HOSPITALITY NEWS ME # 141 - August / September 2022

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Managing director Joumana Dammous-Salamé Publication manager Randa Dammous-Pharaon Publications deputy manager Rita Ghantous

Never in vain, renovation and innovation are a must for the hospitality industry to evolve. Nouhad Dammous (2018) Late editor-in-chief Docteur Honoris Causa

Graphic designer Ibrahim Kastoun Sub-editors Miriam Dunn Lisa Jerejian Account managers Michel Ajjoub, Maha Hasbani, Josette Hikri Subscription executives Houayda Haddad-Roumman Mirna Maroun Circulation coordinator Rita Nohra-Kejijian News Published by Hospitality Services LEBANON Borghol Building, Dekwaneh Tel: +961 1 480081 UAE HSME Tel: +971 585098057 All the information disclosed in the magazine was provided by the parties concerned by each publication and checked to the highest possible extent by the editors. However, the magazine cannot ensure accuracy at all times of all information published and therefore could in no case be held responsible should any information reveal to be false or insufficient. We welcome views on any subject relevant to the hospitality industry, but request that letters be short and to the point. The editor reserves the right to select and edit letters. Hospitality News ME is distributed to trade professionals in the catering and lodging industry in the Middle East.

A NEW DAWN FOR THE MENA REGION’S HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY Hospitality News Middle East’s editorial team forecasts a bright future for the hospitality industry, which is gathering pace post-pandemic. Despite geopolitical tensions, the rising price of oil and widespread inflation, the Middle East hotel market is faring, well thanks to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, which has boosted consumer confidence. According to the 2022 Colliers’ hotel forecast report for key MENA hospitality markets, the UAE market has been positively impacted by Expo 2020, while the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is expected to produce overspill demand in the key transit hubs of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. However, the rising instability in major CIS source markets is expected to suppress demand, with Dubai and Ras al Khaimah likely to be most significantly affected. Given the diversity of source markets for the UAE, additional hotel demand may be induced from alternative markets at a lower price positioning. In KSA, the Riyadh Season, coupled with growing consumer confidence, has benefitted both the markets of Riyadh and Jeddah. In addition, there are positive signs regarding the return of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia’s renowned pilgrimage sites, notably Makkah and Madinah. Rising oil prices have historically led to increased corporate demand in Al Khobar/Dammam. However, an increase in outbound travel may reduce this impact. Turning to Egypt, data shows that Cairo has maintained its rate of growth, although leisure-oriented markets have experienced a marked fall in tourist numbers due to increased competition in the region, as well as travel uncertainty from the key CIS markets. The exception here is the Hurghada market, which has maintained levels of demand. Furthermore, Sahel is proving to be an exciting growth market. When it comes to Qatar, Doha has experienced a slight decrease in occupancy over H1 2022 compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is expected to result in an unprecedented number of arrivals. According to World Bank data published in March 2022, the Kuwaiti economy is expected to increase by 5.3 percent this year and 3 percent next year, which would put the country on track to achieve its pre-covid growth by 2023, provided that current global inflation does not get in the way. Furthermore, the Central Bank of Jordan reported that tourist arrivals increased to 716,000 in June, up from 650,000 in May 2022. To summarize, the outlook for the region’s hospitality industry is bright. You’ll find plenty more about market trends and forecasts in this issue. The editorial team



In this issue Aug - Sep 2022



A new dawn for the MENA region’s hospitality industry

08 10 14 16 20

In-depth news and interviews from around the region Industry Hotels Food & beverage Chefs Suppliers



Joey Ghazal


Sial Paris to kick off its innovation-centric 2022 edition More than 50 speakers confirmed for the Future Hospitality Summit in Dubai Calendar


Horeca Jordan



Serge Trigano, the co-founder of Mama Shelter






Ecolodges in the Middle East: the new big thing


The burgeoning bleisure market


Back to the land of the pharaohs


Spain in the spotlight


Sahel: the Mykonos of North Africa?


Let’s talk art: Lebanon's guesthouses and boutique hotels









Taking the lead: 12 influential hoteliers New projects redefining the GCC hotel landscape The rights and wrongs of hotel refurbs The reality of real estate hotel investment


In the mind of the consumer


New realities in technology


New Projects






5 ways to overcome burnout


Project planning 101


What’s on the table?


Mighty meat


New products


The making of the mocktail market


Superfood chocolate bars


Coming issue Oct - Nov 2022 • Special report Coffee and coffee shops • Influencers Nightlife • Equipment Coffee machines • Food Chocolate • Beverage Coffee





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UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH “THE CHEF WHISPERER” FLAVEL MONTEIRO created WG Magazine in 2015; it was all about defining dining opportunities and culinary experiences with chefs from around the world. Besides teaming up with some of the best chefs around the globe, I collaborated and partnered on several extraordinary events.

Award-winning author and publisher Flavel Monteiro, explains how he is leaving his mark on the industry with his new book releases. If you were to introduce yourself, what would you say? Panna Munyal, lifestyle editor of The National, referred to me as “the chef whisperer,” while Mark Samson, director of content for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants & Bars, said I'm “the loudest international champion of the Dubai restaurant scene – giving us a true taste of the restaurants as they are today.” I entered the hospitality and F&B scene in 1991 and shifted to publishing in the late 90s, when I purchased a franchise to publish the Millionaire Magazine in Scandinavia, later publishing a Filipino magazine. It was in 2014 when I launched WG Magazine, which was designed to promote the top culinary experiences around the world. Later, in 2018, I partnered with the Michelinstarred chef Alfredo Russo from Turin to launch EX.IT—Extraordinary Italian. From early 2000, I worked with several of the finest chefs in the world at events and

At Expo 2020 Dubai, I curated the dining experience at Jubilee with 69 of the world’s finest Michelin-starred, 50 Best and the best of Dubai chefs, in addition a private Cartier cocktail and canapé event with a Michelinstarred chef for 700 guests. Ultimately, bringing chefs together is what I do best.

Have you published any books recently? On January 25, 2022, I released “Back to our Roots: Recipes from the Holistic Kitchen” with Vikas Khanna at the Indian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. I then released “Rising Flavours: a Real Taste of Arabia” for Expo 2020 Dubai and “The Best of Dubai: Gastronomy” in February 2022.

What are you currently working on? I’m working on a Japanese Korean and Filipino inspired street food concept, and I have four books in the pipeline. The first which is almost ready and will be released on World Food Day on 16 October 2022 is “The Great Indian Khichdi” the humble one-pot-dish; it’s the ultimate celebration of foods in India, India’s comfort food and the oldest vegetarian meal. It will feature 49+ finest Indian chefs from North America to Australia. The other projects is an NFT book, a Goan cookbook and a Mangalorean cookbook with a friend.


Tourism Development Fund (TDF) has signed a financing agreement with Rimal AlKhobar Real Estate Company Ltd., coowned by Retal Urban Development Co. and Assayel Arabia, to develop the first Nobu complex in the Eastern Province. The USD 63.5 million project will feature a five-star hotel with over 100 rooms and suites, 62 residential units, a luxury Nobu

restaurant, pools, a health center, gym and meeting and event venues. Wahdan Al Kadi, chief business officer of TDF, said: “The Saudi tourism sector is undergoing a major development drive and we are committed to enabling private sector investors’ participation and providing them with the necessary support to develop quality tourism projects across


HOSPITALITYNEWSMAG.COM TRSDC sets standard for responsible tourism with major study findings

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind The Red Sea Project and AMAALA, has released the findings of one of the world’s largest environmental surveys of wildlife ecosystems carried out in the Red Sea area. The study was released at the UN World Ocean Conference in Lisbon (June 27 – July 1), where the world’s leading scientists and governmental organizations are meeting to mobilize for global ocean action. The 11-month-long study along the Saudi Arabian coast revealed a rich diversity of habitats, flora and fauna. These include a number of endangered and critically endangered species such as the halavi guitarfish, hawksbill sea turtle and sooty falcon, as well as an eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old. The survey conducted by TRSDC is by far the largest effort ever undertaken by a private development company to understand and assess a natural ecosystem ahead of and during development, being more comparable to initiatives undertaken by government agencies on a national scale. It serves a crucial purpose in creating a baseline understanding of the state of the local environment through analysis of the populations, behaviors and habitats of the wildlife over 200 kilometers of the Red Sea coastline. TRSDC plans to undertake regular surveys of similar size and scale to establish trends and analyze impact over time, as part of a long-running commitment to its ambitious regenerative goals. This will allow the organization to track key environmental promises and progress in the enhancement of key habitats crucial to biodiversity across the destination.

the country. The project’s ideal location and unique offerings ensure that it meets the evolving needs of the Saudi market. The Nobu project reflects investors’ confidence in the Kingdom and signals strong support for tourism development projects. Agreements like this are testament to the crucial role that TDF plays in advancing the Kingdom’s economic diversification.” Read our interviews in full on




ON HOTEL KITCHEN DESIGN Even minor errors in kitchen design can adversely affect overall functionality and result in higher costs for hotels. We discover how to avoid the pitfalls with Georges Haddad, owner of Luminescenza. When designing the layout of a commercial kitchen, certain variables, including flexibility, employee mobility, health and safety regulations, equipment location, ergonomics and energy efficiency, must be taken into account. Indeed, a cutting-edge kitchen can be only be realized after the spectrum of operations have been understood. Flexibility and space efficiency are extremely important. The kitchen should be as versatile as the restaurant’s menu dictates. A modular kitchen allows for better usage of space, including any mobile or multipurpose workstations, as well as other pieces of equipment. Even though equipment for a hotel’s main kitchen often comes as standard, circulation and kitchen access have to be carefully checked, especially the goods receiving that must be linked to the loading dock, and room service that must be directly linked to the corridors and service lifts. Wash stations One of the biggest mistakes in kitchen design is not having enough wash stations. One must consider the amount of cutlery, dishes, glasses and trays that will accumulate on the restaurant’s busiest day, as well as the capacity of dishwashers, when calculating the size of drain boards, racks and landing tables. Health and safety Restaurant health and safety should be prioritized in every part of the kitchen. The cooking and prep spaces may be the most fun aspect of kitchen design, but cleaning stations are equally significant. It is crucial to have a dedicated area for dirty dishes, and clean dishes need to be conveniently located for easy plating. Refrigerators The smooth operation of a commercial kitchen can be impacted by inadequate refrigerator space. If you have too much storage, you'll either have refrigerators that are half full, costing you more to run, or you'll have extra refrigerators that are worthless and take up space. Ventilation When designing a kitchen, it's necessary to take the air ventilation system into account. Inadequate ventilation can reduce the quality of the air indoors, resulting in bad odors and insufficient airflow. Furthermore, poor ventilation can put workers at risk. Waste disposal An insufficient area for trash and recycling placed far from the cooking and serving stations can prove to be a major design flaw. Garbage disposal stations must be within close proximity to cooking areas. Effective garbage disposal helps to maintain hygiene eliminate foul odor. Furthermore, the sorting of garbage can lead to greater efficiency and reduced costs. AUG-SEP 2022 | HOSPITALITY NEWS ME






TWO NEW GENERAL MANAGERS JOIN JUMEIRAH GROUP Mark Hehir has taken on the role of general manager at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the group’s Ottoman-inspired palace located on the iconic Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Having acquired a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry over the last 38 years, Hehir has generated commercial success during his career by innovating resort concepts and driving commercial value through product development and operational excellence. Rafael González Ensesa stepped into the role of general manager at Jumeirah Living Marina Gate, Jumeirah Group’s serviced residence in Dubai Marina. In his new post, he has made clear his commitment to utilizing his creative approach to raise the bar for luxury urban living, and ensuring the Jumeirah brand DNA of Stay Different™ is brought to life across the property.

NEW GM JOINS VOCO BONNINGTON DUBAI Bruno Guilloux has been appointed general manager of the newly rebranded voco Bonnington Dubai, bringing with him over 30 years of international experience in the hospitality industry. Since arriving in the Middle East in 2005, Guilloux has worked in various management roles, including as the cluster GM of Dubai’s Novotel and Ibis World Trade Centre. After a brief tenure as general manager for the luxury resort Sofitel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, he returned to Dubai with Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. In 2011, he joined the Bonnington Hotel and Residence Jumeirah Lakes Towers, managing the property until 2015. Remaining in Dubai, he went on to work with various international hotels, supporting their opening projects under Dusit Hotels and Resorts, and Barcelo Group, before returning to lead voco Bonnington Dubai through a refurbishment, rebranding and incorporation into the new IHG brand.



ANANTARA HOTELS, RESORTS & SPAS ANNOUNCES TWO EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS IN OMAN Maren Kuehl has been appointed general manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar. She brings with her nearly 20 years of experience in international luxury hotels across Europe and the Middle East. Andrea Orrú is the new general manager of Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. Orrú has been part of the team at Minor Hotels, Anantara’s parent company, since 2013 and has built up over 20 years of experience in hotel operations across food, beverage and hotel management in countries including Thailand, Maldives, China and South Korea.

COPTHORNE LAKEVIEW HOTEL & EXECUTIVE APARTMENTS APPOINTS MALIK MEZIANE AS ITS GENERAL MANAGER The new four-star hotel Copthorne Lakeview Hotel & Executive Apartments, located in Dubai Green Community – Dubai Investment Park, has appointed Malik Meziane as its general manager. Meziane brings a wealth of hospitality experience gained in Europe and the Middle East, where he worked for various hospitality brands. In his new role, Meziane will oversee the hotel’s 165 rooms and 43 apartments, as well as its dining facilities, which include an international all-day dining restaurant, lakeside pool bar and an authentic gastropub named Neighborhood.

NEW DIRECTOR OF F&B FOR INTERCONTINENTAL JORDAN The InterContinental Jordan Amman has announced the appointment of Muhannad Khalaf as its new food and beverage director. In his role, Khalaf will build on his experience to ensure guests continue to be offered a higher level of service at the city’s landmark hotel, which has long been one of the city’s premier destinations. He will oversee the property’s extensive food and beverage operations to further establish the InterContinental’s position as a leading operator of luxury restaurants and bars in Jordan.

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We Spoke wth Fabien Chesnais, Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island’s general manager, about creating world-class guest experiences and how bringing the first Mövenpick property to Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the first Mövenpick Resort to the UAE, is likely to impact the market.

What differentiates the Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island from other properties?

What are the main challenges and opportunities when it comes to UAE’s hotel market?

We are bringing the first Mövenpick property to Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the first Mövenpick resort to the UAE: Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island. Slated to open in June 2022, it is set to become the perfect retreat for families, couples and thrill-seekers. Boasting 300 meters of white sandy beach and spectacular sea and island views across its 418 contemporary rooms, including suites and one-bedroom beachfront chalets with private swimming pools and terraces, the resort is abundant in amenities, including exciting dining opportunities at six specialty restaurants, three swimming pools, extreme water sports and a floating waterpark. All of these elements make it an ideal escape for all.

There are massive opportunities this summer as people want to satisfy their thirst for travel. We expect higher demand for resort and adventure trips. Ras al Khaimah has established itself as a prominent and attractive leisure destination, driven by both domestic and international markets. Travelers and residents are likely to flock to the emirate as a means of escape, taking full advantage of its nature and pristine beaches. Beyond that, the emphasis at Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island is on experience and fun.


In an interview for Hospitality News ME, Hodema consulting services caught up with Saif Eddin Mohammed, general manager of Safir Fintas Hotel, Kuwait, to discuss the evolution of Kuwait’s hospitality scene and get the lowdown on Safir Fintas Hotel’s sustainable strategy.

What can you tell us about Safir Fintas’ sustainable development strategy?

training in sustainability to create a green culture in the hotel.

We started the energy-saving program in 2016, and we received an appreciation certificate from Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity in 2018 in recognition of the hotel’s energy-saving efforts and for our role in the MEW’s program in rationalizing the consumption of energy in 2018 – 2019. Safir Fintas Hotel has the Environmental Impact Assessment License 2021 issued by The Environment Public Authority – Kuwait. The following initiatives are being implemented and followed by our Green Team committee: energy and water to improve energy efficiency, upgrade lighting, cooling and maximize natural light and airflow wherever possible; healthy food options for guests and colleagues, waste management, supply chain and procurement; commitment to the community through the participation and the involvement in environmental causes, events and associations; and ongoing

How do you think the hospitality industry in the MENA region will pivot post Covid-19? Do you believe we will witness new trends? The outlook is very promising, and all projections appear optimistic. In Kuwait, business has started to return to normal in many sectors, especially the hotel industry. The dynamics have changed, and we have to adapt to new business trends and travel requirements. Digitizing and personalizing the guest experience, capitalizing on the leisure market and offering F&B venues are key to meeting guests’ expectations. The local market (staycation) represents a significant share of the pie, in addition to the other basic segments, and sustainability will have a bigger impact on future planning for any industry, especially hospitality.




SNEAK PEEK INTO THE REOPENING OF THE PHOENICIA HOTEL BEIRUT WITH MANRIQUE RODRIGUEZ importantly, work with exceptional people. Phoenicia is considered an institution and “la grande dame” of the hospitality industry in Lebanon.

Why did the restoration of the hotel take almost two years?

Manrique Rodriguez, general manager of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut, takes us on a trip down memory lane and discusses the reopening of the legendary property, one of Lebanese hospitality’s great pillars. What drew you to Lebanon? Lebanon is a fascinating country, and Phoenicia is an iconic hotel for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. I have been working in the industry and for IHG for almost 35 years, but I never experienced life in the Middle East. Phoenicia has given me the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the region and, most

Many obstacles delayed the reopening, including the financial crisis, the pandemic and the insurance claim. However, we were always optimistic and worked very hard to reach this point, as we were able to set a strategy allowing us to reopen the Residence building on July 1, 2022, followed by the rest of the hotel, including F&B outlets, the spa, gym and banqueting facilities, by October 3, 2022.

a visionary man. This institution already witnessed the glamor of Beirut in the 1960s, as well as many other chapters in the history of this lovely country: a hotel where visitors from all over the world basked in the soulful Lebanese culture, where singers, celebrities, heads of state, monarchies, guests and clients enjoyed the unique charisma of our hotel.

What can guests look forward to experiencing in the newly renovated hotel? The reopening of Phoenicia Hotel Beirut is a sign of hope. It demonstrates that we believe in Lebanon and its community. The Lebanese people are extraordinary, and with the support of our colleagues, customers and clients, we will reopen our doors with pride and work hard to prove, once again, that Lebanon is a country of resilience.

It’s been a difficult journey, one that has required immense commitment, but we were determined to send out a positive and optimistic message of recovery to local and international communities.

What are your plans for Phoenicia Hotel Beirut?

As a hotel that represents the golden era of Lebanon, how will the reopening of Phoenicia impact the local hospitality and tourism sector?

We will reposition our hotel in the market, work hard to bring back our loyal customers and attract new clients and visitors to our city and country, offering them a truly unique experience that’s synonymous with Lebanese hospitality.

Phoenicia is an intrinsic part of this country’s history, founded in the middle of the last century by Najib Ibrahim Salha,

PARIS COMES TO SAUDI ARABIA AT MANSARD RIYADH, A RADISSON COLLECTION HOTEL Firas Mneimneh, general manager of Mansard Riyadh, shares details on the latest luxury lifestyle hotel bringing a touch of Paris to Saudi Arabia. What is the importance of having a special Parisian flavor at Mansard Riyadh? The Parisian Haussmann style of the mid1800s defines lavishness in its architectural design, where every single element reflects a throwback memory of the French capital's fashionable and luxurious boulevards. This will position the hotel as a landmark in any city it operates in.

While the luxury lifestyle hotel market is growing in Saudi Arabia, how will the Mansard Riyadh differentiate itself from its competitors? Mansard Riyadh is managed under the umbrella of one of the biggest and fastest-growing hotel groups: Radisson Hotel Group. The group has established a strong position in Saudi Arabia and worldwide, so we are built on solid foundations. Together with our renowned team of professionals, we will drive the hotel in the right direction and ensure it continues to stand out in Saudi Arabia's capital city.

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GIOVANNA MANSI LUTFI TAKES THE LEBANESE LIRA TO MIAMI As managing partner of WSH LLC and Tastings SoFlo LLC, a luxury catering and events company, Giovanna Mansi Lutfi has plenty of hospitality experience. Her latest concept, Lira Miami, pays homage to her Lebanese heritage. Lira offers a taste of traditional Lebanese cuisine in the heart of Miami. What made you decide to launch this concept in such a vibrant city? Miami’s restaurant scene has grown significantly in recent years; you can now find pretty much every type of cuisine. Despite several Mediterranean options, there are only a few Lebanese ones; these are mainly full-service old-fashioned restaurants with belly-dancing shows and burgundy velvet sofas or takeaway stalls that offer sandwiches and tabbouleh straight from the fridge. Therefore, my partners and I decided to open Lira, a mid-scale casual-chic eatery in a very trendy neighborhood called Wynwood. Clients are welcome to come for lunch or dinner, and we even offer a weekend buffet brunch. Our indoor seating area accommodates 35 guests, and there

are two patios: the small one seats 55 guests and the large one is for bigger groups and private parties.

Your restaurant not only promotes traditional Lebanese cuisine but also the work of Lebanese artists. What can you tell us about this idea? Lira is located in Wynwood, a very artsy neighborhood in Miami. It is the hub of street artists from all over the world. There are numerous art galleries as well as restaurants, bars and cool shops. It thus made sense for us embrace art and, in our case, Lebanese art in its many forms. We started off by commissioning the queen of pop art Rana Salam with the logo and brand look. We also have prints and pillows from her online store. There is a big and beautiful outdoor graffiti of Beirut done by illustrator Maria Theresa Kallassy and many prints by Adra, Yasmina Keyrouz and other talented artists. Some of our copper table tops are made by artisans in Qalamoun. We also have cake stands by Nada Debs and “brik” by Lebanese Glass that’s made out of recycled glass from the Beirut Port blast. Our aim is to be as Lebanese as possible in everything we do, and our wish is to give visibility to these artists and many others too.

60 SECONDS WITH JOEY GHAZAL, THE MAINE GROUP’S SERIAL GASTROPRENEUR Having launched dozens of successful brands across three continents, Joey Ghazal, founder and managing partner of The MAINE Group, knows how to run leading restaurants. Here, the “gastropreneur” talks about his rise to the top and reveals his group’s exciting expansion plans.

Why did you set your sights on the UK rather than any other European country?

What do you believe to be the secret behind The MAINE’s success?

Do you have any other projects you can share with us?

We have focused on delivering what people have come to expect from us — a crowdpleasing menu, great cocktails, friendly service, a buzzing atmosphere and excellent value. We also imbued a sense of ownership in the team as we grew the business and have succeeded in creating an experience that is simultaneously warm and inviting while always resonating with a sense of event and celebration.



I’ve had my sights set on London since I worked there in my early 20s. Returning to London to open my own restaurant years later is a full-circle moment for me. As the English-speaking capital of Europe, the center of culture and commerce, and a very similar audience to what we have in Dubai, London was the obvious choice for us.

We just launched a laid-back West Coast eatery and rooftop called Canary Club at The Banyan Tree in JLT. This is our first new brand since we first launched The MAINE in 2015. We have always focused on catering to the great communities of Dubai; Canary Club is no exception.


CHANGING THE JUNK FOOD NARRATIVE WITH TAMER ELKHAYAT, CEO OF KCG AND CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PINZA! What can you tell us about your latest collaboration with Emarat? Aiming to take quality and service-food stations to the next level in Dubai and the northern Emirates, we teamed up with Emarat to offer PINZA!’s signature guilt-free hand-kneaded crust across 50 locations.

Tamer Elkhayat, CEO of KCG and co-founder and managing director of PINZA! tells us why he decided to collaborate with Emarat to launch an innovative Italian concept in the UAE.

How are you working toward changing the perception that of fast food is unhealthy? We set out to bake the finest pizza dough in the UAE. With our new B2B developments, we are looking forward to enhancing the consumer-based grab-and-go retail environment. Offering wholesome, flavorful, nutritious and delicious food, PINZA! is working toward changing the narrative that healthy food is not tasty. When possible,

vegetables are sourced locally, ensuring that only the freshest, GMO-free ingredients and herbs are selected for the toppings.

What are your future plans? Currently, we are working on expanding and developing our current B2B collaborations even further across the UAE. We are also looking to extend PINZA!’s international reach, with franchises across MENA and the UK currently in active discussions. As part of our mission, to help the healthy food segment flourish, we are exploring collaborations and expansions in the UAE and the GCC B2B and foodservice industries.

11 RESTAURANTS AWARDED MICHELIN STARS IN DUBAI Michelin unveiled its 2022 selection of the Michelin Guide Dubai, recognizing 69 restaurants covering 21 cuisines. A total of 11 restaurants were awarded prestigious Michelin stars, while 14 were recognized as Bib Gourmand restaurants and one received a Green Star for sustainable gastronomy. In a statement, Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guide,

said: “This very first Dubai selection of restaurants marks a historical moment for the Michelin Guide and the Middle East. What makes Dubai’s culinary landscape so distinctive is its reflection of the more than 200 nationalities that call the city home, delivering an epicurean kaleidoscope.”





LAUNCH OF THE FIRST PHYGITAL NFT COOKBOOK, "SACRED FOODS OF INDIA," BY MICHELIN-STARRED CHEF VIKAS KHANNA Giving readers a taste of India, Michelin-starred chef Vikas Khanna talks about his limited-edition collectible NFT cookbook. How did the idea of releasing the first phygital NFT cookbook cross your mind? The idea behind releasing this cookbook came from an urge to connect future generations with our ancestral values, foods and culture. You see people serving food selflessly at temples, monasteries, mosques and Mother Theresa's kitchen. This practice, which has been going on for centuries, is truly amazing. At the same time, I feel that it is also part of our collective heritage, which is why we have to find a way to link these amazing holy kitchens to future generations. I also wanted to have a magnum opus cookbook, so the only way to achieve it was to release a phygital NFT book: an investment that people can make money out of. In parallel, the digital format resonates with the new generation, for whom

this book is written. The intention is to help them understand India in the way we grew up. Furthermore, my hope is that these holy institutions continue to nurture the physical and spiritual aspects of life and that readers of "Sacred Foods of India" are inspired by my motherland, regardless of where they live.

What projects are you working on? My goal is to bring to life projects that have value and creative intellectual work to honor my roots. I have three additional books on the way and some amazing partnerships with innovative products on the market. Furthermore, I am releasing my perfume, something I am very proud of and passionate about. The fragrance is currently available in the U.S. Also, Vikas Khanna by Celeste, a high-quality hand-made dinnerware range, pays tribute to beautiful memories created around food. In addition, I have released two documentaries, and I'm working on a film that's due to come out in early 2023. The cherry on the cake is my new restaurant in New York. I hope that these projects make us proud as Indians and inspire others.

CHEF JAMES KNIGHT-PACHECO JOINS COVE BEACH AS GROUP EXECUTIVE CHEF Chef James Knight-Pacheco’s culinary repertoire continues to flourish with Cove Beach recently appointing him as group executive chef.

He was also part of the pre-opening team for the flagship property ME by Melia at The Opus Tower, designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

Chef Knight-Pacheco, whose career spans more than 20 years, has worked at some of the world’s finest luxury hotels and restaurants in the UK and the Middle East, including: Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s; Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in Oxfordshire, with two-Michelin starred chef Raymond Blanc; Six Senses- Zighy Bay in Oman; Dubai Marina Yacht Club; and Vida Downtown, part of Emaar Hospitality Group.

In May 2020, Knight-Pacheco launched the Chef JKP Podcast, which celebrates the inspirational stories of people in the hospitality industry and has run for three seasons so far on all podcast streaming platforms. He also co-founded the Dubai Chef’s Collective. His most recent achievement was being named in Gault & Millau dining guide’s UAE edition.



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HOW ELLE & VIRE PROFESSIONNEL PRODUCTS ARE HELPING CHEFS ACHIEVE GREAT RESULTS IN THE KITCHEN As a disruptor in the field of dairy, continuously setting trends, its latest product release, the Soft Style Cream Cheese, has been praised by renowned chefs as an ideal ingredient in savory, sweet, hot and cold recipes.

For more than 40 years, Elle & Vire Professionnel has developed unrivaled dairy know-how and forged special relationships with gastronomy and pastry professionals.

In a statement, Michelin-starred and culinary executive chef Sébastien Faré of La Maison de la Crème Elle & Vire® said: “Cheese is a true symbol of French gastronomy. The Elle & Vire Professionnel cheese range is perfect for sweet and savory creations. Personally, I enjoy using Elle & Vire Professional French Cream Cheese; It is suitable for baking and spreading, and it has a fresh, smooth and creamy taste, making it easy to work with.

Made in France with French milk, it is the result of the Norman dairy know-how and Elle & Vire professional chefs’ expertise.” With the new Elle & Vire Professionnel Soft Style Cream Cheese, chefs can create a series of fresh and tasty starters. For example, by mixing the soft-style cream cheese with horseradish puree, cucumber, bottarga, avocado, chili and garlic, you can create a silky and creamy sauce. Ticking the right boxes of quality, consistency and taste, the Soft Style Cream Cheese by Elle & Vire Professionnel proves, yet again, to be a chef’s best choice for an elevated culinary experience.

"IN THE KNOW" — U.S. EGG PRODUCTS TECHNICAL BUYERS AND USERS CONFERENCE USDA’s Processed Egg and Egg Products Verification Program (PEEPEV) and other topics. Dr. Jacqueline Mason, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service - international marketing specialist, presented the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service talk, which focused on how to negotiate and maintain export market access for eggs (Animal Health Perspective), the National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP) and its value, how the process of selfmonitoring/self-restrictions of exports during disease outbreaks (HPAI), works as well as a plethora of other current issues.

The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), which supports the poultry and egg industries through market development programs related to all aspects of the poultry and egg industry, enlightened attendees on June 21, 2022, with a U.S. Egg Products Technical Buyers and Users Conference at VOCO Hotel Dubai. The conference’s series of presentations were designed to provide key information related to current egg safety and quality



issues, as well as trends and market opportunities: The U.S. Egg and Egg Products presentation by Ginny Gunderson, U.S. egg products and export specialist, covered the specificities of U.S. eggs, an egg nutrition overview and the latest trends. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service presentation by Jeffrey Hendricks, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service - national shell egg supervisor, and Jed Warnock, assistant national shell egg supervisor, explored egg items (shell eggs/egg products/processed egg products), market access (how the process works), USDA’s export certification process for shell eggs (including the U.S. production process),

A 101 U.S. egg products overview was presented by Dr. Deana Jones, USDA Agricultural Research Service - research food technologist, during her session on The USDA Agricultural Research Service presentation. Gunderson returned to the floor for a final discussion on U.S. Egg and Egg Products. She spoke about sea freight and container shipments, egg product applications in foodservice and provided a recap on egg functionality. The conference demonstrated the U.S. poultry and egg industry’s innovation and evolution, giving buyers and users the most up-to-date information about various topics that have had and are likely to have an impact on its future. Read our interviews in full on



Romain Castet started his career as an apprentice at Lenôtre, a renowned luxury patisserie in Paris. More career highlights include working alongside a string of celebrity chefs such as Philippe Joannes, Jean Christophe Jeanson and Amaury Guichon as well as earning the title of executive Obelisk. We chat to him about his story, working with quality products and sustainability…

Have you always wanted to work in the food industry? I grew up in my parents' restaurant, so I’d say that gave me a taste for catering. My father is a cook by trade and passed on his cooking skills, but eventually my heart preferred pastry. A childhood dream of mine was to become an astronaut and as an adult, if I weren’t doing what I do, I’d be an architect.

will usually understand if we’ve built a relationship. The same goes for explaining why I may not have certain ingredients available. I respect the seasons, so not all fruits and vegetables will always be present in our dishes. We have to do this as chefs to make sure the industry doesn’t over produce items (that end up being bad quality) simply because of demand. Choux pastry swans are a classic French dessert. When

What do you enjoy most about being a pastry chef? To be honest, I love my job, but perhaps what I enjoy most, is being able to lead a team in one

Images: CNIEL

target. Around the world, pastry chefs and bakers can surprise their customers – this motivates me. And I am encouraged by everything around me, especially in Dubai, where we have people from everywhere; you must observe and listen,

As a chef in Dubai, you need to work with many imported products, while looking at using more and more local products, too - which imported products are you not prepared to compromise on and why? It’s true that I have some items which I’m not ready to compromise on, such as French cream and butter. Why? It’s simple: I have always learned, and developed recipes using French dairy products, so it change that suddenly and be sure of quality.


“It's true that I have some items which I'm not ready to compromise on, such as French cream and butter.” What do you believe sets French cream apart? It all comes down to what the cows eat, where they graze and how the products are manufactured. Talk to us about your sustainable approach as a chef. My sustainable approach as a chef is to lead by example – we all need to realize that it starts with each of us. We must look at what we’re doing, improve our ways and others will learn from this. I also think it’s important

The content of this media represents the author’s point of view only and is the sole responsibility of the author. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made from the information contained herein.

for chefs to spend a bit of time outside of the kitchen and form real connections with their customers. This allows for conversations to happen, and you can explain your approach or reasons why you do something. At Bijou for counters unnecessarily, as we don’t want to have any waste. If a certain pastry or dessert is not available, I can explain why to a customer and they

hospitality school, we learnt the traditional recipe for pâte à choux. It’s such an important one, as you can make so many desserts with this such as a Paris-Brest cream), éclairs and of course, cygne à la crème (swan with cream). Are they complicated to make? While the recipe and actual desserts look easy to make, you do need to practice certain techniques to get this right. You have to make sure your dough for the choux pastry is the right consistency and the cooking process must be followed. You also need to make sure you’re using dairy cream with a minimum %35 of fat – whipping this beautiful product correctly is important. In terms of getting the shape right – just respect the shape of a swan – but be creative!






Featuring 7,000 exhibitors and 400,000 products on display, SIAL Paris, the global agri-food trade event, will hold its innovation-centric edition on October 15 and 16, 2022, at Paris Nord Villepinte. The trade event’s theme of “owning change” addresses the latest trends, customer expectations and initiatives that are set to shape the food industry of tomorrow. This year’s highlights include: SIAL Innovation, which showcases the best of the world’s food innovation. For two decades, SIAL Innovation's grand prizes have recognized outstanding new products, displaying them in a dedicated area for optimal visibility. The gallery of new products then travels to other major SIAL network events in places such as Canada, China, India, Jakarta, the Middle East and the United States. This year’s selection process has been conducted by a panel of independent

experts led by ProteinesXTC, a firm specializing in the strategy, innovation and communication of agri-food companies; SIAL Start-Up is a brand-new area that will present a fine selection of startups, in partnership with Start-up Sesame and FoodTech. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to discover the most innovative young companies. SIAL Insights/Think Tank encompasses exclusive studies on consumer expectations, product innovations and foodservice trends. A new partner, NDP Group, joins the team of experts at Kantar and Protéines XTC in charge of the trend book. SIAL Podcast is a new monthly news broadcast about the food industry that provides guidance to professionals within the ecosystem.

7-9 NOV. UK WORLD TRAVEL MARKET RX GLOBAL 8-10 NOV. DUBAI GULFOOD MANUFACTURING Dwtc 14-16 NOV. EGYPT HACE Egyptian Group for Marketing 22-24 NOV. KSA SAUDI HORECA The Saudi International food beverage & hospitality exhibition Semark 22-24 NOV. Riyadh, KSA SALON DU CHOCOLAT RIYADH Salon du Chocolat is a show dedicated to those passionate about chocolate. Semark


The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS), which is set to take place from September 19-21 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, has confirmed the first 50 speakers from the industry's most dynamic and leading hospitality companies, with more names to be announced soon. Jonathan Worsley, chairman of The Bench, said: “We are thrilled to have signed up our first 50 speakers in what is set to be an



exceptional lineup of global and regional leaders, representing some of the world’s most respected hospitality brands and organizations. We are working with them and our Advisory Board members on the program to address the most pertinent developments and challenges in the industry and spark conversations that will accelerate progress and lead the change.”

MEA & South West Asia at IHG Hotels and Resorts; Dimitris Manikis, president EMEA at Wyndham Hotels, Jochem-Jan Sleiffer, president Middle East, Africa & Turkey at Hilton, as well as Chris Newman, executive director hotel development at NEOM; Agnès Roquefort, chief development officer at Accor and Elie Younes, chief development officer at Radisson.

Titled “Lead the Change,” the 18th edition of the show will be bringing together 50 leaders from some of the world’s most dynamic hospitality brands, including: Silva, CEO of Jumeirah Group Hotels & Resorts; Puneet Chhatwal, MD, and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited; Dillip Rajakarier, Group CEO Minor Hotels; Guy Hutchinson, president and CEO at Rotana; Sandeep Walia, COO at Marriott International; Khalid Anib, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Hotels; Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality; Haitham Mattar, MD

Members of the global food and beverage investment community who will be coming together on the first day of FHS for the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) include: Alan Laughlin, CEO of Vapiano; Annick van Overstraeten, CEO of Le Pain Quotidien; Edward Devenport, CEO of Incipio Group; Ed Loftus, restaurant group director of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group; and Naim Maadad, chief executive and founder of Gates Hospitality.



WHAT’S ON THE PROGRAM AT HORECA JORDAN? The eighth edition of HORECA Jordan is set to take place from 27-29 September at a brand-new venue. We learn more about what’s happening at this much-loved hospitality and foodservice event. An essential meeting place for industry professionals, HORECA Jordan is gearing up to welcome food and beverage manufacturers and service providers, hospitality operators, chefs and investors from across the region and beyond to Jordan International Exhibition Center, Mecca Hall, Amman. As every year, the trade show will be held under the patronage of the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and is organized in cooperation and with the support of the Jordan Tourism Board, the Jordan Hotel Association and the Jordan Restaurant Association. Speaking about the event, Thuraya Husseini, chairperson and CEO of Lawrence & Husseini Consult, HORECA Jordan organizer, said: “This edition promises to be an exciting one for us, as we have chosen a new venue that’s more spacious and on a single floor, making it more practical for our exhibitors and guests.” Other companies from around the world will be present at large pavilions. Business networking opportunities will be supplemented by different attractions, awards and competitions, availing participants with exposure to new and innovative business ideas. Furthermore, international delegations will be part of the event.


DAILY EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS Hospitality Salon Culinaire Junior Chef Competition Art of Service Competition Al Ameed Barista Competition Bed Making Competition






"Life is flamboyant and sassy," according to Serge Trigano, the co-founder of Mama Shelter. The entrepreneur is making his mark on the hospitality industry by creating a new lifestyle boutique accommodation concept. Here, he talks to HN about his brand and future projects.



What sets Mama Shelter apart from conventional hotel brands? Mama Shelter was the first lifestyle brand in the hospitality business to be launched in 2008. It has paved the way for many others. The lifestyle segment now represents the fastest-growing cluster in tourism. Today, more than simply rooms and restaurants, Mama Shelter is a meeting space, a true urban refuge that is beautiful, modern and lively, as well as popular, friendly and sexy. After 14 years, we have 16 Mama Shelters, 2,161 rooms, 16 restaurants and 1,250 employees in 14 cities and nine countries.

What is the secret behind your success? Mama Shelter is a family affair. In 2001, I went back to the family business. Joined by my two sons, I launched Mama Shelter, a completely fresh concept that broke the rules of the hospitality industry.

How would you describe the Trigiano family legacy? I am the son of Gilbert Trigano, co-founder of Club Med. I grew up in the hotel industry, which was an important source of inspiration in my life. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University Panthéon-Assas, I joined the family business. From 1970 to 1991, I worked for Club Med as a host (“Gentil Organisateur”) in Morocco. After gaining experience at Club Med, I launched my own companies: Serge Trigano & Sons, Town and Shelter, Altour (travel agency) and Moments of Life (corporate seminars).

During this period, I collaborated on different missions for the Ministry of Innovation and Tourism. In 1998, my father published his first book, "La Saga du Club" about Club Med’s spirit. In 2008, with my sons Jérémie and Benjamin, we launched a new type of hotel: Mama Shelter. For this new concept, I was inspired by the Club Med experience and my sons’ vision to offer a new type of hotel with urban design at affordable prices. My sons and I agreed to sell Mama Shelter to Accor in 2021. Today, I still play a key role in Mama Shelter’s brand development. On the side, I also manage the Forges les Eaux hotel, part of the Partouche group.

The lifestyle segment now represents the fastest-growing cluster in tourism.

How have you made each property in the Mama Shelter portfolio unique? Mama Shelter is all about welcoming everyone: travelers and corporates alike. Traveling for business should not mean having to compromise on atmosphere and comfort. For this reason, each Mama Shelter — for example Mama L.A. and Rio — have ateliers, or meeting rooms, that can be booked for events, seminars and

conferences. Depending on the Mama, there may be additional features, such as the CineMama in Toulouse, karaoke rooms in London, or the Mama Works in Luxembourg, Mama Shelter’s co-working space. Finally, to ensure that Mama’s warm spirit never dies out, events are regularly scheduled at each Mama. From Thursday to Sunday, live bands and DJs come to liven up the scene and entertain guests well into the night. Nights out are organized frequently, whether on a global or local scale. This is not only a way of introducing visitors to local bands and performers but to also attract locals. Mama Shelter is not about selling a material product: a bed, a room or a restaurant area for a quick breakfast. Mama Shelter is about offering customers an experience. Guests step into an alternate universe when entering a Mama, even if it’s just for a meal. This world is defined by the openness, quirkiness, sexiness, fun and warmth of Mama, which are amplified in the design, our restaurants (bars, terraces and rooftops), rooms and ateliers. Each of these pillars ensures that guests are always reminded of the values that make up the very essence of our group in whichever property they are staying.

What are your upcoming projects? We have two scheduled projects: one in France - Mama Rennes, Dijon and Nice; and one outside of France - Mama Dubai, Mama Bucharest, Mama Zürich and Mama Medellin.






THE NEW BIG THING While global interest in ecotourism has been growing at a rapid pace, inflation has also started to shape travel choices. Nagi Morkos, founder and managing partner at Hodema consulting services, guides us around the ecolodges in the region which are increasingly attracting environmentally conscious travelers from around the world.

Green travel trends have been benefiting from a whole range of accommodation types, from camping to eco-resorts and eco-hotels. Although these properties pay an extra degree of attention to their ecological footprints, they still follow traditional hospitality rules. However, this is not the case when it comes to eco-lodges. Often associated with safaris, exotic forests or secluded islands, ecolodges are usually small-sized structures that are nestled in remote — and pristine — environments. They attract travelers who are seeking peace and untouched nature, and those who are ready to step out of their hotel comfort zone.

However, ecolodges are not for everyone; reaching these off-the-beaten-path properties usually requires a sizeable budget, so operators tend to deter mid-budget visitors, by setting high prices to maintain a status of luxury and exclusivity.

Oman With its varied and vast unspoiled landscapes, the Middle East is a haven for ecolodges. Oman is a leader in this market, with its breathtaking coastlines, deserts and mountains. Indeed, developers have created hotels that have been designed in harmony with their surroundings, with architecture merging with nature.

Six Senses Zighy Bay on the Musandam Peninsula is the most famous, although it falls into the resort category as it features 82 rooms. There, visitors can learn how local plants are grown. The 84-room Alila in Jabal Akhdar is its mountain equivalent, where local materials have been used and solar power has been implemented. A number of hiking trails can be found a stone’s throw from the property. Meanwhile, on the Salalah coastline, the Souly Ecolodge is a great spot for birdwatching enthusiasts and those who want to see dolphins in the wild.

UAE Across the border in the UAE, developers have started to follow this lucrative trend after years of focusing on luxury hotels and resorts. Indeed, out-of-the-box lodging options are on the rise. For instance, campers can now stay at the Sedr Trailers



In collaboration with

Resort Hotel in Dubai which provides 13 airstream caravans, allowing guests to spend the night under the stars in the desert. Similarly, those seeking a Bedouin experience can opt for the Al Maha Desert Resort, which provides luxury tented villas and camel rides for adventurous types. In Sharjah, the Kingfisher Lodge is a beach paradise that can only be accessed by private boat. Guests can learn about the local fauna at the Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre and see protected species, such as Arabian wolves and desert lynxes.

KSA In Saudi Arabia, the world-renowned Al Ula site has its very own ecolodge. Habitas AlUla has made a name for itself thanks to its unique take on sustainability; it uses 3D printing for some of its amenities, thereby reducing its carbon footprint and energy consumption.

Egypt Egypt is also well positioned to develop this market segment, with its varied nature that includes the desert, the Nile valley and other natural beauty spots. In Siwa Oasis, the Taziry ecolodge features Bedouin tents with

Siwan touches. Further west in the Al Dakhla Oasis, Al Tarfa has also made its mark, winning multiple awards for its climatefriendly architecture and communityoriented management.

Jordan Further north, Jordan has developed a few ecolodges of its own, which are ideally positioned in the country’s protected natural reserves. The Feynan Eco Lodge, located in the Dana Biosphere Reserve, has become internationally known thanks to its vegetarian menu — a rarity in the region — and its electricity-free ethos. Guests can look forward to candle-lit experiences on the roof of the property, where telescopes provide unrivalled stargazing opportunities.

Ecolodges attract travelers who are seeking peace and untouched nature, and are ready to step out of their hotel comfort zone.

Lebanon Similarly, Lebanon has jumped onto the green project bandwagon. One of the first ecolodges was Bkerzay, which is surrounded by olive groves offering pottery classes. In Taanayel, a beautiful haven in the Bekaa Valley, guests might not find luxury, but they’ll definitely enjoy memorable experiences. The Taanayel Eco Lodge is part of Arcenciel, a non-profit organization. Brimming with rural charm, the unusual property introduces visitors to farming.

Turkey And last but certainly not least, Turkey continues to attract a large number of travelers seeking more than just sea and sun. On the UNESCO World Heritage List, Cappadocia has seen ecolodge projects flourish in recent years, such as Ariana Lodge near Uchisar. At the other end of the country, on the Gemile Peninsula, the three houses of Gökçe, Elmali and Gemile have been built with sustainability in mind. One has even kept the carob tree which stood there before construction began.





In collaboration with

THE BURGEONING BLEISURE MARKET Those mixing professional business travel with personal leisure time have been coined “bleisure” travelers. Jad Shamseddin, COO of Aleph Hospitality, lifts the lid on this growing segment that should be carefully studied and catered to by hotels worldwide.

Depending on how attractive a destination is, business travelers are increasingly adding weekends — even weeks — to work trips to combine work and leisure. Globally, it is believed that one in three business travelers will be adding a leisure component to at least one of their business trips this year. Today’s bleisure traveler is interested in culture and food, elements hotels can capitalize on by creating appealing local offerings and experiences. Here are a few things operators should consider:

Diversify and showcase business and leisure amenities Hotels need to showcase both their business and leisure amenities to attract the bleisure traveler. This includes business options, such as private meeting spaces or coworking spaces, as well as leisure activities, such as run clubs, yoga classes, special meal plans and transportation options.

Improve personalization through AI By utilizing AI, hotels can enhance personalization, tapping into the bleisure traveler’s needs and preferences for both work and leisure. From the right recommendations for food based on the guest’s profile to ensuring special features



in the room, business travelers can benefit from a more tailored and efficient service to get their work done quickly, thus freeing up valuable leisure time.

these travel agents specialize in arranging business trips and planning business events for their clients.

Ensure reliable and high-speed connectivity

From smart speakers and casting services to the use of mobile apps for contactless check-in and check-out, there are plenty of ways to digitally engage the bleisure traveler to guarantee that both their business and leisure needs are met.

Connectivity is everything. Attracting bleisure travelers requires the provision of seamless internet access to accommodate business obligations first and foremost. These travelers also need to be able to communicate with their loved ones and friends during their free time. Therefore, connection speed and Wi-Fi quality make a huge difference.

Hotels need to showcase both their business and leisure amenities to attract the bleisure traveler.

Be on the platforms bleisure travelers are using Working with corporate travel agents could be one way to entice bleisure travelers, as

Enhance your hotel technology

Promote tailored-made offerings Business travelers can be offered discounted rates on weekends or additional nights after a conference to encourage them to extend their stay. Recommendations for off-the-beatentrack experiences and access to ticketed events are other ways to keep guests checked in for longer. Hotels need to promote leisure activities to corporate travelers on their website, in confirmation and pre-arrival emails, and other channels. Hotels that succeed in tailoring their offerings to attract bleisure travelers stand to benefit from repeat business, increased revenue and competitive advantages.


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BACK TO THE LAND OF THE PHARAOHS Egypt appears to be getting back on its feet after years of economic turmoil and social unrest, intensified by the pandemic. Nada Alameddine, managing partner at Hodema consulting services, shares her insights on tourism recovery and what the regional power of North Africa is likely to witness in terms of foreign arrivals in 2022 and beyond.

According to the World Bank, Egypt’s GDP stood at USD 363.10 billion in 2020, up from USD 303.1 in 2019. The international financial institution seems confident that the Egyptian economy is in recovery mode, as it raised its growth forecast for 2022 to 6.1 percent, up from 5.9 percent in April. The projection for 2023 is 4.8 percent, with the deflation of the recovery bubble, followed by stabilization at 5 percent in 2024. These positive economic signs could, however, be affected by soaring global inflation, which has hit oil-importing nations in particular.

Incentives Being the world’s largest importer of wheat, with nearly 80 percent of its cereal coming from abroad, Egypt has also been negatively impacted by the war between Russia and Ukraine. To limit the damage, the World Bank has just announced USD 500 million in development funds to boost food security and support the country’s wheat production and storage capacity.



On June 23, 2022, the Central Bank decided to hold its lending rate steady at 12.25 percent and its deposit rate at 11.25 percent for the next six months to back the private sector. But the Egyptian economy is hard to navigate, especially in times of crisis, as nearly 50 percent of the workforce earns its living in the informal sector. This accounts for 30 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the Minister of Planning Hala El-Saed. She said that the government had allocated EGP 130 billion pounds to mitigate the effect of the soaring crisis on citizens and made significant announcements concerning wages; the additional monthly incentive for state workers will go up, as well as the salaries of workers in the private sector, with a minimum wage of EGP 2,400.

Tourism The tourism sector, which represents 15 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, has not been spared by the

looming threat of a crisis. In 2021, Egypt generated USD 13 billion in tourism revenues, returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism. Several high-profile events, such as the Golden Parade in April and the opening of the Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor in November, also attracted scores of visitors. However, just as tourism was showing signs of post-pandemic recovery, the war in Ukraine dealt a new blow to the industry. According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, Russia and Ukraine accounted for up to 40 percent of inbound travelers, many of whom would stay at resorts along the Red Sea. The number of holidaymakers from Russia saw an increase from July 2021, as Moscow lifted a six-year ban on charter flights following the deadly crash of a passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula in 2015. Visitors from Western Europe also reconsidered travel plans, as political

In collaboration with

tensions started heating up. Nevertheless, authorities in Cairo have not been forthcoming in giving up this important Eastern European market. Indeed, they recently announced extra flights from Russia and are looking into the use of the Russian payment system MIR at Red Sea hotels, as Russians have been cut off by US payment card firms Visa and Mastercard. In the region, Turkey has already put into effect the system created in 2014 and the UAE is in the process of implementing it. Surging inflation is another concern, as plane tickets should increase in the coming months and hefty oil bills could hit the hospitality sector. In the meantime, Egyptian tourism professionals are pulling out all the stops with campaigns and videos — “Egypt: from here the journey begins” — promoting the country. These ads are targeting the Gulf and other Eastern European countries, such as Poland (direct

flights from Warsaw resumed in May 2022) and the Czech Republic. British travelers may also return, as The Daily Mail, a daily tabloid, recently selected Egypt as one of the best tourist destinations for spring/ summer 2022.

The Red Sea Although most foreign visitors choose allinclusive packages when it comes to the Red Sea resorts, Egyptian tourism should not be limited to cocktails on a beach. The history-rich country has been attracting lovers of archaeology for hundreds of years, although they don’t make up the largest portion of the industry’s income. However, a recent wave of discoveries and museum openings, as well as numerous high-profile exhibitions dedicated to Ancient Egypt in Western countries, should boost this activity. With this in mind, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has halved ticket prices for Egyptians and foreigners visiting

archaeological sites and museums in northern Egypt (June to August 2022).

Hotel occupancy On the hospitality side, the country is doing well. Occupancy rates increased by 106 percent in Cairo in the first quarter of 2022, by 46 percent in Sharm El Sheikh and by 84 percent in Hurghada, according to the Information and Decision Support Centre. And there’s plenty in the pipeline; a survey released in June 2022 by the W Hospitality Group, in association with the Africa Hospitality Investment Forum, revealed that Egypt has the largest percentage of hotel-chain development projects on the continent for 2022. Indeed, 85 hotels and more than 21,000 new rooms are on the agenda, with most of them still in the planning stage. This marks an increase of 20 percent compared to 2021.

A recent wave of discoveries and museum openings, as well as numerous high-profile exhibitions dedicated to Ancient Egypt in Western countries, should boost activity.






SPOTLIGHT Spain’s hotel supply is characterized by midand upscale hotels. However, the number of higher-end hotels is increasing at a rapid pace, as HVS’ Maria Coll, senior associate, and Sophie Perret, senior director, explain.



In collaboration with More than 70 percent of hotel rooms in Spain fall within the three- and fourstar categories. While the market share captured by luxury properties remains much lower, at around 6.5 percent of hotel room inventory (and only 2 percent in terms of hotel establishments), five-star properties have gradually increased in number over the past few years, reaching a compound annual growth rate of around 4 percent between 2015 and 2022. During the same period, the overall supply for all categories has remained relatively stable.

The capital Madrid is a particularly telling market when it comes to new five-star openings. Regarded as a corporate hub for many years, the city lacked high-end properties, but this is rapidly changing. The pandemic did not stop the opening of the 200room Four Seasons Madrid in September 2020. Furthermore, the reopening of the 153-room Mandarin Oriental Ritz, which was closed in 2019 to undergo a full renovation, and the rebranding of the renowned Villa Magna into a Rosewood property were highlights on the 2021 calendar. More recently, the 200-room Madrid EDITION launched in April, while a 139-room JW Marriott is expected to open later this year, becoming the first JW Marriott in Spain. While Madrid’s new luxury supply is impressive, other parts of Spain have also seen exciting openings over the last

few years. Some examples include: the 137-room Six Senses and the 54-room The Standard, both in Ibiza; the 164-room ME Barcelona; two five-star Radisson Collection hotels in Seville and Bilbao; and the 93-room Only YOU hotel in Malaga.

Spain’s investment market thrived in 2021, expanding to become the second-largest in Europe, with EUR 3.2 billion of hotel transactions.

Notwithstanding the ongoing global challenges — including economic uncertainty driven by the war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures and staffing recruitment difficulties — performance is exceeding expectations in 2022. A closer look at May 2022 shows that domestic stays were higher than in May 2019, while international stays were close. Additionally, May 2022 RevPAR levels surpassed those of May 2019 across all hotel categories, driven by an increase in average rates, while occupancy levels remained close to those of 2019.

Hotel transactions

Demand trends The global hotel industry was shaken to its core by the Covid-19 pandemic, and Spain was no exception. Signs of recovery, initially led by the domestic demand, were evident in the summer of 2021. Accommodated hotel bednights in Spain stood at around 173 million in 2021, an increase of 87 percent compared to 2020, although the figure was still around half of overnights stays recorded in 2019. Despite their heavier dependence on international demand, five-star hotels experienced stronger recovery than the overall Spanish hotel market, as hotels overnight stays increased by 92 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, reaching more than 12 million (54 percent of nights compared to 2019).

Spain’s investment market thrived in 2021, growing to become the second-largest in Europe, with EUR 3.2 billion of hotel transactions. Single-asset deals accounted for 61 percent of volume, while portfolios made up the remaining 39 percent. Fourstar properties led the race, followed by five-star hotels, which represented around 33 percent of the volume transacted in 2021. Examples of transactions in the fivestar class are shown in the table below. Spain has proven to be a strong hotel market, both in leisure and urban destinations. Thanks to its solid fundamentals, and a luxury market that still has further space for growth, there are positive signs that it will continue to prosper.


MAY 19

MAY 22








Five star







Four star







Three star







Two star







One star




















Archer Hotel Capital

Perella Weinberg Prtnrs, KKH Capital Property

Gran Hotel Calderón






NH Hotels

RLH Properties

Aina Hospitality, Grupo Didra

Bless Madrid





Blau Porto Petro





Ikos Resorts

Grupo Roxa Unico Hotels Unico Hotels

Grand Hotel Central





Schroder Real Estate Hotels

Unico Madrid





A&G Banca Privada








It’s official: Egypt’s North Coast, also known as Sahel, is the go-to summer spot. Here, Ralph Nader, CEO of Amber Consulting, gives us the lowdown on this unlikely destination and why it’s attracting a certain caliber of tourist.

While the Mediterranean shoreline has played a significant role in Sahel’s rise to fame, its popularity is largely the result of investments in its tourism potential. Indeed, in recent years, hospitality experts — from property developers to entrepreneurs — have become aware of the exceptional opportunities available in Sahel.

international artists, such as John Legend and Jennifer Lopez. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The biggest nightlife and dining venues, and the newest Egyptian world-class lifestyle concepts, have established themselves on this northern coastline, making it a magnet for those who want an exotic vacation, with entertainment to match.

Development has definitely reached its pinnacle for the season. In fact, three adjectives sum up the summer vibe in Sahel: exotic, exciting and exclusive.

In fact, much of the hype surrounding Sahel is the result of a number of successful Lebanese concepts finding their way there. Sax is reopening its doors at Address Marassi Golf Resort, promising guests a sophisticated menu followed by elegant jazz and international band nights. Beirut’s super-club AHM is also making its way to Sahel this season. Visitors will also find Casa Cartel, which features rich LatinAmerican cuisine.

Exotic Sahel combines the best of all sun-kissed destinations. Pick any summer holiday spot in the world and you will most likely find its equivalent somewhere along Sahel’s beautiful coastline. Visit the Bianchi Ilios or Hacienda White for a Santoriniesque experience, indulge in lunch the Italian way at Stella Walk’s Penne Talk, relax at Bonbonne Beach — a French import — or enjoy live performances by



Grecco, a Greek-Mediterranean concept, is making a comeback on the north coast at Seashell Playa after a successful summer 2021 season. In the words of

Grecco’s co-founder Karine Khoueiry, “Grecco is unique for its exceptional food. But in Sahel, we offer an additional twist: an amazing lineup of internationally known DJs and bands that will be playing all summer long.” Another beloved Lebanese brand finding its way back to the north coast is the award-winning BBQ Bros. Boasting a live grill, the renowned concept has two locations: Marassi and Mountain View. In addition, the brand’s burger stations will be serving delicious delights at Sahel’s hottest events throughout the summer. Popular Egyptian food concepts are also looking for a piece of the Sahel action. At Almaza Bay, After the success of Cairo’s favorite gastropub The Tap Bar and Grill, The Tap North is heading to Almaza Bay. Pier 88, Monkey Bar and Grill, Sachi and MEGUMI are also forming part of the hospitality landscape. In a separate development, Casa Noku is among the newest Egyptian concepts launching this season.

In collaboration with

Pick any summer holiday spot in the world and you will most likely find its equivalent somewhere along Sahel’s beautiful coastline.

Exciting The arrival of well-known concepts in Sahel has certainly created intrigue. BBQ Bros’ owner, Mario Aoun, said: “The challenge between developers to bring in the biggest names is real, and the competition is fierce.” Admittedly, it is satisfying to watch hospitality giants fight to provide the best service and experience, all in one locale. Some of the most prominent businessmen in Sahel’s hospitality race include Ahmed Ganzoury and Galal El Kerdany, while Travcoproperties and Palm Hills Developments are two of the leading mixed-use project development companies. G’nK Group and gk Hospitality are also names to watch. Wherever holidaymakers choose to stay in Sahel, they can be sure that they’ll have everything they need for the summer, from the hottest dining and party spots to lifestyle facilities, including yoga studios, fitness centers and camping sites for

adults and for children. Visitors can even watch a movie at Al Masa Mall, Alamein City, an impressive cinema complex, and fulfill their shopping needs at Sahel’s hypermarkets. Destinations that are known for their vibrant nightlife include Marassi and Seashell Playa. Marassi’s newest crossbred club, Club Central, combines Egypt’s most popular parties, Back2Basics and Blurr. The latest and one of the greatest additions to Sahel this season, however, is the iconic Beirut-born concept AHM, which has been branded by Venture Lifestyle as Egypt’s first super-club in Sahel’s Seashell Playa. The Factory People’s presence will inevitably elevate Sahel’s music and clubbing reputation to equal international standards. Combined with Blue Marlin Ibiza’s opening in 2023, these influential forces will definitely take the Sahel experience to a whole new level, reviving the music industry in Egypt

and introducing a unique fusion of Mediterranean and Western clubbing. For those seeking a more family-friendly atmosphere, Almaza Bay is a great choice. Indeed, this emerging market might be stealing the spotlight this season for its abundance of activities.

Exclusive How about enjoying all of the aforementioned amenities with the added privilege of exclusivity? It’s important to mention that all of the compounds and projects in Sahel are laced with the highest level of security; you may not enter unless you’re an owner, a member of a resort or you have an official reservation. So, all that remains to ask is where are you traveling to next? Sahel or Mykonos?






LEBANON’S GUESTHOUSES AND BOUTIQUE HOTELS Considered the art hub of the Middle East, Beirut — a city that has witnessed immense challenges over the past few years — has been upping its game in the boutique hotel world to offer guests something a little different. Yara Moukarzel, director of operations of L’Hôte Libanais, takes a closer look at how hotels in the capital and around Lebanon are using this powerful medium to their advantage.

Since the early 19th century, hotel chains and boutique hotels have constantly evolved to meet the needs of their customers. Most recently, hotels are focusing on aesthetics, making art a key element in their design and visual character. In today’s hospitality world, where Instagram-savvy travelers are on the lookout for the perfect story, hotels need to stand out by upping their game in the presentation stakes and offering a unique value proposition. After all, hotels should aspire to provide a memorable stay to each and every guest. Of course, a fancy mattress and high-end amenities matter, but equally important is the visual and emotional experience that sets the tone. Whether it is the wallpaper, furniture or art, refined and unique aesthetic elements create a mood and experience that resonate with guests well after they have departed.

Why art matters Incorporating art in a hotel can take different forms, largely depending on the brand identity and positioning. So whether it’s a luxury hotel chain in Dubai or a small guesthouse in Lebanon’s rural mountains, it is always possible to integrate art into a space, thus upgrading the experience from something simple to a journey of cultural immersion.



Art hotels These are establishments with art in their DNA. They have integrated artsy spaces and touches in their interior design, making visual appeal a priority. Indeed, it is an essential consideration from the outset, rather than an afterthought. Take Villa Chamoun, for example. The newly opened guesthouse in Hasroun, North Lebanon, features customized wallpaper painted by Owen Grant Innes. This unusual and unique design element was inspired by the Roman Gods of Baalbek, one of the country’s most treasured ancient sites.

Curator hotels Hotels in this category aim to provide spaces for curators and/or artists to showcase their artworks in a way that blends in and feels homogeneous with the hotel decor. Indeed, artworks can be displayed in the lobby, in the outlets or even in guests’ rooms. At the Smallville Hotel in Beirut, local emerging artists, like “WAFF,” are showcasing their art. Guests even have the option of purchasing items they like. This provides the hotel with “free” art and a comission on items that are sold. Furthermore, there are hotel owners who are showcasing their private art collections across their guesthouses and boutique hotels. This has been beautifully executed

at Villa Chamoun, where the owner, Roni Zibara, has distributed many of his personal art pieces around the premises.

Dedicated space for art These hotels have dedicated a space for the sole purpose of exposing, promoting and selling art. This format offers ideal exposure for artists, who are given an additional platform where they can shine. This can be seen at The Silk Valley guesthouse, where Albert Aoun, the owner, has exhibited his private collection of ten artworks by Raouf Rifai. In the same space, there are also two regional artists: Issa Halloum and Tatiana Boulos. In total, there are 40 paintings available for sale. Another example is Arthaus, situated in an artsy neighborhood of Beirut, which has a 180-square-meter space dedicated to temporary art exhibitions. This space is frequently offered to established artists to exhibit their work, allowing the artists to also meet the hotel's guests and visitors, ultimately make a sale on site.

The power of art There are a number of reasons why showcasing art in a hotel makes sense. Here are just a few reasons why owners and operators are turning to art to add value to rooms and public areas:

In collaboration with

Villa Chamoun

Share and initiate conversations It goes without saying that art is a way for people to connect with others and to their surroundings; it is definitely a conversation starter and a visual storytelling tool. For example, a painting in the lobby of a hotel can spark an exchange between two travelers, from their opinion on the colors to how this artwork reminds them of their childhood. This dialog may ignite longlasting memories associated with the hotel that displayed the artwork.

Redefining the art venue for wider accessibility Visiting museums and art galleries is essential for some travelers, which is why more hotels are looking to bring that same experience into their spaces. In this way, museums are no longer necessarily the main go-to destination for those looking to be visually captivated and culturally inspired. Exposing various artworks within a hotel is an initiative that also helps promote both emerging and established artists, making their work more accessible to people in general and travelers in particular. This reminds me of a lovely personal encounter in June 2022 with Missak Terzian at Arthaus.

Missak is a Lebanese-Armenian-American artist who was exhibiting for a few days. It was a special moment, as I got to chat with the artist himself, understand his background and inspirations, and immerse myself in his world of colorful abstracts. Clearly, art is today more widely available and is no longer restricted to galleries and museums; it is now present in so many places and contexts that it can spark the interest of someone who may have been unaware they even liked it until it came to their attention.

Integrating art into a space can upgrade the experience from something simple to a journey of cultural immersion.

Educate and inspire Wanting to reflect the culture of their area, boutique hotels and guesthouses are often focusing on featuring the artworks of local artists, considered today as cultural ambassadors.

Having artwork displayed throughout the hotel space allows guests to engage with the country, learn more about the local culture and understand its people and history on a more personal level, while gaining a visual and genuine connection with the place they are visiting. It definitely ignites the curiosity of a first-time visitor. In recent times, the hotel has become a space to showcase what the area has to offer, with the result that many properties are sourcing the work of thought-provoking local artists and designers — including unknown or emerging names — whose works powerfully portray the atmosphere and authenticity of the destination.

Changing the practice of art displays For decades, museums were places where art was traditionally presented, while hotels were places where people slept. Now that museums are renting out their spaces for events, such as weddings, premieres and music video clips, why shouldn’t hotels showcase art? I can’t think of a more powerful memory maker.



At the heart of life At Rotana, we believe time well spent, is a life well lived. This enduring thought is at the heart of every experience we promise when you stay with us. Our distinct collection of brands include Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Arjaan Hotel Apartments by Rotana, Centro Hotels, Resorts and Hotel Apartments by Rotana, Rayhaan Hotels & Resorts by Rotana, Edge by Rotana and The Residences by Rotana. Transform moments into memorable experiences as we present a selection of diverse destinations, ideal for every journey. To find out more, visit Treasured time. Our promise to you. P.O. Box 95100, Abu Dhabi, UAE. T: +971 (0) 2 699 4444 F: +971 (0) 2 699 4445,



IN THE PIPELINE: DEVELOPMENTS TO WATCH Robust project pipelines, plans on the drawing board and building works underway are just some of the signs that the hotel industry is bouncing back after a challenging couple of years. In our special report, we shine a bright light on some of the senior hospitality professionals leading the way, new developments in the region, large-scale refurbishments and the investment landscape.







TAKING THE LEAD: 12 INSPIRATIONAL HOTELIERS Hospitality is one of the most rewarding industries out there, which is why so many professionals dedicate their lives to the business. We checked in with 12 hoteliers to hear how their careers began, the lessons they've learned and shared since joining the profession and what the next chapter of the industry's growth story looks like.





ACCOR Upcoming hotels Raffles Doha (Qatar) Fairmont Tangier Tazi Palace (Morocco) Rixos Doha (Qatar) Aparthotel Adagio Doha C-Ring Road (Qatar) Ibis Doha C-Ring Road (Qatar) Banyan Tree AlUla Resort (KSA) Swissotel Living Jeddah (KSA) Novotel Thakher City Makkah (KSA) Ibis Styles Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) Mercure Palas Des Congres, Ain Benian (Algeria) Swissotel Namaa Bay, Sharm Al Shaikh (Egypt) Fairmont La Marina, Rabat Sale (Morocco) Movenpick Living Istanbul Camlivadi (Turkey)


MARK WILLIS CEO India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey Accor

Three key words Transparency, empowerment and trust are my key words when it comes to how I lead a team. I always ensure that these three words guide our interaction and the way we manage the region. I hope my legacy includes these important elements, as well as trying to be innovative by bringing change to the industry. At Accor, we are currently doing this by introducing new lifestyle brands into the market. In addition, we also recently launched an all-inclusive platform which, alongside our all-inclusive brand Rixos, will give our partners and guests a much wider selection of other premium and luxury brands within our portfolio, such as Fairmont, Sofitel, Swissotel and Movenpick.

new ideas and concepts which you may not have thought of.

Redefining luxury We are bringing a number of new lifestyle brands to the region, including SLS and 25 Hours, which have so far proven to be successful. Not only are we showcasing these new brands to the market, we also recently launched our all-inclusive platform. Of course, our loyalty program ALL- Accor Live Limitless, is also redefining the loyalty space, as it boasts a wide range of benefits and exclusive access to events and activities beyond our hotels and restaurants.


New hotel projects in MENA 2022 Recent openings:

When building your team, make sure you are not the smartest person in the room. Hire experts in each domain whom you can rely on and get the support you need. Of course, you also need to ensure communication channels remain open and transparent for your team to be innovative and come up with

Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) Pullman Doha (Qatar) Queen Elizabeth 2 Dubai (UAE) Movenpick Dubai Jumeirah Village Triangle (UAE) Ibis Styles Dubai Deira (UAE)

Movenpick Resort Al Marjan Island (RAK)



Movenpick Hotel & Apartments Azaiba Muscat (Oman) Sofitel Doha West Bay (Qatar) Rixos Qetaifan Island Doha (Qatar) Swissotel Doha Corniche Park Towers (Qatar) Novotel Doha West Bay (Qatar) Raffles Jeddah (KSA) Fairmont Ramla Serviced Residences Riyadh (KSA) Sofitel Riyadh (KSA) Movenpick Waad Al Shamal – Turaif (KSA) Novotel Thakher City Makkah (KSA) Novotel Riyadh, Olaya Street (KSA) Mercure Jeddah Madinah Road (KSA) Mercure Dubai Deira (UAE) Mercure Skikda (Algeria) Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay Resort (Morocco) Rixos Golden Horn Istanbul (Turkey) Swissotel Bursa Uludag Mountain (Turkey) Swissotel Residences Cesme (Turkey) Swissotel Bodrum Hill (Turkey) Swissotel Residences Bodrum Heights (Turkey) Movenpick Istanbul West Zeytinburnu (Turkey) Movenpick Living Istanbul Saklivadi (Turkey) Novotel Istanbul Bomonti (Turkey) Ibis Istanbul Airport (Turkey) Ibis Styles Ankara (Turkey) Ibis Styles Aliaga (Turkey)

Fairmont Tangier Tazi Palace

DUR HOSPITALITY A new level of luxury Dur Hospitality is a pioneer in the industry and in the development of the hospitality sector in the kingdom. We have intertwined our extensive past experiences and expertise and infused it with sustainability, technological advances and modern-day amenities based on international standards. The result is that we have been rapidly expanding and adapting our offering to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers and guests in anticipation of their varying needs and current market trends.


Legacy As Saudi Arabia sets its sights on becoming a leading tourism destination in the coming years, I have had the privilege of being a part of this immense transformation within the hospitality industry that will surely reshape the sector in the future. I consider my legacy to be founded in the openings of internationally recognized branded hotels, such as the Marriott DQ, The Holiday Inn & Suites in Al Jubail and Tabuk, as well as our home-grown executive apartments, Dara Al Rayan, adding to a remarkable portfolio in strategic locations within the Kingdom. I also oversaw the opening of Dur’s high-end residential compound, Dur Al Wadi, and headed the commencement of the Darraq Alhada project, which further enriches the housing market. Along with that, I managed renovations of Makarem Ajyad Makkah Hotel. Additionally, I played a key role in securing a partnership with Awqaf to develop five-star properties that enrich the religious experiences of guests and is also the first project for Dur Hospitality entering

the Medina market. Under my leadership, we have also signed with Accor to add the first Rixos Jeddah Resort to Dur’s luxury portfolio, which is now in the pipeline.

Mantra I firmly believe that “hospitality is about treating others well, whenever or wherever.” That mantra has served me favorably in my career in terms of my interactions with my team, our clients and our partners. Regardless of cultural or religious backgrounds or nationality, treating others with kindness and respect at every available moment has a positive ripple effect in all things. When anyone enters a Dur property, I want them to feel welcome and at home. All touchpoints will be personalized and immersive, and they will want to return repeatedly to visit and do business with us: to experience authentic Saudi hospitality at its best. I am confident that embedding this motto into my personal and professional development is responsible for many of my accomplishments.

The expansion of our chain is purposeful, seeking out partnerships that create perfect combinations and complement our aspirations to be more agile, resilient and smart. Sustainability has become a central focus and is embedded in our operation and brand management. Dur is investing in the future by using ecofriendly technology and best practices to conserve energy, reduce consumption and waste, and increase efficiency. We are also encouraging local talents and sharing our specialist knowledge with our team through the Dur academy, ensuring that we provide lifelong learning opportunities and help them realize their full potential. Combining these high standards in hospitality, together with a holistic approach toward sustainability, we aim to solidify Dur Hospitality’s vision for inclusive and sustainable growth, maintaining our leading role in the sector and redefining the industry.

New hotel projects in MENA Makarem Madinah (opening 2024), Madinah (KSA) Rixos Jeddah Resort (opening 2023), Jeddah (KSA)






ENVI LODGES business that put as much importance on doing good as on being profitable. Finding that balance is not easy; it’s a constant battle between economic realities and a genuine desire from investors to be responsible. We lead ENVI while believing that this balance can be achieved. We try to push boundaries, to challenge the status quo, which requires concrete actions that are monitored and communicated so that we inspire our team to do good, encourage our lodge owners to continue investing in ESG projects and hopefully have a positive impact on the behavior of our guests beyond their stay at an ENVI lodge.


Experiential hospitality

Co-founder and CEO ENVI Lodges

Thinking about the future We have a responsibility toward our children to leave the planet in a better shape than how it was given to us by our parents. Unfortunately, this has not been happening. Our natural habitat has been deteriorating every year, and little has been done to protect it. The pandemic provided us with a wake-up call. Now we are seeing serious efforts from hoteliers to slow down our industry’s negative impact, to even stop it, but we need to do more. A critical part of sustainability is to regenerate the environment, and this is what ENVI Lodges is focusing on. Travel and tourism can only flourish if there are places left to visit. What would our lodges be without the beach or the mountain, the forest or the desert? How can we provide authentic experiences



without local communities? We have a duty to protect the entire ecosystem and every action matters. I found this quote from Robert Swan very powerful: “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” We must take matters into our own hands. We need to be drivers of change; that’s what I hope to leave as a legacy.

Leading by example My motto is to lead by example. On a personal level, I apply this by being the best version of myself for my daughter. You cannot tell your kids one thing and do the opposite; you must follow the same rules you set for them. On a professional level, I hope to inspire people to follow the steps that my cofounder, Noelle, and I took to create a

ENVI Lodges was based on three main principles: people are happier and healthier when in nature, so it’s all about outdoor hospitality for us; the definition of luxury has changed — it’s less to do with the material aspects and more to do with how you live, what you eat and what you experience; and sustainability guides everything we do, be it the way we build our lodges, the way we operate them, how we regenerate the environment around us, protect heritage and support the locals that welcome us on their land. Thankfully, we are not the only ones doing it. We have been inspired by some amazing hospitality brands that came before us and redefined hospitality in their region, be it in Africa or South America, and we hope to do the same in our region, the Middle East, before we expand our portfolio globally.

New hotel project in MENA ENVI Lodge Red Sea Coast, (opening Q4 2023) (KSA)


SIMON CASSON President hotel operations - Europe, Middle East and Africa Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Humanistic approach Four Seasons’ guiding principle is the Golden Rule – to treat others as one would wish to be treated themselves. It is this foundational principle that guides the way we at Four Seasons treat our employees, guests, residents and the communities in which we operate. Throughout my career with Four Seasons, I have used this universal principle to guide me when facing new challenges, celebrating success or supporting the growth and development of my teams across the EMEA region, encouraging them

to reach their full potential, be themselves, achieve their goals and grow into our industry’s future leaders.

Leadership In hospitality, people drive the quantum leap from “good to great”. Nurturing an environment within our hotels that allows each employee to thrive is critical; and therein lies the duty of any true leader: to drive and inspire people to be the very best version of themselves. People ultimately remember how you made them feel, so, to sum it up, be aspirational and be kind.

The Pearl-Qatar

The story of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is a tale of continuous innovation, remarkable expansion and a single-minded dedication to the highest of standards. We are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and desires of our guests, residents and employees. We also continue to grow our portfolio to welcome guests in the markets that matter to them most. We are experiencing incredible momentum, especially in the MENA region, with upcoming hotel and residential projects in: Diriyah, Saudi Arabia; Doha, at The Pearl-Qatar development; Muscat, Oman; and a new standalone private residence in Dubai. We also have a few exciting announcements to make concerning Egypt, including news about our beloved Resort in Sharm El Sheikh. The Middle East continues to be of great importance to Four Seasons, and we look forward to introducing new opportunities for guests and residents to experience Four Seasons’ exceptional luxury lifestyle offerings in these dynamic destinations.

New hotel projects in MENA Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt) expansion completed March 2022 Four Seasons Hotel Diriyah (KSA) Four Seasons at The Pearl, Doha (Qatar) Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Muscat (Oman) Four Seasons Private Residences Dubai at Jumeirah (UAE) slated for 2022

Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh






FARES YACTINE VP MEA and GM Gulf Hotel Convention and SPA Gulf Hotels Groups/Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention and SPA

Experience I have been privileged to work in several different countries, including Spain, Canada, the UK, Lebanon, KSA and Bahrain at a number of chains, such as Melia, IHG, Habtoor Hospitality, Accor and Gulf Hotels Group. For the past 15 years, Bahrain has been my home, and it is here that I first joined the Gulf Hotel Bahrain, before moving for the opening of Sofitel Bahrain. I further pursued my career with Accor, moving to Sofitel Al Khobar before returning to Gulf Hotels Group in 2018. I have learned a great deal over the years, spending time in different

countries among a variety of communities and cultures. However, the experience I have gained with the Gulf Hotels Group has been unparalleled. As an owner-operator, the group’s work is extensive, and I have personally been involved in a number of projects, from acquisition to rebranding, management contracts, renovation, concept creation and concept designs. It’s been an incredible journey.

Hard work pays off There is no secret to success; it is the result of hard work and looking for opportunity in any difficulty you face.

Differentiation We present ourselves as a local Bahraini hotel group with multinational standards. Our focus is our team — our most important asset — and of course we capitalize on our legacy, being the first five-star property in Bahrain. Our genuine Bahraini hospitality, complemented by quality products and dedicated service, has helped to elevate our reputation over the last 53 years while maintaining our position in the market despite multinational brands entering Bahrain’s hospitality space.

Bahrain Airport Hotel




HAITHAM MATTAR Managing director, India, Middle East and Africa IHG Hotels & Resorts

Plans in Saudi Arabia IHG is working with the Ministry of Human Capital development to develop the hospitality talent pool in the kingdom and ensure they have the right talent to cater to the expected future demand. IHG has a long-standing history of operating in Saudi Arabia, and we have been a firm partner and contributor to Saudi ambitions in tourism and hospitality. The company is complementing its KSA plans with a strong talent agenda, with a

keen eye on hiring and developing Saudi talent to ensure that the company delivers authentic Saudi guest experiences and upskills the communities it operates in, especially in secondary and tertiary cities. Our growth over the last year is a testament to our commitment to investing in the hospitality sector and developing local talent to showcase true Saudi hospitality to guests from around the world. In line with the Tourism Development Strategy, we will continue to bring our brands to

various locations within the country, as we commit to introducing new hospitality experiences and further cementing our role as a member of the Saudi community. With Saudi Arabia moving at a fast pace to achieve its Vision 2030 goals, developing its much-anticipated giga and megaprojects, we are working to roll out our full portfolio in destinations ranging from global metropolitan hubs, such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah, to emerging destinations, such as Al Khobar, Abha and Dammam.

Staybridge Suites Al Khobar City





KEMPINSKI HOTELS MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA practices. A priority in our business model is our ecological footprint. To reach our goals, we have partnered with the award-winning EarthCheck sustainability certification program across all our hotels worldwide. Also, enhancing people’s health and wellbeing is at the heart of our business. Kempinski is one of the founders of BE Health Association with a commitment to preventing diseases and caring for people’s health from the workplace to the local community by establishing individual hotel health prevention programs under the name of BE Health.

Career path

IMAD SAWAYA Vice president business development, Middle East and Africa Kempinski Hotels

People culture The hospitality industry landscape has evolved considerably in recent decades, yet there is one constant; it is a people’s business. This, to me, is our most important resource. Since the beginning of my journey in hospitality, I have always been concerned with people’s wellbeing, and I strived to create the right environment with hard-working team members, because I truly believe that professionalism, passion and the right culture is what fuels a company’s key competitive edge in today’s market. Throughout my career, I was fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful mentors, who inspired me to share my knowledge and empowered me to support young talents in reaching their full potential.

The best version of yourself Eleanor Roosevelt, once said: “True hospitality consists of giving the best

of yourself to your guests.” This quote has always inspired me. Our guests and colleagues are constantly redefining the future of our industry. Carefully anticipating the evolving needs and priorities of our guests is key. At Kempinski Hotels, we craft beautiful performances, and we build loyalty with our guests, employees and business partners. It's about personal fulfillment and self-satisfaction.


More than 20 years later, after living on four continents and working for leading hotel brands, I enjoy sharing my experiences and drive with young graduates and professionals. Discussing their aspirations and dreams reminds me of my beginnings, 20 years ago, and I always tell them to believe in themselves and to do everything with passion and determination.

Environmental awareness

New hotel projects in MENA

We have a responsibility toward the environment, and our approach to sustainability is embedded within the company values. Our aim is to deliver bespoke guest journeys and luxurious yet sustainable experiences while minimizing environmental and social impact. Similarly, we are committed to building long-term partnerships to achieve common goals, and we collaborate with partners that share our ethics, values and sustainability vision to enhance our responsible business

East: 2022/23 Kempinski Hotel & Resort Yanbu (KSA) 2023 Kempinski Residences The Creek, Dubai (UAE) Kempinski Hotel Al Madinah (KSA) 2024 Kempinski Floating Palace Dubai (UAE) Kempinski Hotel Makkah (KSA) Kempinski Al Queshan Hotel Riyadh (KSA)

Kempinski Hotel Al Madinah, Saudia Arabia


I began my career in 2001 in Chicago. After graduating with an economics degree, I never thought I would pursue a career in hospitality. I was unexpectedly drawn to the hotel business after meeting some of the most passionate hoteliers.

Kempinski Hotel Makkah, Saudia Arabia


DR. AMINE E. MOUKARZEL President Golden Tulip - MENA Region

Investing in others

New hotel projects in MENA

Passing on wisdom, knowledge, experience and integrity to others is fundamental. My professional life has been marked by these actions and achievements. I have always tried to invest in human capital and support young talents develop and grow.

What matters? I believe in integrity, respect, perseverance, enthusiasm, positivity and passion. The sky is the limit. It is not only in the knowing; it is also in the doing.

Doing things differently Travel today is very different to what we have experienced in the past. Technology is far more advanced, with online support, services and dynamic central sales and marketing complemented by operational excellence. Our hotel group is motivated and devoted to building the future of hospitality and providing owners and guests with innovative solutions. We have introduced a new brand in the extendedstay category: Tulip Residences brand.





Tulip Inn Majan Salalah



Kyriad Hotel Salalah



Tulip Inn Duqm Hotel



Tulip Inn Hotel & Suites



Kyriad Prestige



Golden Tulip Opera



Kyriad Prestige Ain Benian



Kyriad Bejaia



Tulip Inn Russikada

Algiers/ Algeria


Golden Tulip Alexandre Constantine



Campanile El Mechtel



Royal Tulip Korbous Bay Thalasso & Springs



Kyriad Prestige Jean Jaures

Tunis/ Tunisia


Tulip Inn Aziziyah Makkah



Golden Tulip Umm Al Qurah Makkah



Tulip Residences Jeddah



Golden Tulip Al Horra Hotel & Residence Bahrain



Golden Tulip Al Hid Resort

Manama/ Bahrain

Tulip Inn Gulf Court


Q1 October

Entrepreneurial spirit and agility are in our DNA. We rely on this more than ever to build long-term partnerships. Delivering more sustainable products is a priority, and we are committed to implementing energy-saving measures. Human capital remains an important issue. We provide training at all levels to ensure our team members are always improving and growing.

Golden Tulip Design Tbilisi

Kyriad Prestige Doha





MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL In Saudi Arabia, we launched Tahseen in 2018, and we have seen over 110 students graduate since then. To date, more than 75 percent of the graduates in Saudi Arabia remain employed at a Marriott International hotel and have progressed in their careers. We also launched the program in Egypt in 2018 as a four-year bachelor’s degree, in partnership with Helawan University, and look forward to celebrating our first graduating class in September. Furthermore, we expanded our Female Leadership Initiative across the region, with the program’s launch in Egypt and Turkey. The initiative is designed to provide highpotential female leaders with a personal development programme to prepare them for the next level in their career.

SANDEEP WALIA COO Middle East Marriott International

Inspiring others From the start of my career, I have been fortunate to be empowered by brilliant leaders and inspirational mentors. Today, it is my responsibility to do the same for my associates: to support their growth and together make a difference in the work we do. Through my journey, I hope to instill an optimistic and people-first approach.

Work ethic I am someone who sees the glass half full. Every situation can be viewed from different perspectives. As a diehard optimist, I believe that positivity brings out the best in every situation.

International experience Furthermore, I view every problem as an opportunity to grow. This is one of Mr. Marriott’s rules of success and resonates with me after having experienced a number of uncertainties and using those adversities to propel me further. Growth is never linear; approaching challenges with tenacity leads to success.

Opportunities What really excites me is the opportunity to develop the future leaders of this region’s industry. Our commitment to nurturing local talent is incomparable. One of the ways we empower youth is through our Tahseen program.

My hospitality career began with Oberoi hotels, where I served as a butler. I joined Marriott International as EAM of F&B in Sharm El Sheikh with The Ritz-Carlton, after which I worked in different parts of the world. Following my appointment as GM of The Ritz-Carlton, Moscow, I took on the role of area VP luxury brands for Western Europe before being promoted to area VP for the UAE. I have held the position of COO for the Middle East since mid-2021.

New hotel projects in MENA 2023 Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Red Sea (KSA) The St. Regis Red Sea Resort, Red Sea (KSA) Place Vendome, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Doha (Qatar)

Palais Vendome



RADISSON HOTEL GROUP goals and inspire others to follow. The hospitality industry is a people’s industry and I like to think our team members feel like they’re part of a family when they join. We create a culture of belongingness and growth by developing our team members into leaders and empowering them. The greatest asset of any hotel chain is the team and empowering and growing them is key to success.

New hotel projects in MENA

TIM CORDON Area senior VP, Middle East and Africa Radisson Hotel Group

Supporting others


Seeing people succeed and grow is one of the key reasons I work in hospitality, and I’m delighted that my current role allows me to continue to do that. This industry is all about people, from our teams to our guests. So whether you’re a concierge, or a kitchen porter working behind the scenes, or even if you’re involved in the management, this is a people business and it’s about making our guests happy and that’s what we need to focus on.

There's no "I" in "team." Recognize and understand that success is no longer ‘yours,' but derived from the success of your people.

The right vision I personally believe that when an organization, regardless of which industry, wants to achieve its goals, it needs a vision. But a vision does not belong only to a leader; it’s about the ability to recognize and outline those

2023 Radisson Blu Al Sahafa Riyadh (KSA) Park Inn By Radisson Kuwait (Kuwait) Radisson Blu Hotel, Amman Galleria Mall (Jordan) Park Inn By Radisson Makkah Thaker City East Tower (KSA) Park Inn By Radisson Makkah Thaker City West Tower (KSA) Radisson Blu Resort Al Khobar Azizizya (KSA) Radisson Blu Residence Saidia (Morocco) Radisson Residences Taghazout Bay (Morocco) Radisson Hotel La Baie Dàlger (Algeria) Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier (Morocco)

Park Inn, Kuwait

Radisson Hotel Casablanca Gauthier La Citadelle

Radisson Blu Al Sahafa Riyadh, KSA





ROTANA of 2022, the stage is set for the company’s continued and tenacious expansion. The future pipeline consists of 48 upcoming projects, including 10 that will deliver more than 3,000 keys in the next three years. Significant hotel signings and new agreements will take place in Manama, Bahrain and Jubail in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, alongside further expansion in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Turkey. In Qatar, Rotana has recently signed a new project that includes the management of Residences by Rotana, a 503-key property. Additionally, Rotana continues to strengthen its presence in Egypt as the group marks its debut in the capital with the signing of a management agreement for a 500-key Rotana hotel in New Cairo, along with a 180-key Rotana hotel in Alamein on the North Coast.

GUY HUTCHINSON President and CEO Rotana

Plans As we build on our expansion plans in the region, our strategic goal is to further grow our portfolio in North Africa. We look forward to delivering an unparalleled experience by providing our guests with “Treasured Time.” Two properties have already been signed under the brand, 328 keys in Dubai and a further 268 keys in

Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana



Istanbul, and we are looking forward to growing the brand across the region and beyond. Rotana currently operates 71 hotels in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey, serving more than 6 million guests per year, including an impressive 10,012 keys across 36 hotels in the UAE alone. With an immediate pipeline of four hotels scheduled to open before the end

New hotel projects in MENA 2022 Dana Rayhaan by Rotana, Dammam (KSA) Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana, Doha (Qatar) Al Reem Rayhaan by Rotana, Jubail (KSA) 2023 Al Mouj Rayhaan by Rotana, Muscat (Oman) Bloom Arjaan by Rotana, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Bloom Arjaan by Rotana

Book your stay at any Rotana hotel or resort in the region and receive 10% off all public room rates with flexible cancellation, 10% off dining, in addition to other exciting benefits for Rotana Rewards Select members including access to VIP amenities, late check-out and more. Book now via or call our toll free numbers below: Bahrain: 8000 4039 | Egypt: 0800 7777700 | K.S.A.: 800 3030400 Qatar: 800 4929 | U.A.E.: 800 7744 or call our office at +971 (0) 2 699 4545 / +971 (0) 2 811 9777



TIME HOTELS show pride, enthusiasm and dedication in everything that I do and commit to. Secondly, I believe in teamwork. I invest in my team members because they are the most valuable assets of any organization. Thirdly, I always show respect. My colleagues and I treat our team members, guests, partners and suppliers with mutual respect, recognizing the vital role that diversity has played in TIME Hotels’ success. Finally, I strive to remain positive and, most of all, grateful.

The guest comes first

MOHAMED AWADALLA CEO and co-founder TIME Hotels Management L.L.C.

Journey During the course of my career, I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed success across various segments of our industry, but my proudest achievement – and, hopefully, my legacy – is having co-founded TIME Hotels Management (TIME Hotels). Established in 2012, TIME Hotels has grown immensely over the course of the past decade. I have had the joy of watching the business expand to encompass more than 17 properties, comprising a total of 1,946 keys across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. I am also immensely proud to have supported the development of our four sub-brands, which include TIME Hotels & Resorts, TIME Hotel Apartments, TIME Express Hotels and TIME Residence Properties.



It has been my privilege to lead TIME Hotels for the past 10 years as Chief Executive Officer. While overseeing brand development and ensuring that it is well positioned in the market, I have witnessed TIME Hotels’ transition into a Middle East success story first-hand. I am also confident that this legacy will continue, thanks to the expansion and diversification of our brand portfolio. We feel now is the time to pursue further growth – both regionally and internationally – in order to secure the company's long-term success.

Values I have identified four core values by which I live my life, and which I encourage others to embody at every level of our organization. Firstly, I have a passion for results. I

TIME Hotels is built on a philosophy that puts the guest experience front and center. Our corporate motto, “You Really Matter,” reflects the fact that each of our customers is important to our management company, from our owners and executive team to our front-of-house colleagues. I call this relationship the “triangle of success.” By taking care of our owners’ assets and investing in our talented employees, we are better able to assist and attend to our customers’ requirements and deliver a truly memorable guest experience.

New hotel projects in MENA 2022 TIME Express Al Olaya, Riyadh (KSA) 2023 TIME Marina Hotel & Convention Centre, North Coast (Egypt) TIME Ahlan Hotel Apartments, Khartoum (Sudan) 2025 TIME Nakheel Deluxe Apartments, New Administrative Capital (Egypt)


TIME Coral Nuweiba pool

TIME Moonstone reception

TIME Nakheel Deluxe Hotel Apartment



NEW PROJECTS REDEFINING THE GCC HOTEL LANDSCAPE The hotel industry never stands still, which is ironic when you consider that as an industry, it encourages clients to sit back and relax! Kostas Nikolaidis, Middle East and Africa executive for STR, gives us the lowdown on the fast-paced GCC hotel market, which is definitely raring to go.

It has been suggested that the GCC — the region that never sleeps — offers the most exciting, record-breaking, fastest-evolving hotel landscape that has ever existed. The tremendous growth the region has become known for is confirmed in the numbers. Hotel inventory in 2010 amounted to almost 231,000 rooms, while 12 years later, it has grown to a whopping 406,608, representing growth of 76 percent. During this period, hotels opened, closed, were renovated, reopened and experienced rebranding.



Forecast for 2022 In 2022, with the Covid-19 pandemic largely behind us, it is encouraging to see GCC countries still on the global hotel development leader board. With a pipeline of 80,745 rooms, Saudi Arabia currently ranks fifth globally, with the largest number of hotel rooms under development. Meanwhile, the neighboring UAE still places high on

the list, with 45,552 rooms. While these numbers might look small in comparison to the global heavyweights of China and the U.S., each boasting more than half a million rooms in the pipeline, they are no doubt big enough to continue to redefine the hotel landscape of the GCC, a testament to the vision, stability and ability of the region to attract hotel investment.

In collaboration with

The case of Saudi Arabia In Saudi Arabia, the list of tourism projects and new destinations continues to expand, with new hotels slated for Amaala, Diriyah, Qiddiya, Al Ula and elsewhere. Meanwhile, flagship projects, like the The Red Sea Project, are edging closer to completion, with announcements for resorts from global brands like Marriott Edition, Jumeirah and Six Senses. The Red Sea Project, together with Amaala and eventually NEOM, are bound to not only reshape the western Saudi coastline but also the wider regional tourism flows. Despite the 16,000-plus hotel rooms currently under contract in regional Saudi Arabia, major urban centers, like Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah, are also experiencing growth, with a combined total of 142 hotel projects and 54,188 rooms in the works.

With the pandemic largely behind us, it is encouraging to see GCC countries on the global hotel development leader board. UAE Meanwhile, the UAE, which has already added approximately 91,000 rooms to its inventory since 2010, is looking to further leverage the legacy of Expo 2020 and the impressive resilience shown by its tourism industry during the pandemic. Underpinning the country’s success as one of the most attractive investment destinations are record foreign direct investment inflows, amounting to USD 20.7 billion in 2021 (according to the Investment Report 2022). Dubai, with a

pipeline of 114 hotels and 35,930 rooms, has maintained momentum after Expo 2020. Upcoming flagship properties, including the Royal Atlantis and The Lana, Dorchester Collection, are expected to not only add more keys but also provide additional glitz and glamour to the extremely competitive Dubai luxury hotel landscape. Significant inventory across lower hotel classes is also expected to materialize, adding further depth to the already mature tourism product. It is of significance that after successfully dealing with the pandemic, the hotel and tourism industry in the region is showing no signs of slowing down. Despite everything that has happened recently, megaprojects and megacities are still very much on the agenda.




































THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS OF HOTEL REFURBS While a costly, time-consuming and logistically challenging renovation is feared by many hotel owners, Daniel During, principal and managing director of Thomas Klein International, a Dubai-based hospitality and F&B consultancy firm, highlights the correct way to approach a property refurb and explains how international events are motivating hotels to undergo a facelift.

Sooner or later, hoteliers need to take a hard look at refurbishments to avoid the more costly risk of a devaluated property or loss of overall appeal. The challenge also lies in knowing when it’s time to renovate, as not all properties will have obvious signs of fading paint, wornout carpets or outdated furnishings to support the decision-making process. Lately, however, global events seem to have impacted hotel refurbishments. This poses the question: How far in advance is it best to renovate ahead of an international event?

FIFA 2022 – Doha The 2022 FIFA World Cup is increasingly solidifying Qatar’s reputation and image on the hospitality scene. The Gulf state plans to grow its hotel offering with two



of Accor’s most exemplary hotel brands: Fairmont and Raffles at the iconic Katara Towers. While hotel development is considered a milestone for the hospitality sector and Qatar as a whole, existing hotel groups are also upgrading their services to remain competitive. Having opened in 2005, the Four Seasons hotel in Doha completed a property-wide transformation in March 2020, introducing new suites, dining outlets and lobby to match the expectations of today’s seasoned traveler. When it comes to hotel refurbishments, the challenge lies in determining the extent to which properties needs to be upgraded and deciding between a full closure versus a partial one.

The Marriott hotel will undergo a full property revamp for the first time since its opening in 1973. Enhancements will impact the food and beverage offerings, public areas and guest rooms. In this case, disruption in hotel operations may result in a loss of market share and repeat clientele. However, in the meantime, extensive planning of promotional strategies to relaunch the newly refurbished hotel can take place. If executed successfully, the outcome may be positive: increased occupancy, new guests and retention of loyal customers.

Covid-19 pandemic The pandemic threw a spanner in the works, disrupting the hotel industry and putting development plans on hold. Hotel owners and travelers had to adapt to new

In collaboration with health and safety restrictions. However, Collier’s 2020 survey showed that 50 percent of hospitality owners viewed the pandemic period as an opportunity to advance property renovations, while 60 percent of respondents felt that the market would become more competitive once it recovered from the impact of Covid-19. The hotel industry continues to rebuild and is now being shaped by sustainable travel. Hotel brands are emphasizing their wellness packages and including wellbeing in their core values. Al Raha Beach Hotel Abu Dhabi is a big supporter of the ongoing efforts to achieve sustainable recovery through customized experiences. According to the general manager of the hotel: “The pandemic gave each and everyone in the organization real opportunities to take a step back and objectively look at the different possible business configurations and think outside the box and drive success in 2022.” The hotel has relaunched wellness treatments, revamped its exteriors and refurbished its all-day dining outlet to enhance the resort’s experience.

Tips for refurbishing hotels while maintaining the guest experience Refurbishments are essential in optimizing value, maintaining a competitive market position and reflecting brand development. Deciding whether to keep the hotel open or closed needs thorough analysis. A revenue modeling strategy comes in handy when determining the potential outcomes of both options. For a destination like Dubai, which hosts visitors all year round, hotel refurbishments have to be conducted in phases. Keeping a hotel open during such periods calls for

a range of measures, including physical safety from work zones and segregation of guests. The following points should be considered:

Preparation is key Carry out pre-planning activities in collaboration with the owner, architect and construction managers to identify an

Collier’s 2020 survey showed that 50 percent of hospitality owners viewed the pandemic period as an opportunity to advance property renovations. approach toward potential challenges and best solutions to mitigate disturbances. This may include a detailed plan of buffer floors to reduce noise, floor-by-floor or room-by-room logistics and a careful understanding of the flow of guests in the creation of pathways so guest service expectations are still achieved. Identifying the hotel’s strongest revenue generators will provide operational direction to the team and the opportunity to build alternative workstations if needed. With all key stakeholders involved from the get-go, effective communication, real-time design, budget and feasibility analysis can be guaranteed to ultimately reduce the cost and drive revenue, providing the best value.

Alleviate potential guest disturbances Planning for elements like indoor airquality management, movement of workforce and materials to the site, and noise mitigation is crucial. Scheduling and

adjusting shifts and hours to complete the project in the necessary time frame should be considered. Communication and frequent meetings for feedback among the construction and property teams are key to preventing guest disturbances.

Maintain access to amenities sequentially This phased approach allows refurbishments to occur in each hotel space at a set time, keeping as many revenue streams open as possible. Guests can continue to enjoy the amenities in some capacity while construction focuses on each space and delivering quality. Notably, the back of house should remain highly functional to service these spaces or expect to create temporary service spaces if needed. By approaching amenity and public spaces this way, hotels are able continue selling available rooms.

Utilize technology Leveraging technology to increase efficiency and reduce unforeseen conditions is important, especially during the pre-construction phase. Implementing construction management software allows teams to track the progress of each room, ultimately reducing the turnover time on each floor. International events seem to be a major motivator for hotel chains to undertake refurbishments. Either way, neglecting the process results in risks regarding the guest experience. Effective project management is fundamental in minimizing disruption and potential loss of revenue. The guest always comes first, so hoteliers must continue to offer superior comfort and a proper design that reflects the industry’s evolution.





THE REALITY OF REAL ESTATE HOTEL INVESTMENT If considered carefully, investing in hotel real estate can be a profitable endeavor. Christian Salloum, managing director of BrandPortunity Hospitality Consultancy, takes a closer look at the different types of investment and how to get the ball rolling.

Over the past decade, investments in rooms and hotels have been changing. Individual investors are buying rooms, while hotel operators are venturing into purchasing potential hotel buildings.

Select-service hotels

Key data to consider

This category includes hotels such as Aloft, Hilton Garden Inn and Hotel Indigo. They combine a mix of full- and limited-service hotel offerings

- Average Daily Rate (ADR) – divide room rate by rooms sold over a select period

What is hotel real estate?

Limited-service hotels

Hotels are different from all other types of property. They are operationally complex and depend on nightly rentals compared to short- or long-term lease. Hotels are highly responsive to changes in the market, such as low and high seasons. This flexibility meant that the industry faced massive disruptions during the pandemic.

These properties don't offer any restaurant or banquet facilities. Some offer amenities, such as a swimming pool or fitness center. Examples include Comfort Inn and Hampton Inn.

Types of hotel investment Hotels are categorized according to their service offerings and amenities.

Full-service hotels Full-service hotels offer accommodation, retail, spas, event spaces, restaurants, bars, room service and sporting facilities. They rely on large numbers of staff and include world-famous chains, such as Hilton, Marriott, IHG and Accord.



Extended-stay hotels Embassy Suites, Staybridge and Hiltons' Homewood Suites are great examples of extended-stay hotels. Providing temporary suite-style rooms with at-home features, such as a kitchenette and laundry facilities, this property type largely caters to families who are relocating and business travelers on long-term projects.

Budget hotels Hotels such as Days Inn and Ibis Hotels keep their costs to a minimum by providing limited amenities, services and assistance.

- Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) – total room revenue divided by the number of available rooms It is essential for hotel owners and operators to understand the offered in daily, weekly, monthly and annual RevPAR trends. Comparing competitors’ RevPAR hotels to accurate performance analysis is also beneficial.

Key elements to success There are two main types of tourism: leisure and business. Business travel tends to occur on weekdays, while tourists drive demand at weekends and during the holiday season. To run a hotel business, operators or hotel owners should recognize the factors that lead to success. An optimal business mix in any specific market is fundamental. Seasonal demand is commonplace for ski and beach

In collaboration with

resorts. Food and beverage events and entertainment can also boost sales and income.

Getting started Investors should: - Conduct an ADR and RevPAR metric across a group of similar hotels in the same market - Assess operating efficiency and profit margins - Consider price and profit, noting that a budget hotel may be far more successful than a luxury hotel - Review demand drivers, such as brand and hotel management, cash flow and tax benefits - Consider risks, gather informational data and carry out due diligence - Ensure the hotel is attractive to business and leisure travelers, and consider growth in both markets - Assess value propositions and brand hotel operators for cash flow, operating and running costs

Hotel value

- Determine if it's better to buy or build. This does not consider income or economic factors. - The sales comparison approach focuses on determining ranges and pricing momentum based on prior sales of comparable hotels.

To run a hotel business, operators or hotel owners should recognize that an optimal business mix in any specific market is fundamental.

For some investors and operators, buying and running a hotel is a smart investment. Success in the hospitality market is financially lucrative and satisfying on a business, as well as on a personal, level. However, always remember: - Location, location, location - Work, work and more work - The brand matters Guest experiences make all the difference.

A new post-pandemic trend is on the rise, with many hotels now entering the market to accommodate the demands of millennials. Hotels are sizeable investments in time, effort and money. Successful hotels are financially lucrative and can be immensely satisfying.

A hotel valuation should include various cash flows, in addition to customer service, reputation, food and beverage offerings, people and ambience.

Income capitalization The current value of future benefits determines income production. - Value the hotel as an operating business using the discounted cash flow method (DCF), the most commonly used model for hotel and land real estate valuations.





IN THE MIND OF THE CONSUMER Businesses and marketers can capitalize on consumer behavior studies and predict how, when and why an individual makes a purchase, as Maya Bekhazi Noun, founder and managing director of The Food Studio, explains.



In collaboration with

Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in the last few years, and this evolution doesn't appear to show any signs of stopping in 2022. The two main reasons for new patterns of behavior include: the farreaching effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of high living costs due to rising inflation. Globally, advertisers and marketers are going to have to work harder than ever to retain strong consumer engagement. In times like these, long-term planning and brand marketing become increasingly important. Here are a few things companies should be aware of:

1- A customer-centric culture Basically, as many brands believe they should market themselves as customer centric, they still need to prove that they are able to understand customers’ perceptions, expectations and situations, and deliver the right product accordingly. Inevitably, access and usability of customer data are crucial to gaining the insights required to provide enhanced customer experiences.

2- Omnichannel reach and marketing One of the biggest consumer trends of the last few years is the rise of omnichannel shopping. The global pandemic has seen growing popularity for omnichannel experiences among all consumer demographics and across all industries. Covid-19 expedited the growing demand of online buying and delivery services; stores with online engagement options have driven the biggest chunk of growth and will continue to do so over the coming years. From the restaurant perspective, the omnichannel approach is as interesting as the expansion of bricks-and-mortar locations; it helps reach both new audiences and a different type of consumer to create additional revenue streams. The restaurant industry has experienced a major transformation. Today’s consumers want to order their food fast wherever they are, whenever they feel like it. Such needs will continue to drive the omnichannel trend. For restaurants, that means providing multiple ways for the customers to order

and pay. And let’s not forget that multiple convenient ordering options, both online and offline, are exactly what customers are looking for: variety at the touch of a button!

3- Sustainability Now, more than ever, consumers are increasingly seeking brands that are aligned with their values, those that are environmentally friendly, responsible, ethical and use sustainable materials and supply chains. This trend has accelerated purchasing behavior. Consumers are more likely to gravitate toward brands that project a positive attitude vis-à-vis sustainability, but the effort has to be honest; today’s consumer expects complete transparency and honesty.

The pandemic has seen growing popularity for omnichannel experiences among all consumer demographics, across all industries.

4- Digitization: from brick to click The pandemic has accelerated consumer digital adoption. Even groups who had been hesitant have embraced digital solutions and channels. Consumer trends and behaviors that appeared during the pandemic are likely to stick, and convenience plays a big role. Who remembers the days we used to spend visiting different stores in person so that we could look for an item or compare prices? How many hours would we stand in front of the shelves at a bookshop looking for something worth reading? Today, thanks to e-commerce, we don't have to waste hours. Consumers are able to compare dozens of products in countless stores at once, finding better prices and wider variety and selections. Shoppers can also see menus, reviews and ratings of restaurants in just a few clicks, which is a major factor in decision-making in today’s hospitality and recreational sector.

5- Purchase directly from brands Consumers control how, when and where they choose to engage with brands. In an age where a shopper can use their smartphone to find dozens of retailers selling the same product, the customer experience has become a key differentiator.

6- Health and wellness remain at the forefront of global trends Consumer focus on health, wellness and nutrition is likely to be a longstanding behavioral change, even after the pandemic ends. The pandemic has transformed how consumers perceive holistic health and well-being. It’s impacting how we live and increasing the importance of the foods, beverages and supplements we choose, presenting new opportunities for our industry to meet such needs. As consumers return to more active lifestyles, convenient products with functional ingredients that boost energy, enhance cognitive performance and regulate mood will gain further prominence, as well as tailored nutrition supporting personal health and wellness goals. Consumers will continue to take a more proactive approach to managing wellbeing with functional nutrition, “closeto-nature” ingredients and foods that promote self-care.

7- Purposeful indulgence is the new permissible indulgence Consumers recognize that as long as choices remain purposeful and exceptional rather than impulsive, indulgence has a role in a positive relationship with food. Thus, we shall be anticipating more opportunities for fast foods, functional snacks, confectionery and beverages that still deliver on flavor.





NEW REALITIES IN TECHNOLOGY If there were any lingering doubts about the necessity of digital transformation for business longevity, the coronavirus has silenced them. Dr. Jassim Haji, president of Global Artificial Intelligence Group, reveals the latest advancements in hospitality-related technologies.

In a contactless world, the vast majority of interactions with customers and employees must take place virtually. With rare exception, operating digitally is the only way to stay in business through mandated shutdowns and restricted activity. It’s go digital or go home.

A reality check The pandemic has been a reality check for businesses reluctant to embrace digital transformation; they now find themselves woefully unprepared. On top of the stress of potentially health-compromised employees, a sudden and dramatic drop in demand and total economic uncertainty, these digital laggards are now scrambling to migrate their operations and workforce to a virtual environment. While fast and furious is the name of the game when it comes to digital innovation, fast and frantic can lead to mistakes. As organizations recover, it is essential to keep an eye on the future to consider which



changes wrought by the crisis will constitute the “next normal.” Technology leaders who are able to get ahead of these shifts will help their organizations thrive beyond the near and intermediate terms. Three longer-term priority areas represent a good start: • Reimagine customer experience by focusing on human-centered design • Bridge the physical and digital worlds to deliver new value • Establish trust as a key business value There are countless examples of new ways of working that have been enabled as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Here are some examples related to the hospitality sector.

Robotics In the service delivery process, service robots assist frontline staff in a sequence of service encounters. For instance, robot concierges assist employees with guest greetings upon arrival, transporting luggage, guiding guests and delivering room service. Empowered by pre-programed AI and

machine learning systems, service robots can effectively respond and interact with guests, even in multiple languages. While robots make significant contributions to operational efficiency, they also raise concerns. Service robots are still novel in hospitality. Their ability to cope with unexpected, dynamic conditions still has to be fully explored. If guests do not follow the pre-set route, service robots may fail to respond, which can lead to a service failure.

VR/AR Over the past few years, the hospitality industry has witnessed the rise in virtual reality (VR). Considering the intangible features of the hospitality experience, VR can make a huge difference in a customer’s booking experience. Through the digitally accommodated environment, customers can have a much clearer sense of what to expect. One example of a VR application is the virtual tour video, which offers guests a realistic look inside a property. By simply

It is essential to keep an eye on the future to consider which changes wrought by the pandemic will constitute the “next normal.” clicking the mouse or wearing a headset, guests can experience a digital walkthrough, with a 360-degree view, and even see the layout of the rooms in a hotel. This not only offers customers a chance to experience the property prior to booking, it also allows the hospitality business to benefit from the “try before you buy” marketing strategy. Unlike VR, which puts customers in a completely virtual environment, augmented reality (AR) is about enhancing the physical environment and the experience of exploring one’s surroundings in real time. The technology operates by overlaying digital components into a live picture of reality, which can be easily accessed through a smartphone.

Internet of things (IoT) In the hospitality industry, IoT provides integrated services, such as automated door locks, light switches, electric blinds and voice-assistant devices, which are connected on a network. These allow

customers to control or monitor their devices from a central server, such as a mobile phone or a tablet. Hospitality industry players have already begun using IoT to improve their businesses and shape customer experience through operation efficiency and personalization. For example, customers can use their mobile phones to complete self check-in and check-out. Hilton already offers the option of digital check-in via mobile devices, whereby customers can use electronic key cards or mobile room keys embedded in mobile phones to open their room.

Security Security is a fundamental issue in the digital transformation of all industries, including hospitality. Since digital technologies, such as AI and IoT, are highly connected, they are prone to hacking. Also, the broad connection of various devices brings vulnerability to

digital networks. For example, problems in a simple connected device may cause damage to other connected devices and even the entire network. Thus, hospitality managers must prepare for the security implications of digital transformation, which can be accomplished by adopting highsecurity technologies to reduce software vulnerabilities, building resources to mitigate risk of cyber-attacks and training employees on cyber-attack prevention. Digital content streaming, entertainment and the gaming sectors are well positioned to unlock the opportunities offered by technology. The need for these sectors to stay relevant is key, with over 50 percent of global media and entertainment executives saying they can no longer rely on traditional business models. Virtual reality will become more commonplace as the price of data becomes more affordable and infrastructure is adapted to enhance experiences.






In collaboration with

WAYS TO OVERCOME BURNOUT Spending countless hours working from the office or from home on laptops, tablets and phones can be a recipe for disaster. Mark Dickinson of DONE! Hospitality Training Solutions provides practical tips on how to avoid the dreaded burnout.

Do you suffer from lethargy, headaches, insomnia and body pains? Are you unable to wake up, spending too much time on your digital devices and lacking patience? Exposure to long-term stress can cause physical and emotional exhaustion, ultimately leading to what is known as “burnout.” In the hospitality industry, burnout happens all the time. People tend to avoid dealing with it; instead, they choose the easy option of moving onto another workplace, believing that a change of environment will fix it all. However, this is a myth, and I would like to tell you a story to illustrate my point. I grew up in the hospitality industry of the early 1980s. The mantra was: “Work hard, get promoted,” and it worked really well. Psychological evaluations and leadership training were new concepts, and the industry was trying to figure things out. At 26 years of age, I became a director responsible for 450 employees, handling revenues of USD 10 million a year. So, there I was, leading a massive operation at a very young age. I did what I had always done: worked hard. I started my day at seven o’clock and finished very late. Where did it get me? I got burned out.



By this time, I had already lived in England, Scotland, China, Uganda and Thailand. I was used to the moving game, so I continued doing just that. I moved to Japan and learned, once again, that hard work equals success. Three years later, burned out, I moved to the Middle East.

Spend quality time with those you love

I consider myself somewhat of an expert in burnout. The cycle goes on and on because I allow it to. There is not some mysterious force out there that makes me work hard or causes me to burn out. It is simply my unwillingness to set boundaries.

Eat healthy

However, you can take steps to overcome burnout. Here are just a few suggestions:

Cutting back on sleep is the top reason for burnout. Physical exhaustion leads to mental exhaustion and vice versa. Saying “no” When work is outside your purview, you must politely and firmly decline. It is essential to take this approach. The key reason is that you become busy doing things that are not your job, while you are trying to do your job.

Most people that get burned out regret that they did not spend enough time with their loved ones. The path to avoiding burnout is to have regular quality time with the ones that you love and not compromise your work because of it. Carbs, fried foods and sweets are not going to help you. Cut down on the alcohol as well.

Sleep soundly Make sure you get seven hours of sleep. Cutting back on sleep is the top reason for burnout. Physical exhaustion leads to mental exhaustion and vice versa.

Be grateful and have a vision I write down why I’m grateful every single day and never miss a day. Identify your values and you will never get lost again. It will help you resist the temptation to overwork and compromise on what you truly believe. If you feel that you’re on the path to burnout, let us know. We have some amazing programs that can help you pause and reset your path. Just drop an email to to learn more!



Project planning is no easy feat, especially in business. Industry professional Chirine Salha outlines the fundamentals of getting a project off the ground and the key to ensuring it runs smoothly.

A project is a unique event — with a specific goal or impact in mind — that should deliver a business benefit in a defined timeframe. It requires a team to work together temporarily in order to make sure it is completed. Project planning ensures monitoring of the schedule, deliverables and budget at every step. A project plan should start off by clarifying project goals and objectives with stakeholders.

Identify and meet with stakeholders The starting point is to identify stakeholders involved and clarify project goals and objectives. A stakeholder is anyone who is impacted or affected by the results of the project. They could be sponsors, owners or end users. This meeting should set a baseline vis-àvis expectations, budget and timeline, allowing for a scope of work statement.

Set up a project brief Once you have a list of stakeholder needs, prioritize them and set specific project goals. The brief communicates the necessary information to get the project approved and authorizes a team to work on it. The brief tells the initial project story, from its purpose to how much funding is required. It includes but is not limited to: • An executive summary • General information • Project objectives • Business needs • When work is set to begin • The timeline • How much it will cost • Impact on other existing operations

Project roles The next step is selecting the appropriate people. This is an important activity that directly impacts the success of a project. Roles vary according to the type of project. • The project sponsor is accountable for the project and approves the project brief. • The business owner is accountable for delivery of the project and makes key decisions. • The project coordinator coordinates groups and provides delivery assurance. • Other team leaders are accountable for delivery within their functional areas. • The overall project manager sets up the project and runs it on a daily basis. • There are team members who deliver specific project tasks, such as legal specialists, procurement and risk management representatives.

The starting point is to identify stakeholders involved and clarify project goals and objectives. Project kick-off meeting Once the team is shaped, the kick-off meeting sets the tone for the entire project. Its purpose is to: • Explain the value and purpose of the project • Introduce documents or tools to be used during the project • Introduce the project manager, team members and other key stakeholders

• Establish roles and responsibilities • Outline project delivery standards and define project communication • Review project phases and explain the escalation path • Discuss project meeting expectations

Define deliverables and create the project schedule • Identify the deliverables and specific outputs required to meet the project's goals • Anticipate the due dates for each deliverable in the project plan • Keep in mind that a great deal of tasks are interrelated, and you must define the chain of tasks that must be completed • Determine the resources necessary

Project planning tools Besides a schedule, set yourself up with planning tools. These are made to help all concerned keep track of project progress. The critical path method (CPM) and work breakdown structure (WBS) are familiar tools.

Conduct a post-project review and keep project documentation No matter how well it is prepared, a project plan is always ground for learning. It is a review that happens after the project has been completed or the benefits have been realized. It should answer key questions, such as: Did the project meet its objectives? What went well and what could have gone better?





WHAT’S ON THE TABLE? From the moment a guest steps into an establishment, they expect to be treated to an experience that tantalizes every one of their senses. Natalya Latypova, managing director of Glee Hospitality Solutions, talks tableware and the impact it can have on the restaurant experience.

Thoughtful interior design, ambient lighting and a warm atmosphere all matter when it comes to creating a memorable moment for restaurant guests. And amid the ubiquitous elements, tableware stands as one of the final touches. Indeed, nothing looks less appealing than a restaurant with bare and/or empty tables, as it generates the feeling that the restaurant is closed. It is often said that the devil is in the detail, and this is especially true when it comes to tableware setup and arrangement. Every single detail is crucial, from the elegant centerpiece to the choice of inconspicuous chopstick holder. When executed correctly, tableware components can serve to enhance food presentation. This can be witnessed in the ongoing creativity of chefs who have, on occasion, served their masterpieces on dry ice, elaborate hot plates and even raw stone.



However, beyond spectacular setups and innovation, every restaurant operator has to keep certain principles in mind when choosing their tableware. Practicality and functionality are fundamental. Operators need to maintain a business mindset, and tableware components must be manageable day to day. For example, they should be durable, resistant to scratching to some degree, space efficient, safe to place in the dishwasher and convenient for staff to serve to guests.

Customized tableware On a global scale as with any other subset, tableware has seen a wave of trends that have impacted a major portion of restaurants internationally. These trends, as with most industries, see periods of change and/resurgence depending on developing tastes and innovations in the market. Currently, there has been a significant shift toward handmade crockery, which witnessed

growth during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the number of pottery studios that curated custom-made tableware experienced a boom. Fast-forward to the present and nearly every specialty coffee shop has coffee cups specially designed for their brand. In addition, larger restaurants have also jumped on the bandwagon, with bespoke plates and other items. Furthermore, this element of customization and personalization has extended to restaurants seeking branded print/artworks on their plates (logos and/or graphics). Several international restaurant brands, such as Le Petit Maison, have incorporated this aspect into their tableware.

Sustainability Another emerging trend is the growing demand for sustainability, which today is considered a massive advantage in F&B business culture. Securing food preservation and maintaining adequate/ sustainable channels of acquiring

In collaboration with

all aspects of the supply chain have become crucial discussion points, driving customer demand. This has even manifested itself in the aforementioned tableware subset, where heightened concerns for the environment and hazards associated with non-bio plastic have led to a spike in green packaging formats and bio-plastic tableware options. This is a viable route for larger Asian markets, where population size and consumption rates are high.

partnered up with Fetch Group to provide a food and beverage ordering module within its leading mobile guest services solution, iPortal. Fetch is a unified guest experience platform for food and beverage businesses, providing the hospitality industry with a next-generation guest engagement solution. The platform promises to offer a complete package of solutions, including the QR code scan order and pay module that has been integrated into iPortal.


Another example of innovating the ordering/payment component factor of the customer experience was the launch of the Spades startup in 2022. Spades is a dine-in payment service for restaurants, allowing customers to pay their bill at their table without the need for app downloads, registrations or setup fees. The startup has already signed with 150 restaurants, and their QR code payment system is another innovative option that may soon enter the global context of greater trends.

New technological options are constantly being made available to upgrade sales channels in F&B outlets. Such advancements include everything from kitchen display screens to mobile devices for tables. This is also evidenced in the increased sophistication of mobile payment systems, which is in direct response to the growing demand for online orders and home delivery services. In recent news, TigerTMS

On the supply side, new apps such as Eighty6 and Safqat have been developed that not only digitize, streamline and quantify the entire supply chain experience but also enable suppliers to connect with restaurants, caterers and grocery stores at the click of a button. In conclusion, emerging trends can be summarized into three main focal points: convenience, sustainability and technology/digitization. However, it is important to note that ultimately, customers still desire an experience/ immersion when they dine out. Restaurant operators need to be mindful of this to make sure trends and products, from both the visual and operational standpoint, are incorporated into every element of their design to enhance their venues, making sure they remain on the pulse of current trends.





MIGHTY MEAT We sat down with six meat-specialist chefs to get our teeth into the latest trends, what customers are ordering, marble scoring and the grass-fed versus grain-fed debate.



authentic and often involves a grill, called a parrilla, or an open fire. They have great cuts of meat and awesome flavors.

Prime rib

ISSA HASAN AL BALUSHI Head chef Al Mouj Muscat – Al Mouj Golf Club iam_chef_issa

Authentic flavors Meat lovers around the world are keen to see new and unique techniques to experience different cuisines. I am noticing that the asado (South American) style of cooking is becoming very popular in the Middle East. South American cooking is

KAMIL BOULOOT Head of culinary and operations Middle East Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group

Marbling matters I believe that it’s possible to create your own trend, whether it’s with meat or another type of food. For example, in addition to offering a selection of premium cuts like ribeye, fillet and tomahawk at Hunter & Barrel Restaurant in the UAE, I also included a flank BMS 9+. It is normally considered a secondary cut of meat; however, with a high marble score of 9+ and a special coating of charcoal powder and herb crust, this dish was elevated to gourmet standard and became one of our top sellers. This shows you that with a bit of creativity, expertise, market knowledge and forward thinking, one can set new trends in the culinary field.

First choice My favorite meat cut is the picanha steak, also known as rump cap, sirloin cap or culotte steak. The picanha is a Brazilian cut of meat taken from the top of the rump cap muscle. It is not as well known as other cuts, but it has a distinctive flavor.

It’s a tough choice between prime rib and ribeye; but I would go with prime rib, as the percentage of marbling means that I can cook it in different ways. Prime ribs and ribeye steaks come from the same primal cut of beef - the difference in their flavors comes from the way they are cooked. Prime rib is seared and then roasted at low heat, making it more tender, while ribeye is flash grilled at high heat for a charred effect.

who doesn’t eat meat. Having variety on a menu allows chefs to showcase their skills and create innovative dishes. In fact, the world’s most renowned chefs like to experiment with meat, which is why they often introduce a range of cuts to suit different tastes.

Keep it natural I believe that each cut of meat requires a specific technique. It needs to be trimmed in the right way, stored at the right temperature, marinated (if necessary) and left to rest before serving. It’s important to avoid using any kind of meat tenderization powders or over-seasoning the meat.

Variety speaks volumes

Australian beef

Diversity in a menu is key for attracting a range of audiences. As everyone knows, the percentage of vegetarians and vegans is very low compared to those who consume meat. Indeed, out of 10 customers, there will only be one

There are many premium brands out there, but I tend to stick to True Aussie Beef and Lamb for three main reasons: tenderness, juiciness and flavor.

It is triangular in shape and has a thick layer of fat over the top. In addition, due to where it is located on a cow's body, it is not an overused muscle, which means that the meat has naturally more marbling and fat. These are all key factors that contribute to the tenderness and flavor of this meat cut.

overcooking, creates sear marks that add a smoky grilled flavor to the meat and even helps degrease the grates, making it easier to flip the steak and remove food residue.

Furthermore, it is simple to cook: usually only seasoned with a generous amount of coarse salt and grilled to medium rare, fat side first. These fatty juices, when infused with the steak during the cooking process, give the meat a bold beefy flavor. The meat pairs well with a chimichurri sauce and any kind of accompaniment, such as a crispy salad or grilled vegetables.

It’s all about protein! It is important to note that meat is one of the main sources of dietary protein. In addition, most diners want variety and expect to see meat on the menu. Furthermore, meat — especially beef — is very versatile and allows us chefs to be creative and innovative while using a variety of cuts, seasoning blends, sauces and sides to please our customers and keep them coming back. Finally, beef is good for business because it raises average checks, as diners who order beef dishes seem to spend more on items such as alcohol, appetizers and side dishes.

Top tips Firstly, preheat the grill before you start cooking and ensure it reaches a high temperature. Preheating ensures steaks are cooked evenly and consistently, prevents

Secondly, brush the steak with clarified butter during the grilling process to add flavor and moisture. One of the advantages of clarified butter is that it has a higher smoke point than regular butter. Therefore, it combines well with the steak while cooking. Thirdly, a grilled steak needs to rest for around three or four minutes before you serve it. This resting period allows the juices to be reabsorbed and redistributed evenly through the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy piece of steak. However, by cutting it too soon after cooking, the juices will flow away, leaving you with an overcooked piece of meat.

Wagyu all the way Regardless of the brand of meat you select, it is important to apply the proper grilling techniques for a good result. In my opinion, this is one of the key elements to consider, as it has a direct impact on the quality of the cooked meat, affecting its tenderness, flavor and juiciness. My preferred brand of meat is the Mayura full blood wagyu beef, chocolate-fed. The meat produced at the Mayura Station has an exquisite taste. The cattle’s grain diet is supplemented with sweet treats, namely Cadbury's chocolate and biscuits! This gives the beef its unique sweet flavor, with a nutty undertone and buttery texture.





DAVID DAHLHAUS Executive chef The Ritz Carlton Doha david_dahlhaus


Take my advice

Consumers want to know the origin of the meat. With instant access to information, if consumers cannot understand or find out where and how a meat product is made and what is in it, they will be more inclined to steer in the direction of alternative products made by companies that have a genuine commitment to sustainability and improving the environment.

There are so many ways to cook meat. Choose a lean cut of meat, like a lean rump steak, to begin with. Grill your meat and don’t add extra oil when you are cooking.

New York strip The porterhouse, a T-bone steak, is all about indulgence. It combines the tenderness of a filet mignon with the meaty New York strip, so you don't have to choose one steak over another. It's so large that it can be shared. Cook it quickly on a high heat to begin with then move to a cooler place to rest before enjoying.

Use a low-fat marinade to give your meat a great flavor. Marinades also tenderize your meat and keep it moist during the cooking process. If you are roasting meat, place the cut on a metal rack above the roasting pan so the fat drips from it.

Big in Japan In my opinion, Japanese cattle have the most marbling, providing a wonderfully juicy and extremely tasty dining experience. A high level of marbling makes these cuts great for grilling and other drycooking methods.

Menu staple Meat is not just high in protein; it is also a source of many nutrients that are simply not available in plants. In my opinion, it is a staple on a restaurant menu.

Consumer taste

RABIH FOUANY Corporate consultant chef Vivienda hotels group KSA chefrabihfouany



Consumers are engaging with their favorite restaurants in different ways. They expect convenience at every step: from entering to ordering. In my opinion, being a highly personalized chef is the key for success, which is why we created a new restaurant in Jeddah called Cyan. Guests can watch their food being prepared every step of the way. This level of transparency is putting our customers at ease and allowing them to be part of the whole experience.

Bestsellers The Wagyu beef tenderloin and Angus beef burger are our bestsellers due to the high quality of meat we use. Our Wagyu is Tajima, which is known for its refined marbling.

In addition to our beef tenderloin, our short ribs are popular. The dish comprises braised beef ribs served with chipotle mayo. The croquettes are simply delicious. Also, our rack of lamb and lamb shanks sell very well. When it comes to Saudi Arabia, we have a different perspective. There, they love to cook the whole baby lamb roast in the oven or use the traditional underground cooking technique.

Educating customers Meat awareness is our responsibility as restaurateurs and chefs. There is a significant difference in meat knowledge between countries. As a chef, I insist on providing guests with plenty of information regarding the dishes served to them, such as the origin, breed, aging and so forth. We even train our staff to deliver the highest level of service and interact confidently with our clients.

CHARBEL HAYEK Top Chef winner, private chef/consultant charbel.hayek1

What’s trendy? Talking about trends, grass-fed beef has been a hot topic for some time now. No wonder it has crept into steakhouses, as it has significantly lower levels of saturated fat compared to grain-fed beef. We must not forget that massive cuts, like tomahawk, naturally draw in crowds. Indeed, when it comes to steaks, it seems to be the bigger the better. A large number of people who dine out post their dishes on their social media pages.

Preferred cut

Cooking techniques

When it comes to my favorite cut I always go for the bone-in New York strip steak; it’s hard to beat, in my opinion. Although it is not the most tender steak, it is packed with flavor. One of the reasons people love it is for its great bite and solid chew. When you're shopping for New York strips, look for pieces that have even marbling throughout and larger chunks of fat around the edges.

There are a few basic rules for cooking meat. Every cut is different, so make sure you use the right piece of the animal for the correct method of preparation. Steak, specially the tender cuts like filet mignon, ribeye and New York strip, don’t need much when it comes to cooking, as you’re either grilling or pan-searing. It’s essential to make sure you apply high heat to create a delicious texture and flavor that will maintain a natural crust on the meat’s exterior. Rest your meat for at least the same amount of time that you cooked it. For tougher cuts, like brisket and short ribs, cook at a lower temperature for a couple of hours either by roasting, brazing or by using the sous-vide method.

Meat on the menu Meat is an important element in most diets. It satisfies a person’s energy and nutritious needs, as the meat contains protein, fat and water that can be easily stored and consumed throughout the year. In addition to it being rich in iron, vitamins and other minerals, its biological value is superior to that of most vegetables. In fact, humans require around two grams of protein per day, which can be obtained from meat alone.

Marble magic Wagyu is considered the best beef on the planet because it is highly marbled. Marbling refers to the visible layers of intramuscular fat. It’s the type of meat that I wouldn’t mind traveling the world to enjoy, although that’s not necessary these days as everything can be ordered online and delivered straight to your door.





TAREK IBRAHIM Certified master chef Founder of Umami restaurants and Company Brand Ambassador Meat & Livestock Australia

Simplicity is key Simple food made well is what’s trendy. Most of the food we serve has been prepared lovingly and doesn't exceed five or six ingredients, including salt and pepper, so it is very important to focus on the craft of making the food and highquality ingredients. Simplicity is key: going back to the old dishes that people were used to seeing and reimagining them without the fuss.



I use natural stocks and glazes made from bones or chicken broth from old and aging chicken, for example. This gives me a very clear stock that I can use to create the deep flavor that I want. People always say how much they like the dish. For example, we do something called porretta chicken. The ingredients in it are very simple, namely soya sauce, a knob of butter, a little onion, some basil and cream sautéed chicken. There are very few ingredients, but people absolutely love it! That is what I want to introduce, not only in Egypt but also in the Middle East in general. I make everything from scratch, although I use foreign ingredients; I would like to emphasize that I do it with “Egyptian hands,” which I am very proud of. When it comes to burgers, I use wagyu beef in my restaurants. It’s a favorite among guests.

Bestselling items Tenderloin is the most popular cut because people consider it to be tender and nice. I personally disagree, but it still remains the most popular cut, even in my restaurants.

Lamb Rack of lamb is one of the most popular cuts of lamb. It is small, easy to eat and very tasty. Even though most people in Egypt and Lebanon are not consumers of it, except on special holidays, we still have considerable demand for rack of lamb at the restaurant.

Beyond grass-fed meat A problem I sometimes face is clients wanting to remove certain items from a dish. I encourage them to keep the items as they are, without touching any ingredients/items, as this avoids altering the essence of the dish. In my view, people need further education, and they need to let the chef do their job because once you amend a plate, you change its whole identity. Each nation in the Middle East still prefers to consume local meat. There is a gap in this area. Those who understand meat will consume Australian or U.S. meat. The trend nowadays is to consume grassfed meat as it is considered to be more natural. Still, a large number of people are not educated enough when it comes to meat; they are unable to distinguish between the meats’ provenance, or grass-fed beef versus grain-fed beef.


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THE MAKING OF THE MOCKTAIL MARKET We asked five professionals to help us understand the mocktail market better. Here’s what they had to say about what millennialls want, health trends and the development of the industry, which is marked by more creative and colorful concoctions, with no compromise on taste.



CHAN MYAE AUNG Head bartender Goldfish Sushi & Yakitori by Sunset Hospitality Group chan_myae_ahpyout


Best-selling mocktail

Mocktails have evolved. Our bartenders are creating drinks that are well balanced and just as tasty as their alcoholic counterparts. What we do is both a science and an art: knowing when to add a specific ingredient, understanding the flavor profile and the nuances of each liquor, spice and fruit, and blending them together into one amazing drink. Guests notice these details in our menu and in our employees, who are passionate about what they are serving. We don’t just offer mocktails — we create stories.

All of our ingredients are made in house. Our best-selling mocktail is the Passion Cooler, which is made of passionfruit. mint and ginger soda. From the artistic glass to the garnishing, this cocktail tastes like summer! Right now, we are hard at work making sure our new releases are packed with mouthwatering flavors that are made from scratch right here in our restaurant.

Trends Invigorating drinks that are as beautiful as they are tasty are trendy these days. Garnishes that add texture and flavor are also popular. Customers often check our social media platforms before they come. Our Instagram page not only helps us sell; it also inspires our guests.

Talking millennials

CAMERON BOYD Bar manager Lucia’s by 7 Management cameron_james_boyd

First and foremost, mocktails allow you to enjoy festivities without the lingering effects of drinking alcohol. Therefore, consuming mocktails does not impact decisions that could lead to dangerous or embarrassing situations. The new modern movement of non-alcoholic drinks allows millennials to enjoy the hand-crafted non-alcoholic drinks that share the same level of appreciation for flavors as alcoholic cocktails. The taste and ceremony of mocktails could serve as a form of recovery for those who tend to over indulge. Health-conscious millennials are also looking for lower/no-ABV spirits, as well as healthy, tasty and socially acceptable alternatives at bars, clubs or even at home.

Shift toward no-ABV drinks Countless trends have emerged over recent years with regard to mocktails. I truly believe that we have started to give millennials what they want, from serving nonalcoholic spritzes to non-alcoholic wines. As a bartender in my earlier years, seeing non-alcoholic or no-ABV spirits seemed

Why mocktails? Consumers want their dining experiences to be unique and exciting — something they don’t find anywhere else. Millennials — who drive so many trends these days — are actually drinking less. And while some restaurants might view that as a problem, many beverage entrepreneurs see it as an opportunity. The fact that we are located in Galleria Mall, a foodie’s paradise, makes us stand out from the rest, with our boundless variety of seasonal ingredients that arrive every week from the heart of Japan.

sinful for my craft, but as the years went by, many products, like Lyres, have proven their quality, almost replicating spirits without any alcohol. Moving forward, mocktails will be healthier, tastier and taken more seriously by health-conscious individuals.

Favorite brands A mocktail brand I recommend is Curious Elixiers, which provides bottled mocktails (various flavors) that are healthy. I would also recommend Lyres’ non-alcoholic spirits and wines. In my opinion, they hit the nail on the head in terms of diversity of products and flavors, providing bartenders with a great deal of freedom.

Same but different! There are many advantages of adding nonalcoholic drinks to your menu, as we are in an era of healthy living. We need to cater to demand by having a variety of options that will attract new customers and also keep guests entertained. The ideal mocktail menu contains the same fundamentals as a regular cocktail menu but with sustainable and environmental thoughts in mind.





TIAGO MIGUEL GARCIA Beverage manager Playa restaurant mixology4life


Freshness is key

Mocktails have gelled well with the rising trend of health and wellbeing, providing a more energetic drinking experience compared to alcoholic concoctions. Covid-19 caused a major shift in mindset. Previously, nightclubs were always full, but now we are seeing beachside running tracks packed with people. We are waking up earlier, exercising, eating healthier and, of course, drinking better. I believe this new wellness era is here to stay.

When it comes to mocktails, freshness is the key. Therefore, we don’t use any branded juices or syrups if we are trying to provide our customers with a healthy drinking experience. Undoubtedly, the best brand you can have is your own; juice squeezed with your own hands, for instance. This is something that no brand can provide.

Heathier options In my opinion, there are two main paths: one focused on healthy drinking, vitamins and nutrients, where bartenders will have to study and analyze carefully the ingredients used in their drinks, as well as the sugar content; and the other involving the availability of an alcohol-free version of a consumer’s favorite cocktail wherever they go.

Mindful drinking

BIPIN KARKI Bar manager Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes bipinkarki99

We believe that mocktails are increasingly popular thanks to the concerns of health-conscious millennials. Since the introduction of plant-based meats, we have also seen a surge in the consumption of non-alcoholic drinks because many people are more mindful when it comes to what they put in their bodies. When the pandemic hit, people stayed at home and focused on their health, so there were significant changes in their drinking habits partly due to guests stopping going to bars and restaurants. Furthermore, we have seen a major market shift toward low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks.

Colorful concoctions Layered drinks are in fashion, as are colorful and Instagrammable drinks. We have developed new mocktails to keep up with these trends. Most restaurants are now offering tasty mocktails for those who want to socialize without consuming too



Revenue generator The advantages of having mocktails on the menu are considerable, especially in the Middle East, where alcohol is not always available. Indeed, this region is a booming market for alcohol-free cocktails and drinks. Also, the more diverse the offering, the greater the potential to reach a larger audience. From a business perspective, mocktails are a revenue generator and are a must at any decent restaurant/bar. As a bartender, I know how often this section of the menu is overlooked, which is a big mistake because mocktails are just as important as cocktails.

much alcohol. We think that many bars are responding to this global shift by providing alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of their drinks.

New releases We use Monin and Bon Accord in our drinks. The Apple and Feijoa Caipirinha and the Layered Roberts mocktails we serve are a hit with new guests and existing ones. Our cotton candy mocktail is a top choice among millennials because of the wow factor. Most of our mocktails actually look like cocktails from a presentation perspective, so our guests can feel that they are drinking alcoholic drinks even when they’re not.

Safety first One of the advantages of offering mocktails is that they’re safe. Since these drinks don’t contain alcohol, literally anyone can order and enjoy them without unwanted side effects.

ELIE KREIDY Manager Salmon Guru Dubai eli_kreidy

Desired by millennials

Creativity at play

There are several reasons why millennials are fond of mocktails. On the one hand, many in this group believe that they do not need alcohol to have fun. They were taught about the risks associated with alcohol consumption at school and have been exposed to media campaigns on the harmful effects of sugar contained in alcohol. On the other hand, the evolution of the cocktail industry has mirrored that of the changing tastes of millennials, who represent a significant market segment.

Mocktails are becoming more and more similar to cocktails, especially in character and image. They are no longer mocktails with the look of tropical juice and a lot of decoration. Creativity is constantly at play.

Greater variety By removing the main ingredient of traditional cocktails, professionals in the industry are being encouraged to get creative and use textures and other ingredients to replace the alcohol element. The absence of alcohol also allows more variety and greater consumption. Finally, mocktails are much more cost effective to produce and less expensive to purchase than traditional cocktails.





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