are brand- and product-centric with touch points focused on the guests inside the hotel.

Knowing change is needed and doing it

AccorHotels noticed the problem and are now taking action. They have created a shadow board of directors from the company’s best and brightest 25-30 year-olds. They have the same access to information as the“real”board of directors and now, corporate decisions are made after the shadow board reviews proposals. Sébastian Bazin asserts that breakthroughs in the hotel industry come from newcomers,“upstarts”who disrupt the status quo. That kind of dramatic innovation rarely comes from longtimers in established companies. Many companies seek talent that will“fit in”. Those new managers settle into a comfort zone of safe tweaks and modest growth, so they survive and perform predictably within a status-quo culture. How can these well-established companies create performance breakthroughs, or are such innovations forever the exclusive domain of outsiders and newcomers? How can established companies achieve dramatic 42 March/april 2017

and exciting top- and bottom-line growth? These days it seems many flagship companies avoid confronting the issues, and in doing so become ripe for acquisition. In the changing of ownership, they do transform but only in order to fit in with the culture of the new parent company.

You can change your name - or change the game Your company can realise a transformation without the trauma of an ownership change. However, you must be prepared to go through an equally daunting transformation of the corporate culture. This requires the transformation of every employee in order to give up the collective deference to legacy, outdated values and self-imposed constraints that are the barriers to innovation and dramatic growth. Because the transformation of a company depends on the transformation of every employee it is a chal-

lenge few companies have the courage to undertake. Individual mindsets need to change in order to develop a new strategy for business operations. Without it, your business plan’s design will be limited to the horizon limits of your own corporate culture – that same mindset that is losing ground in a competitive market. It’s understandable: Within the company, management leaders’ individual winning formulas got them where they are today; they are reluctant to change what worked for them. Be warned: Some managers may sabotage, discredit, and undermine new notions before they’re explored. If you put a plan in place for a new corporate direction – a new company strategy – without change at every level of operation, you’ll realise what business philosopher Peter Drucker once observed: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”Your giant will yawn, roll over, and go back to sleep.

Sébastien Bazin, CEO of AccorHotels, says the giants of the hospitality industry are not yet dancing; they are asleep. However, he seems to be in step with the music


Mark Keith is Managing Director of HVS Executive Search in Hong Kong and oversees search assignments throughout the Asian region where Mark has lived since 1982. His early hotel experiences included London, Nigeria, Iran, Lesotho, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates; and he has held senior executive appointments with Hilton International, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Holiday Inn Worldwide and the Peninsula Group. Mark is a recognised authority on strategic Human Capital Management in the hospitality industry, hotel openings and the cross-cultural implications for management and service. He was commissioned at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; he has a Master of Science degree from the University of Leicester and is a fellow of the Hotel, Catering International Management Association (FHCIMA). A selection of clients he has served include Jumeirah, Mandarin Oriental, Jin Jiang Inn, Hilton International, Serena, Rosewood and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. For further information, please contact: mkeith@hvs.com -www.hvs.com


Authoritarian hierarchies – and they’re found in every company – do not encourage change, innovation or even management ideas from younger, newer executives. The righteousness of authority suppresses input from below

March/april 2017 43

Hotel Development - Avani

Taking over with confidence

ATTITUDE Bar at AVANI Riverside Bangkok

David Garner, Minor Hotels Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, tells Munawar Shariff what it takes to build a brand like Avani

44 january/february 2017

Hotel Development - Avani

AVANI Riverside Bangkok Attitude Bar

AVANI Riverside Bangkok aerial shot

T AVANi Riverside Riverview Juniorsuite Bedroom

he UAE is both an established and fastgrowing market. Minor Hotels realises this, with their pipeline of new hotels and conversions representing the diverse development opportunities this region offers.“The UAE is very important to Minor Hotels expansion strategy, and is one of the group’s fastest growing markets. It was also the destination where we opened our first properties in the region with Desert Islands Resort by Anantara eight years ago, and Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara in Abu Dhabi some seven january/february 2017 45

Hotel Development - Avani

AVANI Quy Nhon Resort & Spa Private Dining

AVANI Quy Nhon Resort & Spa Lobby and Water Features at Dusk

Hotel conversions to the Avani brand assist in accelerating Avani’s growth momentum. In the UAE, we have been fortunate to secure beneficial partnerships with Bin Sulayem Investments

AVANI Quy Nhon Resort & Spa Main Entrance

years ago. Adding the Avani Deira Dubai Hotel into the Minor Hotels portfolio is a continuation of our drive to operate multi property types in key destination hubs,” says David Garner, Minor Hotels Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Middle East, Sri Lanka, Seychelles. Avani Deira Dubai Hotel attracts business and leisure travellers from the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, appealing predominantly to modern, discerning business travellers and families on leisure trips. Internationally, the brand attracts its main business from the key European feeder markets, including UK and Germany, and from China as well. In July 2016, Avani took over the 46 january/february 2017

operation of the 216-room Mövenpick Hotel Deira. The property now operates under the group’s Avani Hotels & Resorts brand as Avani Deira Dubai Hotel. The change came after the hotel’s parent company, Bin Sulayem Investments, signed a management agreement with Minor Hotels.“Hotel conversions to the Avani brand assist in accelerating Avani’s growth momentum. In the UAE, we have been fortunate to secure beneficial partnerships with Bin Sulayem Investments, the owners of Avani Deira. We operate through hotel management agreements with our local partners throughout the Middle East,” shared Garner. Avani Jebel Dhanna in Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open in 2018, and they

have also recently announced a management agreement with Nakheel for a new build Avani hotel in Dubai.“The 372-key Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel will be developed by Nakheel, and will be located adjacent to the recentlyopened Ibn Battuta Metro Link, which is directly connected to Ibn Battuta Mall. The new-build 18-storey hotel will feature a pool, a spa, a gym, an all-day dining restaurant, a coffee shop and car parking,” he adds. Avani Jebel Dhanna will have 230 keys across two different room types; 70 Deluxe Rooms and 60 Superior Rooms, including a kitchenette. Facilities at the Avani will include multiple dining options, a gym and a swimming pool.

Hotel Development - Avani

AVANi Riverside Riverview Room Bedroom King


“Developing the Avani brand has been an interesting experience, and we’ve learnt a lot. We have conducted market research to find out what truly matter to guests, we’ve listened to what our customers have had to say, and studied travel trends to discover what today’s millennial-minded travellers desire. They want modern design – a living space where they can socialise with fellow travellers. Fast and free wifi, honest food, and a good night’s rest. Avani provides all these elements,” explains Garner, talking about what is special about the brand. The key to adapting the Avani core identity has been through instilling the brand ethos and customer service approach through training the staff.

They are the frontline brand ambassadors, and have been trained to identify and anticipate what the guests want. “Our guests like to blend business and leisure travel, and the Deira neighbourhood is popular with these guests, as they are able to explore the nearby souks and the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood whilst being minutes from Dubai International airport,” he states. But the best thing, he claims, is their attitude towards service.“Guest demands and preferences are continually evolving, and Avani is flexible and adaptable to change. Avani delivers the details that matter, whether it’s free, fast wifi, lobby work areas, grab-and-go food, or communal social spaces,” he concludes.

They are the frontline brand ambassadors, and have been trained to identify and anticipate what the guests want

march/april 2017 47

Bulletin Travel

Leading the way

“Arriving Soon�

For bookings:

Signature Media LLC

P.O. Box: 103926, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 3795678 E-Mail: sunil@signaturemediame.com


Mamma mia

ThME talks to Chef Alberto, Chef de Cuisine, Andiamo at Grand Hyatt Dubai, about the a-z of Italian cuisine

march/april 2016 49

chef Interview

Tell us how you got this job at Andiamo, Grand Hyatt? I joined Andiamo, Grand Hyatt Dubai, on January 2nd, 2017. I heard about the opening through the restaurant manager – Alessio Lo Monaco, and decided to apply for the position. What is a typical day like for you? I am the Chef de Cuisine at Andiamo, and my duties are to lead the kitchen staff, administration and handling all logistical issues about the daily food, checking emails, making sure the kitchen is ready and prepped for services, and to make sure the service runs smoothly in the right rhythm. 50 march/april 2016

I always like to venture out and try new restaurants, to see what is happening in Dubai

What kind of research do you do to create new menus, and programmes related to food at the hotel? I draw my inspiration from the highquality products that are used in Italian cuisine. This is very typical of the cuisine, and it’s simple to create interesting combinations. Tell us about the food ordering process at the hotel. It all begins with my Chef de Partie, who prepares the orders on the basis of the requirement for the daily requests and consumption in burchstreet (online programme). This happens under my supervision. Once the list is ready, we

get it approved by the executive chef, and the orders are placed. How is the hotel adapting to changing guest demands, such as gluten/celiac intolerances, or vegans? And the focus on healthier food? The healthy food culture is about eating right, and is fast becoming a massive trend. Special diet requests happen, and we make sure we have the available ingredients to satisfy such requests. Where did you train, and how long have you been a chef? I started working in Italy at the age of 17, and then implemented what I learnt


along the way as my career progressed. I have been cooking professionally for more than 10 years now. How would you define your style of cooking? The style that I try to implement when cooking and what I think feels right is a very rustic approach, which is based from a typical Mediterranean diet from Italian Cuisine. On your day off, which restaurant do you like eating at? I always like to venture out and try new restaurants, to see what is happening in Dubai. For me, Bice Mare (Souk Al Bahar), Armani, Casa Mia (Le Meridien Dubai) and Bussola (The Westin, Dubai Marina) top the list. Is there another Chef you admire? The three chefs that I admire and look up to are Francesco Brienza, Alfio Russo, and Pasqualino Giuolice. What is your advice for someone who wants to become a chef? To become a chef, you cannot just wake up one morning and say, ‘Oh I want to

be a chef’. You must have the passion to cook and eat. How important is the role of a mentor in a chef’s career? The role of a mentor is extremely important. It is also important that the mentor has vast knowledge – however, more than knowledge, even mentors need the passion and professionalism to be in the kitchen. What is your food philosophy? It doesn’t matter how simple it is to look at or cook – what’s important is the taste of what is served. How important is it to incorporate international food trends into the menu? Italian Cuisine was and still is very hard to mix and match with other dishes. Where do you see yourself in the food landscape of the world? As I started my career not too long ago, I can say I am learning something new every day, and still have a long way to go. It is an ongoing process, where we chefs are learning as we go.

things Favourite Best meal The best meal that I have tried to date is a Potato dumpling with Swordfish and Eggplant Ragout. Best Hotel Experience For me, the best hotel experience that I came across was at the Sheraton Hotel in London, by the airport. All-time favourite comfort food Pasta A La Norma Favourite Spice Pint Pepper Why did you become a chef? It was sheer curiosity about the vast variety of dishes we have, and the many options to put them all together.

march/april 2016 51

AHIC - a preview

Setting the


Middle East hotel industry experts forecast strong investment opportunities ahead of AHIC 2017, as ThME reports

Madinat Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab 52 january/february 2017

AHIC - a preview


otel investors, owners, consultants, and operators alike share a positive outlook for the Middle East hospitality industry in 2017, with strong market fundamentals in place, and attractive investment opportunities on the horizon. In the lead-up to the 13th edition of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, being held at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, from April 25th to 27th, 2017, key speakers and sponsors at the annual knowledge platform and networking event revealed their forecast for the year ahead. Jonathan Worsley, Founder of AHIC, Chairman, Bench Events and

Board Director, STR, said,“With AHIC 2017 coming up, the debate is already beginning among our speakers. As usual, we expect AHIC to be thoughtprovoking, topical, and at the forefront of promoting hospitality investment in the Middle East. From discussing contract exits, reflagging, and third party management, to global catalysts for change, asset management, and outbound investment, AHIC 2017 promises to present the very latest market intelligence and inspire the investment community, globally as well as locally.� The experts acknowledged that while aspects of both development and operations were challenging in 2016, the market remained robust

Occupancy has remained robust in prime areas, however, supply dynamics have led to an element of price competition that was previously absent from the market

AHIC Regional Briefing Qatar january/february 2017 53

AHIC - a preview

Hamad Abdulla AlMulla, Chief Executive Officer, Katara Hospitality, agreed that 2016, “will be remembered as a challenging year for hospitality investors as a mix of global geopolitical and economic issues has resulted in a more cautious approach towards investment decisions”

with investment potential. Olivier Granet, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at Accor Hotel Services Middle East, commented, “Despite the oil price, the spotlight on elections globally, and otherwise volatile regional conditions, our key partners in the region still identify in present market conditions some attractive opportunities to invest. Investors may be cautious with their real estate investments in light of RevPAR contractions across certain markets in the region, however, many markets in the region are just beginning to mature, and still represent attractive investments across many asset classes.” Hamad Abdulla Al-Mulla, Chief Executive Officer, Katara Hospitality, agreed that 2016,“will be remembered as a challenging year for hospitality investors as a mix of global geopolitical and economic issues has resulted in a more cautious approach towards investment decisions”. However, looking forward, AlMulla said,“The Middle East hotel 54 january/february 2017

AHIC Regional Briefing Qatar

AHIC Regional Briefing Qatar

market remains a vibrant and exciting one for investors. The region’s fundamentals are strong, making it an attractive investment destination. In Qatar, for example, the outlook for the hotel industry is especially promising. According to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, in 2015, income from tourists amounted to QAR 18.3 billion, nine-times the QAR 2.1 billion recorded in 2010, demonstrating the clear opportunity for proven investors like Katara Hospitality in the region.” , added,“I would agree that 2016 has been a more challenging year, particularly with respect to rates. Occupancy has remained robust in prime areas, however, supply dynamics have

led to an element of price competition that was previously absent from the market. Notwithstanding this, we still feel that, most specifically in Dubai, the market remains robust and continues to generate higher yield than competitor arenas. We therefore still see further investment in this sector in the medium term.” One of the hotel markets viewed as being particularly robust is Ras Al Khaimah, which bucked the trend in the summer of 2016, and reported a 14 per cent year-on-year increase in RevPar between June and August 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, and an increase of 15.9 per cent in occupancy during the same period,

AHIC - a preview

according to Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Hotel owners and developers in Ras Al Khaimah remain bullish for the year ahead, bolstered by the emirate’s attractive investment environment. Abdullah Rashed Al Abdooli, Managing Director of Al Marjan Island Company, which will open new hotels in 2017 in partnership with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts and SuperCasa, commented,“We offer very attractive advantages to the investors. These include: 100 per cent foreign ownership in free zones, 0 per cent income and personal tax, 0 per cent corporate tax and VAT, 100 per cent repatriation of profits and capital, and 100 per cent liberal labour laws. The emirate also offers no foreign exchange controls, no hiring restrictions, no barriers to trade or quotas, and a one-window clearance for licenses and consents.” As the emirate continues towards its target to attract one million annual visitors by 2018, and three million visitors per year by 2025, Yannis Anagnostakis, CEO of RAK Hospitality Holding LLC, added: “As a company that is deeply rooted in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, we are certainly biased towards RAK, and rightly so. The emirate is living proof of the tremendous success witnessed in its hospitality and tourism sector. What increases the appeal of the Emirate on the tourism front is that the growth in demand for its hotel rooms is exceeding the growth in supply, which creates attractive opportunities for investors. Additionally, the demographic mix that has evolved in recent years underlines the momentum that the emirate is generating outside the GCC.” Another market with potential for further growth is Bahrain, reported Jerad Bacher, Executive Director, Tourism and Leisure at the Bahrain Economic Development Board.“In Bahrain, we have seen somewhat less volatility in hotel performance mainly due to a lower inventory of supply paired with a consistent volume of demand. We expect market stability to continue in 2017, with moderate sup-

ply growth and continued advancement in demand. We have a strong pipeline of new inventory coming into Bahrain over the next five years; however, the products that are in development will be demand simulators and have an aggregated inventory that the market can withstand,” said Bacher. The AHIC speakers agreed that future investment would be focused on exciting master developments, new brands, and gaps in the market, from growth in the economy, mid-market and upscale segments to luxury at scale, such as all-inclusive premium resorts. AHIC 2017 is the premium knowledge and networking platform for hotel investors in the Middle East.

Joe Sita, CEO, IFA Hotel Investments, “Supply dynamics have led to an element of price competition that was previously absent from the market. Notwithstanding this, we still feel that, most specifically in Dubai, the market remains robust and continues to generate higher yield,”

Doha, Qatar march/april 2017 55


Technology in Hospitality I

n recent years, Mobile solutions have been at the forefront of innovation for the hospitality industry. Younger generations of travelers are looking more and more to have advanced mobile options available to them, allowing them to use their mobile devices to book hotel rooms, unlock guestroom doors, access on-site amenities and much more. With each passing year we see this become more of an expectation from these travelers rather than a simple“wish list”item or preference. Since its earliest days, mobile technologies in the hospitality industry have evolved, now possessing greater capability of being rolled out at any kind of hotel property. We’ve seen proof of this in our own operation, following the launch of our ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access solution in 2015. Many of our hospitality customers are adopting this technology to not only answer the demands from their guests for mobile solutions, but to also streamline and advance their own operations. We’ve seen even more adoption of this trend among our customers and partners since the launch of our New VingCard Essence lock solution in late 2016, as it now has online wireless capabilities and Mobile Access compatibility, like our other VingCard door locks.


Hungarian beauty secrets

The signature scent

Enhancing the customer base

Brand Focus - Omorovicza

Hungarian beauty secrets

Munawar Shariff speaks to Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, one of the cofounders of Omorovicza, about bringing this exclusive, all-natural brand to the region

58 March/april 2017

Brand Focus - Omorovicza

hen Omorovicza was launched, it was the vision of the founders to craft a skincare brand that would replicate the effect of the healing waters of Hungary on the skin, and introduce these benefits to the rest of the world.“It was like embarking on an adventure together,”says Margaret de Heinrich de Omorovicza, one of the co-founders of Omorovicza. At the time - 2006/2007 - the spa skincare industry was dominated by the ‘dermatological Dr’ and ‘cosmeceutical’ brands, but it was also on the cusp of change towards a natural skincare offering.“Our brand offered then, and continues today, to provide a natural skincare range, with high-performance, proven ingredients. This is particularly evident both internationally and regionally, where we see consumers attracted by the ancient healing properties of the Hungarian thermal waters, blended with ingredients such as gold, vitamin C and peptides, with extremely effective results,” she explains. It was a challenge to identify the factors that would differentiate the products from what was already available in the market, and keep them paraben and preservatives free. Omorovicza thus uses highperformance, naturally derived alternatives to commonly used synthetics.“All our products are paraben and silicone free, ensuring the Omorovicza experience is one of total luxury and maximum efficacy, without compromise. Which is why we put a lot of research behind every ingredient, which is overseen by my husband, Stephen, personally. All Omorovicza products are powered by a potent blend of Hungary’s mineralrich healing waters, and our patented Hydro Mineral Transference delivery system (otherwise known as Mineral Cosmetology). This is combined with the finest vitamins, essential oils, and other natural ingredients sourced from across the globe, from the bed of Lake Heviz to the peak of the Andes Mountains,”asserts de Omorovicza. Consumers are constantly looking for result-driven skincare products. At Omorovicza, the creators wanted to offer a range of products with a rich heritage, but offering excellent, high-performance results. Even though they are new entrants in the region, de Omorovicza insists that local markets are important to them, and their products are a reaction to their clients’ needs.“The Blue Diamond range, launched in Harrods in 2015, was created from the specific demands of our Middle East customers. We are now in a position to distribute here directly, and we visit regularly to ensure we are ahead of the trends and needs of our customers,” she concludes.

All Omorovicza products are powered by a potent blend of Hungary’s mineral-rich healing waters, and our patented Hydro Mineral Transference delivery system

March/april 2017 59

Launch event

Guerlain’s latest fragrance - Mon Guerlain, launched recently in Dubai, offers a fragrance that becomes one with you, blending in to be a part of everything that makes you unique

ecently, in a very hushhush setting, Guerlain launched it’s latest perfume at a grand event at the beautiful Dubai Opera. Hush-hush because the official press launch was set a few weeks from the date of this event. Hence, photographs were strictly prohibited, and no press files were given to attending media. Well, all of this just created an even more magnified air of mystery to the entire event. The muse of this new fragrance is Angelina Jolie, and although she wasn’t attending the event, her presence was all over the place - on the roll up banners (which were unveiled at the end of the event), and a video created during filming of the TVC. In a behind-the-scenes look, Jolie talks about her association with the brand - her mother used to use its face powder, the distinct smell of which was a part of Jolie’s childhood, and which, even today, reminds her of her mother’s presence whenever she smells it. And how it was a special connection with Guerlain that attracted her to being the muse of this fragrance. 60 March/april 2017

Launch event

In a behind-the-scenes look, Jolie talks about her association with the brand - her mother used to use its face powder, the distinct smell of which was a part of Jolie’s childhood A history of perfume For Thierry Wasser, the fifth Guerlain perfumer, who orchestrated the creation of the new women’s fragrance by the house, it is impossible to define a Guerlain fragrance as a mere formula that unites accords and combines rare raw materials in secret concentrations. “Like my predecessors before me, my work is guided by a passion for fine craftsmanship, an admiration for the know-how of artisans, the authenticity of encounters and the sincerity of emotions,” he says. “We know every last detail about our jasmine, our sandalwood, our lavender, and our vanilla, because we buy our raw materials from men and women we have met, and whom I have come to know closely over time. Behind our sandalwood in Australia, our Carla lavender, which grows at an altitude of 1,300 metres (4,265 feet) in the Provençal Drôme region, our Sambac jasmine in Southern India,

and our Tahitensis vanilla in Papua New Guinea, there are wonderful people who grow, pick, extract and distill,” he explains.

The association Behind Angelina Jolie and Guerlain lies a connection spanning decades, originating with her memory of her own mother’s love for a Guerlain powder, scented with iris and violet, that her mother kept among her treasured possessions. Angelina recalls its association with quality, elegance, and femininity. Years later, this invisible link was renewed, when Guerlain met Angelina Jolie in Cambodia. There, a partnership began, to create a new fragrance. The advertising film is set in Provence, France, a country Jolie and her family have known and loved for many years. The short film is a collaborative work, with the help of Terrence Malick, Angelina Jolie, and Guerlain. March/april 2017 61

Brand evolution - ESPA

Enhancing the customer base

A new look and an evolution of the rband ESPA means more products that cater to a wider customer base. ThME explores a little of what goes behind the making of the brand

62 March/april 2017

Brand evolution - ESPA

Pink Hair and Scalp Mud

Optimal Skin ProMoisturiser

Restorative Body Oil

ecently ESPA held an exclusive event in Dubai to announce its brand evolution. Dubai, UAE, is the second location where the brand has made this announcement. The first being the UK. Products are now wearing a brand new look and the brand has created a range of new skincare lines that target concerns and cater to a younger audience too. It was 25 years ago that Sue Harmsworth created the gamechanging spa and skincare brand ESPA. Universally recognised as one of the world’s leading spa experts, Harmsworth’s innovative, inspirational and forward thinking approach has shaped the luxury spa industry into what it is today. Pioneering a new holistic approach, Harmsworth recognised that beauty was inextricably linked with wellness. Similarly, revolutionary was ESPA’s ability to harness the power of natural ingredients. By combining the latest technology, the knowledge of the best skincare experts, and the highest quality plant and marine extracts and essential oils, ESPA created a range of highly efficacious natural products. Harmsworth has devoted her life to spa and wellness, helping to educate the industry on the impact of health and wellbeing on beauty. Her pioneering approach, combined with her passion and vision, has underpinned the success of health retreats, luxury spas, and wellness

destinations globally. Her career began in health and beauty journalism, before she opened her first business, a salon in Toronto, followed by a Thalassotherapy resort in France, and a health farm in the UK. She pioneered a holistic approach from the start, having therapists and medical professionals working side by side, aiming at prevention, as well as healing, and helping people to deal with the stress of modern life. The culmination of this knowledge and her visionary approach for what the spa industry should be offering, led her to the creation of ESPA in 1993, and to the extensive development of ESPA’s natural and effective product range. Working with experts in natural science and taking the knowledge from traditional holistic therapies, she created ESPA’s innovative product range powered by unique combinations of plant actives, marine actives, and essential oils. In 2010, Harmsworth was honoured with an MBE from the Queen in recognition of her services to the spa and beauty industry. Since its debut, ESPA has rapidly become the chosen brand of the world’s leading spas and skincare experts specialising in the innovative design, development and management of five star spas in over 60 countries. It is also a brand recognised for its range of innovative, natural products powered by nature that deliver both instant benefits, and also works beneath the surface to protect the long-term health of the skin.

Replenishing Face Treatment Oil

By combining the latest technology, the knowledge of the best skincare experts, and the highest quality plant and marine extracts and essential oils, ESPA has created a range of highly efficacious natural products

March/april 2017 63

products review

The best skincare

These are the best of the best brands out there in the local and international market when it comes to skincare. Of course, when a spa uses a particular brand it has to be unique. Here is a selection of these spa skincare brands with their latest products covering skincare, beauty and fragrances Elemis New Skin Solution - Resurface, AED 461, Consists of: Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash 200ml: This cleanser is a gentle and non abrasive exfoliator improving the texture, brightness and smoothness of the skin. Dynamic Resurfacing Gel Mask 50ml: This mask refines the surface improving radiance and lustre. As a part of the system, this mask intensifies the effect of the cleanser.

bliss triple oxygen ex-’glow’-sion vitabeadinfused moisture cream, AED 295, 48g: Full of oxygen in the form of beads that burst gently on the skin when they come in conatct with your fingers. Skin looks immediately radiant, moisturised and energised.

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Dynamic Resurfacing Night Cream 50ml: So while the other two products work when you can see their results, this cream works its magic while you sleep leaving skin perfect, plump and line free. Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules (14 capsules): These immensely potent serum capsules provide the nourishment for skin that has been exfoliated helping in boosting moisture and eliminating the pollution accumulated in the skin.

products review

Clarins White Plus Brightening revive gel, 50ml: This gel cream helps the skin to look lighter and brighter. It literally revives the skin to reduce dark spots. The gel cream contains Vitamin C which makes the skin look even toned and refreshed.

Dermalogica Age Smart Overnight Retinol Repair, 30ml + buffer cream, 15ml. AED 445: Retinol is the only ingredient that can reverse the damaging effects of the sun on your face. This cream comes with a buffer cream as the skin is unable to tolerate pure retinol on its own but does get used to it when used daily hence the amount of buffer cream you will need will reduce gradually. The effects of this cream are fantastic. Skin tone is improved, the skin renews itself faster as well is firmer and tauter.

Elemis Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing Oil, 200ml, AED 250: This has got to be ‘the’ best product for removing skin impurities and make-up. Not only does it remove make-up, it also does not leave the skin stripped of moisture or dry. You could either mix a few drops with water or just used the oil directly on dry skin and watch heavy duty, waterproof make-up melt off.

Guerlain’s Mon Guerlain Body Lotion, 200ml: A luxurious, moisture rich lotion that nourishes and revives while exuding the most addictive fragrance. Rich and creamy in texture, it dries off to a matt, invisible aura, you will carry around with you all day!

bliss lemon + sage body scrub, 12oz, AED 166.50: This grainy body scrub, gently lifts dead skin cells to reveal soft, beautiful skin. The package instructions recommend a dry body scrubbing pre shower. However, it’s equally effective when used both wet and dry.

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products review

Elemis Japanese Camellia Body Oil Blend, AED 249, 100ml: As with all other Elemis oils, this one is superlative in every sense - its fragrance, the calmness sensation post application, and the level of skin hydration and moisture it provides. Since it is a light oil it is absoirbed in the skin instantly. This is especially unique as it is even used for pregnant women on their bellies, thighs and chest to reduce the visibility of stretch marks.

Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Serum: This is another of the brand’s product which has microencapsulated Retinol. The technology that makes retinol okay to be used on the face during the day. This serum is potent it locks in moisture and mattifies the skin which makes it perfect to be used under makeup. It also ensures makeup stays put all day.

Clarins White Plus Brightening Emulsion SPF 20, 75ml: This day cream/lotion is absorbed instantly into the skin and leaves no residue. The skin is matte and luminous and a perfect base for makeup. The spf in the cream also means faster prep time in the mornings!

Elemis Skin Soothe Shave Gel, AED 165: This shave gel refreshes and calms the skin. The most interesting ingredient in this gel - arnica - helps to calm down and repair the skin from the harshness of the procedure.

Azzaro Mademoiselle, 50ml: This fruity and floral fragrance is the perfect spring time scent. With ingredients such as mandarin, peach, peony and jasmin, the perfume lifts you up and energises you with a spritz. Lasts all day, too!

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products review

Guerlain Spring Collection 2017 Meteorites 30th Anniversary special products:

Meteorites Happy Glow Pearls 30g A beautiful collection of must-haves. The colours on this 30th edition of the meteorites pearls are pale pinks, peaches and lavender, with the slight, aura of a smell that is typical of the traditional meteorites.

Elemis Body Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, AED 350, 400ml: This body milk bath can be used as both to cleanse and to moisturise. The baby soft fragrance of this milk lasts all day making you feel fresh and invigorated every time you move. Skin is moisturised and hydrated. Excellent product that lasts for a very long time.

Kiss Kiss Creamy Shaping Lip Colour A truly dynamic baby pink that glides on smooth and is a solid colour that stays put. It has a glossy finish. A classic must-have.

Meteorites Happy Glow Blush, 7.5g The blush is in compact form and has the look of a million baby meteorites set together in a compact. Since it is a blusher, the colours are vibrant and pale hues of pink. Again the same gorgeous subtle fragrance.

Elemis White Flowers Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover, AED 160: This dual composition of oil and liquid ensures every little nuance and nook of the eye and lip area is instantly clean. It feels cool and soothing and leaves the eye and lip area hydrated and clean.

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Keeping the environment clean Ramada Ajman wins Waste Management Award at inaugural Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards 2016. ThME has the details


hile doing good is a reward in itself, it’s always nicer when the efforts are recognised. This is the idea behind the Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards. And in 2016, Ramada Hotel and Suites, Ajman, bagged the Waste Management Award. The Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards are designed to provide recognition for companies and individuals implementing outstanding sustainability and CSR initiatives across the region. The property competed against the region’s most prominent companies from diverse industries, like Emaar Community Management, Farnek Services LLC, and Dubai Duty Free. The finals and awards ceremony was held at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai on 15th February, 2017. Iftikhar Hamdani, General Manager, Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, personally received the award. He said,“I would like to thank Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards 2016 for this accolade, and commend the entire Ramada Ajman team for their exceptional contributions towards the waste management system of the hotel.” Mark Hamill, Managing Director of Awards International, stated,“We felt extremely privileged to have so many of the top companies in sustainability and CSR participating in the inaugural awards. The judges had a very difficult time in choosing the winners, showing just how close the competition was. We launched this awards programme to back the success of the Sustainability and CSR categories at the International Business Excellence Awards, and we are delighted to have been able to provide the platform for leading companies to tell their stories. We’d like to extend our congratulations to all of those involved.” Sumair Tariq, Managing Director of R Hotels, extended his congratulations to the Ramada Ajman team, saying,“This is a well-deserved recognition for Ramada Ajman as the property set a benchmark in the region’s waste management programme.” Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman leads the green initiative 68 March/april 2017

Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman leads the green initiative in the Middle East hospitality sector. Its effective waste management system diverts 90 per cent of waste from the landfill

in the Middle East hospitality sector. Its effective waste management system diverts 90 per cent of waste from the landfill. Additionally, the property boosted its current food waste management scheme through the newly-installed WasteStation dewaterer and macerator machine, which reduces the process of converting waste into fertilisers from 24 hours to just 12 hours. The property also inspires the community to have sustainable and healthy food options by pioneering the Urban Farm Project, converted from its vast parking space.

Waste Management Award for RHSA

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If you are serious about Quality Outdoor Furniture and Umbrellas – Casualife should be your first choice. A Manufacturer since 1981, Casualife have supplied 5 star projects worldwide. Quality ‘Gulf Spec’ Outdoor Furniture, Umbrellas, Gazebo’s and Litter Bins. We have factories with specialist skills in Teak Wood, Aluminium, Rattan, and Stainless steel and import the premier raw material from around the globe to use in our furniture… to give you our client a long useful lifespan of furniture use in our harsh local climate. Dress up your project and relax with Casualife top quality and superb service. Standard Items can be chosen as well as Custom designs are our specialty.

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Top Hotel Middle East March April 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 Middle East March April 2017 Issue  

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