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How the GM Leaders Conference unfolded

The industry's finest celebrate at the Leaders In Hospitality Awards 2017


Leading the way

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June 2017


10 | News Dubai leads way with technology says hotel chief; Baby boom for hotel industry; VAT’s high on the agenda


20 | Opinion How sustainable design is impacting the industry 22 | Cover story Leaders Awards 2017: All the winners from a night that redefined glamorous fun 34 | GM Interview Catching up with the general manager of Fairmont Fujairah 38 | Face to face with the CEO of the International Association of Hotel Managers 42 | Event review GM Leaders Conference 2017

Cover Story: Leaders Awards 2017

10 News

16 Checking in

34 GM Interview

38 Face to face




June 2017


CEO Wissam Younane Managing Director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Group Sales Director Fred Dubery

Group Editor, Hospitality Crystal Chesters


Editor Patrick Ryan Art Director Aaron Sutton Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

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Photography Hayder Al Zuhairi

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54 48 | Hotec Middle East 2017 52 | Event preview The Hotel Show goes to the Philippines 54 | Marketplace The latest in kitchen equipment 56 | Products



For all commercial enquiries related to Hotel News ME contact T +971 50 55 97339 All rights reserved Š 2014. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Hotel News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Hotel News ME. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Printed by Raidy Emirates Printing Group LLC

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Winning Ways

Looking back at an event that celebrated the best of the best in the industry


patrick ryan Editor

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f you want to take a look at the strength of the hotel industry you only have to take a look at our cover feature – The Leaders In Hospitality Awards 2017. I’m not necessarily talking about the list of people who won, as accomplished as they are. It’s the list of the people who didn’t win or were only shortlisted that speaks loudest. Not because the winners didn’t deserve their accolades, they clearly did, but it shows the sheer strength in depth that the industry enjoys with categories being so keenly contested. The standards in the Middle Eastern hospitality sector aren’t so much high as stratospheric and it’s a credit to everyone in the sector. The awards themselves were a huge success with the well-deserved winners being crowned on the night – hence our cover title of Best of the Best. That wasn’t the only BNC Publishing event that took place in the month of May though, we also kicked off the month with the GM Leaders Conference at The W Dubai Al Habtoor City. Again, the event was a tremendous success, with general managers and industry leaders addressing a crowd made up of their peers. You can read all about it in the pages of this very issue. If that wasn’t enough we speak to Fairmont Ajman’s newly appointed general manager, Francis Desjardins who tells Hotel News Middle

East just why the emirate is on the verge of great things. He is a positive man working in a region with an equallty positive attitude that is leading the way for the rest of the world. We also take time to catch up with Leon Larkin who is the CEO of the International Association of Hotel General Managers. You might be surprised by how hard-hitting aspects of this interview are, as he discusses just how lonely it can be at the top and how, just like everyone else to be honest, general managers need support as well. We are off to Baku in Azerbaijan as well later in the issue. We were there to cover the annual HOTEC Middle East event which was nothing short of a resounding success as it attracted hotel owners and operators, as well as a largenumber of the region’s leading procurement, specialists, designers and specifiers. We are almost out of space but we’ve also got a feature on how The Hotel Show is heading to the Philippines for the first time this year. As we head in Ramadan it’s only fitting this issue is dedicated to you – the true Leaders in Hospitality. Regards, Patrick Ryan

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Regional News


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Smartotels chief says Dubai leads the Way in hotel technology

The managing partner of a tech driven hotel brand has said that hotels in the region are leading the way when it comes to the implementation of technology – despite having significant obstacles to overcome. Tarek M Daouk was making his comments at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference during a one to one interview with Hotel News Middle East. 10


“If you look at self checkin kiosks for example, the challenge there is that each guest is required by the government to be verified against their official ID – which in turn creates a hurdle around the whole process,” said the managing partner of Smartotels, whose flagship brand, Form, opens in Dubai in Q1 2018. “From a demand perspec-

tive we are going through a major turning point in the industry, we are in an overcrowded environment and companies are struggling to figure out what guests really want. “That’s where technology struggles from an implementation standpoint but hoteliers in Dubai are very aware of what needs to be done – some are more advanced

than others, but if you look at other markets like France or the US, Dubai certainly stands up as one of the more metropolitan cities looking to implement technology.” Daouk was speaking to Hotel News Middle East about the launch of his company’s Hotoil project, a middleware programme, which aggregates the various systems in a hotel. “Take for instance, the property management system (PMS), the HR system, marketing and accounting – the challenge with all of these is they are autonomous,” he said. “They don’t speak to each other, there is a lot of valuable data that can be extracted to make more efficient decisions.” He added that with Hotoil, Smartotels has implemented the model and it will be initiated at Form Hotel when it opens in Dubai Creek at Al Jaddaf. Daouk said that Smatortels essentially took the customer service chain and looked at interaction between guests and staff, allowing the company to use technology to make more efficient decisions when it comes to service for guests.

Regional News

Ground broken on Al Marjan Island project Crowngate International, the global real estate developer, has officially broken ground on the Avani Resort at Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The ceremony for the 225-key property was attended by Abdullah Rashed Al Abdooli, managing director of Al Marjan Island LLC, and Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority. Haitham Mattar, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Ras Al Khaimah is celebrating an exciting period, with a number of

hotels and resorts scheduled to join the emirate’s portfolio in the coming years. “We are delighted to

welcome AVANI Resort Al Marjan Island, further supporting our own vision to enhance and diversify the

emirate’s hospitality offering as we target one million visitors by the end of 2018, and three million by 2025.”

Abu Dhabi looks to Europe for MICE market

Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau, a division of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is looking to the European market for incentive travel, meetings and events (MICE) diversification. TCA Abu Dhabi has confirmed its involvement in IMEX Frankfurt 2017, the worldwide exhibition for MICE.worldwide exhibition for MICE. Commenting on expectations, HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, said: “2016 was a record-breaking year for Abu Dhabi in terms of visitor numbers, with an estimated 2.2 million visits made for business travel purposes, and we have ambitious targets to grow this to three million business visitors by 2021.

“Our partners will validate that Abu Dhabi offers the necessary intrinsic industry support to succeed as a hub for business travel, including world class infrastructure and exhibition facilities such as ADNEC, which reflect the diversity and resilience of the emirate’s MICE sector.” The delegation will comprise an 18-strong portfolio of products, including representatives from Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yas Island (pictured above), a selection of leading hotels and resorts, destination management companies, tour operators, and the emirate’s national airline, Etihad Airways.



Regional News

VAT’s high on the agenda in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain

The Saudi Tax Authority is gearing up for the introduction of VAT by publishing frequently asked questions on its website ahead of the introduction of value added tax. The hotel industry, like many others in the Middle East, has been eagerly waiting for information about the introduction of VAT on January 1. Deloitte has also announced it will be hosting VAT academies in Saudi Arabia on 21 and 22 May and Bahrain on 23 May. “The key question for businesses right now is how long will it take my business to get ready? If businesses have not already started, now is the time for them to 12


start preparing and analyzing in detail what the implications of VAT implementation are,” said Nauman Ahmed, partner and Middle East tax leader at Deloitte. Justin Whitehouse, Middle East Indirect Tax leader at Deloitte said: “The Deloitte VAT Academy is designed for legal, tax and finance experts who want to have a better understanding from experts on the VAT legal framework. The course is aimed at analyzing the VAT framework and look further at the detailed consequences of the framework for a KSA and Bahraini business in its domestic dealings, and its business within the GCC and the wider world.”

The Palm Gateway construction contract signed

Nakheel has signed a construction contract worth nearly AED1.5 billion for The Palm Gateway, a new, threetower residential, retail and beach club complex in Palm Jumeirah. Nakheel has appointed Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast LLC to complete the work, which will begin in Q2 2017 and take two and a half years. Nakheel Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “The Palm Gateway contract is among AED12 billion worth of construction contracts to be awarded by Nakheel this year. “We look forward to delivering another iconic, landmark project at the entrance to Palm Jumeirah through this first-time collaboration with Shapoorji Pallonji.” The Palm Gateway includes 1,265 luxury apartments across three high-rise buildings to be con-

structed on top of the existing Palm Monorail terminal, which includes 14 levels of parking spaces. The Palm Gateway is one of a number of new projects in Nakheel’s residential leasing portfolio, which is set to double to more than 35,000 units, with other new developments coming to Palm Jumeirah, Warsan Village, Jebel Ali Village, Dragon City, Ibn Battuta Mall and Nad Al Sheba. The project is one of three high rise developments by Nakheel on Palm Jumeirah. The Palm Tower, a 52-storey luxury hotel and residential complex at the centre of the island is under construction, while PALM 360, a 220 metre twin-tower penthouse, apartment and hotel complex, is currently being designed.

Regional News

Nakheel releases tender on Deira Island project Nakheel has released the construction tender for an 800-room, beachfront resort and water park at Deira Islands. With an investment value of AED670 million the project is the first property in the region from the Spanish hospitality group RIU Hotels & Resorts. The resort will feature seven F&B outlets, three swimming pools, a fitness complex, children’s club and water park. The joint venture is one of 18 projects in Nakheel’s AED5 billion hospitality expansion programme,

which will deliver 5,800 new hotel rooms and apartments across Dubai in line with the Government of Dubai’s tourism vision for 2021. RIU Hotels & Resorts has almost 100 hotels, with around 45,000 rooms between them, in 19 countries. Nakheel has already awarded over AED7 billion worth of contracts at Deira Islands, with more on the way. The waterfront city, which is expected to have a population of 250,000 and to create 80,000 jobs, will add 40km of coastline, including 21km of beach, to Dubai.

Training day at emerson

A major new training centre has been launched aimed at highlighting the need for food wastage solutions for both the commercial and residential sectors. The centre belongs to InsinkErator, a business unit of Emerson, the manufacturer of food waste disposers. Mohamed Karam, Senior Business Development Manager, said the need for the centre sprang from the growing demand for environment-friendly waste disposal solutions, and is aligned with the UAE’s Vision 2021 to build a sustainable environment and further enhance related infrastructures.

“We are conducting a monthly training sessions for our partners as well as members of the unit’s MEA regional sales team,” he said. “The aim is to share the regional food wastage insights, hands-on product demonstrations, as well as regular updates from ongoing research and new product development. “We are continually striving to ensure that our partners and internal teams are fully equipped with the hands-on experience required to better address our customers’ waste disposal needs, as well as understand the region’s sustainability goals.”

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Regional News

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait 156,445 introduces executive team GO FIGURE

STR’s April 2017 Pipeline Report shows

rooms in


hotel projects Under Contract in the Middle East

Makkah, Saudi Arabia


rooms in 18 projects Dubai, United Arab Emirates


rooms in 72 projects Doha, Qatar


rooms in 31 projects Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


rooms in 29 projects

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya has introduced the general manager and executive team, ahead of its opening later this year. Four Seasons’ stalwart Didier Jardin will lead the team of more than 400 at the seventh property in the Four Seasons GCC collection, which currently includes three properties in the UAE, one in Saudi Arabia, one in Qatar and one in Bahrain. “It is an honour to lead such a talented team of Four Seasons veterans at a property that is set to establish itself as a stylish focal point for the city’s business and social elite,” said Jardin. “Staying true to the Four Seasons brand as well as Kuwait’s modern and dynamic profile, tremendous attention has been put into designing the Hotel and its services, and we are excited to welcome our

first guests in the near future.” The hotel’s senior management team includes Christel Artaud, director of human resources; Mohamed Ismail, director of finance; Mohamed Karara, director of sales and marketing; Georges Safi, director of food and beverage; Mohamed Zakaria, director of rooms and Ali El-Zein, director of engineering. “After hosting a growing number of Kuwaiti guests at our properties within the

region and beyond, we are pleased to bring the Four Seasons experience to the heart of Kuwait City,” said Simon Casson, president, Hotel Operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “The Hotel combines style and grace with warm and welcoming service and exceptional culinary offerings to offer a hospitality experience that is just as close to Kuwait as it is to the Four Seasons brand.”

Baby boom for ritz-carlton hotels

A number of five-star hotels in the UAE have teamed up with Malaak Mama & Baby Care to provide babysitting services. Properties including The Ritz Carlton DIFC, Ritz Carlton JBR and Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi have signed up with the maternity nursing and babysitting agency. Lily Kandalaft, who formed Malaak Mama & Baby Care in 2013 (pictured second right), said:”We know what a positive impact our childcare professionals have on the families they work with and as well as at-home support, an increasing number of clients have 14


been requesting for the childcare professionals to travel with them outside of the UAE. “Therefore, it was a logical step to make our services available to people travelling here and staying in UAE hotels.” She added that parents can relax knowing their childcare needs are covered and the hotels can rely on her company for expert service, even at short-notice. So far there has been a lot of interest, Kendalaft claimed, especially amongst high-profile guests looking for a different level of professional support during their travels.

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Checking in

Cinema themed hotel to open in Deira

Majid Al Futtaim has announced plans to build the first cinema themed hotel in the region – at Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira. The hotel will feature a cinematic themed floor of 25 standard rooms and four suite rooms designed to create an integrated lifestyle offering through the combination of technology, modern style and guest experience. Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International said: “We are excited about the progress of the project and continue to work with our partnersMajid Al Futtaim to redefine the traditional hotel experience in Deira with the opening of the Aloft. The brand holds great appeal with its vibrant social scene and tech-forward mindset and we look forward to setting new benchmarks with Aloft in the UAE and across the Middle East.” Construction work on the project is currently 38% completed and the second phase of project development is due to begin in June 2017 leading up to expected opening in Q1 2018.



Mama Shelter comes to Dubai Mama Shelter has announced plans to open a hotel in Dubai’s Business Bay by 2020. The property, which is partnered with AccorHotels, will feature a mix of modern hotel rooms, with one bedroom and two bedroom residences offering design elements specially crafted by famed interior designer Thierry Gaugain. Designed by Franklin Azzi Architecture, Mama Shelter Dubai will have 201 rooms and 80 residences. The architect said: “Mama will offer a unique tower to Dubai. A pure glass coat covering a wooden skin made by each rooms’ shutters. “The rooms are sanctuaries with the comforts of home coupled with all the needs of digital modernity, with spacious king size beds and high speed Wi-Fi. With 300 square meters of space set aside for collaboration, travelers will have room to gather, create or simply hang out.” MAMA Shelter Dubai marks the eighth location for the brand. The property will include 201 rooms and suites, an all-day dining restaurant, rooftop bar, lobby bar, café, volleyball court, basketball court and swimming pool.

Major signings for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Makkah The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has announced the signing of two major hotels in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. The hotel giant announced a management agreement with Saudi company Al Majd Al Arabiah comprising a total of 2,850 rooms. This will result in the opening of the world’s largest Radisson Blu hotel, featuring over 1,250 rooms. Located in the Aziziyah District in Makkah the Radisson Blu Hotel Al Hidaya will be situated in the Al Hidaya Complex, which is already welcoming pilgrims across 10 towers and features 4,500 rooms. Elie Younes, executive vice president and chief development officer of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group said: “We are privileged to continue on our strong journey in Saudi Arabia with Al Majd Al Arabiah and we thank our partner for their trust with the addition of the world’s biggest Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson hotels in the holy city of Makkah. We are thrilled to cement our position as one of the leading operators in the holy city and look forward to a successful journey with our partners. “With our compelling brand proposition, operational excellence, guest centric mindset and pragmatic business approach, we are determined to unlock shareholder value to our owners and stakeholders throughout this journey.”

Checking in

Rotana opens first hotel in Iraq Rotana has announced it is opening its first hotel in Iraq under its Arjaan hotel apartments banner. The Erbil Arjaan has 168 fully serviced hotel apartments. Nasser Al Nowais, Chairman of Rotana, said: “The inauguration of the new hotel reinforces our strategic partnership with Malia Group which began nearly six years ago with the opening of the five-star Erbil Rotana, which has since managed to attract more than half a million guests with an annual average occupancy rate of 70%, indicating the region’s tourism potential. “Rotana is committed to contributing to the development of the tourism and hospitality sector in Erbil, and the opening of Erbil Arjaan by Rotana marks a new chapter in our efforts in this direction. We thank all Rotana colleagues who worked hard to make this project a reality.”

The city of Erbil was chosen as the destination to launch the concept based on Rotana’s continued success with its properties in Iraq which also include the five-star Erbil Rotana and Karbala Rayhaan by Rotana. Headquartered in Beirut, Malia Group’s other investments in the hospitality sector include the Erbil Rotana hotel, Magma Square in Sulaimani, Kurdistan, and Natour Development in Enfeh, Lebanon.

DoubleTree to create 704 rooms in Dubai Nakheel has agreed a deal with Hilton to bring 704 new rooms to Dubai under the DoubleTree brand. The two companies signed a management agreement for Nakheel’s 254-room property at Jumeirah Village Triangle and a letter of intent for a new hotel and serviced apartment complex at Deira Islands. Chris Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton, said: “It was great to be able to join Chairman Ali Rashid Lootah in signing our first hotel together with Nakheel during my recent visit to the Middle East. I’d like to thank him and his team for their hospitality and

look forward to watching our partnership develop.” DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Al Khail Avenue will be located at Jumeirah Village and is already under construction with an expected opening date of 2019. It is directly linked to Al Khail Avenue, a major new retail and dining destination by Nakheel Malls, also opening in 2019. The proposed 254-room DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Residences Deira Islands – a twin tower complex with 250 hotel rooms and 200 serviced apartments – is currently being designed, with delivery expected by 2020. June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



The Time of her life Meet Melanie Mazo Faderagao, head waitress at Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Dubai Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? I started in the hospitality industry as a waitress at Time Oak Hotel & Suites. It was always my passion to join this industry and after joining Time, each day passed without me realising that I was working. Being in a dynamic city like Dubai helped me to meet a whole range of people from many different cultures. This job has always made me smile and taught me to enhance my skills and talents. Who has inspired you most in your career? My restaurant manager Peejay; he is always a great pillar of support to everyone. I was inspired by his commitment and his passion for this industry. He takes the time to listen to guest and staff feedback. He has taught us about putting people first, embracing change wholeheartedly and pursuing excellence. How do you view the hotel landscape in the region? With more and more hotels opening up, the competition is very stiff. Each hotel has different USPs, but we have an excellent opportunity to stand out from other hotels by delivering personal and exemplary service to our guests that will leave a long and lasting impression. What is the biggest challenge of your role? Of course, we have all the physical challenges of sore feet, back pain, handling different shifts etc. However, apart from all these, the greatest challenge I've experienced is when I cannot answer the demands of guests due to other circumstances. 18


Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Dubai

Work Experience

November 2015 – Till Date: Head Waitress, Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Dubai April 2014 - October 2015: Captain, Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Dubai Oct 2011 - March 2014: Waitress, Time Oak Hotel & Suites, Dubai What is the best aspect of your role? Being around people. You hear so many interesting stories, interacting and laughing. There is always something interesting happening if you’re around people. Every day is different. Apart from that, the support my company gives me is so great. We say that your family is irreplaceable, however, Time has been a home away from home for me all these years and I really enjoy working here.

If you could work in any hotel in the world, which would it be? I have not thought of any other hotels other than Time. However, I would love to try my luck in the aviation industry. As I am in the customer service industry, I just have to learn the challenging technicalities, which I will surely enjoy. This may also be because I love travelling and exploring other cultures. What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the industry in the region? Only true passion will help you to survive in the industry. Here you have to learn every day, teach every day, and go the extra mile every day. However, if you have the willingness, nothing can stop you.

Talent: appointments

New F&B director Major appointment for Sofitel The Palm by Carlson Rezidor

New sales director for Fairmont Dubai

Sofitel The Palm has appointed Lars Heeman as its new F&B director. With over 24 years’ experience in the hotel industry, Heeman started his career at Marriott Hotel, Hamburg as a casual waiter. Following five years with the hotel, he moved to London where he worked for both Marriott Hotel Marbel Arch and Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square. Leeman’s career has also seen him working in the USA at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix and in Russia at Hotels Astoria & Angleterre, St Petersburg and Moscow’s Hotel Metropol as director of food & beverage.

Pranav Vohra has been appointed as director of sales and marketing for Fairmont Dubai. Vohra joins Fairmont Dubai from his most recent role as director of sales and marketing at Hyatt Regency Dubai, bringing over 13 years of experience in the hospitality industry in the United Arab Emirates. As the new director of sales and marketing for Fairmont Dubai, Vohra will carry out the responsibilities of overseeing the property’s sales efforts, determining and developing marketing communication activities in conjunction with the overall brand strategy, at the company’s flagship hotel located in the heart of Dubai.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has promoted Eric de Neef to the position of executive vice president, global chief branding and commercial officer. de Neef, currently also the executive vice president & chief commercial officer of Rezidor Hotel Group (EMEA), will assume additional responsibilities and lead the branding and commercial organisation for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group globally. “I feel honored to receive the opportunity to contribute to the new global ambition of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group,” said de Neef.






sustainability Hilda Impey, associate design director, FF&E, for Wilson Associates looks at the latest trends in sustainability that are facing hospitality designers


ollution, in all its various manifestations—air, water, contaminated soil or toxic fabric dyes—has been the result of rapid industrialisation and capitalism, which is overpowering nature’s ability to regenerate itself. With the global climate constantly changing, how does this affect design and the choices we make as designers? As today’s hospitality designers, we analyse 2017’s rising trends, while observing major world challenges, emerging lifestyles associated with sociodemographical changes, and the social implications of the current economical and political climate. Mindful of these events, we must take practical approaches when designing a space. The materials and furniture we specify for projects must come from smart decision-making, as they are crucial for the wellbeing of hotel guests and the environment. We have a responsibility to guide and promote thoughtful and sustainable design that will positively impact both our health and our surroundings. It is essential that designers collaborate with product manufacturers early on in the development process to produce creative and eco-friendly products that have a lower carbon footprint than others. Here are some examples of products that showcase sustainable attributes with smart manufacturers backing them: • Kvadrat launched an upcycled fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, designed by British textile designer Georgina Wright. Revive 1 and Revive 2 are the company’s first fab-



About the Author Hilda is a highly experienced designer with a specialised background in FF&E ( furniture, fixtures and equipment ) with a masters degree in Textile Futures from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design. Hilda joined Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) in 2010 heading the FF&E department across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia on various hospitality and residential projects. Recently, Hilda joined Wilson Associates as associate design director, FF&E to work across their wide spectrum portfolio in the MEA region. rics to be made from 100% postconsumer recycled polyester PET. • Diana Simpson Hernandez is behind the idea of the first waste lab initiative – The Glass Lab. Waste Labs is a waste processing project that promotes local collection, processing and transformation of waste. Collected glass bottles are crushed on-site and combined with a vegetable bio-resin binder to produce strong and weatherproof products, such as bollards, street furniture, tiles and lights. Designers must embrace the opportunity to find compelling solutions outside of their comfort zones. We can solve po-

tential problems by using, merging, mixing and collaborating with other industries and professionals—and promoting worthwhile initiatives while doing so. I believe that the community should focus on specifying high quality products, materials, and furniture that have long lifespans and safe and sustainable manufacturing cycles and processes. Pollution has become a major concern for hospitality brands, and product and material choices that reduce this pervasive waste will be a key focus in 2017. As consumers continue to invest in ethical, environmentally-friendly products, so too must the hospitality design community.


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The winners of the 2017 Leaders in Hospitality Awards 2017, presented by Rikan, were announced on Wednesday, 17 May at The St. Regis Dubai, with more than 300 hospitality professionals in attendance. Sixteen winners took home prestigious Leaders in Hospitality Awards with accolades including Leading Hotel Team, Leading General Manager and the Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards, which celebrated excellence and



innovation in the hospitality industry across the Middle East, attracted hundreds of nominations and these were whittled down to one winner and two runners-up in each category by our independent team of expert judges. The Leaders in Hospitality Awards was presented by Rikan in association with Du, Platinum Sponsor; Luxury Fleet Partner, Cadillac; Hotel of Choice, The St. Regis Dubai, Pulsar Foodstuff Trading and The Gourmet Olive Market, and 1765 Gemini.

Meet The judges

Filippo Sona, director/ head of hotels MENA Region, Colliers

Helen Morris, executive chef / senior lecturer, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Rabih Feghali, director, Roya International

Hisham Farouk, CEO, Grant Thornton

Daniel During, principal and managing director, Thomas Klein International Hospitality School

Martin Kubler, CEO, SPS Affinity

Hala Mata Choufany, president, HVS Middle East and Africa

Testimonials “It was very uplifting to see some new hotels and individuals being included in this year’s awards. A special mention also to Mr. Andy Cuthbert on his Lifetime Achievement Award well-deserved and a great inspiration for our future leaders in Hospitality” Michael Kitts, director of culinary arts, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

“What a great night with very worthy winners, excellent service it was a real showcase for hospitality in the Middle East. I am already looking forward to next year’s event already” David Allan, cluster general manager Radisson Blu Hotels, Dubai Waterfront & Dubai Canal Views

“What a fantastic night to celebrate the leaders in our industry. 1765 Gemini was proud to a part of the dazzling evening and for one the greats of hospitality, Andy Cuthbert, to win the Lifetime Achievement, which was sponsored by us, rounded off a superb event!” Glenn Ewart, commercial director, 1765 Gemini

"Pulsar Foodstuff is delighted to be sponsoring the Leaders in Hospitality Awards once again. It is a great night for the industry and the people involved" Stephen Bennett, general manager, Pulsar Foodstuff



Event Review

Leading New Hotel Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort

The 180-key property which soft-opened in December 2016 is nestled in the Hajar mountains and the judges were won over by its authenticity, hip interior design and five creative dining venues. The resort is striving to be a pioneer in the luxury segment, paving the way for more high-end brands to set up in Fujairah. “It feels just great. It’s definitely a beautiful project in Fujairah. It’s an amazing hotel, it’s really unique – the whole design and concept around the hotel is just great. I feel a lot of happiness and pride at what our team has done” Omar Souab – Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort general manager

Leading Serviced apartment Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha The judges were impressed by the sheer attention to detail of the staff at this property, which opened in 2010, whether it be an extra chamomile tea when you’re not feeling well or a birthday cake waiting for your child when they arrive back from school, the staff are passionate about being hoteliers and catering to the needs of their guests.

“It’s very exciting to win this award. I have been at the property for five years and today we have the residence and Marsa Malaz Kempinski and I oversee both properties. In my opinion, the reason we won the award was because of the staff and the service they provide” Wissam Suleiman, cluster general manager at Marsa Malaz Kempinski - The Pearl Doha and Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha



Event Review

Leading Luxury Hotel The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

The winner of the category is a hotel that has hosted a number of high-profile events and has attracted the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Diego Maradona as guests. The judges couldn’t help but be taken by some of the extravagant F&B options on offer not least the Brunch in the Clouds and the Helipad Sunset Supper, both of which were sold out within the first 24 hours of being introduced.

“This is awesome, it means a lot to be recognised in the region. We did a lot in the last year in terms of high-profile events, trying to be as creative as possible and it’s amazing to be recognised for it” Annie Turnell, PR and communications manager, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Leading Mid-Market Hotel Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel, Dubai

From the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurant, Ostro, to the Thai street food concept, Wise Kwai, this is a property that proved very popular with our judges who described it as a “welcome surprise”. The hotel has 237 rooms and suites and is located in the Barsha Heights district of Dubai. “It’s a great achievement especially after only opening six months ago. We worked very hard on the opening and the whole team is here to join me in celebrating and it’s wonderful” Bruno Guilloux general manager at Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel



Event Review

Leading Hotel F&B Outlet Aseelah, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek “One belonging to a great heritage and family” is Aseelah’s Arabic meaning. This is exactly what the restaurant does – continuing the local heritage and inviting new members to the family to enjoy the Emirati menu. Aseelah, which has drawn rave reviews for its designs alone, opened its doors in June 2016.

“There are so many great restaurants in Dubai so the competition is super tough. I think Aseelah is unique in the sense that it’s a real authentic heritage restaurant. We’re continuously evolving. We’ve just started serving Emirati breakfast, and we’re always looking to develop the concept” Maria Tullberg, general manager, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

Leading Hotel Spa Palazzo Versace Dubai The spa opened in November 2016 and focuses on holistic treatments, wellness and lifestyle. This stunningly designed spa has been a huge hit with guests offering seven luxurious treatment rooms and an exquisite spa suite complete with a private Jacuzzi, monsoon rain shower, nail studio and full changing facilities.

“It’s an amazing recognition for all of the hard work from the team so it’s fantastic” Nadia Bartolomeo, director of spa, Palazzo Versace Dubai



Event Review

TASTE THE FUTURE Sustainable Hotel Award Park Inn by Radisson Muscat


The property has just been awarded with the Green Key for the sixth year. The four-star hotel in Muscat, which has 175 rooms, has also been actively participating in the Box Appeal – an annual charity initiative aimed at filling boxes with a predetermined list of daily essential items with the support of participating schools and companies.

“It’s amazing, this is the first time we have won an award for sustainability and I really thank Hotel News Middle East and Leaders in Hospitality Awards for making us part of this event” Vianney Antonio, PR & marketing manager, Park Inn by Radisson Muscat and Park Inn by Radisson Hotel & Residence Duqm, Oman



YOUR NEXT DATE: Leading Executive Housekeeper Helga Fischer, W Doha Hotel & Residences

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The judges were swayed after hearing how Helga, who started at the hotel over three years ago, works tirelessly around-the-clock to ensure her team stays on top of their tasks. The hotel’s 100% room cleanliness and guest satisfaction scores from last year are also standing testimony to her dedication.

“It feels very strange for me, I didn’t expect it at all. Maybe I won because of my experience, maybe my staff are happy, maybe the hotel and the owners are happy. I’ve been doing it for a long time, over 20 years. The main thing is that I like my job but I’m nothing without my team – they make it for me”

Koelnmesse GmbH Messeplatz 1 50679 Köln · Germany Tel. +49 1806 002 200 Fax +49 221 821-991010

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Event Review

Leading F&B Manager Sarin Monish, Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai Sarin’s colleagues say since starting at the hotel, in February 2015, he has changed the way colleagues look at their jobs and changed their perspective thanks to his innovative training methods.

It feels really great. It is amazing to win an award here in Dubai where you have so much competition. There were some really big names on the shortlist so it really feels great to win”

Leading Hotel Chef Sudqi Naddaf, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates As well as developing creative and innovative concepts that have helped cement Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates’ reputation as a dining hub in Dubai, in his five years with the company, Chef Sudqi has worked to improve the F&B experience for hotel guests – encouraging his team to join him in being part of the front of house experience and personally presenting food to guests.

“It’s amazing. I didn’t expect to win at all – I have a lot of respect for my competitors. I have worked in Dubai for over five years, I’ve done a lot in my hotel and I feel most proud of the team succession – I work a lot on talent and I think that in the end is what made me win this award. It means a lot to me”



Event Review

Rising Star Award Sarah Noury, Media One Hotel Sarah’s key achievements at Media One have involved building relationships with local business councils to drive growth. Sarah Noury is 26 years of age, and joined the company 18 months ago. She has already demonstrated significant results: the Media One guest loyalty card subscriptions have increased in numbers by 15% since she arrived, and she has the potential to make an even bigger impact in the near future according to her team.

The biggest hospitality show in the world

“It feels absolutely amazing. I can’t thank the team enough at Media One for this. As a team we work so hard and at Media One there is the opportunity to develop, be independent and they really push for that – everything I’ve achieved, everything I’ve done is down to the team as a whole”

Leading Procurement Manager Arun Kumar, Le Méeridien Al Aqah Beach Resort Fujairah & Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa Arun has worked at the property for over 14 years, displaying tremendous loyalty and dedication, not to mention excellent performance that sees him constantly delivering the best deals with suppliers and vendors and cementing a reputation for integrity and innovation.

“I am very happy to receive this award. I am almost finished 15 years in my hospitality career and this is the first time I have won one of the big awards and I am so happy to receive it. It will give me more energy and responsibility also” June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME 29 ADV_HOST_CateringNewsMiddleEast_90x242mm_Gennaio2017.indd 1 19/01/17 15:15

Event Review

Leading IT Manager Rushdy Mubarak, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront Rushdy’s colleagues commented: “The combination of a ‘Yes I can’ attitude in whatever he does and his first-class technical knowledge makes Rushdy a great asset to our business”. Rushdy has made quite an impression in his 10 years with the company, playing key roles in the pre-opening of the Radisson Blu Residence Dubai Marina, Radisson Blu Hotel & Park Inn by Radisson Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, the former Radisson Royal Dubai and the Park Inn by Radisson, Al Barsha.

“It’s so exciting, I’m so happy to win this award. I get a lot of support and freedom from my management and this is really important for me to be successful. We have plans to make the hotel a paperless hotel over the next year and we’re hoping to do that also in our hotels in Dubai”

“This is the icing on the cake – it’s just wonderful to have been part of the team for the past seven years. I’ve been working with Mark for five and it’s been brilliant, it’s been great doing all the awards, but this is really special” Sally Meech, director of marketing & communications, Media One Hotel

“It’s absolutely fantastic, I’m elated – I’m very happy for Sally and for the team” Mark Lee, general manager, Media One Hotel



Leading Hotel Team Media One Hotel This is a team, which during Euro 2016, came up with the idea to create terraces and a mock football pitch for customers to enjoy the tournament in France with the moniker It’s Not Nice – Toulouse! The team has also seen its F&B profit increase by 11.3%.

Event Review

Leading General Manager Stephen Meredith, Steigenberger Hotel Business bay With 26 years of hospitality and F&B experience behind him, Stephen has worked for many respected international brands across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia. It’s that experience he has used to make a difference at the Steigenberger Hotel. In his previous role as executive assistant manager at the hotel, he was responsible for establishing and expanding the property’s operational departments. With 26 years of experience he is one of the most respected general managers in the region.

“It feels amazing. My background is food and beverage and that’s where I spent most of my career, it’s where I did a whole lot of really good things but I never won an award for it like I hoped. This is my first foray into being a general manager in the Middle East and it’s really great to get the award. Throughout my career I’ve had some really great mentors including my current CEO. If you want to be successful in this market you have to remain humble”



Event Review

Lifetime Achievement Award Andy Cuthbert, general manager, Mina A Salam Hotel & C & I, Jumeirah Hospitality at Madinat Jumeirah Andy has been in his current role since January 2011 and has been a titan of local hospitality for decades. The judges heard how he was still an upbeat, jovial gentleman with a real passion for the industry. It is that passion that has seen him become respected, not just across the region, but across the entire world as president of the Young Chefs’ Association.

“When you get a lifetime achievement award it feels like you’re either getting old or it’s time to leave! It’s such an honour to have lived here for over 25 years and worked in the hospitality industry, the kitchens, the service, to what I do now at Madinat Jumeirah as general manager and still looking after the events. I thank my peers and the people that voted for me and put me forward for this award. It’s just a super feeling – thank you!”

Winners in full Leading New Hotel

Rushdy Mubarak, Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront

Leading Serviced Apartment

Rising Star Award

Kempinski Residences & Suites, Doha

Leading Luxury Hotel The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

Leading Mid-Market Hotel Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel, Dubai

Leading Hotel F&B Outlet Aseelah, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Deira Creek

Leading Hotel Spa Palazzo Versace Dubai

Sustainable Hotel Award Park Inn by Radisson Muscat

Leading Executive Housekeeper Helga Fischer, W Doha Hotel & Residences


Leading IT Manager

Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort


Sarah Noury, Media One Hotel

Leading F&B Manager

Sarin Monish, Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai

Leading Procurement Manager

Arun Kumar, Le Méridien Al Aqah Beach Resort Fujairah & Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa

Leading Hotel Chef

Sudqi Naddaf, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

Leading Hotel Team Media One Hotel

Leading General Manager

Stephen Meredith, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay Dubai

Lifetime Achievement Award

Andy Cuthbert, Mina A Salam Hotel & C & I, Jumeirah Hospitality at Madinat Jumeirah

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Abu Dhabi







Ajman On the rise Fairmont Ajman general manager Francis Desjardins explains to Hotel News Middle East how the emirate is on the cusp of great things





t’s obvious that Fairmont Ajman general manager Francis Desjardins isn’t afraid to put his money where his mouth is. Keen doesn’t even begin to describe his belief that big things are just around the corner for Ajman, calling it the “new staycation away from Dubai and Abu Dhabi”. “You will be hearing more about Ajman in the months to come,” says a confident Desjardins. “People have it in their heads that we are so far away from Dubai, but we are only 30 minutes from the airport, we are actually the same distance as Palm Jumeirah.” In the past, Desjardins says, people have always thought of going to Fujairah or Ras Al Khaimah but Ajman’s time has come thanks to its unique offerings, from fish markets to the Al Zorah Golf Course. Hotels in the Middle East need to make sure they don’t make cuts in the wrong places, as they adjust to the challenges of the global economy right now. This is the message from Desjardins who explains why cutting back is not necessarily the right way to do business in a tough climate. “I would rather spend ten times the effort on how I can generate more revenue to compensate for a lack of profitability,” he says. “If you keep being innovative or creative then you have different concepts to generate more revenue to get over a bump in the road.” Like many other hotels, Desjardins says Fairmont Ajman, with 252 guestrooms and suites, has had to re-adjust rates, but he is proud of the fact that it hasn’t resulted in a reduction in the quality of service provided. He describes himself as “not the sort of guy who comes in each day and cuts and cuts” saying that he would rather put the focus on using creativity to find a positive solution. “A lot of hoteliers are cutting on expenses everywhere, and damaging their brands and services because of going too far. It has to be done in some ways but you have to be smart about it and careful June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



how you impact the customer satisfaction and brand reputation,” he says. Desjardins’ optimism is not simply a case of wishful thinking, he points to recent trends in the markets to back up his view, saying that despite talk of “Dubai not being what it used to be” the fact that occupancy rates are still high is indicative of a robust market. He is even more upbeat when discussing the performance of his own hotel in Ajman, which is owned by HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa AI Nahyan “It’s been an extremely good year, on 1 May we just celebrated our second year anniversary,” he says. “We have a strong team in place to get the desired results for 2017, not only is the hotel in its peak performing year but the destination is growing rapidly.” He puts his hotel’s “double digit growth”, down to a number of factors – not least the location. “Ajman is continuing to grow as a destination and we are seeing great strides thanks to the team here as well as the support of AccorHotels and the Ajman Tourism Board which has just appointed a new general manager taking us to the next level,” he says. It’s clear that Desjardins has an affinity with Fairmont that goes beyond the typical employee and employer relationship. He has been working for the brand for 20 years, having completed school in Canada unsure about what to do with himself. “I got a summer job and the first hotel was the Fairmont Banff Springs which is a beautiful hotel in the middle of the Canadian Rockies about a five hours flight from my hometown,” says Desjardins. “I pretty much grew up with hos36


What’s on the menu? General manager Francis Desjardins is only too happy to tell Hotel News Middle East all about the F&B offerings at his hotel. “It starts with the well-known brand Spectrum, most people remember the name Spectrum from its days at Fairmont Dubai,” says Desjardins adding that a similar concept opened in Ajman with a large buffet section of different cuisines across the world including Indian, Asian and European. The signature restaurant is Kiyi which serves Turkish cuisine. Xolo Bar is aimed at sports fans, opening in the evenings to show the big European football matches. Other venues include pool bar Salt and Sea, Driftwood Beach Bar and the Badr Lounge – which Desjardins says is “something you haven’t seen before”. Describing it as bringing a wine-sommelier approach to shisha, he says: “What we do is arrive at your table with a cart and 16 different flavours of shisha and you can mix it, we encourage you to smell it and mix it in front of you, we explain the concept of shisha, what year it was made and where the tobacco is coming from.” pitality and fell in love with it. I was looking for something like a backpacking job, but I wasn’t expecting that.” After working in Canada, Desjardins spread his wings, helping to open the brand’s first hotel in Asia – the Fairmont Singapore in 2007. His next posting was the Fairmont

Baku in Azerbaijan before he came to the Middle East and Dubai in particular. “I am very thankful to have worked with some of the top hoteliers in the world and learning from each general manager and senior corporate executives I have worked with to get the best out of the organisation and the colleagues,” he says.


Dubai World Trade Centre 18 - 20 September 2017


Leon Larkin, president of International Association of Hotel General Managers (IAGHM)

Standing together for

general managers How a group created to help general managers “get the recognition they deserve and to raise the profile and prestige of the profession� is making waves in the industry





hen you’re asked to name a group of people who need help and support, you would be forgiven if hotel general managers were not the first thought that popped into your head. The reality is somewhat different though as Leon Larkin, the president of International Association of Hotel General Managers (IAGHM), explains. “One story that hit home was about a general manager in the UK who had a bad accident and was going to be off work for quite some time, a year possibly,” says Larkin. “He told me: ‘After a month people stopped calling to see me, after six months we ran out of money. My wife

IAGHM CEO John Cameron

had to go back to work and the kids had to change their schools, we had to live with our parents and we struggled’.” Larkin says he created the organisation to help hotel general managers to obtain portable health insurance, pension planning, income protection and life insurance. The average general manager, Larkin explains, works for an average of six hotel companies throughout their career. Using a sporting metaphor, he says: “The days of being a one club player in any industry have gone by the wayside but that means when you leave a company you have to start all over again with health insurance. “As you get older it becomes more of a problem and the day will come, sadly,

when it becomes cost prohibitive to get health insurance like it is today in Dubai for a man of my age.” The association was set up by Larkin, a general manager himself with over 40 years’ experience in the industry across Europe, Asia and his native Australia, to help general managers and achieve recognition for them. “We are not targeted at the big guys with a lot of internal resources,” says Larkin. “We are aimed at the smaller companies but when I say that I am not talking about really small – some of these companies could have 150-200 hotels.” Traditionally, Larkin posits, the industry is made up of hotel owners, hotel companies and the general managers. “We want the general manager to have a choice in that, be able to contribute, and have an organisation that can contribute on their behalf,” he says. “It’s not complicated, it is actually pretty simple stuff. We have taken some time to put everything together and we believe we have a valuable proposition.” Membership of the organisation is described by Larkin as “being in the hundreds” and it’s continuing to grow. One facet of the organisation that has thrived is its MBA programme through the renowned Swiss hospitality management school, Glion Institute of Higher Education. The IAGHM CEO, John Cameron, unsurprisingly, is on the same page as Larkin when he talks about the benefits offered to members. “When Leon came up with the concept of a career management centre, we surveyed general managers and they wanted to have a number of things that were important to them,” says Cameron. “We do a lot of work in the career management centre – when members join we can give them advice on how to reach career aspirations. We place them with hotel companies for opportunities that suits them.” The fact that the organisation is independent from the big corporate brands means it has to provide other options. These include what Cameron describes as a “good strong network of partners who are well respected throughout the industry”. June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Being a general manager can be a stressful experience

“We don’t just provide networking and events, we want to provide a whole load of stuff that actually matters,” says Cameron, who comes from a HR and operations background with over 23 years of experience in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Larkin says the key to the organisation’s continued growth is being driven by the members. “We don’t want to be telling members what we want, we want members to be telling us what they want so we can facilitate their requests,” he says. The issues facing GMs in the Middle East are much the same as those facing GMs across the globe, says Larkin. “I am not sure there is anything that is particularly unique to this region beyond a high number of expat GMS. At the end of the day all GMs, hotel owners 40


What the IAHGM does The International Association of Hotel General Managers (IAHGM) is a global member-based association for hotel general managers within the hospitality industry. It provides independent career development and executive placement, alongside expert advisory/consultancy services, and a wide portfolio of personal and professional benefits. The IAHGM was launched in February 2016. and hotel companies want to make sure they are making the best of their abilities and structures,” he says. Both Cameron and Larkin are keen to ensure the IAGHM is not mistaken for a trade union.

“We are not a union, we specifically state on our charter we are not a union; we can be a voice in our industry but that would be it,” says Larkin. “We are really into the welfare and the industry support and that was why we created what we have.” So the question remains, how has the industry responded to the organisation? Larkin describes it as a mixed bag, with some taking a “wait and see” approach. “That said, there are people who can see the value for the industry,” he says. “They take the attitude that if it’s going to help the individual and their family then that’s terrific. If it’s going to come up with new industry ideas and concepts… why not? As I said earlier… There is no bad news here.”



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Event review

The b est o f t h e G M L e a de r s c o n f er e n c e 2 0 1 7 Over 200 general managers and senior hotel professionals attended Hotel News Middle East’s GM Leaders Conference at The W Dubai Al Habtoor City on 3 May to discuss and debate the key trends, topics and challenges facing the industry in 2017. Here we present the key highlights In association with

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Event review

Keynote address: Life after expo 2020

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) CEO Issam Kazim If Dubai’s Expo 2020 is going to be a success then the hospitality industry has to show that the city has much more to offer than twoor three-day experiences. This was the message from Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) CEO Issam Kazim during his keynote presentation. “A lot of people are aware of the landmark projects in Dubai but over the years people have not realised there is a depth to Dubai’s offering as well,” he said. “We are emphasising the cultural and heritage side of Dubai. We have to make people realise that Dubai is well beyond a twoor three-day destination. We know that a lot of people come to Dubai for the first time because they are sent by their company for an exhibition and they don’t know what to expect.” He said the key is to make sure business travellers come

back again and extend their stays for the next business visit or with their family and friends. Kazim said that if visitors have enjoyable stays, full of different activities, it will lead to much more positive word of mouth. He highlighted the restaurants, souks and abras as examples of the experiences that Dubai offers. The challenge, Kazim said, is to position Dubai to different markets with different needs. Expo 2020 is a means to an end to making Dubai the number one global family destination, he added. “We were number seven in 2013 when we first started to monitor our progress. We jumped to number five the year after and then have stayed at number four after that,” he said. Dubai welcomed 14.9 million tourists last year, with Paris’ figure of just over 18 million, the next target for the emirate.

Global Megatrends and their impact on the middle east A new report from PwC Middle East shows that climate change and resource scarcity will have a significant impact on the region’s hospitality industry. Dr. Martin Berlin, deals partner at PwC Middle East presented the report, ‘Global megatrends… and their impact on the Middle East’s travel and tourism industry’. He commented: “Climate change and resource scarcity is very important. If you look at the population growth we are expecting, we will require 50% more energy, 40% more water and 45% more food compared to current levels. “It’s important to look at these factors and address them proactively before it’s too late. For example, in the GCC, 80% of the water is coming out of de-salination, which is very energy consuming and over a long period,

is not sustainable. How we deal with water in the hospitality industry is going to play an important role going forward – we need to start managing this now.” Dr. Berlin suggested that instead of allowing guests unlimited access to water, this should be restricted. “We need to educate and raise awareness, for example we’re already regulating the water in the shower a certain amount but instead of the customer volunteering, it would be about forcing the customer to save the environment.” In addition to climate change and water scarcity, the report highlighted four other major shifts in the industry, including demographic and social change, a shift in global economic powers, rapid urbanisation and technological breakthroughs.

Dr Martin Berlin



GM Leaders conference

Event review

Panel Session: Battling with the otas

The panellists discussed battling the OTAs The only way hotels are going to stop losing out to online travel agents (OTAs) is by being smart, said the CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group. Olivier Harnisch made his comments during a panel discussion. “We are not going to beat the OTAs with money and resources as that would be a hopeless, hopeless endeavour,” he said. “Just to put things into perspective, the biggest hotelier, Marriott has an annual online budget of $100 million, Priceline has ‘40 times as much and 20 times as many rooms’ in terms of resources. We can’t beat them.” The only way hotels can compete, according to Harnisch is to instil an attitude among guests, that direct booking through a hotel’s website is better. He said the question remains, are the incentives there for guests to make direct bookings rather than using OTAs? Booking needs to be more user friendly on a hotel’s website, an area where, Harnisch says OTAs currently have an advantage. Richard Collins, general manager of Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa, Autograph



Collection Hotels said there is a clear necessity in the market for OTAs but they have created problems as well. “There is a lack of creativity with OTAs. Sometimes revenue is having a look at or Expedia and seeing that your next door neighbour has dropped by AED10, so therefore you must drop by AED10 too,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get first-hand customers into your company but one of the negatives is that it spreads a lack of creativity among hotel revenue directors.” David Allan, cluster general manager, Radisson Blu Hotels Dubai Waterfront and Dubai Canal Views, said that many hotels still hadn’t caught up with the OTAs and “are still trying to push rates that aren’t necessarily of value to customers”. Rabih Feghali, director, business development, Roya International added: “We need to ask, ‘what is in it for owners?’ “Once you take out all the costs of a booking, including 20% to the OTAs, the owner is left with a slither of what they are entitled to,” he said.


Panel session: Adapting to changing guest demands Hoteliers are in danger of relying too heavily on technology to provide a personalised service, according to panellists who explored how hotel operators can best utilise the huge volumes of guest information they collect through applications and social media. David Simon, hotel manager, The Palace Downtown said that the flexibility guest data offers his team allows them to build a more personalised experience for the guest, but the key is training. “I think technology today enables us to be much more flexible to cater to guest needs and this is a great advantage, but at the same time the human touch is very important so we need to make sure we have well trained staff to deal with the technology and the data generated by this. “We should use the technology to train our staff, especially with Gen Z who are interested in this technology and find it natural to use it to provide a better guest experience.” And while platforms such as TripAdvisor and Instagram allow hoteliers to listen better to guests, according to David Wilson, GM of Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah, problems arise when it comes to the variety of applications available for hotels to collect data internally. Stephen Meredith, general manager, Steigenberger Hotel

Business Bay believes this can cause problems. He commented: “There is a bewildering array of applications that generate a lot of information but the challenge is taking this and translating it back to service on the floor. “A lot of the software applications we look at are very good standalone applications but often they don’t tick all the boxes that you need, so we’re forced to look into multiple applications with a lot of overlap between them and this causes an ‘analysis paralysis’.” And while technology can be useful for creating a more personalised experience, ironically, it can also have the opposite effect. According to Meredith, hoteliers must be “wary”. He said: “Before, as a hotelier you were on the floor, you didn’t have all this information and you would phone up the guest the old-fashioned way. I think the danger is we’re losing that, which isn’t a good thing. I think we have to be wary of technology.” Also speaking on the ‘Adapting to Changing Guest Demands’ panel were Francis Desjardins, general manager, Fairmont Ajman; Patrick Antaki, complex general manager, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah and Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa; and Guzman Muela, general manager, Time Oaks Hotel & Suites.

The panel discusses changes in guest demands

GM Leaders conference


Event review

A snapshot of regional hotel performance Hotels in the Middle East are performing better than those in all other regions of the world according to Philip Wooller, area director Middle East & Africa, STR. In 2016, the Middle East had 66.2% average occupancy, an average room rate of $174.6 and RevPar of $115.6. Wooller commented: “If we look at occupancies, I like to compare the US (61%), Europe (63%) and Asia-Pacific (68%), which have much, much lower average room rates. “So, despite some of the challenging times we’ve seen in the region in the past two years, it is still performing at a much higher level than all the other regions.” Wooller said that across the world, the industry is showing improving profitability in general and RevPar is “in positive territory,” but the Middle East is performing best in this area. “RevPar for 2016 shows that the Middle East is performing at a much higher level. AsiaPacific is operating at around

$105, the US at $119 and the Middle East at $177,” he said. Wooller added that January, February and March of 2017 have shown a positive pattern when it comes to the supply-demand gap for the region, suggesting the market is recovering. “When we look at January, February and March, you can see some positive spikes and the data is suggesting things have improved in the past three months,” said Wooller. “Supply is up 5.1% and that’s year-to-date and demand is up 7.3% – that’s a really important number. Demand is outstripping supply.” Wooller closed his session with some interesting statistics about Dubai. He commented: “Dubai in terms of area is 117th in the world, in terms of population 104th, it’s the fourth most visited city on the planet and in terms of international visitor spend, it is number one, which is AED113 billion, 31% of which is spent on accommodation.”

Philip Wooller, area director Middle East & Africa, STR

Bruce Hamilton, Deloitte Middle East

how will VAT impact the industry Time is running out for hotels in the Middle East when it comes to being prepared for the introduction of VAT, said tax director, indirect tax for Deloitte Middle East, Bruce Hamilton. Bruce Hamilton made his remarks during his expert session. "All I'm saying to you at this moment in time is if you haven't started the process yet, now is the time to do so," he said. "If anybody thinking of trying to lobby for change at this point - forget it - you are wasting your time. Clarification? Yes you can ask for it. Lobbying for change to the process? We don't have time to introduce the processes that

would lead to changes before 2018. It's just not going to happen." What hotels need to show, he said, is that their reputation is unimpeachable. "It needs to be assured that you are seen to be doing the right thing and putting in the effort," he said. "You can't allow it to impact on how you are doing business currently, if you have other projects they may need to take a back seat, they may need to be deferred but VAT cannot be deferred." There needs to be a strategy to deal with VAT, he warned, before adding that "panic is not a solution".



Event review

Driven to success

Luxury Fleet Partners Cadillac added to the occasion by giving four general managers an Escalade car for a week each. The lucky winners who were chosen at random were Mahesh RM, Al Khoory Hotels; Rafat Gotta, Coral Dubai Deira; Stephen Meredith, Steigenberger Hotel and Rishi Kapoor, MGM Resorts International.



GM Leaders conference



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Event review

HOTEC Middle East 2017 HOTEC Middle East 2017 was held in Azerbaijan and attracted hotel owners and operators as well as a large number of the region’s leading procurement, specialists, designers and specifiers

Hotel News Middle East editor Patrick Ryan (far right) hosts a panel discussion on creative sourcing

Caroline List hosts an expert session on the hotel construction pipeline



Stephen Pace-Bonello, event director for HOTEC Middle East

This year’s edition of HOTEC Middle East was held at the Fairmont Baku Flame Towers in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 25 -28 April. The annual appointment-based event brought together hotel owners and operators, procurement specialists, designers and specifiers to meet and network with suppliers offering a wide range of products and services to the hotel industry. A regional event, with suppliers flying in from all over the globe to meet with buyers based in the GCC and surrounding territories, HOTEC’s organisers select different venues every year. This year, Baku in Azerbaijan provided the perfect setting for three days of meetings and networking. The HOTEC team led by Iain Tonna, president of Questex-McLean Events and Stephen Pace-Bonello, event director for HOTEC Middle East welcomed this year’s participants at a welcome

reception dinner on Tuesday, 25 April. This first engagement on the HOTEC programme served as an ice-breaker; delegates were introduced to one another and old friends and acquaintances reunited during a casual evening which kicked off proceedings. On Wednesday morning, it was down to business with an educational seminar, which included a presentation about the hotel construction pipeline in the Middle East, delivered by Caroline List, international sales manager at TopHotelProjects. This was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Hotel News Middle East’s Editor Patrick Ryan. The topic discussed was creative sourcing during challenging times with panellists: Murlidhar Rao, senior vice president, operations at Aiana Hotels & Resorts, Mohamed Soussan, group general manager at Ayla Hotels & Resorts and Suprio Ghosh, managing director at Benjamin West India. Delegates were then invited to col-

Event review

HOTEC Middle East 2017 proved to be a huge success for networking opportunities

lect their appointment schedules and the first of two fullday meeting sessions got underway. Meetings at HOTEC are pre-scheduled after buyers and suppliers are asked to select their preferences during a meeting selection process two weeks before the start of the event. The HOTEC ‘match-making’ system allocates meetings according to indicated priorities and all participants are presented with a personalised schedule of appointments. More than 20 product categories were showcased at this year’s edition, rang-

ing from access control systems to furniture, bedding, cleaning products, spa and fitness equipment, kitchen equipment, lighting and linen, textiles, vanities and bath products. While the one-to-one meetings are the main focus of the event, the networking programme plays an integral part in the HOTEC experience. A team-building activity was organised on Wednesday night, which gave participants an opportunity to explore Baku’s old town centre while engaging with each other during a treasure hunt around the town. The evening culminated in a casual dinner with local music and dancing for entertainment. The second and final business day, Thursday, 27 April, saw delegates occupied with meetings all day and came to a close with a farewell dinner in the hotel’s ballroom. The evening held one final surprise in store in the form of a souvenir video prepared with footage shot throughout the event.

Hotec middle East returns HOTEC Middle East 2018 will be held at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 17-20 April. For more information please contact Stephen Pace Bonello on or visit

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Chain focus

Luxury and upscale portfolio from accorhotels Group overview AccorHotels has established itself as a leader in the global luxury market with a dedicated portfolio that includes many of the world’s most prestigious luxury and upper upscale brands. These brands include Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, MGallery, Majilis Grand Mercure, Pullman and Swissotel. The

Current properties portfolio encompasses more than 525 hotels in over 70 countries with approximately 130,000 guestrooms. Regional highlights include Raffles Dubai, Makkah Clock Royal Tower, A Fairmont Hotel, Sofitel Dubai Downtown, Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, Swissotel Makkah and Pullman ZamZam Medina.

Fairmont Ajman Fairmont Bab Al Bahr Abu Dhabi Fairmont Dubai Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort Fairmont Heliopolis Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower Fairmont Nile City Fairmont The Palm Fairmont Towers Heliopolis

Opening soon in the region:

Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre Pullman Dubai Creek City Centre Residences Pullman Dubai Jumeirah Lakes Towers - Hotel and Residence


due to open

Fairmont Riyadh


The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel


Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina Resort


Pullman Zamzam Makkah

Pullman Doha West Bay


Raffles Dubai

Alwadi Hotel Doha MGallery by AccorHotels


Raffles Makkah Palace

Fairmont Amman


Fairmont Abu Dhabi Marina

Pullman Zamzam Madina

Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche Sofitel Al Khobar The Corniche Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa Sofitel Beirut Le Gabriel Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah Sofitel Dubai Downtown Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Sofitel Dubai The Palm Luxury Apartments Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa Sofitel Jeddah Corniche Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan Sofitel Taba Heights Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor Swissôtel Al Maqam Swissôtel Makkah



Chain focus

In focus

Sami Nasser

Chief operating officer Middle East Luxury Brands at AccorHotels Middle East, in both Dubai and Doha. Our Pullman brand gains traction in the region with the sixth branded property to come on-stream early next year in Doha, while our regionally inspired Majilis Grand Mercure brand will also see two properties open within the next 15 months in Dubai and Doha.

What were the Middle East’s key Luxe achievements and milestones in 2016? 2016 represented a very exciting transition period as AccorHotels merged with FRHI Hotels & Resorts in July 2016, effectively positioning the group as a major global luxury hospitality player. It was also a key period as Chris Cahill was appointed as the chief executive officer for the luxury division. What makes his role noteworthy is that he brings with him 19 years of experience with FRHI. My appointment as Chief Operations Officer followed towards the end of the year whereby I oversee the luxury portfolio within the Middle East as well as existing Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel properties in Africa and Indian Ocean (Seychelles). What have been the key challenges facing a) your hotel group b) the hospitality sector in general and how have you met these challenges? I’m a firm believer in the following saying from Charles Darwin – ‘It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.’ One of the key challenges is recruitment, considering the sheer number of colleagues required for our robust pipeline. My opinion is that there are thousands of talented, capable AccorHotels colleagues just waiting to be discovered. In order to attract them we must ensure that our organisation has the processes, procedures and the strategic vision to ensure we capture that talent, and retain it. Over the course a year, I’ve prepared six leaders to take on the top leadership position either at their own hotel or within one of our other hotels or brands within the portfolio. Setting up the proper framework for their professional growth, providing constructive and constant feedback and giving them the opportunity to take the reins of managing a

hotel, is the key to our business. My firm belief is that to be an employer of choice, investment into our colleagues is crucial and nurturing their growth within AccorHotels and the industry is something that I devote a lot of my energy towards. What are the hotel group’s key goals for 2017, for its activities in the MENA region, and why? The key priorities for the year include ensuring the successful opening of several hotel projects in the pipeline, including two new Fairmont flagships, one in Riyadh as well as Amman, both opening later this year as well as our second Fairmont hotel in Abu Dhabi, a very impressive build with two iconic towers meeting together in a magnificent arch. In addition we debut the MGallery brand, a collection of hotels that exude charm, charisma and a profoundly local character for the first time in the

How is technology dictating the way you run your business and liaise with customers from bookings and social media to in-room technology? As a Group, in 2014 AccorHotels embarked on an ambitious digital plan, investing 225 million euros into various projects designed with three targets in mind: customers, employees and partners. Examples of our digital roll-out include the integration of additional services and acquired start-up companies like Wipolo (a travel companion that gathers all travel information in one single space and Local measure an e-reputation management tool that aggregates in real time all content posted about a hotel on the Internet. In late 2015, AccorHotels partnered with TrustYou, the global leader in online reputation management to power the Voice of the Guest (VOG) platform. This platform provides hoteliers with a snapshot of their hotel’s on-line reputation as well as guest satisfaction surveys. The third step in the digital services strategy include the recent acquisition of Availpro, the leader in France and one of the leading European software providers to hoteliers. One of the latest developments in the digital front is launch of the new Flight + Hotel reservation offer on AccorHotels. com. Built on a pre-packaged model, the offer enables to position itself as a travel advisor, offering travellers customised packages at attractive rates. June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


The Hotel show

The Hotel Show heads east Hotel News Middle East looks ahead as The Hotel Show launches in the Philippines The Hotel Show Philippines is launched in Manila


nternational exhibitions company dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa, based in Dubai, has announced that it will launch its signature hospitality event brand – The Hotel Show – in the Philippines in 2017 after 17 successful years in the UAE. The inaugural The Hotel Show Philippines will take place from 2-5 August 2017 in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, the 18th edition of flagship event The Hotel Show Dubai will follow in September at the Dubai World Trade Centre as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week. The Hotel Show will be co-located with the World Food Expo (WOFEX), the largest food show in the Philippines, celebrating its 17th edition this year. Together, they will provide the biggest food and hospitality platform in the Philip52


pines’ history, occupying its two largest venues: World Trade Centre Metro Manila and SMX Convention Centre. Ahead of the event, Hotel News Middle East spoke with Ray Tinston, portfolio director of the dmg events’ hospitality portfolio, to find out why the Middle East’s largest and longest-standing hospitality event has decided to ‘geo-clone’ in the Philippines. Why the Philippines, and why now? At this time of remarkable growth and modernisation for the Philippines hospitality sector, there is huge demand for the materials required to build, develop and maintain a hotel or restaurant. This includes across all popular product and service sectors from interiors, lighting and design, to cleaning and laundry, technology, and much

more. Expanding our portfolio to include an annual Hotel Show in Metro Manila will provide a key platform for industry professionals looking to invest in the future of hospitality there. What are current trends in the hospitality industry in the Philippines? Recent figures from the department of tourism showed 5.9 million tourist arrivals in 2016 and further projected tourism growth – 10 million international arrivals forecast for 2020 according to Colliers International – is fuelling the need for more hotels. Opportunities in the hotel and leisure segment are rising due to increasing tourist arrivals and expenditures, strong economic growth (which has in turn seen significant development in commercial ac-

and City of Dreams Manila are targeted towards the younger population. Meanwhile, areas outside of Metro Manila such as Cebu and Iloilo remain hubs for resort-oriented projects. Ayala Land is developing the Sicogon Island, for example, a paradise off the coast of Northern Iloilo dubbed as the newest tourism hub and Gateway to the Western Visayas.

Manila city centre

The Makati City skyline at night - business district of Metro Manila

tivities), sustained by an improving travel and tourism competitiveness supported by the modernisation of the country’s infrastructure network. A May 2017 report by Tophotelprojects prepared for The Hotel Show Philippines reveals that 37 hotel projects are currently underway across the country, with Metro Manila the busiest area for development. There is a high concentration of independent brands and boutique hotels in the Philippines. Tophotelprojects identified one of the most active brands at present to be Singapore-based Alila Hotels & Resorts – known for its luxury, boutique hotels situated in unique locations – opening three new properties in the Philippines by 2019. With a total population of more than 100 million people and continuous in-

creases in local and international tourists looking for ways to spend their leisure time, leisure and entertainment developments (particularly in and around Metro Manila) are also rife in the Philippines. Adult playgrounds including Inflatable Island PH, Ballpit Manila, Flying Trapeze Philippines and Ninja Jumpyard are popular with the progressively dominant millennial population. There is also demand with this health-conscious segment for fitness and lifestyle clubs. Gyms open 24/7 are launching branches in key locations whilst major retail developers are inviting more international fitness and lifestyle clubs to open in malls. Various integrated leisure, entertainment and F&B resorts such as the Solaire Resort & Casino appeal to millennial residents and tourists whilst Manila Ocean Park

How will the Philippines edition of The Hotel Show differ to the flagship event in Dubai? We are taking the legacy of The Hotel Show Dubai and giving it a local flavour. Our exhibitors represent a mix of local and international companies from across The Hotel Show product sectors that embody the full spectrum of the hospitality industry from technology (Total Automation Company), to interiors and design (Asia Ceramics Corporation), to lighting (Fabrica Electrotecnica) and much more. Due to the ever-growing millennial population and rise in foreign tourists driving the need for more entertainment options, we will also be co-locating The Hotel Show Philippines withThe Leisure Show – providing the latest products and services relevant to sports and resorts – as we originally introduced to Dubai next to The Hotel Show six years ago. The Leisure Show Philippines exhibitors range from manufacturers of indoor playground equipment (IREC Corporation) to outdoor furniture with a unique cooling gel in its design to maintain lower temperatures (Koulsdown). We foresee that The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show Philippines will attract the same high level of local and international interest and continued growth that we have witnessed with the Dubai editions. The Hotel Show Philippines 2017 will provide an opportunity for hospitality professionals looking to do business, network, and learn about the latest trends in the hotel, restaurant, leisure and food service industry in the Philippines. Find out more at June 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Marketplace This month we take a look at some of the hottest products on the market…


ALTO-SHAAM Gabriel Estrella Talentti, director Middle East & Africa, AltoShaam says the original Cook & Hold oven remains the company’s best-seller. What is your best-selling oven product? The original Cook & Hold oven. The category was invented by AltoShaam and it remains a top product today. What is unique about it? Alto-Shaam Cook & Hold ovens feature exclusive Halo Heat® thermal cables that gently wrap around food for precise heating without the use of fans. This unique heating element provides higher protein yields compared to conventional cooking methods. We also have a Cook & Hold smoker oven that’s dedicated to hot or cold smoking meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, cheeses and more.

Rakesh Tiwari, regional accounts & distribution manager UAE, Qatar & Oman, Welbilt Middle East introduces the Manitowoc Ice Neo What is your best-selling refrigeration product? Manitowoc Ice Neo offers an all-in-one solution to undercounter ice cube needs. Neo means new and is already ranking among the top sales of Welbilt and Manitowoc Ice. What is unique about it? Neo is establishing new standards in performance, intelligence and convenience, and overall what our customers love the most is our unique ease of cleaning, which is a big win in food safety. What is the most important feature of the perfect refrigeration equipment? With its small footprint and limited height, Neo fits anywhere you need it to be, making it the perfect unit for restaurants, bars, cafés, coffee shops and convenient stores. Not only is it the right size but its user interface is also very intuitive which enables easy access to advanced features such as its cleaning mode and delay function. T: +971 4 326 3313 E: W: /



What are the latest trends in ovens? Operators are looking for versatile equipment that has a low operating cost and allows them to do more with less. What maintenance services do you offer your clients? We have dedicated service technicians in the Middle East that work hard to support our foodservice equipment solutions. The Alto-Shaam Cook & Hold ovens include standard one-year warranty for parts and labour and a lifetime warranty on the heating cable parts. T: +971 4 3219712 E: W:




Spyros Alexander of Bertha Charcoal Ovens reveals what makes his product unique What is your best-selling oven product? We manufacture the Bertha charcoal oven.


What is unique about it? It’s very unique as the Bertha is the only charcoal oven with which you can mix wood with the charcoal.

Shereef.K.M, area manager at Paramount explains what makes Foster its best-selling refrigerators.

What is the most important feature of the perfect oven? The perfect oven should cook amazingly flavourful food, very quickly. T: +44 854 602 3037 E: W:

What is your best-selling refrigeration product? Our best-seller is the Foster brand from the UK. What is unique about it? Foster is the first UK refrigeration manufacturer to obtain ISO 14001, the recognised international standard in environmental management systems. Foster sees environmental management as an integral component of overall business decision making and strives to achieve environmental best practice in all of its manufacturing and supply operations. They are committed to developing and marketing products that have excellent environmental characteristics and meet current best practice standards. What is the most important feature of the perfect refrigeration equipment? Foster’s award winning +stay clear condenser has revolutionised the efficiency of our refrigeration products. Fitted at no extra cost, the +stayclear condenser unit will reduce the amount of time you need to spend maintaining your fridge or freezer, and save you money by reducing the risk of it breaking down. Traditional fridge condensers get easily blocked with environmental contaminants, which without regular servicing from kitchen or service staff, will cause the fridge to need to work harder, with the likely eventual result of the refrigeration system failing. T: +971 056 464 5622 E: W:

What is your best-selling refrigeration product? The X-Cel refrigerator. What is unique about it? “X-Cel has multiple benefits,” said Adriano Fabris, sales and marketing manager, Angelo Po. “In climate class 5, it is perfect for operation even with room temperature of +40°C with 40% relative humidity, while ensuring the uniform storage temperature crucial for conserving foods' freshness. “High class storage has always been key to Angelo Po's professional products: almost obsessive attention to every detail, from rugged construction to impeccable hygiene, through to design in unmistakable Italian style.” What are its most important features? X-Cel has pressed internal side panels in AISI 304 stainless steel, one-piece structure in AISI stainless steel throughout, including the external back, bottom and top panels, stainless steel shelves able to take up to 60kg, air duct panel for perfect storage, triple gaskets for total insulation, HACCP alarm control and the usual optionals including LED light and lock. T: 0039 059 639411 E: W:




Making a splash with spa accessories In this month’s Products section we take a look at what’s new in the spa accessories sector


VITABRID Vitabrid has just launched face brightening powder and Vitabrid scalp shampoo. Vitabrid C12 Face Powder is an advanced form of vitamin C that penetrates the skin and is time-released over a period of 12 hours which works to brighten the skin and combat dullness. Vitabrid Scalp Shampoo is used to combat hair loss and hair fall in men and women as it fully cleanses the hair while promoting scalp nutrition and moisture balance at the same time. “This product is perfect for frequent travellers or those living in the hot climates of the Middle East who feel their skin has been dulled over time by the harsh climate and increased stress or whose overall hair quality has decreased due to poor nutrition or chlorinated water,” said Beom Wook Han, senior managing director of Vitabrid C¹². “We plan to launch in the GCC market in Q3 2017 and establish partnerships with the region’s leading hotels, spas and medical clinics who can utilize our Vitamin C technology in treatments as well as sell them as stand-alone products.” Contact information: Email: Website: 56


Pro definition facial oil is the latest product from Elemis. Noella Gabriel, CoFounder and Creator of ELEMIS Therapies described it as your “skin’s strength in a bottle”, supporting the architecture of a mature complexion with ground-breaking stem cell technology which harnesses the botanical power of nature’s most resilient plant life, getting your skin into shape and keeping it there. “Pro-Definition Facial Oil is quickly absorbed when massaged into the skin to create contour definition and lift around the jawline, nose and brow. Abundant with essential fatty acids, which are key for moisturisation, and plant stem cell extracts which are rich in anti-oxidant compounds, 80% agreed their skin looked visibly firmer and lifted,” said Gabriel. Contact information: Email: Phone: 00971 4324 5414 Website: or

DIMARA INTERNATIONAL Natura Bisse has been launched into the Middle Eastern market by Dimara International and the company is adamant that the product, which originates from Barcelona, will prove to be a huge success. The spa and skincare brand has already been taken up by the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai and the Nobu Hotel in Riyadh. “Natura Bissé is one of the most well reputed luxurious spa brands and is also available in worldwide retail stores and used by renowned celebrities,” said Djamila Bakassi, brand manager Dimara International. “Natura Bissé is recognised as a leader in high-tech innovation and a pioneer in translating aesthetic science into advanced skincare solutions.” When asked about the company’s future plans for 2017, the Dimara International spokesperson said the firm is aiming to “carry additional renowned luxurious perfume, fashion and skincare brands as we want the hotels to be able to create a unique guest experience and sense of place”. Contact information: Email: Phone: 00971 4334 2881 Website:


ADA Pacific Direct The Elemis Revitalise- Me range is the latest offering from ADA Pacific Direct. We developed the range for luxury hotels wanting to add the essence of spa luxury to their guests’ experience,” said Robert Dupree, marketing manager, ADA Pacific Direct. “The hotel collection bridge the beauty salons and spa areas with the bathroom. Second, with the comprehensive range luxury hotels can spoil their guests with high-quality care products alongside with multiple accessories including revitalizing eye gel and lip balm or relaxing bath elixir, temple balm and pillow spray.” Dupree added that the company’s new website will be launched very soon. “It will be very modern, innovative and international,” he said. “We will present our new logo, show our portfolio of products and services and give an insight view into our company as leading hotel cosmetics manufacturer.” Contact information: Phone: 00971 4341 8920 Website: Email:

Product news

Bathroom supplier Bagnodesign has launched a flagship showroom at Chelsea’s Kings Road

A company spokesperson said that being located in the heart of the English capital’s interior design hub, has created an inspirational environment where customers can find everything needed to create their dream bathroom. “Spanning two floors, the showroom in Chelsea has the prestige to go with the postcode, with inspiring displays and beautiful products at every turn,” said the spokesperson. “Irrespective of design intent or budget, Bagnodesign Chelsea has a solution, whether customers are looking for a simple robe hook or their very own steam room, a walk-in rain shower or the finest Italian tiles.”

They added that products are only part of the Bagnodesign story, with an experience and professional design team always on hand to offer advice and help create the ideal bathroom space, working with customers every step of the way. “Much more than a regular bathroom showroom, Bagnodesign Chelsea is also the ideal spot for architects and designers to meet with clients and fellow professionals, with workstations, meeting tables and video conferencing facilities available,” added the spokesperson. To find out more call 020 7553 6999 or visit



On the spot

On the spot

A penchant for building fish tanks and speaking Greek are just some of the things we discover about Khaled Al-Idrissi, cluster director of sales and marketing, Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort and Fairmont Ajman Where do you see yourself in five years? Vice president of sales and marketing for an international brand.

Tell us something that none of your colleagues know about you? I’ve lived in Cyprus previously, so I speak fluent Greek.

If you could stay in any hotel in the world right now, where would you go? The Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada.

Can you tell us why you wanted to join this industry?

What's the best thing about your job? The fact that every day is different and the opportunity to work with a very diverse team of individuals who bring together a wealth of knowledge. The ability for us to create something from the ground up is truly inspiring.

What made you choose this role? My role chose me. I didn’t intend to work in the hotel industry. The hotel sector found me at a very young age, and I slowly grew in sales and marketing. I

enjoy interacting with people and am driven by the competition to perform and being able to deliver an effective response to any challenge.

What do you do when you're not working? I build fish tanks and record music in my studio.

What's the best bit of advice you've ever received in the workplace? What is measured is value and what is value is measured.

The industry is very much about being hospitable. Anyone interested in joining the hotel sector has to see it from two major angles: first as a business and second as being host to guests from all corners of the world, both of which are equally rewarding.

What would you say to anyone who is starting out in your sector? Hard work, tenacity and the willingness to deliver on both product and service will ensure that you grow in a very quick manner.

What's the worst thing about your job? Having to occasionally terminate the employment underperformers.

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Hotel News ME- June 2017