Hotel & Catering News Middle East June 2022 Issue

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Patrick Mendes, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Yigit Sezgin, Chief Commercial Officer, and Markus Keller, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, explain how Accor has consolidated its leading position in the hospitality industry


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Patrick Mendes, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Yigit Sezgin, Chief Commercial Officer, and Markus Keller, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, explain how Accor has consolidated its leading position in the hospitality industry

20 GM FOCUS AN OASIS BETWEEN DESERT AND REEF Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, has doubled in size, adding new accommodations, restaurants, recreational facilities, a conference centre, and more 24 POINT OF VIEW ALL F&B EYES ON DUBAI As one of the world's leading gastronomic destinations, the UAE has established itself as an international hub for restaurant concepts 26 GASTRONOMY EXCEPTIONAL THEY CAME, THEY COOKED, ONE CONQUERED Seafood Scotland’s First Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE Competition comes to a close 28 ATM WRAP-UP ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET 2022 Over 30,000 participants, including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, attended this year’s ATM 48 MOVERS AND SHAKERS THERE’S NO PARTY, LIKE A FIVE PARTY Kabir Wadhwani, Director of Entertainment, FIVE Hotels and Resorts



56 TALENT SPOTTING ENSURING THE SAFETY OF HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES When you own a hotel or another hospitality-based business, you have a lot of employees who are responsible for taking care of your guests, but you need to take care of your employees in return 57 SUPPLIER STORIES MAKING REAL IMPACT WITH REAL TIME FRESHLY ROASTED COFFEE BEANS Mohamad merhi, Founder of Cypher Urban Roastery 60 F&B FOCUS TABŪ, THEATRICAL GASTRONOMY, STORYTELLING, AND ART From Infini Concepts, the agency that brought to life Cé La Vi and Miss Tess, comes high-end modern Japanese restaurant TABŪ 64 POINT OF VIEW ACCIDENTAL HOTELIER It has been my privilege to showcase an entirely different kind of “slow” tourism to guests travelling to Sri Lanka - from our rich history and culture to our biodiversity

Hotel&Catering NEWS Middle East EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Seymone L Moodley CEO Wissam Younane

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A story of food and hospitality


ometimes this city can feel so big, but once you start getting to know it you realise just how small of a world it is. At some point, we meet all the people that work and play in our industry and get to know their stories of how they got here. One story in particular that I have heard over and over again by so many people from all over the world, is about how they never planned on staying in the country for as long as they have. When I asked them why, the response I get from almost everyone is that they keep finding reasons to stay. This region is full of opportunity and full of eager and action-driven people and organisations that welcome profitable innovation, this has given people jobs they have always wanted and turned dreams into reality, it’s one of the many reasons why “just a year” has turned into twelve. The highlight here for me is that I get to tell these stories to you.



This industry might be close-knit but it’s spacious and everyone has a story. A story of how their passion for food and people was given an opportunity to become a business and a career, a story about how their talents were given a stage, and their ideas were brought to life here. My question for myself and perhaps for you too, if you haven’t already figured it out, is what will your story be? In this issue, we feature hospitality giant Accor, as their top executives explain how the brand has consolidated its leading position in the industry, get a recap on the biggest hotel shows in the region that took place last month, find out how the city’s liveliest hotel brand stays ahead of the game with their entertainment offering, and get new recipes to impress our guests with from Nestle and Nescafe. We also hear from an accidental hotelier, the general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt about the hotel’s multi-million-dollar expansion, a restaurant that has stood the test of time and a new restaurant making waves, discuss hospitality staff safety, and meet a hot sauce maker that became an F&B entrepreneur when she couldn’t find her favourite hot sauce anywhere. Hope you enjoy!




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The Meliá Collection adds Meliá Desert Palm to its unique portfolio of properties Dubai’s diverse hospitality offerings set Meliá Desert Palm as one of the top and most exclusive hotels under Meliá Hotels International portfolio. The well-known hotel group presents The Meliá Collection, bringing together some of the most unique hotels in the company, all with a very distinctive personality due to their iconic location, or the traditions and history they represent. Under this new brand, the hotel has been renamed as Meliá Desert Palm Member of Meliá Collection. Meliá Desert Palm Member of Meliá Collection, enhances its sense of place and the expression of its personality; this property allows guests a unique journey and destination experience supported by the group’s elite offerings and services. Immersed in the Arabian desert and surrounded by the contradictory beauty of green

polo fields, Meliá Desert Palm is an unusual five-star hotel that goes beyond the classic beach resort or the city hotel. Yet, the hotel amenities and level of service comprise to make the resort one of the most elegant destinations in Dubai. “We are very proud to be part of The Meliá Collection; we will

continue to distinguish our hotel with great offerings and exceptional service. Meliá Desert Palm is a unique expression of luxury, sport and tradition where the traveller can grasp the essence of Arabia combined with the indulgence of The Meliá Collection brand,” says Nathalie Cockayne, General Manager of Meliá Desert Palm.

A new era of Asian dining and a buzzing nightlife scene awaits at MayaBay Dubai Originating in Monaco and for the first time internationally in Dubai, MayaBay is an impeccably executed dining and nightlife experience incorporating the best of Asian flavours. The epicurean menu, seamless ambiance, and the indefinable elegance of this Monégasque institution are sure to make an impact on Dubai’s gastronomic scene and add Asian flavour to Jumeirah Al Naseem’s Turtle Lagoon. Behind MayaBay’s move from Monaco to Dubai is a partnership between Orange Hospitality – the powerhouse behind Il Borro Tuscan Bistro and Alici Dubai – and Maya Collection, one of Monaco’s most prominent hospitality groups.




Marriott International signs agreement with the Red Sea Development Company to bring the first Ritz-Carlton reserve to the Middle East Marriott International, Inc. has signed an agreement with The Red Sea Development Company to debut its distinguished Ritz-Carlton Reserve brand off the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Slated to debut in 2023, Nujuma, a Ritz-Carlton

Reserve, is expected to form part of the eagerly anticipated Red Sea destination and offer a highly personalized leisure experience that blends intuitive and heartfelt service with stunning natural beauty and indigenous design. Nujuma will be the first property from the brand in the Middle East and joins an exclusive collection of only five Ritz-Carlton Reserves worldwide. “We are thrilled to bring our most luxurious brand, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, and its exemplary experience

Hospitality Landmarks to Open in Qatar Two of the world’s most prestigious hospitality names – Raffles and Fairmont – will join Qatar’s growing hospitality offering by Q3 this year, in time for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

It’s a milestone development for the sector and for the nation as the two properties, the five-star all-suite Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha, will be housed in the iconic Katara

to the Middle East. Perfectly situated on one of the most anticipated regenerative tourism projects in the world, the resort will blend seclusion and sophistication

Towers, an architectural landmark built in tribute to Qatar’s national emblem of two intertwined scimitar swords. The two hotels will be beacons to hospitality excellence and to Qatar’s contemporary ambitions

to provide a highly personalized luxury escape,” said Jerome Briet, Chief Development Officer, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Marriott International.

encompassing the latest in intuitive design, theatrical gastronomy, 360 wellbeing, and legendary yet ever-evolving service which pushes the boundaries of design, service, and the very concept of luxury. Rising majestically over the Marina Lusail Waterfront, Raffles Doha, with 132 suites, and Fairmont Doha, with 362 guest rooms and suites, will be market leaders and international F&B benchmarks with personalised service, innovative concepts, and standout, entertaining products, and artistic presentation flair. The hotels look certain to capture global and social media attention and be key contenders for international awards and glamourous social events on a par with, and often surpassing, the leading culinary destinations of the world.

HCNME NEWS & APPOINTMENTS DELIVEROO UAE LAUNCHES A NEW TIER OF POPULAR SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE FOR UNLIMITED FREE DELIVERY Deliveroo UAE has just announced the launch of a new tier of its subscription service, Deliveroo Plus Silver, aimed at supporting customers who are ordering larger baskets more frequently. The leading food delivery service has seen a surge in people ordering as a group or as families and intends on making delivery more affordable and accessible with this launch. The new subscription tier is priced at just AED 19 per month and gives customers unlimited free delivery on all orders above AED 80. Built as part of Deliveroo’s Plus Subscription service, Plus Silver has been designed to make ordering larger

baskets more affordable than ever before. For a monthly fee of AED 19, Plus Silver subscribers not only get unlimited free delivery, but also get access to exclusive offers and deals from restaurants in their neighbourhood, currently available to all Plus members. Deliveroo first launched its monthly subscription service, Deliveroo Plus Gold, in the UAE in January 2022. Since then, thousands of subscribers have signed up to the program, wanting to benefit from free delivery

GLION INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND LES ROCHES GLOBAL HOSPITALITY EDUCATION TO SHOWCASE NEW FAST-TRACK CAREER-IMPACT EXECUTIVE PROGRAMS IN DUBAI In line with its promise of consistently implementing education programs tailored to the fastevolving world of the hospitality industry, Sommet Education has



designed a portfolio of Executive Programs offered at two of its top-ranked institutions: Les Roches Global Hospitality Education and Glion Institute of Higher

at a fixed fee of AED 39 per month with orders above AED 30. Anis Harb, VP, General Manager Deliveroo Middle East said, “At Deliveroo, our mission is to deliver amazing food to people when and where they want it. We understand our customer’s ordering habits have shifted and have noticed that larger baskets are being ordered more frequently. We are very excited about introducing this new tier of Deliveroo Plus Silver subscription service as an added value to our loyal customers.”

Education. For ambitious professionals eager to learn alongside a high-caliber, international peer group wanting to upskill and fasttrack their career while on the job, Sommet Education network of institution now offers three programs: the Executive Master’s in International Hotel Management by Les Roches Marbella in Spain; the new Executive MBA in Global Hospitality Management by Les Roches Crans-Montana; and the new Executive Master’s in Luxury Management & Guest Experience by Glion. These programs will equip participants with the skills, knowledge and network needed to compete for the most demanding positions in a fast-evolving world hospitality market.


MEET SAMI MATTA, NEWLY APPOINTED MULTIOUTLET GENERAL MANAGER AT 25HOURS HOTEL ONE CENTRAL Sami Matta is a third-generation Lebanese restaurateur with substantial education and an impressive 15+ years of professional experience in leading F&B organisations, business turnarounds, and brand building. Following an impressive 10-year career working in Beirut, Sami Matta moved to Dubai in 2021 to join 25hours Hotel One Central as the Multi-Outlet General Manager, overseeing the successful Monkey Bar concept at the new property. By the end of summer 2022, Sami will also be responsible for two additional F&B outlets, one of which is the Shisha Garden that offers a splendid view of the Museum of the Future.

SOFITEL DUBAI THE PALM APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING Sofitel Dubai The Palm has named Tünde Nagy as its new director of sales and marketing, strengthening its leadership team to include an industry veteran whose portfolio boasts more than 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry across renowned brands in the UAE and the UK. At Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Nagy’s primary responsibilities will include – managing the overall sales and marketing strategy and programmes, annual budgets, revenue, and distribution management for the five-star luxury property. Commenting on her appointment, Nagy said: “I am absolutely thrilled to join Sofitel Dubai The Palm, a brand I’ve always admired for its incredible experiences and fantastic offerings. My role here gives me endless opportunities to continue its successful growth trajectory and take it to even greater heights. I can’t wait to begin the interesting journey here working together with the dynamic and hardworking team that is striving every day to bring to life magnifique experiences and the spirit of the Sofitel brand to our guests.”

FARIS SATLI WILL LEAD THE EXPANSION OF ISHRAQ HOSPITALITY ACROSS THE MENA REGION Ishraq Hospitality, the asset management and real estate division of the Mohamad & Obaid AlMulla Group, announced the appointment of Mr. Faris Satli as its new Group Director of Business Development. Mr Satli will bring his vast experience and skills to steer Ishraq Hospitality into further growth and regional expansion in his new role. Alexander Suski, Acting CEO of Ishraq Hospitality, welcomed the appointment. “Mr Satli is a key team member in Ishraq Hospitality’s ambitions to grow its presence in the MENA

region. We are excited he is a part of the team to contribute to our bold objectives. His significant experience and knowledge will help expand Ishraq Hospitality’s portfolio across the GCC and MENA region.”




AN OASIS BETWEEN DESERT AND REEF Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, has doubled in size, adding new accommodations, restaurants, recreational facilities, a conference centre, and more. General Manager Sam Ioannidis talks to us about the hotel’s multi-million-dollar expansion 20






ravellers to Egypt’s Red Sea coast have plenty to look forward to with the unveiling of Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt’s much anticipated expansion and transformation. Located on a one-kilometre stretch of private coastline, the iconic Resort’s palm-filled gardens, mosaic-covered fountains and Arabian architecture are the perfect draw for travellers looking for a magical combination of mountains, desert, and sea. Combined with one of the best house reefs in the region, a funicular that transports

guests from peak to beach, five swimming pools for splashing around in on sultry days, a highly acclaimed Spa, and an expertly run dive centre, it’s no surprise that Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt is a Red Sea favourite. General Manager Sam Ioannidis shares insight on the property’s transformation. He starts by talking about his background and experience in the hotel industry. “As a child, I developed a fascination with food and the journey it took to the table. This passion grew as I became older, which led me to pursue hospitality and tourism manage-

ment at Ryerson University in Canada. After graduating, I opened my own restaurant in the city, before eventually joining Four Seasons Hotel Toronto as Director of Restaurant and Bars in 1992. I’ve been with the company ever since and have been fortunate enough to enjoy a three-decade career that enabled me to travel the world while working in leadership roles at properties in Azerbaijan, Canada, Greece, the USA, and UAE. Every day of this remarkable journey brings new experiences and interactions with the world’s most dedicated hospitality professionals, which I find endlessly inspiring.” HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022



For Sam the most important aspect of being a general manager is to remain true to the promise of the hotel and seamlessly deliver its unique brand of intuitive service. “I joined this remarkable Arabian fairy tale in the summer of 2019. Since arriving, I have had the privilege of delivering my third hotel opening in the company and to oversee Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt’s incredible transformation into the largest Four Seasons in the region and one of the biggest worldwide. I try to connect with as many guests coming through our doors as I can. When they witness the GM together with the team, building the experience and playing the role of respectful host, they feel welcome, which is very important to me.” Sam goes on to explain the expectations of guests visiting Egypt compared to those in the rest of the Middle East. “Because of Egypt’s incredible diversity, we are hosting guests in one of the most-visited countries in the region with so much to offer – from its rich history and culture to its unique desert and sea adventures - where authenticity and service are an integral part of the local culture. Therefore, expectations 22


are set very high, particularly among discerning travellers in the luxury segment.” The newly expanded Resort brings to the region unprecedented era of luxury to Egypt’s Red Sea shores. Visitors are attracted to Sharm El Sheikh for its rich heritage, beautiful beaches, marine activities, and year-round sunshine. “When they arrive at Four Seasons, they discover all of these things and more. Most can’t wait to come back, and we have many returning guests who have become part of the Resort’s extended family.” He adds, “we’re introducing a new era of seaside luxury to what has been one of Egypt’s most loved resorts ever since it opened its doors 20 years ago. By doubling the property in size, we’ve created new accommodations, recreation facilities and restaurants while the legendary and exceptional Four Seasons service remains the same.” Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt has been completely reimagined with a seamless blend of Egyptian-inspired architecture, colourful landscape and plenty of waterways. The hotel has introduced 115 spacious guest rooms and suites with private terraces and some with private pools, a lavish 565sqm beach-

front Palace and four new authentic dining concepts. Guests can now look forward to new recreation facilities including one kilometre of private beachfront, two new outdoor pools, a two-storey fitness centre as well as tennis and squash courts to name a few. Not to mention the nine new indoor and garden venues for pictureperfect destination weddings, lavish events and business meetings with the title of second largest convention centre in the destination. After being around for such a long time, Sam talks about why this transformation was necessary. “Since first opening its doors two decades ago, our beautiful Resort has earned a special place in the hearts of guests as the leading luxury destination on the Red Sea shores. Over the years we’ve watched families grow, celebrated important milestones together, set the stage for the most romantic moments, explored the abundant natural world, and immersed ourselves in desert culture. Now as we embark, together with our visionary ownership partners of TMG, on one of the company’s most ambitious expansion and enhancement programs ever, we can offer our guests so much more, and we can’t wait to introduce this exciting destination to a new generation of travellers from around the world. Our team is more dedicated than ever to elevate our offerings and ensure that each and every stay with us is fully tailored and completely memorable.” “Our goal was to develop a truly world-class destination for those who crave sun and sea in an authentic luxury setting that only Four Seasons can create. The reimagined Resort not only offers an unparalleled guest experience, but further elevates the local tourism offerings and will help to position Sharm El Sheikh among the region’s most sought-after holiday hotspots,” he adds. From romantic getaways to funfilled family vacations, the reimagined resort offers new levels of luxury and an unrivalled beachside experience where guests can create memories


to last a lifetime. The stunning location inspires the new exceptional facilities, with its simple yet elegant layering of textures reflecting natural landscapes, whether it’s inspiration from the curve of a desert rock or a ripple in the sea. Modern interpretations of authentic Arabian design elements and Arabesque details enhance the spaces all around. With the addition of four brand-new concepts headed by supremely talented Executive Chef Sebastiano Spriveri, food lovers can now choose from 12 international dining options to take them on a journey from Japan to Latin America, via the Middle East. These include Yatai, where guests can experience lively and sophisticated dining inspired by Asia’s most delicious upscale street foods; Zitouni, which serves truly authentic Lebanese cuisine; the open-air gazebo restaurant Luna, which offers a tantalizing range of South American cuisine; and bare-foot chic Breeze beach bar. Sharm El Sheikh is considered a short haul destination from Europe and the Middle East, located just 10 minutes away from the airport. The Resort features a kilometre of private beachfront nestled within limestone cliffs to form a welcoming beachfront oasis. The mountainous landscape and arid desert on one side and the shimmering waters of the Red Sea on the other make for a remarkable contrast. In between, the sprawling gardens are home to more than 3,000 palm trees and offer panoramic views over the crystalclear waters of the Red Sea. “Personally, I find it very idyllic. There is a beautiful sense of calm and serenity that can be felt as you stroll through the gardens and past little river-ways,” says Sam. With its magical combination of mountains, desert, and sea, the Resort offers the perfect getaway for travellers of all ages and interests. Guests can make a splash in two new outdoor swimming pools or embark on an underwater adventure at the brand-new PADI dive centre, which provides access to 76 world-class dive sites. The Spa offers the ultimate in relaxation and features 12 treatment rooms and an outdoor lap pool, together with a sauna, steam room, and whirlpool. “As part of the reimagined resort, we have introduced an all-new fully supervised kids club offering a daily schedule of games,

arts and crafts, cultural immersion, active play and more. The new facility has several dedicated activity zones, including a space reserved just for teens and professional babysitting services. Those who wish to keep up with their fitness routines will appreciate the new two-storey indoor-outdoor fitness centre that comes with state-of-the-art cardio and weight-training equipment, complemented by group classes and private training. There are also four tennis courts and an indoor squash court, and we offer rides on golf carts or one of two funiculars to help guests get to the beach faster or return to their rooms after a day in the sun.

These are just a few of the many features and attractions available. Guests will find everything they need for an unforgettable getaway, whether they choose to spend their time relaxing or prefer to explore the countless exciting experiences in and around the Resort.” As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic period there is a strong desire for travel, Sam and his team are anticipating a busy season ahead. “We are truly excited to welcome both new and returning guests to our remarkable Resort and will continue to seek out fresh ways to elevate the guest experience, creating moments to treasure for visitors from across the globe.”



HCNME POINT OF VIEW The rising demand for pop-up cafes, dining areas, street stalls, and kiosks which have swept the UAE and Saudi Arabia over the past few years, are also transforming F&B businesses.


on Dubai



s one of the world's leading gastronomic destinations, the UAE has established itself as an international hub for restaurant concepts. A destination that is always hungry for more, it should come as no surprise that its hospitality sector is largely driven by the food and beverage sector, with gross expenditure on F&B expected to reach $44.5 billion by 2023. Indeed, as of the start of 2022, full-service restaurant revenue will be worth a staggering $2.34 billion, fast-food revenue to reach US$ 4.51 billion, and revenue from coffee shops to reach US$ 705 million. A large part of this has come from innovation and developing sustain24


able business models, with a growing health awareness within the consumer market, a demand for convenience in today’s fast paced world, and an increase in online food ordering. But the growth isn’t limited to the ‘quick and now’ indeed all food and beverage sectors such as full-service restaurants, fine dining, fast-casual, fast-food, coffee shops, street vendors, and home delivery have seen an increase. Perhaps most critically, restaurants and hotels, who were hit harder than most during the pandemic, have bounced back in a way that although knowing Dubai we probably could have predicted, it was hard to say with complete certainty. With precautionary capacity and social distancing regulations lifted, they have reversed the decline during the pandemic, with a strong 22.66 percent rate over 2022-2023.

As a hospitality group that is committed to the development of world-class hospitality and food and beverage concepts, not just within our own Gates Hospitality brands, but across the Emirate, the way in which the industry continued to find ways to evolve is inspirational as it was necessary. Quite simply, we are stronger together. One of those factors for growth was Restaurant-to-Consumer Delivery, which with a projected market volume of US$954 million in 2022, is expected to not just stay, but dominate the market. Restaurant operators who relied on welcoming guests in person, have turned to their websites, social media accounts, and mobile apps to offer online ordering, while others are building delivery only restaurants and cloud kitchens. The rising demand for pop-up cafes, dining areas, street stalls, and kiosks which have swept the UAE and Saudi Arabia over the past few years, are also transforming F&B businesses. Crucially, this ‘pop up element’ isn’t at the cost of quality, with chefs putting their own spin on food trucks and bringing authentic, quality foods to curbsides. Daring to be different, another growing trend in the UAE is experiential dining, which combines F&B with entertainment. Interactive licensed concept restaurants are becoming increasingly popular in the region with concepts such as bowling, video games and more, encouraging diners to socialise while they eat. F&B businesses are embracing new ideas with new approaches in inspiring ways, and there's much more to come. This changing landscape was the subject of the F&B Stakeholder Summit that took place at The Hotel Show Dubai 2022, 24-26 May, which brought leading industry experts, practitioners, and panelists in one place, at one time, for a series of highly focused and candid live discussions.






he pressure is on for more hotels to open throughout 2022. Huge events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, plus an influx of travel from global markets thanks to the easing of restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, means the requirement for hotel rooms is on the rise. Dubai has established itself as a hotspot for travellers with a plethora of luxury hotels to suit all types of visitors to the Emirate. With this rising demand for hotel rooms, comes increased guest appetite for boutique properties across Dubai. A boutique hotel can distinguish itself not just by its smaller size, but also by its focused and personalised services, design, and intimate atmosphere. Large hotels are fully commercialised, meaning that often guests are recognised only by a room number. However, boutique hotels cultivate a unique personality through a specialised one-on-one service, as well as the location and unique building design.

Newer establishments such as Th8 Palm also invest heavily in carving out their own personalities in this crowded industry. This sense of personality is something that travellers are actively seeking as a unique experience and memory for their trip. At Th8 Palm, we believe in unpretentious luxury that is effortless and honest, accompanied with endless ocean views, a vibrant atmosphere, and innovative designs. For boutique hotels, a smaller property also means less traveller congestion. That translates into a more relaxing vacation, creating a home-away-from-home experience. This means no more bumping elbows at the breakfast buffet or finding room to sit in the lobby – there’s ample space for everyone to enjoy. Boutique hotels can also offer mainstream hotel-style amenities, so there’s absolutely no compromise on luxury or quality. Th8 Palm has a Miami-inspired beach club Fluid Beach Club, a family pool, kids club and a gym, just like the big players in the hotel industry, but in a more comfort-

able relaxed environment, and always with the guest at the centre of attention. The most significant feature that differentiates boutique hotels from larger chain hotels is that they are independently operated and have more autonomy. This means that they don’t have a set of corporate standards to follow and can really hone in on what guests are looking for. This gives boutique hotels the flexibility to create a unique and personalised hotel experience unlike any other, providing guests with numerous benefits. Guests in Dubai expect the very best quality, however all too often, they are seeking that truly personalised experience, and this is where boutique hotels can fill that need. With boutique hotels, luxury is the name of the game. Combining impeccable service, distinctive modern decor, and unparalleled amenities, the goal is to provide guests with a luxurious experience but in a more intimate environment, in comparison to a large-scale hotel. For us at Th8 Palm, we are inspired by the ‘8’ infinity symbol, which signifies the concept of limitlessness; Th8 Palm represents endless possibilities for those seeking original experiences. Guests can experience a laid-back atmosphere that lasts from sunrise to sunset, indulge in a culinary journey at Envy, sip on sundowners and chill out by Fluid Beach Club’s DJ booth, or simply refresh at the beach.




They Came, They Cooked,

ONE Conquered Seafood Scotland’s First Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE Competition comes to a close


ompetitions in the hospitality industry are a dime a dozen. But what acclaimed industry body, Seafood Scotland set out to achieve was nothing short of a feat. While competing against

colleagues and friends from the industry can be nervewracking for chefs, in this action-packed competition it appeared all nerves were set aside, with the focus purely on winning the first Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE title. Launching the first-ever Chef Poissonnier of the Year

Finalists from left to right: Nigel Lobo, Saraj Mohamad, Islam Ezzat Masoud, Jorge Rodriguez



UAE Competition in October 2021, Seafood Scotland, a respected industry body, gave chefs a challenge like never before, offering them the opportunity to develop and showcase their Poissonnier skills (fish skills) incorporated into cuisines from ‘Around the World’. Through this competition,

Seafood Scotland aimed to create opportunities for professional chefs across the UAE. Judged by the best in the industry, this year’s judging panel included, Chef Wayne Tapsfield, as the Chairman of judges, who brings with him over 30 years of culinary excellence, including working alongside the legendary Chef Gary Rhodes. The second chef on the panel was healthy living concept mastermind Chef Ben Tobitt, Managing Director of Ben’s Farmhouse Middle East, and the third and final judge, and his first time judging a competition, was Michelin star culinary extraordinaire Howard Ko, Executive Chef at the CÉ LA VI restaurant in Dubai, whose USP has always been about finding a balance in tradition and modernity i.e., reinventing the classics, while creating memorable food experiences. Post registering for the competition, to qualify, chefs were required to demonstrate their seafood knowledge, skills, and creativity via a ‘Knowledge and Skills Challenge’ online. The second-round required chefs to submit a written seafood recipe for a seafood dish of their choice using Scottish salmon, for


Judge Ben Tobit, Managing Director, Ben's Farmhouse Middle East

Judge Howard Ko, Executive Chef, CÉ LA VI Dubai

Judge Wayne Tapsfield, Chairman Of Judges

4 covers. Here the chefs were judged on the range of ingredients used, the imagination of the dish, use of different textures through the dish, balance of flavours, understanding of a dishes’ regionality, techniques used in getting the best from the ingredients used, and use of ingredients to effectively show acknowledgement of minimum waste whilst preparing. The highly competitive qualifying round produced 8 top-scoring chefs for the live semi-finals on March 21 2022. The ultimate semi-final cook-off saw 4 top chefs make it to the finals held on May 10, 2022. In round one of the finale, chefs were required to cook and present Lobster Cardinal along with garnishes of Pommes Duchesse, Tomates farci a la Hussard and turned mushrooms, taken from the globally famous ‘Le Guide Culinaire’ by Auguste Escoffier. Through this challenge chefs demonstrated their modern and contemporary interpretation of a classic French dish, using all their skills and imagination to ace it. In round two - The Scottish Shellfish Mystery Box, chefs produced a main course for 2 covers with an open pantry of items to choose from. All 4 finalist chefs were judged on the correct size and proportion of the finished dish, use of main ingredients, cooking technique and their creative and innovative presentation and finishing of the dish.

Scotland’s first Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE allowed chefs to showcase their culinary skills, creativity, and knowledge, which set them apart from the rest and worthy of competing for this prestigious title. After an intense judging process, Chef Jorge Rodriguez Head Chef, Tortuga and Executive Sous Chef, Mina A’ Salam Hotel – Madinat Jumeirah, was unanimously awarded the title of Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE. The consistency in his cooking process and methods, his understanding of ingredients and his imagination and creativity, set him apart from his counterparts, eventually winning him the coveted title. As the first ‘Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE’, Chef Jorge has won a once in a lifetime educational trip to the beautiful remote Highlands and Islands of Scotland, UK, to witness first-hand seafood fishing methods and farming in the crystal-clear waters surrounding Scotland’s coastline. In addition, he wins the opportunity to perfect his skills with the masters of seafood and learn first-hand from some of the world’s greatest fishermen and fisheries about hygiene, blockwork, scaling, knife skills, species, preparation and sustainable fishing. As part of an exclusive fishing trip trawling for shellfish, Chef Jorge will spend the day out at sea with local fishermen, catching lobsters, crabs, and langoustines fresh from the creels

laid down in the Scottish lochs. He will also visit a highly acclaimed Scottish salmon farm to learn more about how Scottish salmon are sustainably reared and processed before being exported around the world. He has also landed himself a personal tour of a traditional Scottish smokehouse that produces the signature smoke behind the world-renowned Scottish smoked salmon and will be seen wearing a premium personalised Bragard Chefs Jacket, designed by the highly acclaimed international brand. With the bar set so high with this year’s high level of competition, one can only imagine how much higher the stakes are going to be for the next competition. For chefs eyeing the next Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE title, sharpen those knives, polish those skills, and know your seafood, as the next competition will bring with it tougher challenges, higher expectations and a bigger opportunity to learn from the masters of seafood.

Chef Jorge will spend the day out at sea with local fishermen, catching lobsters, crabs, and langoustines fresh from the creels laid down in the Scottish lochs. HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022



ARABIAN TRAVEL MARKET 2022 Over 30,000 participants, including 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries, attended this year’s ATM


ore than 23,000 visitors attended the 29th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2022, as industry leaders gathered at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to share insights into the future of international travel and tourism. “In addition to doubling our visitor numbers year on year, ATM 2022 hosted 1,500 exhibitors and attendees from 150 countries,” commented Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME for Arabian Travel Market. “These figures are especially impressive given that lockdowns are still taking place in China and other destinations. What’s more, the development of the travel and tourism sector throughout the Middle East re-



gion shows no signs of abating, with GCC hotel construction contract awards set to rise by 16 percent this year alone.” The value of UAE and Saudi Arabian projects accounted for 90 percent of all regional hospitality contracts awarded in 2021, according to research from BNC Network. With analysis from Colliers International forecasting that $4.5 billion worth of hotel construction contracts will be awarded in the GCC during 2022, industry experts took to the ATM Global Stage for a panel discussion about the future of the region’s hospitality industry. The panel discussion featured insights from Christopher Lund, Director – Head of Hotels MENA at Colliers International; Mark Kirby,


“EMIRATISATION COEXISTS WITH HOW WE DEVELOP OUR LEADERSHIP TEAMS TO OPERATE HOTELS. WE FOCUS ON LEADERSHIP AT THIS LEVEL TO COME FROM WITHIN, [DRAWING ON] INTERNAL TALENT.” Head of Hospitality at Emaar Hospitality Group; Tim Cordon, Area Senior Vice President – Middle East and Africa at Radisson Hotel Group; and Judit Toth, Founder and CEO of Vivere Hospitality. Commenting on the need to attract and retain talent within the Middle East’s hospitality sector, Radisson Hotel Group’s Cordon said: “The organisations that get this right are going to benefit because, of course, we know how expensive it is to bring new people into our business and

it’s even more expensive if you lose them. I don’t think you can talk about the future of hospitality without talking about the future of talent.” Vivere’s Toth pointed out that it was equally important to educate industry professionals on the priorities and mindset of younger employees and guests alike. “[The younger generation] think completely differently. They live in a world of crypto and NFTs. How are they going to be able to bring their ideas and talents into the [hotel] business? And remember,

on the other side, your new and future customers are also coming from the same background, with the same motivations and understanding. So, it’s a matter of bringing in new talent that shares common ground with new customers.” Speaking on the continued importance of nationalisation efforts, Emaar Hospitality Group’s Kirby said: “Emiratisation coexists with how we develop our leadership teams to operate hotels. We focus on leadership at this level to come from within, [drawing on] internal talent. The fact that we’re growing and opening new hotels helps us, because it provides opportunities for our existing team members to move up.” The four-day live event was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group Chairman of Dubai World. The show’s opening session featured Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; Scott Livermore, Chief Economist at Oxford Economics; Jochem-Jan HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022






Sleiffer, President – Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Hilton; Bilal Kabbani, Industry Head – Travel and Tourism at Google; and Andrew Brown, Regional Director – Europe, Middle East and Oceania at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The show’s opening day also featured the first session of the ARIVALDubai@ ATM forum, during which industry experts explored the role that in-destination experiences are playing in shaping the future of global travel and tourism. Later in the afternoon, ministers from the UAE, Jordan, Jamaica and Botswana took to the ATM Global Stage to discuss the importance of investment, technology and inclusivity in driving Middle East tourism forward, as part of the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC) Ministerial Roundtable.

The second day of ATM 2022 saw senior representatives from Air Arabia and Etihad Aviation Group join JLS Consulting’s John Strickland on the ATM Global Stage for a discussion about efficiency and sustainability within the aviation sector. Later in the afternoon, D/A’s Paul Kelly offered his perspective on how to connect with the Arabic travel audience more effectively. At the end of day two, video-sharing platform ‘Welcome to the World’ secured up to $500,000 of investment after winning the inaugural ATM Draper-Aladdin Startup Competition on the ATM Travel Tech Stage. Day three of ATM featured sessions focused on what guests really want, sports tourism, hospitality tech trends, dining experiences, metaverse-based travel services, the role of influencers and more. The Global Business Travel


Association (GBTA) also hosted two panel discussions on the third day, shining a spotlight on sustainability and long-term trends within the business travel segment. As part of the conference agenda for the fourth and final day of ATM 2022, representatives from Atlas, Wego Middle East and Alibaba Cloud MEA took to the ATM Travel Tech Stage to explore how data is changing airline retailing. Panellists shared insights into how to build data-led organisations, and why companies that successfully harness travel data today will be most likely to succeed in the longer term. The morning sessions included a session hosted by WTM Responsible Tourism, on the ATM Global Stage, focusing on how the latest innovations can be used to promote respon-

sible technology for travel and tourism. Concluding this year’s edition of ATM, afternoon sessions included a discussion about the return and rise of city tourism.

The final day of the live event also included the announcement of ATM 2022’s ‘Best Stand Design’ and ‘People’s Choice Award’, which were presented to SAUDIA for its futuristic and striking concept. Other stands awarded for their creativity included the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah International, Ishraq International and TBS/Vbooking. “ATM 2022 has provided a timely opportunity for the global travel and tourism sector to gather in Dubai and explore the future of our industry. Innovation, sustainability, technology and talent acquisition and retention will be crucial to its long-term success,” concluded Curtis. Following the success of the hybrid approach adopted for last year’s edition, the live, in-person component of ATM 2022 was be followed by the third instalment of ATM Virtual, which took place from the 17th to the 18th of May 2022.




NESCAFÉ® FILTER GRANDE COFFEE Discover Nescafe filter Grande for a unique hotel experience. A perfect roast and ground coffee that delivers consistent, bold, and balanced taste of sweetness, bitterness and a surprising touch of acidity all in one freshly brewed cup.

Water Temperature Make sure the machine's water temperature is ready for brewing by checking that the Green Light "Ready" is on.

Note: It will take 12 - 15 minutes for the machine to reach the desired temperature

Coffee Dosage Pull-out the brew basket, place the paper filter inside and add the desired dosage of coffee.

Note: Brew ratio recipe will be 1:25 e.g. 120 gms into 3l of brewed coffee

Prepare the Airpot Remove the suction pipe andplace the airpot canisterunderneath

whilst ensuring it isaligned with the brew basket

Start Brewing Manually fill-up the unit with theamount of water required (Following the brew recipe)

Note: Slowly pour the water into the machine to ensure

that no ground coffee will overflow over the paper filter and into the airpot

Brewing Process The brewing process will take approximately 8 to 12 minutes depending on the brew recipe

Enjoy your coffee Carefully remove the airpot and place back the suction pipe. Gently close the lid and Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee

Note: The airpot can keep the coffee in an acceptable temperature for a good 3 - 4 hours

All NESCAFÉ® coffees are responsibly grown and ethically sourced thru our NESCAFÉ® Plan.

NESCAFÉ® FILTER GRANDE ALTERNATIVE BREWING METHODS FRENCH PRESS Most common home brew methods that give fuller, bolder and robust taste Serves 2 to 3 Recipe 50g: BR - 1:12 Water 600mls @ 920 C > Remove the plunger from your French press to preheat and rinse with hot water > Place the plunger back and plunge it thoroughly to remove coffee ground residue and discard the water > Bring filtered water to a boil and let

it sit until it cools to 92° (about 45 sec) > Grind the coffee to a very coarse size somewhat like table salt > Place the unit on a scale and pour in the 50gms of coarsely ground coffee into the French press > Pour in 600mls of hot water and gently stir and saturate wetting all ground coffees > Place back the plunger and steep for 4 minutes

> Once steeping is done, gently press the plunger and serve

V60 A brewing method that delivers more flavor and body into the cup Serves 1 to 2 Recipe 20g: BR - 1:15 Water 300mls @ 920 C > Place the paper filter into the cone and rinse with hot water to wash out any papery taste. This will also preheat the cone and server > Place the V60 dripper and server on scales > Bring the filtered water to a boil and let it sit until it cools to 92° (about 45 sec) > Add ground coffee to the cone and

settle for an even coffee bed. Your grind should be like sand. Tare scale > Start timer and pour in enough water to cover the coffee grounds(approximately 40g) the aim is to release CO2 from the ground coffee in order to have a better extraction > Wait for 30secs then add the remaining water in a circular motion, starting from the inside going out, then back to the center until you reach the desired amount of water which is 300gms > Be sure to control the water flow

while pouring the remaining 300gms of water, which should take 1:30sec > Decant and serve with an estimated brew time of 3 minutes.

AEROPRESS Bold flavor, convenient and travel friendly way to brew your coffee Serves 1 Coffee Dose 12g Water 200mls @ 820 C > Start with the Aeropress upside down (inverted) > Bring filtered water to a boil and let it sit until it cools to 82ºC (about 2 mins) > Place the filter (2pcs) into a round lid and rinse to wash out any papery taste, then set aside > Add ground coffee to the Aeropress

chamber then place it on scales and tare. Your grind should be like sand or slightly coarser > Start timer and add 140gms of water into the Aeropress, then gently stir. Attach lid and let brew for 2:00 minutes > Place the cup upside down over the top of the Aeropress and carefully flip over so that the cup is on the bottom and Aeropress on the top > Slowly press out into your cup, then

stop when you hear the hissing sound > Add the remaining 60gms of water into the cup. Stir and enjoy


Contact us: 600 595950




Right to left: Patrick Mendes, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Yigit Sezgin, Chief Commercial Officer, and Markus Keller, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer




Patrick Mendes, Global Chief Commercial Officer, Yigit Sezgin, Chief Commercial Officer, and Markus Keller, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, explain how Accor has consolidated its leading position in the hospitality industry b y TA M A R A P U P I C




MENDES TOOK OVER A GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY AT ACCOR as Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) in charge of Sales, Marketing, Distribution, Digital and Loyalty.


atrick Mendes, Global Chief Commercial Officer at Accor, Europe’s largest hospitality company and the sixth largest worldwide, assures me that even at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, when hotel occupancy rates had plummeted and diners had stopped visiting restaurants, he and his team were certain that their industry would bounce back. “Our Chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin often says, ‘Hospitality is a blessed industry,’” Mendes explains. “And today, our strong recovery is fuelled by the widespread desire from people to find new experiences and take advantage of freedoms after more than two years living with restricted travel opportunities.” In 2021, the revenue of the Accor Group was already up 34% when compared to 2020, and today, the hospitality giant expects 2022 to be “Accor’s year” across its 40+ brands presented through 5,300 hotels in 110 countries, and run by their 230,000-strong hospitality team. However, I suspect that there is more to Accor’s success post-COVID-19 than just people’s renewed desire to travel, and Mendes reveals that his enterprise’s appeal lies in its continuous commitment to innovation and anticipating new trends. “The hospitality industry is undergoing a period of significant change in which many new trends are emerging globally, and in particular, digitalisation is profoundly altering how



THROUGH ALL, OUR POWERFUL DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION AND TRANSACTION PLATFORM, WE BRING SIMPLICITY AND ENHANCE PERSONALISATION. people work, play, shop, and communicate,” Mendes says. “As a part of this, our guests are progressively adopting digital habits and technologies.” And that is why, in order to provide a frictionless and personalised digital experience to its guests, that Accor launched The Digital Factory in May 2021, which

has been mandated to create a powerful digital ecosystem to support the group’s wider business and tech development goals. “We want to attract new customers, surprise them, and foster engagement and loyalty by offering a more seamless and convenient experience and design, access to additional

services and experiences, personalisation, and opportunities for engagement,” Mendes says. “With the Digital Factory, there are more than 600 talents who create the best digital experience through our products and services for guests who stay in our hotels, our owners, and the staff.” }Another post-COVID-19


trend that Accor has embraced is a shift to remote working practises, which has gone beyond just existing due to the circumstances as well as the digital marketing tools that enabled it, and further accelerated longerterm transformations in the way people work. “Workers want to experience the office in a different way, with wellness at the centre of their

workday, and by valuing the factors of quality F&B, reliable Wi-Fi, access to fitness centre, and ease of commute,” Mendes explains. “The concept of ‘Workspitality’ (work and hospitality) enables us to adapt to the transformation of the way we work.” This would thus explain Accor’s coworking concept, WOJO, which offers flexible workspaces in its hotels- it currently counts more than 300 WOJO spots in 70 French cities, more than 50 hotels in Brazil and Northern Europe, as well as new projects in South America. Enabling experiences is the third trend that Mendes wants his team to remain focused on, especially with ALL, i.e. Accor Live Limitless, a daily lifestyle companion that fully integrates and delivers a wide variety of rewards, services, and experiences to Accor’s clients. “We have holistic ecosystem of hospitality services beyond the stay, transforming our hotels into real places to live, and connect to local culture proposing more local, authentic and rooted experiences,” Mendes explains. “We welcome customers, travellers, and locals, to ‘live, play, work,’ and provide elevated experiences to our guests, enriching our promise and generating engagement.


hotel in the heart of Praslin, Seychelles, offering private pool villa accommodation.



HCNME COVER STORY Through ALL, our powerful digital distribution and transaction platform, we bring simplicity and enhance personalisation.” Sustainability also factors highly as a focus for Accor’s current activities around the world. “Sustainability is a major focus for all players in the tourism industry, and that is why Accor has initiated a process of major transformation, including partnering with UNESCO and Expedia, to promote local communities and economy, while taking tangible action to protect the environment,” Mendes says. “Accor was also the first global hotel group to join the HRS Green Stay initiative, and it engaged also with Hotelbeds on the Green Hotels Program certification to accelerate the industry transition towards sustainable actions by facilitating access to sustainable hotel champions.”


is situated in Msheireb, the centre of the old Qatar city, offering access to key commercial and residential areas.




aving heard all of this, I find it easy to understand why Accor is today described as an augmented hospitality group that goes beyond accommodation to enable new ways to live, work, and play. And it also shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the regions where the group is enjoying a fast recovery post COVID-19 is the MENA. Accor’s Chief Commercial Officer for the region, Yigit Sezgin, says that his company has been witnessing only a steadily increasing positive demand curve in the recent past. “If the past 6-12 months have shown us anything, it is that the future of the industry in the region will continue to be bright, and further evolve as travel flight paths continue to grow and travel regulations are removed,” Sezgin says. Across India, the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, Accor currently has 420 operating hotels, and 27 new properties are set to open this year, which include Banyan Tree in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla, Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha in Qatar,

“HAVING ALL THE DIFFERENT ARMS OF THE COMMERCIAL TEAM WORKING ON THE SAME GOAL AND STRATEGY IS PIVOTAL TO MAKE SURE WE ACHIEVE (AND OVER-ACHIEVE!) OUR TARGETS FOR THIS YEAR.” Fairmont Tanger Tazi Palace and Fairmont Rabat in Morocco. “Intra-regional business travel, especially with the resumption of events around the region, and staycations still remain high-demand drivers for our hotels, which we continue to focus on,” Sezgin adds. “Moreover, we have created a long stay package for guests in response to the increased demand we were seeing for longer visits to our hotels, which may include both work and pleasure. And also, our commercial offerings are revolving around our lifestyle loyalty program, ALL.”

}In addition to its commercial offering, the lifestyle segment of Accor’s business is seeing a growing interest too. “Lifestyle is a huge opportunity for the region overall, especially in the UAE and KSA, where the markets are growing at a very fast pace,” Sezgin confirms. “We have seen an incredible reception of our brands, such as SLS, Hyde, and 25Hours in Dubai already, which is very exciting, because our upcoming projects in the region will introduce even more lifestyle brands into the market.” Accor’s new F&B concepts also pose a great opportunity for the company. “When you look at the incredible reception that some of our dining concepts (contemporary steakhouse concept Carna, Italian restaurant Fi’lia, IndianBritish restaurant Tandoor Tina) have already received in the market, it is clear to see that customers are looking for exceptional and new experiences that they can enjoy with friends and family alike.” In the next two years, Sezgin will seek to fully replicate Accor’s success in the region in other markets like the UK, France, Italy, Germany, and Israel; however, he highlights the


AT ACCOR HOSPITALITY, YIGIT SEZGIN OVERSEES A PORTFOLIO OF 42 BRANDS IN 41 COUNTRIES in charge of all Commercial Functions, Mergers & Acquisitions, lifestyle and all inclusive platform integrations.

importance of finding the right balance between global and local approaches to do just that. “Aligning with the global strategy and goals is extremely important; however, we cannot forget about regional requirements and priorities to ensure all of our activities are regionalised and relevant to the market,” Sezgin explains. “Having a team on the ground here that helps our team in Paris with these points is pivotal to ensure we keep driving market demand, and continue to push business from both our existing and new key feeder markets.” In achieving this, Sezgin insists on regular meetings and strategy reviews with his team. “We look at key learnings from previous activations and combine them with upcoming requirements and activities we are planning to do, in order to ensure we get the best results possible,” he says. “I am a strong believer that having all the different arms of the commercial team working on the same goal and strategy is pivotal to make sure we achieve (and over-achieve!) our targets for this year.”


s someone who is in charge of Accor’s distribution operations, customer care, and contact centres globally, Markus Keller, Chief Sales and Distribution Officer, believes that understanding local specificities, while keeping a global consistent feel, is key for the successful operations of a hospitality company like Accor.





SALES AND DISTRIBUTION OFFICER AT ACCOR, and a Board Member at HSMAI Europe, Groups360 and Gekko Group.


to accompany the evolution of the Group. The challenge is making systems flexible enough to cope with regional requirements without multiplying complexity, and future-proofing through technology within what remains essentially a people business. Close communication and coordinated implementation are key.” }Keller also points out here


“Welcoming thousands of guests everyday around the world means adapting to expectations in terms of reservation preferences, payment methods, communi40


cation methods, and regulation,” Keller explains. “Embracing differentiation is particularly important in certain parts of the world like the Middle East, South

America, or China, and our role is to fulfil the expectations of our worldwide clientele. We also have to tailor our service proposition to luxury and lifestyle brands

that Accor has always prepared itself to rebound from any crisis that may hit it, and this is thanks to its teams around the world who have embraced flexibility and creativity to capture business opportunities and meet client expectations. “We adapt, adjust, test, and learn, and use this as an opportunity to transform our organisation and technology to be more agile,” he explains. “We reinforce the collaboration and coordination between the headquarters and regions, but also among the regions and provide more leeway to react to local markets. Delivering those requires the input of varied experts, the courage to change your own mind, and ultimately the conviction to lead.” In conclusion, Keller shares a message for anyone wishing to make a successful career in hospitality. “Leaders lead, so believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid,” Keller concludes. “Embrace opportunities to move to a new country, discover new parts of the business, to learn a new language. These are great ways to keep learning, and whatever your industry, it is crucial that you contribute to its sustainable future.”

NEWS Middle East






HCNME MAKING DELICIOUS POSSIBLE “CONSUMERS ARE LOOKING TO CONSUME PRODUCTS WITH HIGH PROTEIN AND ARE AVOIDING FATS TO HAVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE.” good brain food. Sushi is also low in calories, there's no added fat. This can help your kidneys, your heart, and your nerves work better. It's rich in several vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting compounds. What are you cooking up today? Tell us more about the dish. Roasted Baby Chicken with mushroom truffle rice, using CHEF® Demi Glace, MAGGI® Chicken stock powder and MAGGI® Vegetable stock powder.


EGYPTIAN NATIONAL, MINA HAS MORE THAN 11 YEARS OF CULINARY EXPERIENCE, 7 OF WHICH ARE IN THE UAE. Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far? I graduated from the Egoth Tourism and Hotel School, from there I joined hotels in Egypt to gain experience. In 2014 I came to Dubai and worked in many hotels such as Marriott, Voco, and Intercontinental Hotel before joining as the executive Chef at Dark Room Dubai. 42


What’s your favourite dish to eat and why? Sushi rolls are my favourite dish, both for eating and cooking. Sushi is an ancient food dish from the Tang dynasty and is a very healthy meal. It's a good source of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids thanks to the fish it's made with. Is an excellent source of lean protein, and fatty fish like salmon is

As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days? Even though my own pantry is packed full of all sorts of things. The five heroes are olive oil for cooking, extra virgin olive oil for dressing and finishing dishes, red wine vinegar as a good all-rounder when it comes to acidity and balancing marinades, sauces, and dressings, and, of course, sea salt and black pepper for seasoning. Cooking is simply impossible without these items at your fingertips, and I believe every household should have them in stock. What are some of the most recent important food trends you can tell us about? Consumers are looking to consume products with high protein and are avoiding fats to have a healthier lifestyle. What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand? Demand for foodservice professionals is high right now, and they should focus on products that can be prepared in a short period of time, while yielding quality results.



VEGETABLES • 120 g Baby Mushrooms • 120 g Onions • 50 g Garlic • 120 g Brown mushroom • 14 g Rosemary leaves • 7 g Sage leaves • 13 g Thyme leaves

• 5 g Cardammon seeds • 17 g Dry lime • 7 g Black pepper • 16 g Star anise • 600 ml Water • 300 g Basmati rice • 7 g Salt • 3 g Balck pepper crushed

DRY STORE • 4 g Bay leaves • 8 g Cinnamon sticks

GENERAL STORE • 12 ml Truffle Oil • 25 ml Olive oil

PROTEINE ITEMS • 500 g Baby Chicken DAIRY • 55 g Butter NESTLÉ® PRODUCTS • 20 g MAGGI® Chicken stock powder • 18 g MAGGI® Vegetable stock powder • 25 g CHEF® Demi Glace


HCNME MAKING DELICIOUS POSSIBLE “CONSUMERS ARE BECOMING MORE HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT CONSCIOUS THEREFORE TRYING TO CUT DOWN ON RED MEAT AND CHICKEN.” What’s your favourite dish to eat and why? My favorite dish is anything that involves fish. Alexandria, Egypt where I come from is famous for fish and that is why it is my favourite as I grew up with it. What are you cooking up today? Tell us more about the dish. I will be cooking a fish dish today based on hamour and saffron with a side of MAGGI® Mashed Potato. This is one of my favourite dishes to cook and eat. As a chef, what are the top ingredients and products you’re using these days? My top ingredients are saffron, cream and coconut milk powder as it gives my recipes the best flavours and I really enjoy creating recipes with these ingredients.

AHMED GOMAA ABDELSHAFY HAMED HEAD CHEF EGYPTIAN NATIONAL, AHMED HAS MORE THAN 16 YEARS OF CULINARY EXPERIENCE, 5 OF WHICH ARE IN THE UAE. Can you give us a glimpse of your career journey so far? I started at the young age of 14 years old in a restaurant in Alexandria where I gained tremendous 44


experience and skills as a Chef. From there I came to Dubai where I worked in Dahab restaurant as a Sous Chef before joining Chaplin restaurant as Head Chef.

What are some of the most recent important food trends you can tell us about? Consumers are becoming more health and environment conscious therefore trying to cut down on red meat and chicken. They are looking for more plant-based options even when it comes to dairy, such as cheese and creams. What would you advise suppliers and foodservice professionals who are looking to offer their best to the market and meet demand? Innovation of new products and products that consider consumer trends is key. From the distributor’s timely delivery to good after sales support is very important, as well as ensuring that there is always stock available.



VEGETABLE • 250 ml Yellow zuchini • 250 g Green zuchini • 50 g Garlic • 4 pcs Lemon • 50 g Dill • 50 g Rosemary DRY STORE • 250 g Flour • 5 g White pepper • Saffron

GENERAL STORE • 200 ml Olive oil SEAFOOD • 1 pcs Hamour fillet DAIRY • 250 g Butter NESTLÉ® PRODUCTS • 250 g MAGGI® Mashed Potato








en years ago, an original homegrown concept stepped into the lifestyle dining space in Dubai’s fast-growing DIFC district. Since then, Roberto’s, has carved out its own unique place in Dubai’s F&B landscape as a trend-leading modern Italian restaurant, and has earned the reputation of a brand that has never rested on its laurels. At the time there were very few homegrown references of success to benchmark against for other restauranteurs with a vision, but when Roberto’s entered the scene in 2012, they blazed the trail. Since opening in DIFC, Roberto’s has successfully gone international and become an important DIFC homegrown restaurant. Over the last decade, the Roberto’s brand has grown into an icon on the UAE scene and has ventured into international markets and culinary verticals with great success. Currently the brand has plans to grow a bigger footprint in the Middle East and expand operations to new destinations in the Asian market. The brand has made great strategic moves and has shown great agility by creating “Roberto’s at Sea” in 2020 - a unique mari-



time adventure on a 52-foot yacht with a private chef, waiter, and bar service, and “Roberto’s at Home” catering division, also launched in 2020, proudly boasts the likes of Huda Kattan as clients in the UAE. We chat with Mustafa Turgul, Founding Partner, and Brand Ambassador of Roberto's on their 10-year history, the evolution of the F&B industry, and what lies ahead for the brand.

What inspired Roberto’s 10 years ago?

Living in a visionary city with unlimited opportunities like Dubai, inspired us to create something legendary. We wanted to launch Roberto’s in a city that attracts a number of tourists and yet still has a loyal clientele. Our aim has always been to deliver a distinguished level of service with an elevated dining experience. Roberto’s was one of the first venues in the city to create a multi-faceted experience that incorporated a vibrant entertainment program, a world class cigar lounge, and a stylish cocktail bar to marry with our critically acclaimed food offering.


What does it mean to be Roberto’s Brand Ambassador?

The prestige of being the face of this homegrown institution comes with both privilege and responsibility. Being Roberto’s Brand Ambassador is not just a title for show, it is a way to promote the brand’s consistency in providing top notch service and excellent gastronomic experiences not only to the people of Dubai, but also to the gourmands of the world.

How would you describe the change in Dubai’s F&B scene over the last decade?

As one of the pioneers in Dubai’s F&B scene, it’s good to witness how much the industry has grown over the years. Change is a constant flux, and every year we witness new concepts coming up with striking ideas that continue to develop the city’s food scene. It is humbling to have been part of it for over 10 years now, and it motivates us to continue to be a good example of what this city’s F&B scene has to offer.

How has Roberto’s evolved over the years?

To evolve in a country like Dubai, we are always looking for new ways to bring our products to people. With Roberto’s at Sea or Roberto’s at Home, diners can expect the same elevated dining experience. In addition to having evolved over the years, we are now expanding to Qatar, Oman, Jordan, and Singapore very soon. Our Chefs, Francesco Guarracino and the renowned 9 Michelin Star Chef Enrico Bartolini work hard to update Roberto’s menus with the very best seasonal products that are loved by our loyal clients. Great care and attention are paid to the sourcing of the ingredients and much time is invested in researching new recipes and cooking techniques to please our discerning clientele. With an established reputation in the market as one of the most prestigious fine-dining restaurants in Dubai, one of our key priorities is to strengthen loyalty amongst our clientele so that we can evolve in a way that retains the integrity of our original vision. Roberto’s was one of the first brands to exist in DIFC, in the center of what used to be an art and galleries district. We have always been in the same location

continuously evolving in a way to cater to our loyal clients while attracting new customers as well. In 10 years’ time, DIFC has become the ultimate lifestyle and fine dining hub in the region.

What are the biggest trends you are seeing in the F&B industry these days?

The F&B industry is very fast-paced and spontaneous - as the years pass by, so do the trends. Currently, we see an increased interest in entertainment and outdoor spaces. We like the idea of combining great culinary offering with appropriate entertainment in a multi-faceted venue that features two terraces, a lounge, a bar and an elegant dining area.

What’s next for Roberto’s?

We have some exciting developments in the pipeline to ring in the next decade. Our team is proud to announce two outstanding projects in the DIFC venue: a new premium lounge with a designed cocktail-bar and the makeover of the ‘Cortina’ terrace by the end of 2022. To add into our ever-growing international portfolio–which expanded in 2019 to Porto Montenegro with Roberto’s Mare–more expansion plans are confirmed for this year opening in The Ritz Carlton Amman, St. Regis Doha and for the St. Regis Muscat in 2023. Moving forward, we aim to branch out to major hubs across the world. We recently opened our Asian Headquarters in Singapore, where Roberto’s Singapore is expected to open in 2023.

Mustafa Turgul was born on the 17th of February 1969 in Izmir, Turkey. His hospitality journey began by working in well-known hotels and restaurants in his native country. At the tender age of 18, Mustafa kickstarted his career by joining Cesme, one of the famous seafood restaurants in his hometown. Following his first stint in the industry, the young man dedicated 9 years of perseverance at Mares, a five-star hotel in Marmaris, where he was employed as the head waiter. He then had the opportunity to join the opening team in BICE, Istanbul, where he successfully worked his way to the top. This is also where Mustafa met the reputed Ruggeri family who molded and motivated him into the flourishing gentleman he is today. Known as the secret tool to BICE Mare and Istanbul’s success, Ruggeri hired hard-working and dedicated Mustafa as his Assistant Restaurant Manager and moved him to Dubai. During his time in Dubai, he joined Amin Kadrie at Skelmore Hospitality Partners to create Roberto’s. The most talked-about restaurant and lounge won applauds and awards in the 1st year of opening, gaining recognition worldwide. With 34 years of expertise in hospitality, Mustafa is proud to be a founding partner and brand ambassador of Roberto’s. While embodying the brand’s experience and culture, Mustafa is also the essence of what it means to be Roberto’s and continues to set the standard for all restaurateurs.








uxury lifestyle hotels are becoming more than just a place to relax, dine, and pamper yourself. A comfortable room with a view is no longer enough to meet the expectations of guests, especially the next generation guest. In a hotspot for leisure and entertainment like Dubai, both tourists and residents alike are always looking for the best places to see and be seen. And hotels are starting to up their entertainment game in a big way. One hotel brand that was ahead of this trend, famous for its nightlife offerings, DJ line-ups, and celebrity sightings are FIVE Hotels and Resorts. Dubbed the hottest hotel on Palm Jumeirah, the brand’s flagship location, FIVE



Palm Jumeirah is a dare-to-be-different hotel that captures the glamour and vibe of Dubai. Set against a breath-taking backdrop of the beach and Dubai Marina skyline, this lifestyle hotel boasts 470 luxurious rooms and suites with ocean or city views. The brand also has a second hotel in Jumeirah Village with 269 pools, lush green terraces and a buzzing culinary scene, a resort on the way in JBR Beach opening in 2023 and its first international hotel in Zurich, Switzerland coming soon. We caught up with Kabir Wadhwani, Director of Entertainment, FIVE Hotels and Resorts to discuss how the brand has managed to create such a dynamic entertainment experience at their hotels.


“FIVE is not simply a ‘hotel,’ we are a luxury lifestyle entertainment destination – with music lying at the core of the FIVE experience. Our FIVE-styled offerings are a unique combination of award-winning culinary offerings, performances from the world’s chart toping DJs and top-notch guest services - all set amidst Insta-Gold interiors and iconic locations. Nightlife is a key component of the ‘Vibe at FIVE’ – from multi-genre nights at Dubai’s favourite rooftop, The Penthouse where Lost Frequencies, Robin Schulz, Morten, Acraze, Joel Corry, Themba, and more, have played to Gourmet Chinese Haute Spot, Maiden Shanghai’s Crazy Rich Ladies Night or nights at exclusive nightclub Bling with special guest star Charlie Sloth at FIVE Palm Jumeirah as well as Pub Nights at famed Tap House, Goose Island at FIVE Jumeirah Village. At FIVE, the fun never stops, and a number of top-of-the-class day parties from Summer Ice and

Naughty Noodles Brunch at Maiden Shanghai

Kabir with Calum Scott

Splash Dance at FIVE Palm Jumeirah’s iconic Social Pool to guest-favourite Naughty Noodles Brunch at hot spot Maiden Shanghai and Pool Party Brunch Fun at Nomad Brunch at Soul Street, FIVE Jumeirah Village are available for all to enjoy as FIVE aims to keep you dancing


from dusk to dawn, from the beach to the dancefloor!” Kabir describes Dubai’s entertainment landscape as “like no other in the world”, saying that Dubai is at the top of the wish list of every well-travelled partygoer for its thriving nightlife, and day parties. He adds, “with a diverse variety of locations, themes, musical styles, and ambience – the city has something for everyone.” But in such a competitive market, how does FIVE stand out? Kabir says, “FIVE stands out for the incredible range of entertainment experiences under one roof that are delivered in a 360-degree fashion – capturing the best of gastronomy, views, music, design and décor, and atmosphere. FIVE’s headlining events such as Skyline Thursdays and Bohemia have proved to be a huge success, with a loyal and engaged audience base that returns to The Penthouse HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022


HCNME MOVERS AND SHAKERS and Beach by FIVE to be part of the global FIVE community. Bohemia at Beach by FIVE has secured its position as the hottest house music beach party from the heart of Palm Jumeirah and features record breaking International DJs such as Lost Frequencies, Robin Schulz and Joris Voorn. The megasuccessful Boho-inspired fiesta and FIVE Signature Event has welcomed over eighteen thousand visitors and generated a 240% increase in Beach revenue as compared to the previous year. The Penthouse boasts a 20.8% increase in overall revenue in 2021 from 2019; and current year-to-date, the nightlife destination has showcased a 70% increase in total revenue compared to the same time in 2021. BLING has displayed a 7% increase year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019 and a 201% increase yearto-date compared to the same period in 2021. Goose Island has achieved 4.6 Stars from 227 Google Reviews and is ranked #3 position out of 146 Bars & Pubs in Dubai on TripAdvisor. Due to an avid and loyal audience, Goose Island on Instagram showcased 34.5% increase total followers, a 125% increase in accounts engaged and a 1233% increase in accounts reached over the last 90 days. The party-going FIVE Family is consistently steadfast – so much so that FIVE Hotels and Resorts in Dubai has successfully

MATTN at Bohemia

welcomed over 3.79 million guests of over 192 nationalities to FIVE’s awardwinning F&B venues and over 4000 events with over 360 top DJs in 1,784 days. FIVE Palm Jumeirah is Ranked No. 1 with 246% higher TREVPAR and 31% higher occupancy, while FIVE Jumeirah Village is Ranked No. 1 with 286% higher TREVPAR and 42% higher occupancy.” We can all agree that the most important component of any great event is the music, and while many hotels can be remembered for hosting amazing DJ’s and artists, FIVE Hotels and Resorts takes their relationship with music up many notches, they don’t just

Entertainment at Soul Street



play music, they make music. “As Dubai’s hottest luxury lifestyle destination, music lies at the core of FIVE and we strive to be global pace setters of the hospitality world. Our venues are a celebration of music and one can experience every musical genre from hip hop and house to commercial hits and pop. We are constantly pushing boundaries in order to introduce the freshest sounds from top of the chart’s artists to the FIVE audience. Musically driven mega, sold out events such as Anjunadeep, Bohemia, Skyline Thursdays, and LUVYA at FIVE have put Dubai on the map for music lovers from around the world. FIVE has helped regional talent get their due global recognition as well. DJ Maryo, for example, has opened for international artists like Eli & Fur and Themba. FIVE’s Musical Director DJ Sam Starks who is a homegrown FIVE talent, has gained tremendous recognition and fanfare through playing Friday nights at The Penthouse and opening for stalwarts such as Lost Frequencies and Robin Schulz. He has now been invited to play at Tomorrowland in the Summer of 2022. FIVE’s very own music label, FIVE Music, helps audiences from around the world to engage with the brand at their convenience via our Instagram Page, Spotify playlists and YouTube Channel. Due to the strong relationships built with visiting artists over the years, FIVE Music is now able


“BY EXPORTING DUBAI’S GLAMOUR AND FLAIR TO THE HEART OF SWISS HOSPITALITY, FIVE ZURICH WILL BE HOME TO HOMEGROWN DUBAI VENUES SUCH AS THE PENTHOUSE, MAIDEN SHANGHAI, AND SOUL STREET, ALL WITH AN EXCITING ADDED FIVE TWIST." to produce original content, which is played and tested at the venues before releasing. This helps us gauge reactions and edit tracks accordingly to give music-lovers exactly what they want, enabling us to stay at the forefront of musical trends.” Kabir goes on to add that the brand is a trailblazer that brings the best of music and entertainment to every venue, and that FIVE’s clientele is the topmost priority. “The Entertainment Team keenly observes and adapts to their requirements. At FIVE, our guest services are always acclimating to feedback from customers to build on our existing entertainment concepts and to develop new ones so that visitors may be welcomed to a new and exciting entertainment experience every time they walk into any of our iconic venues. At FIVE, the aim is to always

Penthouse Tape Agency

enhance guest experience by tapping into all of the senses: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell, and that’s what differentiates us from the norm.” When we asked Kabir why entertainment was such an important pillar to the brand, he said that “FIVE is now recognised as a groundbreaking hospitality brand that is an undisputed leader in delivering the best entertainment experiences in the region. Guests stay with us for an average of 4 nights at a stretch and can explore over 13 varied dining and nightlife concepts during their stay, all of which have grown massively in popularity.” As the Entertainment Director at FIVE Hotels and Resorts, Kabir’s role is to make sure everyone who comes through the doors has the time of their lives. As a passionate music lover himself he dedicates time

to researching new musical styles and the hottest trending artists. “I continually experiment with showcasing new talent and freshly mixed genres that people haven’t listened to before at all of FIVE’s venues to gauge viewers’ reactions. My biggest focus is making sure that all our venues offer ahead-ofthe-trend distinctive experiences that continue to grow in reputation, whilst driving increasing revenue.” “As a digital first brand, FIVE has an extremely active and engaged FIVE social media community of over half a million followers on Instagram alone, with the FIVE Palm Jumeirah IG account having an energetic group of over 328K followers as compared to other leading established hotel groups having far fewer followers on Instagram. FIVE has over 700K active social media followers on YouTube, Spotify, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook. This has been achieved through a thorough social media strategy that stays ahead of digital developments, such as reels and Tik Tok (FIVE has been viewed over 60 million

times via hashtags on this platform), showing real time impressions of the venues via live event captures, engaging the community through competitions, celebrity specials, customer reposting and exclusive offers, using the platforms as VIP concierge communications. FIVE’s strong digital presence ensures a direct two-way communication between brand and consumer enabling FIVE to dynamically respond to customers’ needs faster and more efficiently than others.” FIVE caters to the “luxuryloving, musically inclined, and globetrotting millennials and zillenials (Gen Z). Our visitors are passionate about living their best lives and creating memories of a lifetime,” says Kabir. Their guests are extremely digitally savvy, and they candidly interact with the brand online (as well as on-ground) making FIVE a world-famous Instagram playground. FIVE is taking its distinguishing Entertainment Experience to Europe with its first international outpost, FIVE Zurich in Switzerland. By exporting Dubai’s glamour and flair to the heart of Swiss Hospitality, FIVE Zurich will be home to homegrown Dubai venues such as The Penthouse, Maiden Shanghai, and Soul Street, all with an exciting added FIVE twist. Opening its doors on June 30th, 2022, with a mega performance by global superstar Lost Frequencies at The Penthouse, FIVE Zurich will be the must-visit entertainment destination in Europe according to Kabir. He adds, “of course, we don’t plan to stop there, FLY FIVE, FIVE’s party in the sky will launch in Q4 of 2022.” HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022





ounded by Ambika Rajgopal, Haute Sauce is the UAE’s very first locally based artisanal range of small-batch hot sauces made from fresh ingredients. Haute Sauce was founded in 2019, when Ambika discovered a dearth of good-quality natural hot sauces in the market and decided to remedy this situation by making her own range packed not only with heat and flavour but also completely natural and preservativefree. Haute Sauce has already been part of collaborations with reputable international brands, restaurants, and bars around the city. In 2019, Ambika went out looking to purchase her favourite hot sauce, sadly she could no longer find it anywhere. So, she decided to pick up some fresh ingredients instead and make her own hot sauce. What she ended up with was a large batch of delicious home-made hot sauce, the only problem was that she couldn’t enjoy all of it alone. She bottled some up and gave them to a friend. This friend took it to work and shared them with her office and well, as they say, the rest is history. Soon Ambika was getting orders from word-of-mouth referrals, and the brand Haute Sauce was born. “It was kind of funny because at the time I wasn’t even sure about the spicing or anything, it was just a happy accident in my case. I think at the time I was the only one making hot




sauce, I love food and I love cooking, and clearly, I love spice. This wasn’t a formulated or calculated business plan, I just got more and more orders from referrals, and then people kept coming back and telling me how much they loved it. From there it just grew organically, I started making more sauces and working with restaurants and artisan brands,” she adds. Ambika works in the arts and had no connection to the F&B industry until the day she accidentally became an F&B entrepreneur. When she started receiving orders, she gladly fulfilled them but never thought that it would grow into the brand that it is today. Ambika adds, “along the way I met so many wonderful people in this industry that have been so supportive and so encouraging and I truly believe that we wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for the people that we met on the journey.” Ambika adds, “we’ve been really lucky, of course it is a good product, but we emerged at a time when no one else was doing a similar thing, so we filled a gap in the market. And now it’s incredible to see other homegrown hot sauce brands in the market, it’s a community.” Flavours, food, and cooking has always been a big part of Ambika’s life, so it’s no surprise that her entry into business started with food. “The sense

for flavours is innate in my family, especially on my mum’s side of the family. Food is something that runs in my blood, I love food. I am always thinking about what my next meal is going to be. When I decided to make the sauce, I wasn’t trying to make the perfect hot sauce to sell or anything like that, I just wanted to try my hand at making a really good hot sauce that works for me, and it just ended up being great. The flavours that you get in a preservative-free hot sauce just shines,” she adds. And shine it does, I have had the pleasure of trying Puckering made

from habaneros and raw mangos, and Haunting made from ghost peppers. Within less than 24 hours, my bottle of Puckering was nearly halfway, the sour acidic zing of the raw mangos comes through so well and the heat from the habaneros hits all the right spots. Haunting as the name suggests will haunt you for a few good seconds after you have a taste, and if you a real spice head like me you won’t be running for some water or milk, you’ll be running for more Haute Sauce. The chargrilled onions and roasted tomatoes give it a nice smoky taste, but it’s not for the faint hearted.






All of the sauces are completely natural, vegan, gluten-free, and preservative-free, and comes in two other flavours, Original: habanero and coriander is the spicier sauce of the lot, made from habanero peppers and coriander and guarantees to fire up any dish it touches, and Mellowing: bird’s eye chilli, the brand’s milder sauce has a warm, gentle heat of the feisty and flavourful Thai bird’s eye chilli, along with roasted yellow capsicum. “The name came really quickly and suddenly, “Haute” translates to high in French, and in a way, it fits because the sauce is of high quality and it’s a play on words. It’s funny cause everyone just ends up calling it ‘Hot’ Sauce, and I do now too,” says the Haute Sauce maker. Haute Sauce has never had a big marketing strategy or process, it has grown on the power of word-of-mouth and an 54


engaging Instagram account. During the pandemic Haute Sauce found great success as many were in search for more natural and organic foods, and they spent more time on social media and in the middle of their search there stood Haute Sauce. The brand was also able to collaborate with superstar Rihanna’s multinational cosmetics brand Fenty Beauty. This collaboration introduced the brand to a new customer base and many other opportunities. One of the very first collaborations Haute Sauce did was with restaurant Akira Back at W Dubai The Palm. Once Chef Giovanni Ledon tried Haute Sauce, he teamed up with Ambika to create a dish that featured one of the hot sauces. In November 2020, Mellowing Haute Sauce was one of the key ingredients to be featured in a vegan charred mushroom and pineapple ceviche, which was served at the restaurant. And now the pair are doing it again. “The last collaboration was so well received that we wanted to work together again. Giovanni, like me is a huge spice head and one of the sauces we wanted to work with was Puckering, which is one of my best sellers. It’s a seasonal sauce that we only sell in summer when raw mangos are in season. It’s a great sauce to work with,” says Ambika. The second collaboration with homegrown hot sauce brand, Haute Sauce and will offer a limited-edition special, which will be available through June. The dish ‘Haute Hirame’, features a thinly sliced piece of flounder (Japanese name: Hirame), served on a bed of Puckering Haute Sauce, topped with refreshing cilantro and ginger gremolata. The seasonal hot sauce Puckering combines the tartness of raw mangoes with fiery chili peppers to bring together a sweet, puckeringly sour, and spicy hot sauce, which recalls a memory of drinking raw mango juice during hot summer days. Conceptualised by Akira Back’s Chef de Cuisine, Giovanni Ledon, commented, “I am thrilled to be working with Ambika from Haute Sauce again. We both share a similar love for spicy food that is balanced and packed with flavour. The dish we have worked on this time around highlights Puckering Haute Sauce, made with Indian raw mangoes, harvested at the peak of the season. We can’t wait for you to try the dish that we have created.” Ambika added, “Working with Chef Giovanni and the Akira Back team has been an incredible opportunity - we love the culture of community and support that a restaurant of this stature has built up by working with local artisanal producers.” Ambika says in the future she’d like to retail in artisanal driven markets and retail stores and continue working with like-minded people, and while she never thought she’d ever be a hot sauce marker Haute Sauce has been an incredible chapter in her life.


but they find it extremely difficult to do so. I believe that once everyone shares their struggles, learnings, and endeavours, it can help others learn. When we share, we ultimately feel happier and more positive. However, not everyone is comfortable becoming this vulnerable and that’s because they either fear other people’s judgements, they do not feel comfortable sharing their past shortcomings or they do not want to be replaced by someone who can do their job better than them. I strongly believe that only by sharing our wisdom can the future generation learn from our mistakes and lessons and become even more successful than us.




rowing up as a curious kid, I was always excited to discover something new, and as soon as I came up with a new idea, I wanted to test it out. Ideas for businesses always sprouted in my imagination as I interacted with different people and observed daily life. When I first started working to help support my parents, I would try to learn and get guidance from people that had already worked in that field. I often found myself seeking advice from these intelligent people, but they were always too busy or stuck in their own little bubble, working hard to survive. They were unable to make time to teach me the ropes of life or guide me to follow my career path. Growing up in this environment was different for me. Despite not being able to lean on others for knowledge, I had my mother, who was extremely positive and encouraging. I call her my hero because she constantly pushed me and guided me to follow my dreams. She was the one who put me on the right track and

helped me build strong habits that later supported my career path. Now that I have acquired years of experience and reached this senior level, I want to be the person who goes out of their way to offer guidance, advice, and help to anyone who needs it, without them asking me first. I try to make knowledge accessible to all the people who are curious enough to seek it. This is about being able to make a difference in people’s lives. I need to share the knowledge that I have learned over the past 25 years because everyone needs someone who can inspire them to take that risk, guide them towards their dream, or teach them something new. This is the main reason I started to write this book, was to impact the world by offering new solutions within the hospitality industry and ultimately leave a legacy for the new generation. Becoming a role model for my children and the young generation is very close to my heart. There are multiple individuals out there who have incredible stories, knowledge, and lessons to share with the world,

Rikhsibay Tursunov is a highly motivated and passionate professional with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry working with luxury hotels. Before becoming a well-known individual with high emotional intelligence, he was merely a little boy in the village who was trying to provide for his family at the young age of fourteen. Trying multiple business ventures – like selling vegetables in the bazaar and Samsa at the animal market – helped him learn the true meaning of patience, perseverance, discipline, and genuine communication through connection. Now, emotional intelligence, empathy and understanding are the three main pillars that drive his leadership style. Over the years, Rikhsibay’s communication skills and friendly personality have brought together multiple teams by creating an amicable, open, and reliable working environment for all. His eagerness towards mentoring the younger generation and empowering employees to grow stems from his lack of mentors when growing up. This is why, presently, Rikhsibay is constantly looking for new ways to share his knowledge, experience, and advice with anyone interested so they can have someone to turn to for guidance. The accomplished, resultsdriven business leader from the Luxury Hotel & Leisure sector is now working towards sharing his experience and knowledge of creating a comfortable, efficient, and lively work environment.




ENSURING THE SAFETY of hospitality industry employees


hen you own a hotel or another hospitality-based business, you have a lot of employees who are responsible for taking care of your guests, but you need to take care of your employees in return. The hospitality industry like most other industries have potential threats to your employees' safety. The following recommendations can be considered as additional safety precautions to your hospitality business to keep your employees safer. 1. Install CCTV Having security cameras in place is a must, but they can only do so much. Even the presence of security cameras will deter some people who would think to do harm, either for financial gain or for another reason. But there are some people who won't be deterred even if there are security cameras in place. If they approach one of your employees, the camera system will have a record of the incident, but your employee will still be affected without anyone to assist them. When you install CCTV, you should also have people monitoring it. You can also install the ability to give voice commands into a room to warn people to stop what they're doing. And when you have surveillance cameras near entrances, the front desk clerk will be able to know in advance if something suspicious is approaching, which provides comfort to guests and is an added layer of support to hotel workers.


2. Have Emergency Plans in Place When you have a hotel, you have an entire building full of complex systems to manage. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, including problems with electrical and gas systems, fire hazards, weatherrelated problems, and more. Make a list of all the scenarios that could occur and come up with a plan for your staff to execute in the event of an emergency. You might need to have multiple lists of emergency action plans, depending on the position that an employee holds. For instance, in the event of an emergency in the utility room of the hotel, the maintenance worker might be in charge of determining the location of the alarm, and the front desk worker might be in charge of helping people evacuate the building. You'll need an emergency action plan for a wide variety of events, and you'll need several steps for the action plans of each type of event. For instance, you'll need a layout of the building so that people can navigate a way out of the property in the event of a fire. 3. Offer Appropriate Equipment While there's always the possibility that a person or a major event could put your staff in danger, even everyday chemicals, situations, and objects could potentially harm your employees. For instance, hotel workers who spend their time in the kitchen or in another area of the hotel that often has slippery floors could have a major fall but making sure that your staff has slip-resistant shoes and ensuring that floors are cleaned of grease can

greatly reduce the likelihood of someone slipping. Buying shoes for people isn't a good option because it's important that people have a good fit with shoes that support their feet and feel comfortable throughout a work shift. But you can reimburse your employees up to a certain amount to encourage them to buy slip-resistant shoes. You should also offer personal protective equipment (PPE) for anyone who will be working with chemicals, using sharp objects, or doing anything else that OSHA says requires PPE. 4. Provide Hotel Panic Buttons Hotel workers especially will have times when they're all alone whether it's in a room that they're cleaning or at the front desk. This leaves them open to all kinds of possible threats. You can keep your employees safer from these kinds of threats by giving them wireless hotel panic buttons to wear. They can press the button to alert their co-workers that there's something wrong and that they need assistance. The right type of alert system will work even in Wi-Fi dead spots and during power outages, and they can prevent false alarms. This is one more way that you can show your employees that they'll be safe even when they have to work in a room alone. 5. Teach Proper Lifting Techniques Injury rates for housekeepers are on the rise, with about 75% of respondents expressing that they experienced workrelated pain within the last year. There are plenty of ways that housekeepers can protect themselves from these kinds of injuries and pain, though, including by using proper lifting techniques, holding things around mid-waist, and choosing long-handled tools for vacuuming, mopping, and other tasks. OSHA also offers plenty of guidelines on how people should lift objects to stay safe while working. If you own a hotel or have another hospitality business that requires staff to be by themselves or work with equipment and materials that could be dangerous, you should learn about ways that you can protect them. You’ll also keep people safer if you have plans in place and take other measures ahead of time so that no one is caught off-guard in the event of an emergency. These measures could also increase your staff retention rates, so your efforts will eventually pay for themselves.




Founder of Cypher Urban Roastery

Like any visionary organisation, Cypher began with a real-life story born from a real need. It is a story of nostalgia, of searching for quality of life, and of a journey to reproduce an ancient and beautiful coffee experience in the Middle East. Operating through their state-of-theart roastery located in Al Quoz, Cypher is on a mission to change the way people consume coffee. This mission starts with sourcing the highest standard of organic coffee beans, providing exceptional service to retailers, and ensuring that people in the Middle East and beyond can enjoy some of the best coffee that the world has to offer. Mohammad Merhi, Founder of Cypher Urban Roastery gives us a break down of the company’s USP, process, and expansion plans. “After spending a couple of years in the financial corporate world, I decided to pursue what I am most passionate about and to have a purpose-

ful life. I believe in the importance of artisanal products, and social consciousness and have always had a natural affinity for coffee. Following my passion, I left my finance and corporate background behind to pursue my dream and established a coffee holding company; Cypher Roastery LLC,” says Merhi. Within the umbrella of Cypher there are 4 main activities with a focus on wholesale: > Import fresh green coffee and resell it to other roasters in the region. > Roast and distribute coffee beans to cafés, restaurants, hotels, and offices in the region. > E-commerce presence that serves individual clients who order freshly roasted beans through Cypher Roastery’s website. > Internationally recognised Coffee academy where the company conducts training for their clients and offer various internationally recognised Coffee Certifications from organisations such as the SCA (specialty coffee association) and CQI (coffee quality institute).

Merhi says that at Cypher they are committed to sourcing, roasting, and providing great quality coffee responsibly. “As well as engaging and educating the whole community from farmers to brewers. We endeavour to nurture like-minded people and businesses and positively impact our community and the world around us.” “If you are buying whole beans, we always recommend buying rested coffee. Give it 5-7 days after the production/roast date. It’s always good to give the coffee sometime so it forms its character. Freshly roasted coffee holds CO2, which can affect the quality of your brew negatively. CO2 will break away from the coffee bean rapidly right after roasting. So, it’s always better to give it some time until it stabilises. All our bags have one-way valves that permit the CO2 to leave and blocks O2 from coming in. That minimises the possibility of staling,” he adds. Merhi started out roasting from his home in 2015 and travelled to various coffee origins such as Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Uganda. He says this helped him establish relationships with various producers, understand the market dynamics and explore the possibility of importing green coffee and reselling it in the region. “In 2016 we started the development of our roasting facility and storage facility and started to organically grow. As we grew, we started implementing sustainable practices. For example, we started to utilise eco-friendly packaging. Furthermore, to reduce our operational carbon footprint, we have initiated the installation of solar panels on the roofs of our facility which is expected to help in reducing our carbon emissions and generate 65% of our power requirements through clean energy.” Earlier in 2021, Cypher also launched their new 100% natural fruit-based snacks called Snackwell. With the wellbeing of coffee-producing communities in mind, Snackwell products were developed and are sourced from those coffee producers who harvest fruits alongside their renowned coffee beans to generate other sources of revenue to sustain their families and livelihood. HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022



More diversity = more information. More information = better & faster decision - making.

Diversity and Inclusion



o you know what I like most about working in hotels? The diversity of the days. No day is ever the same, regardless of what hotel you’re working in and despite the changes the industry has gone through over the years. Yet, in some ways, hotels often lack diversity, too. When was the last time you were checked into a hotel by a staff member, who was in a wheelchair? Or by an employee who was otherwise a person of determination? Have a think. I’ll wait. Personally, I can only remember once such instance in the last 30 odd years I’ve spent in the industry. Odd that, surely, because our guests come in all shapes and sizes, from all kinds of different backgrounds, and are generally a fairly diverse lot, yet our teams often aren’t. One of the very basics of



great customer service, if I remember my trainee days correctly, is showing empathy and understanding for guests – you know, step into their shoes, and see things from their perspective. How are we to accomplish this, though, if our teams aren’t as diverse as our guests? I’m not talking about gender equality in our teams – that’s an ongoing discussion which, luckily, is producing results and showing progress. What I’m talking about are the great number of things, many of them invisible, which we’re currently not usually considering, and which could make us a more diverse industry. The arguments for diversity are compelling. More diversity = more information. More information = better & faster decisionmaking. Research has shown again and again that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones in decision-making, because they process information more carefully. A little while ago, I had the pleasure of speaking to an industry veteran in the UK, who – as he puts it – is an “Aspie”, i.e. he has Asperger’s. He walked me through what hotel and other travel experiences are like for people with neurodiverse conditions (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Dyspraxia, etc.). Navigating airports or hotel lobbies, for example, can often be challenging, because of bright lights, lots of background noise, and large groups of people, but because neurodiverse

conditions are mostly invisible, such travellers get less support than, say, travellers who are wheelchair-bound. Equally, neurodiverse people find it more difficult to get employed in the industry, because our workplaces and routines aren’t made for them. I was astonished to learn that, very often, accommodating “differently able” employees wouldn’t really cost a lot of money and time – it’s just that we don’t know, because we’re not really discussing it as an industry. A few years ago, a friend refurbished his rather tired-looking hotel restaurant and turned it into a vibrant, welcoming, and exciting space. He spent a lot of money, but the feedback and uptake were largely positive. Everyone seemed to love the new space, but then a regular guest commented that he preferred the old space to the new one. When asked why, he said that previously, the chairs had armrests, which he could hold onto when navigating the restaurant or sitting at a table and that, without them, he feels less able to do so. It turned out that the gentleman had difficulties navigating open spaces, which – just by looking at him – you’d have never guessed. Some of the larger companies in our industry have started to employ Chief Diversity Officers (a.k.a. Chief Inclusion Officers), but by and large we’re lagging behind other industries, and I wonder why? Is it, because we don’t understand? Or because we’re


afraid of the unknown. It’s not difficult from a technical perspective, i.e. workplaces, routines, and policies could be adapted relatively easily, but it appears to be difficult from a cultural perspective. We seem to be comfortable with the status quo. Yet, companies which decide to go beyond the current realities, often report very positive feedback, both employee happiness-related and turnover-wise. Sweden’s largest burger chain, Max Burgers, for example, employs people on the autism spectrum in nearly all its stores and found that staff turn-over decreased and customer feedback increased. For those of us on the, what I like to call “privileged side of things” this isn’t an easy discussion to have, but it can be made much, much easier, if we simply reach out to differently abled people and ask them for advice. Just being able to listen to and understanding the other side can be the start of the journey, which, purely based on research and data, leads to a win-win for all sides: Employers, employees, and guests. Diversity creates a workforce full of different skills, talents and customs. This enables you to create a multi-functional team

of outstanding employees who can supercharge company performance. Even better, when you attract a diverse range of talent, you make the workplace more interesting, engaging and fun to be in – increasing employee engagement and retention. Want to get started? Organisations like Dubai Chamber make a great starting point and usually have a lot of resources available. I firmly believe that, in the future, DEI (diversity, equality, and inclusion) will be the one differentiator that can help position your company above the competition both with customers and job seekers – but you’ll need a clear strategy and repeatable processes to succeed on this journey.





TABU Theatrical Gastronomy, Storytelling, and Art The interior is inspired by Yokocho, Tokyo's back-alley scene (a type of underground restaurant-bar in moden Japan.)





rom Infini Concepts, the agency that brought to life Cé La Vi and Miss Tess, comes high-end modern Japanese restaurant TABŪ. TABŪ is set to bring Dubai’s diners a unique new culinary experience complete with an unexpected, theatrical twist and an artistic finesse. Situated on the 23rd floor at The St. Regis Downtown, with stunning views of the city’s skyline and the Burj Khalifa, TABŪ will take the guests on a sophisticated, avant-garde culinary journey. Featuring different staging areas, with multiple acts, TABŪ is more than just a ‘dinner-show venue’ – it has unex-

pected world-class entertainment, with diverse theatrical elements, which aren’t limited to just the performances. The modern yet authentic Japanese, carefully crafted beverages, and theatrical service style are key components of TABŪ, where creativity is perceived with every sense, guiding guests through a vibrant, artistic culinary journey. The entertainment is present all the time and all around, where guests least expect it, guaranteeing a unique experience with every single visit. Fusing authentic Japanese flavors with a playful twist, TABŪ’s Executive Chef, Roberto Segura, constantly experiments with innovative culinary approaches to ensure that guests are intrigued with unique textures and flavours, interactive live cooking, and a variety of recipes that will have them appreciate the beautiful art behind TABŪ’s dishes. Everything on TABŪ’s menu zings with flavour and is served and plated with an artistic finesse, enhancing the theatrical food service. Catering to all tastes and preferences, the extensive menu comprises a wide range of dishes, including a variety of sushi, salads, ceviches, hot and cold starters, Ishiyaki stone bowls, Yakimono, as well as a selection of main dishes and different steak cuts. Diners can start their dining experience with an assortment from the Chef Sushi selections which includes the signature Nigiri, Sashimi and Maki Rolls, followed by starters such as O-toro Tartare in Sesame Cones; Sea Urchin on its shell & Caviar; Japanese Hamachi Usuzukuri; Gold gyoza with burrata & truffle; Japanese Wagyu Steamed Bun and more. To continue the culinary journey, guests can choose from a variety of different traditional Yakimono and Ishiyaki stone bowl dishes, including Chilean Seabass Clay Pot; Slow Braised Beef Short Rib; King Crab Leg; Jumbo Prawn; and Chargrilled Avocado, which are followed by delicious main dishes such as Hibachi Konro Lobster; the ‘Black’ black Cod; Spicy Miso Baby Chicken as well as a Black Angus steak cuts, premium 30-days dry aged Japanese Wagyu and many more. Alternatively, guests can opt for TABŪ’s Omakase, with options to choose from a 6 or 8-course premium chef’s selection of dishes. Beverage pairing and tasting experiences are also available for diners wishing to experiment. Guaranteeing something for everyone, TABŪ is also vegan-friendly. The restaurant’s interior is inspired by the back-alley Tokyo scene, Yokocho, a type of hidden restaurant-bar in today’s Japan – contemporary yet mystical, featuring a streamlined, aerodynamic, underground Japanese design. By adding unexpected elements and furniture selection, TABŪ delivers a timeless, rich atmosphere with a strong presence of Japanese aesthetics. Post-dinner, guests can uncover the mysterious world of ‘THE OTHER SIDE’ beyond TABŪ on the 24th floor, a reservation-only speakeasy lounge club, ideal for those looking for more privacy and to continue their night. TABŪ also has a private dining area for a more intimate gathering, as well as an outdoor terrace where guests can enjoy shisha with a selection of premium flavours and a stunning backdrop of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. HOTELNEWSME.COM | JUNE 2022




Area Director of Sales and Marketing, Dubai Festival City Hotels

The summer is here, and residents and travellers are ready for what the industry has in store to keep them cool. Michael Borges, Area Director of Sales, and Marketing at Dubai Festival City Hotels, shares the hotel’s projected growth for summer, their performance in the first quarter of 2022, and trends that holiday enthusiasts can expect in the coming months. What can the industry expect from this year’s summer? InterContinental, InterContinental Residence Suites, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn & Suites at Dubai Festival City are known by their diverse leisure offerings, and we anticipate our loyal GCC guests to visit our hotels attracted by our culinary diversity and our convenient connection to Dubai Festival City Mall. With some countries still experiencing partial restrictions and political instability rising in others, Dubai is expected to benefit from incremental traffic and our hotels in Dubai Festival City will not be any different. Booking pace indicates incremental growth from non-traditional markets already, a result of some first-class destination marketing we have seen throughout Expo. We are confident to experience consistent demand connected to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, along with other sporting events making an impact on our future occupancy. Furthermore, as every year, we will benefit from the overwhelming support of IHG’s global activations promoting summer breaks throughout its portfolio of brands.



Tell us about IHG’s DFC first quarter performance of 2022? We are very pleased as we have seen an extremely solid performance in all our four properties – InterContinental, InterContinental Residence Suites, Crowne Plaza, and Holiday Inn & Suites. We saw the acceleration of travel last year, and starting Q3 2021, we witnessed numbers comparable to great quarters pre-pandemic. This trend continued in Q1 2022, and we expect a further increase as consumer have more confidence in travel both for leisure and business. We have captured precious share points from our competitors and delivered great hospitality through a cautious and a strategically planned segment mix. This exceptional performance is the result of the power of our brands and the faith our guests have in us, also how we handled pandemic, and it would have not been possible without the support of our owners. How can the industry make the most of the summer? Captivate guests through creativity and innovation, deliver on the consumer’s idea of a great stay and focus on creating amazing experiences. Travellers want to experience our culture, savour the best of our cuisine, and feel true hospitality through amazing service, not ostentatious, just natural. Everyone has great rooms and dining outlets, but it’s the genuine service provider who will make the most of guests’ stays.

What are trends that holiday enthusiasts can expect in the coming months? We worked around the clock to deliver delightful Ramadan experiences. It is always a unique opportunity to give back to our community and showcase our culinary diversity around the cluster. Now, we will focus on another exciting summer season, where we traditionally partner with the best of Al Futtaim verticals (mall and entertainment) to create unique staycation experiences. A unique leisure add-on is our new Planet Trekkers kids club with creative and fun activities for our little guests to enjoy. For the FIFA World Cup 2022, there are plans in place to transform our leisure deck to be the ultimate spot to watch the matches with astonishing views of the city`s skyline as the backdrop. We also plan to launch a multi-service integrated membership solution, where communities will be able to benefit from our clustered facilities such as food and beverages, fitness, wellbeing and entertainment for all ages, a solution that will enable us to target different needs and capture communities from non-traditional catchment areas. Growth outlook for the next 5 years and some key announcements? Technology will continue to impact the way we travel and stay in hotels, and we expect to see more advancement in this area in the coming years. Our cloud-based solution, IHG Concerto, the first of its kind in our industry, is critical to the work we are doing in this space. Blending core hotel applications into one seamless platform, capable of enhancing guest, owner, and colleague experiences, it serves as the foundation for creating our digital advantage.

food safety plans Efficient. Compliant. Streamlined

Leveraging today’s IoT technology and Emerson’s comprehensive end-to-end services, our customers can rely on us to help their food safety plans become more efficient, compliant and streamlined in order to help grow their business. Transmitters make it easy and cost efficient to cover an area with Bluetooth Low Energy to internet connectivity to centralize management of temperature monitoring with a fraction of the effort required by alternative technologies.






hen I returned to Sri Lanka after my degree in entrepreneurship at Babson College, Boston, I expected to spend the rest of my life growing and selling our single-origin Dilmah Tea, together with my brother and father. What I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the beautiful Ceylon tea country in the cool, central highlands at an elevation of almost 1500m. The air is pristine. The atmosphere is refreshing and relaxing. Time almost seems to stand still. The valleys are dotted with historic tea planters’ bungalows and I thought they would make ideal boutique hotels for travellers



who wanted a truly unique experience in the highlands of our island. That was how the world’s first tea bungalow resort - Ceylon Tea Trails came into being and I became an accidental hotelier! It has been my privilege to showcase an entirely different kind of “slow” tourism to guests travelling to Sri Lanka - from our rich history and culture to our biodiversity. Resplendent Ceylon resorts are small boutique properties offering a genuine connection to the country and its people. Tourism has been one of the cornerstones of Sri Lanka. It provides direct employment to thousands of fellow citizens and supports the livelihoods of many more. I’ve come to realise that

it is more than just a job as a hotelier; it is a life force, to delight each guest. We are a resilient community of people. Time and time again adversities of different types have struck our island, both natural and human inflicted, and yet there’s great deal of hope and optimism that we harbour within ourselves. Tourism must and will continue. It is more important than ever at this time. Tourism creates a chain reaction of goodwill on the economy of Sri Lanka, creating opportunities and earnings which improves living standards, thereby also developing the infrastructure that supports the economy. There’s a healthy exchange of cultural awareness and a direct source of foreign exchange earnings which are lacking at the moment. The additional income to our country will ease a number of interconnected issues it is facing today. At Resplendent Ceylon, our focus lies in curating meaningful journeys of discovery, exploration and awareness. Tourism to us is an opportunity, an invitation to share the beauty and soul of our island with guests from across the world.


Innovation Awards JUNE 17


For more information, contact: JOAQUIM D’COSTA +971 50 440 2706 |