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How hotels are running to meet our needs




How hotel owners are uniting to ensure they don’t get left behind when it comes to dealing with the big brands

We catch up with Nikki Beach general manager Alexander Schneider about bringing the quintessential Miami party vibe to the shores of Dubai

A sneak peek at Dukes Dubai: A hotel so British that is has a unique link to James Bond 007


February 2017



10 | NEWS A summary of regional and global news 16 | NEW OPENINGS Al Rayaan Hotel Doha joins the Curio Collection; new resort and waterpark for Dubai; Avani Hotel to open at Ibn Battuta Gate 24 | COVER STORY: THE EVOLUTION OF WELLNESS the hotel industry is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that guests are offered a Wellness package like no other 30 | GENERAL MANAGER INTERVIEW Alexander Schneider on the challenges he faces at the helm of Nikki Beach Resort & spa Dubai

10 News

16 New openings

30 GM Interview

34 Face to face

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



February 2017

Contents 46

CEO Wissam Younane Managing Director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Senior Sales Manager Nick Clowes

Group Editor, Hospitality Crystal Chesters Editor Patrick Ryan Art Director Aaron Sutton Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon Contributor Marouane Al Mandri Photography Hayder Al Zuhairi

SUBSCRIBE 34 | FACE TO FACE WITH SIMON ALLISON The CEO of Hoftel talks about the challenges hotel owners face and how the landscape is changing for the entire industry 40 | SNEAK PEEK of DUKES dubai We take a behind-the-scenes look at the hotel that aims to bring a quintessential British flavour to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah 46 | CHAIN FOCUS Hilton Worldwide in profile 50 | GULFOOD PREVIEW All that’s happening at the middle east's largest food and hospitality event 58 | MARKETPLACE ROUNDTABLE A discussion with some of the region’s leading in-room accessory suppliers


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017 PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

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

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IN GOOD HEALTH As 2017 well and truly kicks in we look at how hotels are pulling out all the stops when it comes to offering wellness packages


patrick ryan Editor

@ThatPaddyRyan Follow us on our social media pages @hotelnewsme /hotelnewsme hotelnewsme

t’s all about change this month at Hotel News Middle East in more ways than one. The first thing you’ll notice, thanks to the obligatory mugshot, is that the magazine has a new editor in the form of yours truly. It’s an absolute honour and privilege to be at the helm of a title that has a reputation for excellence in a sector in which nothing but the best will do. I couldn’t be more excited about the year ahead and the challenges that are coming this way. It’s proving hard to predict just what’s going on in the world right now, not least because of the changes that have been made in Washington, with the appointment of Donald Trump to the White House. But with all the chaos and uncertainty there has never been a better time to slow down and focus on our own wellbeing. We’ve spoken to a number of leading industry professionals about how wellness services in hotels have evolved to the point

where they're an absolutely essential part of the experience for guests right now. From clocks being reset to midnight to banish the anxiety that’s caused by not having enough time, to colouring-in stations for adults inside guestrooms and mobile phone app-guided meditation we look at the latest innovations sweeping the industry. Elsewhere in this month’s edition we take a sneak peek inside Dukes Hotel on Palm Jumeirah and see how the most quintessential of British boutique hotels is planning on navigating the larger than life Dubai hospitality scene. We also pick the brains of Nikki Beach general manager Alexander Schneider about his management philosophy and how he has transported the Miami Beach concept to the shores of Dubai. Regards, Patrick Ryan

I would like to take this opportunity to set the record straight about an article that appeared in last month’s issue. In the January 2017 edition, we published a story titled: “Women in hospitality: breaking the glass ceiling”. This was based on a comment piece provided by Assia Riccio, founder of Evolvin’ Women. We have learned that the article misrepresented the opinions of the author and we apologise to Assia Riccio and to our readers for any inconvenience or embarrassment the story may have caused. The correct version of the article is published in this issue of Hotel News Middle East on p22.


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017



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For News, features and more, Visit Follow us on twitter for breaking news: @cbn_ME Follow us on Instagram to see what we’re up to: @Hotelnewsme Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest issue on:

Iran’s international arrivals up 18.3% according to study

Iran is on the rise as a tourism destination according to an international study. International arrivals were up by 18.3 per cent from last year, figures released by travel intelligence analyst Forward Keys revealed. The study comes ahead of the first ever Iran Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (IHTIC) which is taking place in 10

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Tehran from 7-8 February. Olivier Jager, CEO of ForwardKeys, said: “Our findings support the conclusion that political change in Iran is making the country more approachable – an attractive place to visit and potentially do business. "The image of Iran around the world is changing. Its many tourist attractions, historic, religious and spec-

tacular, are once again being emphasised. I expect visitor numbers to increase, so long as Iran’s airport capacity can keep pace.” The main source regions for air travel to Iran are North America, Europe and the Middle East. Together, they made up 83.7% of international arrivals during 2016. Germany, with a market share of 14.3%, was up by

8.3%, this was followed by the USA (10.7%) up 9.3%. Bahrain, Canada and the UK, all had significant market shares as well, indicating a growth in visitors to Iran. Figures showed there was a significant rise in visitors from China with 15.3% coming from that region, a 25.7 per cent increase from the previous year.

Regional News

Host Milan reveals programme details for 2017 exhibition The 40th edition of Host Milan is set to provide a full programme of events, product showcases and competitions to help and encourage hospitality businesses to innovate their offers. Taking place from 20 – 24 October 2017 at Fieramilano, Italy, the exhibition will showcase the latest trends in food, hospitality and retail. Materials and solutions for differentiating hotel interiors will be showcased in the exhibition area, with a focus on recent innovations in tableware, furnishings and uniforms. Tableware on display will range from eco-friendly disposables to classic, sophisticated solutions for mise en place. Confirmed tableware suppliers set to exhibit at the show include Abert, Aficom, Dag Style, Giblor’s, LSA, MASA, Parotex, Richard Ginori, Rivolta Carmignani, Sambonet, Schoenhuber Franchi, Schoenwalt, Siggi, Tognana and Vista Alegre. Meanwhile, furnishing

PO Box 82424

Doubletree on course for Jumeirah Village Triangle opening

Host Milan will showcase the latest trends in food, hospitality and retail

companies exhibiting are to include Baero, Calligaris, Elbi, Gaber, Indel B, Infiniti, ISM, Scab Design and Vitrifrigo. The foodservice equipment and coffee areas will include everything from kitchen equipment to solutions for bars, coffee and technology for hotels. The show pavilions will feature various events set to address the future of hospitality innovation. Environmental sustainability will be covered during the Futurbar Green event, conceived by Simone Micheli for Comufficio. It will feature case studies of design and requalification projects, design and

Mob: +971 50 1653920, +971 50 6561050

technology solutions and legislative changes. The ‘Non Solo Prima Colazione’ (‘Not Just Breakfast’) event by Massimo Mussapi, is a space aimed at reinventing the breakfast area of the hotel, making it a useful and profitable operation 24/7. Being hosted in collaboration between, a consortium at Milan’s Polytechnic University, and Host, the international HOSThinking design award will celebrate future design. The competition will return in a new format with the title ‘10 Designers for 100 Products’. Designers will develop futuristic hospitality innovations live at the show.


A 256-bedroom Hilton Doubletree hotel is due to be completed next year as part of Nakheel’s Al Khail Avenue Mall project. Al Khail Avenue, which is currently under construction on Dubai’s Al Khail Road, will consist of the Doubletree hotel and a 1.2 million sq ft mall, hosting 350 stores, at Jumeirah Village. The update on the project comes after Nakheel Malls signed an agreement with retail giant Alshaya – who represent brands including Debenhams, PF Chang’s, Boots and H&M to name but a few – to open 25 branches at Al Khail Avenue. In addition to the 256-bedroom hotel and 350 stores, Al Khail Avenue will also be home to a 14-screen cinema.

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Regional News

Stand Awards announced for ATM

Who Said That “Here you also have the short term problem with oil prices collapsing and government revenues under pressure and entertainment budgets being cut. Occupancy isn’t much affected but rates are getting hurt. Not only in Dubai and Abu Dhabi but throughout the UAE.”

Simon Allison, CEO, Hoftel

GO FIGURE U.S. dollar constancy currency, year-over-year comparisons: Middle East Occupancy:

Exhibitors at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) will be going all out to showcase their flair and business acumen after it was confirmed that the exhibitor awards will be running again. This will be the third consecutive year that the awards, which recognise the design creativity and business-friendly appeal of exhibiting companies, have been running. “Arabian Travel Market would not be the huge success it is without the massive amount of effort and investment that goes into creating and manning the exhibitor stands at the show,” said Simon Press, senior exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market. Press added that stand design is an extension of a company’s brand identity and essential to the visitor’s experience at the event. This year, the five categories are Best Stand Design, Best Stand for Doing Business, Best Stand Feature, Best Stand Per-

The Address Hotels and Resorts won the award for Best Stand Design at Arabian Travel Market 2016

sonnel and Best Stand within the Travel Tech Show at ATM. The judges, tasked with picking the best entries, are Leo Fewtrell, GM, Dubai Travel & Tour Agents Group (DTTAG); Fiona McAndrewSharp, sales and marketing director, TTN; Nick Hall, MD, Digital Tourism Think Tank

and Daniel Pearce, managing director, TTG Media. Judging takes place on April 25 with the winners unveiled at a photo shoot, at the event, the very next day. Once the winners have been announced there will be a public vote to determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award.

-2.2% to and Copthorne takes 66.2% Millennium over Radisson Blu Average daily rate (ADR):

-7.2% to US$174.60 Revenue per available room (RevPAR):

-9.2% to $115.59 12

The management of the Radisson Blu Downtown has been taken over by hotel group Millenium and Copthorne. The hotel will now be known as the M Hotel Downtown. In a statement yesterday the company said: "From Monday, 16 January 2017, the Carlson Rezidor Group is no longer managing the former Radisson Blu Downtown, located on Al Asayel Street, Business Bay. "Millennium and Copthorne, Middle East and Africa (MEA) announces the introduction of the M Hotel Downtown by Millennium with the opening of the first M Hotel Brand in Dubai, signifying continued strategic expansion for the Millennium & Copthorne Group across the re-

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

gion and ensuring it is firmly on track to meet its target of 100 hotels by 2020. "There is no change in ownership of this property and ensure you that the day-to-day operations, services and quality will remain."

Regional News

Ramada Ajman is not going to waste

The hotel has installed a WasteStation machine, a food waste macerator and dewatering unit that can process 700kg of food waste per hour. Iftikhar Hamdani, general manager, Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, said: “This WasteStation will help improve and hasten the process and increase efficiency in our waste management scheme.” The hotel generates a daily average of 360kg in food waste including fruit and vegetable peels and food scraps. The WasteStation functions by breaking the waste down into fine particles, which then are fed into the dewatering system. Excess liquid is then forced out from the macerated waste by a centrifugal action. The food waste is then placed in a compost machine and the fertiliser is used in the hotel's urban farm. The WasteStation is developed by UK firm IMC, whose vice president for international sales in the GCC, Matt Roberts, was delighted by the partnership with Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman. "We are confident that our collaboration with them will encourage other companies and establishments to step up their food waste disposal procedure, and help them save time and costs, and at the same time, benefit the environment," he said.

Data under scrutiny at tech conference There was a glimpse into the future of technology at the Hospitality Technology Conference 2017 in Dubai on Wednesday, 25 January. Hotel News ME caught up with CEO Michael Blake at the event in Dubai’s Ritz Carlton Hotel. “It’s very important to get together in one space because we need to integrate,” he said. “We are all working for a common cause which is to make to the guest experience better.” Blake said that most delegates were asking about the ability to innovate quickly in the age of digitisation. He added that the challenge was to find a way to stop the industry from thinking in a linear fashion but that it couldn’t be solved by any one person, it needed the whole community to come together to find a way. One hurdle, Blake pointed out, was that all agencies are able to spend a great deal of time and resources collating data on guests but no one has been able to figure out how to implement the data effectively. He described the experience as a one-way relationship.

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Regional News

A brilliant mix

Hundreds of industry professionals turned up to catch the cream of the UAE's bartenders take each other on. More than 250 people attended the World Class UAE 2017 Bartender Competition which took place in Zengo at Le Royal Meridien, Dubai. "It was an amazing day to see so many talented and creative bartenders in action displaying their love for the industry along with so many spectators in support of the competition," said Jason Clarke, Path Trainer, Luxury Brands Marketing, African and Eastern. "World Class UAE is dedicated to educating bartenders across the region to help create a passionate community to provide the finest beverage experiences to those that dine, drink and socialise in Dubai." There was standing room only as the venue was split into two separate arenas for the entrants to do battle with each other. Inside, there were 14 bartenders competing in the coffee cocktail round which saw guests sampling the beverages before leaving tokens into boxes to vote for the People's Choice Award. Meanwhile, outside 12 bartenders battled in the Simplicity vs Eccentricity challenge. Each contestant had minutes to present two cocktails that showcased their talents in front of the panel of judges. It proved to be a clean sweep for Grosvenor House with the top being Francesco Galdi, bar manager, Buddha Bar, and Ruslan Svezhenko, bar manager, Bar 44.

World Class UAE is dedicated to educating bartenders across the region to help create a passionate community” Jason Clarke


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Gulfood unveils Power Brands segment More than 140 international food and beverage producers will come together at the new Power Brands segment at Gulfood 2017, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 26 February to 2 March. The Power Brands Segment will connect regional buyers with international producers and distributors of F&B brands, represented by heavyweights including Unilever, Nestle, Del Monte and IFFCO. Trixie LohMirmand, SVP exhibitions and events management, DWTC said: “Following unprecedented demand for space, the new Power Brands platform will read like a Who’s Who of the F&B world, reflecting the growing need for quality products and services in this region.” Del Monte (UAE) head of marketing, Heloise Buzet, said: “2017 is a special year for Del Monte as we are celebrating our 125-year anniversary. We have come a long way, focusing always on quality, product innovation and freshness. During these years, Del Monte kept its promise by serving a meaningful cause – the health of its consumers – and providing nutritious, convenient and affordable fresh products. “For us, Gulfood and the new Power Brands segment in particular is an amazing opportunity to do business. As a truly global event, we are able to examine trends while increasing our trade networks to export on an even more significant scale.” Fonterra, an exporter of dairy products is set to debut this year at Gulfood with the aim of growing its presence in the MENA region. Santiago Aon, general manager Fonterra Middle East commented: “Built on the expertise and heritage of New Zealand dairy farming, Fonterra is behind brands known and loved by millions of people in more than 140 countries. “We’ve supported the growth in dairy consumption across the Middle East

and Africa for more than 40 years and we are focused on future investment and growth in this important region. Gulfood is a great opportunity for us to showcase our high-quality NZMP ingredients and Anchor Food Professionals products. We are keen to engage with customers to better understand and meet their evolving need.” Products being featured in the Power Brands segment at Gulfood 2017 include elite brands distributed regionally by La Marquise International, a specialist department of Buhaleeba Group’s Foodservice Division, and Spanish food and beverage company MVF Select. La Marquise, which recorded a 25% increase in sales in 2016, will use Gulfood 2017 to promote a range of speciality products including Saffron Syrup by 1883 Maison Routin. MVF Select, which markets its products as perfect for “the most discerning palates”, is looking to its fifth Gulfood showing to introduce ‘Spherification Products’, a natural health product of fruit and honey. In addition, it will exhibit its bestsellers, original Organic Caviar and Halal Meats and Pâté (deer and ostrich). Yamila Tawfik, MVF Select’s international business manager said: “The region is a very important market for us. It’s the connection between Europe and Asia and offers great potential as a fast-growing market in high gastronomic products.” The F&B purveyors are among 140 headline names lining up for Gulfood’s first Power Brands feature. Power Brands is one of eight dedicated segments now housed within Gulfood to ensure buyers can navigate the expansive show more effectively. The other sectors are: Beverages; Dairy; Fats & Oils; Health, Wellness & Free-From; Pulses, Grains & Cereals; Meat & Poultry; and World Food. Gulfood 2017 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors.

Regional News

Angelo Po showcases latest kitchen equipment at exclusive event More than 100 senior hoteliers, F&B operators and commercial kitchen designers attended a networking event to mark the teaming up of professional cooking systems firm, Angelo Po with Marmon Group. The event, hosted by Catering News Middle East in collaboration with Angelo Po and Marmon Group, took place at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai, on 16 January. Guests were treated to an array of food cooked up on Angelo Po’s Icon 9000, which was demonstrated live on stage.

Giorgio Pignataro and Carlo Pignataro from the Dubai office of Angelo Po group

Giorgio and Carlo Pignataro who manage Angelo Po in the Middle East commented: “We are very happy with the event and how it turned out. “We had over 100 highly qualified guests, ranging from dealers, executive chefs,

consultants and F&B managers, all industry leaders. “Our top management delivered a powerful message of growth and commitment that was very well received by the audience. “BNC Publishing did an

excellent job of ensuring the smooth flow of the event. “Overall it was a beautiful night and we hope our guests will keep fond memories of it and that it will soon become a tradition.” A roundtable discussion on the fundamentals of kitchen design featuring some of the biggest names in the industry, including Gary Rhodes, took place before the networking event. Participants discussed and debated the trends, opportunities and challenges impacting commercial kitchen design in 2017.

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February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Regional News

The Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya

Oberoi Beach Resort signs deal with Staytus Luxury hospitality firm Staytus has announced a partnership with the Oberoi Beach Resort in Al Zorah, Ajman, which opens next month. “Oberoi is synonymous with providing the right blend of service, luxury and quiet efficiency,” said Burkhard Wolter, general manager of the Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah. “Staytus fits perfectly with that proposition, ensuring we reach every guest while respecting utmost privacy.” The Oberoi Beach Resort will be home to two F&B outlets including Vinesse, the main restaurant, and Aquario, a beachside grill restaurant as well as operating an Oberoi Spa and recreational activities from tours to golfing.

“Oberoi is a pioneer of five-star hospitality,” said Troy Simoni, CEO of Staytus. “When you combine the communications capabilities of Staytus with the unparalleled offering of outlets and experiences at The Oberoi Beach Resort Al Zorah you have a combination that will seduce many guests.”

Anantara to launch in Saudi Arabia

Hyatt has opened its first branded hotel in Riyadh. The Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya is only the company's third hotel in Saudi Arabia and the first in the capital. “We are delighted to announce the opening of the first Hyatt-branded hotel in the capital of Riyadh. We are confident that the globally recognised Hyatt Regency brand will resonate with business and leisure travelers visiting Riyadh,” said Peter Fulton, group president Europe, Africa and Middle East, Hyatt. The Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya has 261 guestrooms, including 40 suites which are spread across 28 floors.


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Minor Hotels has announced that it will be opening its luxury Anantara brand in Saudi Arabia. The Anantara Jeddah Resort will be situated on the waterfront in Obhur in the northern district of the city, it is expected that the property will have 226 guest rooms and 102 villas. William E Heinecke, chairman and CEO of Minor International, said: “We are delighted to announce Anantara Jeddah which represents Minor Hotels’ debut in Saudi Arabia and grows our presence in the GCC to four countries. “Minor Hotels has been looking for the right opportunity to expand into Saudi Arabia and we are pleased to be partnering with SAB Group to launch

our luxury Anantara brand in this key strategic market.” The property, as mentioned by Heinecke, is owned by the SAB Group and previously was a luxury residential compound. Facilities will include a range of dining options with indoor and outdoor seating, swimming pool and fitness areas, a kids' and teens' club, as well as a library. Wellness and spa facilities are a prominent feature of the project. Anantara will be providing a series of wellness packages as part of their Balance programme - this includes detox, de-stress, weight management, anti-aging and rejuvenation to go alongside therapies including ayurveda, hammam and reflexology.

Regional News

Doha hotel joins Hilton’s Curio Collection The AlRayyan Hotel Doha is the first property in the Middle East to be added to the Curio Collection by Hilton, a global portfolio of more than 30 hotels across the globe aimed at offering travellers an authentic, local experience. “Doha, characterised as a destination offering inspiration, progress and adventure, has firmly placed itself as a city to watch with its growing array of leisure and sporting events, cultural attractions and art scene,” said Mark Nogal, global head, Curio – A Collection by Hilton. “AlRayyan Hotel Doha, Curio Collection by Hilton exemplifies these attributes, with its distinctive character,

prime location and opulent, luxurious design perfectly suited to guests who delight in unique and memorable hotels.”

The new hotel is located in the neighbourhood of Al Rayyan in the Qatari capital and offers guests a choice of 201 rooms and suites. Some of the key features of the rooms include floor-to-ceiling windows, oversized bathrooms and walkin rain showers. “For travellers desiring elegance and style during their hotel stay, AlRayyan Hotel Doha, Curio Collection by Hilton offers the perfect blend between authentic experiences, sophisticated accommodation and renowned Middle Eastern hospitality,” said Luca Crocco, general manager.

New 372 room hotel to open at Ibn Battuta Mall A new 372 room Avani hotel is to be constructed at Ibn Battuta Mall following an agreement between Nakheel and Thailand’s Minor Hotels. The 18-storey hotel, which will be managed under the Avani Hotels and Resorts brand, will be the second Nakheel hotel at Ibn Battuta. Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “Today marks yet another key milestone in our commitment to enhancing and diversifying Dubai’s hotel offering by bringing new, reputable international hos-

pitality brands to the emirate in line with the Government’s vision.”

The management agreement was signed in Bangkok by Lootah and the CEO of Minor International, William E Heinecke who said: “We are very pleased to be partnering with Nakheel for the new Avani hotel at Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai. "Having launched our upscale Avani brand in the region last year, we are delighted to continue the brand’s expansion in the UAE with this new hotel and we are confident that the brand will prove successful in this key market.”

New resort and waterpark for Dubai A new AED500 million resort and waterpark on Deira Islands in Dubai is on the cards following an agreement between developers Nakheel and Thai hotel group Centara Hotels and Resorts. The deal, which was agreed in Bangkok, will see the creation of 550 new rooms at the Deira Islands location. Nakheel chairman Ali Rashid Lootah said: “Our joint venture with Centara cements our commitment to partnering with successful, reputable international hotel brands to bring new tourism concepts to Dubai in line with the Government of Dubai’s tourism vision “Today’s signing is a key milestone in hospitality expansion – and the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership between Nakheel and one of Thailand’s biggest, most popular hotel operators.” February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME




La vida loca

In this month’s Talent section we speak to James Knight−Pacheco, who has been appointed as executive head chef with Vida Downtown Dubai. In his new role he is responsible for all culinary matters at the hotel from the Vida food trucks to the brunch menus as well as the F&B locations at the hotel including 3in1 and Stage2 Can you tell us how you started out in the industry? When I was 15 years old, I started working in a university, washing dishes for large functions during the weekends, and then everything escalated from there. Even with my first experience I was hooked to the hospitality industry! Who has influenced you most in your career? A very famous chef in the UK- Raymond Blanc! It was just an incredible learning experience working for him, as well as inspirational. In many ways, he taught you to think, not just cook, and he did that with all of his departments. His most famous pupil was Marco Pierre White. How do you view the hospitality industry in the Middle East? The region is going through a very exciting time. What inspires me most is seeing local brands flourishing and making their mark. To watch food and beverage grow under Emaar brands such as Vida Hotels and Resorts and outlets such as 3in1 at Vida Downtown Dubai is enormously exciting. These outlets offer something fundamentally different to our guests and provide a certain quality that distinguishes them from the competition. We always need to keep in mind the expectations of our guests and how those expec-


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

tations are delivered on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Our diners are a hip clientele, generally a mixture of young entrepreneurs and fashionistas who want a space that offers delectable late-night mocktails and Dubai’s best signature dishes. What is the biggest challenge you find in your job? Continuity and consistency is everything in this industry. I love the challenge of the

role which keeps me motivated and propels me into achieving as much as I can. One of the fundamental objectives I strive toward is to ensure that our existing customers stay with us. With so much competition, you have to innovate as well as be consistent in your offer, and at times that can really set you back if you don’t plan accordingly. What do you like most about your role? Being a creative chef is one of the best parts of the role. Specifically, I have enjoyed seeing the evolution of Saturdaze at 3in1 – a bespoke “long and lazy” brunch experience that presents a list of classic favourites for a choosy clientele who appreciate quality food. Another aspect of my role is about giving my chefs a chance to create their dishes; it is a fantastic thing to do, because you learn from each other, plus watching how a chef develops a dish can be rewarding. What advice would you offer anyone starting out in the industry in the region? Always have an open mind, be willing to learn at all times, be humble, and stay in the industry because you have a passion for it. It has never been about the money for me; it has always been to learn, delight guests, and to inspire my team.

Talent: Appointments

Accor appoints new MD and COO for Middle East and Africa AccorHotels has appointed Olivier Granet to the position of managing director and chief operating officer for the Middle East and Africa. Granet had previously been the MD and COO for just the Midde East region, based out of Dubai. A company spokesperson said: “In his new role, Granet is responsible for AccorHotels’ diverse portfolio of internationally renowned hotels and brands, as well as providing transformative growth for the economy

Group director joins avani Hotels & resorts Minor Hotels has announced the appointment of Alejandro Bernabé as group director of Avani Hotels & Resorts. Bernabé has said his mandate is to drive the performance of Avani properties in terms of sales, distribution, marketing, PR, brand standards and guest experiences. He said: “I am delighted to join the team and to have the opportunity to take the vibrant Avani brand to the next level across all areas of the business.

New director of sales at Sheraton, Mall of the Emirates Sheraton Dubai, Mall of the Emirates Hotel has appointed Adrian Hearn as director of sales. Hearn has more than 13 years of experience of working in the region including six years with Ritz-Carlton in Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar, not to mention a stint with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in charge of regional sales. His most recent appointment was with Lamar Holidays. “Adrian brings a passion for hospitality and experience in the Middle East market to the five star Sheraton hotel which belongs to the world’s largest hotel company, Marriott International,” said a spokesperson for Marriott International.

and midscale segments for Middle East and Africa. “This includes more than 178 operational hotels with over 40,000 rooms across twenty-eight countries, and more than 160 properties under development. On average, this effectively translates into two hotel openings a month.” Granet will be charged with developing and retaining talent within the organisation and more than doubling the number of employees to over

50,000 in order to meet the growth programme for the region. Since arriving in Dubai in 2011, Granet served as senior vice president of development for the Middle East. He has more than 18 years of experience in the hospitality industry and first joined AccorHotels in 1999 as chief financial officer for Central Europe, and was subsequently appointed to the roles of vice president, corporate finance and senior vice president of strategy.

Ascott hires director of sales Residence owner-operator Ascott Limited (Ascott) has appointed Meenu Singh as new director of sales at The Somerset Panorama Muscat. Singh takes the role in which she will oversee the sales of the 277unit apartment hotel. She brings over 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry to the role. Before her new appointment, Meenu was the head of sales and marketing for Coral Hotels and Resorts, Muscat. She has held senior management positions in Al Nahda Hotels

and Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group and Oberoi Hotels and Resorts in Oman and India.

HMH appoints chief operating officer

Hospitality Management Holding (HMH) has announced the appointment of Ferghal Purcell as its chief operating officer (COO). Purcell’s previous roles included being complex general manager for both The Ajman Palace Hotel and The Coral Beach Resort Sharjah. He brings with him over 30

years of experience in the hospitality industry. HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Faisal Al Qassimi, chairman and CE, MANAFA LLC, and vice chairman, HMH, said: “Our strategic vision lies in striving for growth and exceeding our guests’ expectations across our different properties.” February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



The critical role of

facilities management How more and more global brands are turning to FM teams


About the author Tariq Chauhan studied at Harvard Business School and has over 26 years’ experience in international banking, technology & asset management, real estate and has a track record of building and establishing companies across GCC, USA, UK and Asia. Since 2010, Chauhan has been at the helm of EFS facilities Services Group leading as the group chief executive officer and as a member of EFS’ board of directors.


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

he integration of facilities management (FM) in the hospitality industry has been at the forefront of a global transformation. As a flagbearer for the services industry, the hospitality business’ barometer has been gauged and closely tied to the level of its guest experience on each facility and asset. FM has played a key role in fuelling the industry’s objective of ultimate guest experience and enhancing business continuity emanating from the asset upkeep. The FM industry has been quick to respond to the unique and specific needs of the hospitality sector by integrating a holistic approach to ensure the highest standards of maintenance and life cycle asset planning. The areas of exciting opportunity for FM service providers to make a tangible difference are unlimited and varied. Right from asset maintenance, air conditioning, plumbing, lifts, lighting to a host of guest services such as security, concierge, room service; the five-star experience in hospitality is the ultimate benchmark for the quality of FM implementation. In a sense, the FM team acts as a guardian and gate keeper of the client’s brand and can either reinforce the client’s values or undermine them. The key to providing a great guest experience is understanding what the hospitality client and end users expect and what is critical from an FM service perspective.

The key element in achieving end user satisfaction is to understand the guests’ expectations. It is also important to identify potential opportunities where deployed FM teams typically interact with guests. By understanding these touch points, FM teams can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. For this to take place, each element of the FM team (in-house or outsourced) and service providers must harness their synergies and work as a blended team to deliver a seamless experience for the end user. Ultimately, a truly professional and well planned FM implementation would render the FM service provider effectively “invisible” to the guest, to whom the provision of continuous services without disruption adds a personal and special touch to the overall experience. It is not a surprise then, that in 2017, we are seeing more and more global hospitality brands turn to the facilities management industry to provide insights and lessons on client satisfaction and customer relationship. As an equal partner who is well vested in the success and growth of the global hospitality industry, the FM industry is perfectly placed to ensure that each guest leaves a hospitality facility with a wide smile, cherished memories and a yearning to travel on strange roads in unknown lands.


The need for

premium Wi-Fi

The importance of not cutting back on connectivity Comment piece by du chief commercial officer – Fahad AlHassawi


n a few short decades, the world has progressed to a point where we are so digitally connected that we have everything at our fingertips; so much so, that we can even access internet on commercial flights. According to a survey by Forrester Research in 2015, 90 per cent of travellers list Wi-Fi access as their top sought amenity when choosing a hotel. As the integration of internet resources with our daily lives has grown, consumers expect access to all aspects of their lives, including reading on tablets or listening to music whilst relaxing. And WiFi is the key enabler nowadays to access the internet. With the evolution of smart devices, especially smartphones, hotel guests are often carrying up to the three devices and high hotel occupancies often leads to a network outage and service disruption. Guests increasingly expect and demand to have high speed internet access made possible by having powerful routers, not only in their rooms, but across entire hotels, without disruption. Customers say Wi-Fi is as important as food and almost as important as location – hotels can no longer ignore the importance of offering a high-speed service. However, the value of providing Wi-Fi extends beyond it becoming a revenue generator through securing higher bookings, but it also creates a better environment to allow for free marketing of your establishment. With smartphone penetration growing exponentially, and forecasted to reach 430 million by 2021 in the MENA region, we have access to social media quite literally in the palm of our hands. This gives hotel guests the opportunity to share their good experiences or leave comments about their stay on either their own channels or yours. Furthermore, providing Wi-Fi to guests gives hoteliers an increased opportunity

to tailor their own marketing messages to their guests, to encourage return visits. As users connect to hotel Wi-Fi, a significant amount of actionable data is captured – country, occupation, interests, travel habits, and a lot more. This can enable marketing teams to target specific groups with relevant offers. Better knowledge of your guests, their habits online and their internet usage means that hotel owners can leverage on marketing automation systems which can monitor behavior online and provide access to tailored messaging or offers – even driving users directly to your booking system, which means a cut in spending on hotel price comparison platforms. The benefit of offering free Wi-Fi in hospitality establishments is that it offers twofold benefits, for both the hotelier and the hotel customer. Not only does the customer experience improve as they have access to everything they require at the touch of a button, but the use of the internet improves opportunities for hotels to gather important information about preferences of visitors and thereby improve their product and service offering. As we look towards Expo 2020, when an unmatched number of tourists will be visiting the UAE, hotels need to think about how they can harness services and tools to raise their establishment to the global eyeballs of potential customers. Managed services within the UAE for technology such as Wi-Fi are available and offer round-the-clock support and secure usage of data to ensure establishments are working within the boundaries of the UAE authorities. Once safe in the knowledge they are offering an increasingly important service to valued customers, within the boundaries of the law – hoteliers can focus on what they do best: Giving tourists or business travellers the best possible in-house experience of their establishment.

About the author Fahad holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami. Prior to his current role, Fahad was the Chief Human Resources and Shared Services Officer at du. He was responsible for HR, Organisational Development, Procurement and Logistics, Facilities and Administration and Government relations. Before joining du, Fahad was the vice president of Human Resources at Emirates Airlines.

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Breaking the

Glass Ceiling

Assia Riccio, founder of Evolvin’ Women says that women seeking a career in hospitality in the Middle East should take every opportunity to sit at the table, take charge of their professional life and make things happen. All over the world, women who are determined to advance in the business community deal with the same challenges. In some cases, these challenges are peculiar to the country they live in. Influencing change may be slow and dependent on the cumulative effects of individual successes coupled with support from those with the most influence. In the UAE for example, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, the wife of Sharjah’s ruler, has announced that a Ministry for Women must be established. She commented: “women are the pillars of advancement in all societies”. This statement is especially true in the hospitality industry, with its large number of female employees. Women must choose carefully which companies to join, who they surround themselves with as mentors and sponsors (their 'visibility board'), and how they deal with their own biases. Choosing the right employer is just as important for an individual, as it is for companies to choose the right employees: interviews are a two-way exchange. Take the opportunity to ask about the number of women in senior roles, the duration of their tenure, and if they were promoted internally. The answers to these questions will give a good indication of the company’s culture. Search the internet; check if the career paths of these women reflect your own ambitions. Choosing the people to connect with is also critical in one’s career development and progression. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to surround yourself with people who are committed to making you shine and stand out from the crowd. The hospitality industry is growing at a fast pace and it is always changing and developing. To succeed in this industry, it is essential to have your own 'visibility board' — a group of people that you have


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

selected to coach, mentor, sponsor and provide you with feedback. Without coaching and mentoring, women are likely to miss the benefits of receiving feedback, advice and idea generation. Likewise, without sponsorship, women are likely to be overlooked for a promotion regardless of their competence or performance. Being noticed by the C-suite is critical for your success. This is particularly true in mid-career, in supervisory or middle management roles when the competition for promotion is more intense. Networking and attending events are great opportunities to connect with people who can join your 'visibility board'. The Middle East, and particularly Dubai, are well known for their networking events,

however, the development of women in the hospitality sector has not been a focus of these events, unless you want to become an entrepreneur. An individual’s own biases in terms of how they perceive the 'glass floor', along with their perception of the difficulty and the hurdle to break into a predominantly male dominated arena, can often be a major challenge and stumbling block. In the Middle East, this glass floor may appear even more evident, however, the UAE is one of the most active regions promoting women in the workforce and the Dubai Business Women Council is a good example of this effort. Since women are an essential part of the workforce, they have the power to influence the increase in the number of women in leadership roles. That can be achieved if women choose properly who they want to work for and who they connect with. They must also reinforce, through success and the support of one’s 'visibility board', the belief that the glass ceiling is there to break through. The time is right and the opportunity is available for like-minded women to sit together around the table to tackle the challenges relating to their career growth in the hospitality industry. In reality, it is our choice to set ourselves up for success and take control of our careers. Women seeking a career in hospitality in the Middle East should take every opportunity to sit at the table, take charge of their professional life and make things happen. They must take every opportunity to speak their minds and believe in the value that their contributions bring to the table. Hospitality can be a very fulfilling career for women as it offers countless opportunities for them to become future leaders, responsible for improving the face of this fascinating and ever-changing industry.

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Cover Story

The spa at the Grand Millennium Al Wahda

The evolution of


Wellness was once dismissed as being just another amenity at a hotel. You had the gym and the swimming pool if you fancied a bit of relaxation or a workout, but for many these weren’t considered essential. That’s all changing as the industry responds to calls to provide a top class, allencompassing service that puts the emphasis on health and vitality from the minute you walk into the lobby until you check out.


ith lifestyles becoming more hectic, it comes as little surprise that people are looking to slow down and put their health first when they go away on holiday or for a short break. It’s certainly a trend that hotels haven’t just had to notice, they’ve been forced to act on it or risk being left behind. “People are obsessed with their wellbeing so much that equipment is be-


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

coming more innovative and affordable by the day,” says Gates Hospitality CEO Naim Maadad, who counts Six Senses Zighy Bay in his portfolio. “It is taking the extra mile to invest in good health and hence owners / operators are taking the initiative to invest their capital in enhanced facilities at their premises.” Its’s one thing to accept that trends

will change, by their very nature, but it’s quite another to identify them and give people what they want. There has been a clear focus in the hospitality industry to give people a wellness service that’s more specific and dedicated to their specific needs. There has been an evolution of wellness with a number of hotels and resorts, in the region, offering a vast range of services

Cover Story

from mobile app-guided meditation, hikes in the sunshine to in-room colouring-in kits aimed squarely at adults. “New age wellness with products such as crystals is something the team at our spa have predicted will be big for 2017,” says Clive Smith, general manager of Grand Millennium Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi. Esmerelda Van der Westhuizen, director of spa at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, Oman, says she has identified a need to focus on mental health to improve not only the client’s personal life but also cope with the pressures of work. “People are becoming more aware and open to discussing the issue of mental health and the pressure we face in modern life,” she says. “There has been a big surge in corporate wellness with companies like Google and Virgin leading the trend where they insist on their employees living a healthy lifestyle which leads to better productivity and commitment.” App-guided meditation is the latest trend that Vanessa Alegre, health club and spa manager, Shangri-La, Dubai, has come across. “Some find mobile app-guided meditation to be convenient while others have been going to meditation classes or participating in flotation therapy, where you spend an hour in an epsom salt bath, enclosed in a dark pod which eliminates both sound and light,” she says. “New technology is constantly emerging, so I think we will see great advances

Gabriele Kurz Jumeirah Group

Esmerelda van der Westhuizen spa manager AABS

Clive Smith general manager of Grand Millennium, Al Wahda

Finest bedding...

in this field in the years ahead.” Al Baleel Resort Salalah’s Van der Westhuizen said:“In comparison to a few years ago, when most hotels didn’t have any wellness focused options, we have found that because of the demand and the worldwide interest in living better, more meaningful lives, hotels have had to adapt. “People want to stay fit and healthy on holiday and we have seen increasing numbers of attendees for our daily yoga sessions as well as an increase in enquiries about meditation, de-stress activities and detox programmes during guest stays.” Smith, general manager of Grand Millennium, says no corners can be cut when it comes to providing wellness facilities to guests. “Wellness has always been important to our guests, but as the trend for wellness and health increases, so does the appetite for it,” he says. “We are constantly evolving our offering, which we think is extremely important when striving to keep our guests happy. In the past year alone we have added new classes at our health club that follow the latest exercise trends. “Most recently this has included offering kizomba dance classes which have been a great success so far.” The focus on wellness comes as little surprise to Gabriele Kurz, director of nutrition operations and projects, Jumeirah Group. “People nowadays make generally better choices for their wellbeing. Healthy

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February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

lifestyle habits in all aspects have become vital to keep pace with the demands of our times and being on top of our energy levels,” says Kurz, who as Jumeirah’s wellbeing chef is responsible for the group’s Talise Nutrition plan that promotes clean eating – with dishes aimed at weight loss, shape and skin beauty. “Speaking about my field, food, it shows an almost instant reward once food and beverage intake is clean, pure and nourishing. “Hotels and restaurants more and more cater for people with dietary requirements and allergies,” adds Kurz. “What was a tiny niche before has become almost mainstream and a lifestyle choice. A trend that will evolve further and hotels are responding to it.” One hotel, the Shangri-La in Dubai has even gone as far as providing a colouring-in pack for adults (see box-out) and meditative postcards, to colour-in, are left in all guest bedrooms, as Vanessa Alegre, health club and spa manager, is concerned it is merely a case of responding to clients’ needs. “With travel taking a large toll on the body and mind, we have seen a noticeable increase in guests looking for wellness related options,” she says, adding that the demands range from guest to guest. “We have looked to offer options to suit every guest’s need, taking notice of popular trends and activities from around the world. “We noticed that a niche demand for vegan and organic products has also surfaced in the spa industry, which is why we have introduced vegan treatments that use 100% natural ingredients. “In addition, we offer meditative postcards for colouring in the all guest rooms, a growing trend that is widely believed to help people unwind.” Gates Hospitality CEO Maadad comments: “Most people in the modern lifestyle with long hours at the workplace prefer the path of holistic wellness nowadays and holidays are becoming more imperative and there is a trend of a greater number of people rewarding themselves through such an approach.” It hasn’t been an easy transition for 26

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Angelo Caroli Caroli Health Clubs

Sarah Arnold Alma Retreat

Naim Maadad Gates Hospitality

hotels to make, in some cases it has come with more than a few hurdles. “In the Middle East, especially in smaller cities like Salalah, the biggest challenge is striking a balance,” says Van der Westhuizen, Al Baleel Resort Salalah. “The majority of guests who take part in the classes are Europeans and Americans who practice at home and want to continue, on holiday, but locals are less inclined to get involved and enquire about programmes and activities

because lack of education surrounding wellness and its benefits.” With so many hotels competing with each other, for others the challenge is clear. “With the number of wellness options a hotel can offer, the biggest challenge has probably been choosing which trends and advances suit our guests,” says Grand Millennium Al Wahda’s Smith. It is human nature to treat change with caution, but that’s simply not an option for anyone who wants to stay at the forefront of the industry. “Specific approaches to wellness may come or go, but overall, I believe wellness is here to stay,” says Alegre, from Shangri-La. “Wellness is self-fulfilling in that when changes, big or small, are made to a person’s lifestyle they feel more energy, less stress and an overall improvement in well-being and they want to continue and even add to their wellness routine as a result.” Van der Westhuizen speaks about the importance of hotels offering the right wellness package to guests. “The trend has been hugely stimulated by social media and the idea that anyone can be well, but that is not always sustainable,” says the spa director at Al Baleed Resort Salalah. “From a hotel side we will continue to help guests pursue their wellness journey and make it to a place where they can be encouraged and supported to eat well and exercise, both mind and body.” That said, it’s not enough to open a shiny new facility and rest on your laurels as Smith explains, speaking from his experience at the Grand Millennium, Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi. “Trends in their nature change so what wellness looks like in 2017 is going to be much different to 2020 for example,” he says. “Our job is to make sure we stay current and evolve to suit our customers’ needs.” One health club operator has urged hotels to tread carefully though and make sure they are fully aware of the responsibilities that come with providing wellness facilities.

Cover Story

Pencilled in for wellness Shangri-La Hotel Dubai is making wellness an art form… literally. Guests at the property will find a colouring kit in each room that consists of 12 colouring pencils, four postcards with specially designed patterns and, of course, a pencil sharpener. The postcards feature familiar scenes from around the hotel, based on the theme and ambiance of three of its restaurants – Hoi An, Shang Palace and ikandy ultralounge. Gerhard Hecker, general manager, said: “We are now seeing a new generation of busy guests who take their

wellbeing very seriously and they are increasingly searching for effective ways to unwind whilst travelling. “Sometimes the gym or a fitness class is simply too rigorous after a busy day, so we’re hoping that this alternative method of relaxation will allow our guests to find the stillness they crave in a hectic life.” The craze for adult colouringin will come as no surprise to anyone who has been in a book shop recently. In 2015, according to the Washington Post, 15 million adult colouring-in books were sold in the US.

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February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

Anyone for tennis? Al Habtoor City is showing its commitment to wellness with the launch of a tennis academy. Once it’s completed there will be outdoor courts as well as an indoor, fully air-conditioned tennis court. There will also be tennis professionals on hand to coach both adults and children. “The hotel cannot offer solutions for the client without knowing the needs of the customer and should do this using diagnostic techniques,” says Angelo Caroli, who owns a chain of spas across the world as well as a line of amenities, and is opening a new location in Dubai. “Spa operators should use a series of medical tests to build the client an optimal health programme that they can follow even when they go home. “Today all fitness centres are specialising in different services but often neglecting the most important aspect that is to use qualified operators that can bring real results. “By this I mean you need a medical team to take care of all aspects for the customers, not just giving them a programme during their stay at the hotel but teaching the customer techniques to use for a better lifestyle. This then in turn gives the hotel a great value.” It’s not just the wellness options for guests that hotels have had to step up. “Wellness is also an important sector for staff so now more hotels are encouraging their teams to take part in a healthier lifestyle, offering daily yoga classes, mediation, gym memberships and group sports days,” says Van der Westhuizen, spa director at Al Baleed Resort Salalah. The Jumeirah Group has taken steps to ensure it stays at the front of the pack, as Kurz explains: “Functional training is the evolution of the fitness industry and provides the strength, stability, power, mobility, endurance and flexibility that you need in daily life or sport. 28

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

The spa at Al Baleed Resort Salalah

“Talise Fitness as part of the Jumeirah Group has embraced this, all our clubs have dedicated functional training zones providing equipment and accessories that offer the most natural form of movement for maximum results.” She then spoke about what’s trending in the wellness sector. “It’s thoughtful design, wellness rooms, F&B menus with a dedication to pure, authentic ingredients, including lifestyle choices such as vegan menus, detox juicing and souping,” she says. “Alternative therapies, lifestyle and nutrition coaching.” So what does the future hold for the wellness sector?

“2017 will continue the growth journey of wellness and health in hotels and resorts,” says Maadad of Gates Hospitality. “Owners and property developers will need to put in focused efforts to ensure that these facilities are part of the brand DNA.” There are huge financial benefits to be made from wellness, Maadad says, suggesting that now is the time for hotels to invest. “The facilities of wellness and health have become part of the brand DNA wherein these have become centres of driving revenue for the hotels and resorts,” he says.

Cover Story

Resorting to something new Some hotels have opened specified retreats and resorts with wellness very much at the top of the agenda. One of these is R Hotels which has opened a resort on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, the first four-star property in the area. The property prides itself on not just offering spa and beauty treatments, but an entire range of wellbeing and lifestyle packages – from proper diet and nutrition to fitness classes and health treatments. Samir Arora, general manager, of the property comments: “It’s basically a one stop shop for anything you can think of for wellness. “That was the whole idea of coming up with this resort. What we have done is taken everything and incorporated it all under one roof. One of the challenges is thinking outside of the box to stand out from the rest of the market.

“We’re not serving alcohol or shisha, it’s a smoke free hotel. “No hotels have done retreats, they vary from three, five to 14, 21 days. That is the route we have taken, we are sticking with that and we are going to develop it.” He described the concept of the resort as being organic and pointed out there are no 90 degree angles on walls or edges, everything is curved. “That’s aimed at keeping feng shui in mind,” he says. “If we have 90 degree angles it’s bad feng shui.” Arora said that every member of staff is made clear of the goal when they are hired. “Everything is geared up towards wellness,” he says. “Even when we recruit staff we make sure they appreciate that wellness is in our DNA.

“It’s about getting the right profile in terms of look and feel.” Another new resort is the Alma Retreat which opened in Ras Al Khaimah at the start of the year with a focus on stressful issues financial planning, family time, healthier living, offering a number of workshops in the process as well as hiking, meditation and yoga. “The wellness industry is continuously evolving, if you want to keep your customers, you need innovate with new procedures and products, it can be quite challenging to keep up,” says founder Sarah Arnold. “The world is getting more and more fast paced and stress is almost a regular state of being. Wellness is here to stay, as people need something to balance out an increasingly overloaded day to day life.”

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GM Interview

Life’s a beach Alexander Schneider, the man tasked with launching Nikki Beach into the Dubai marketplace, talks to Patrick Ryan about the role of a general manager and how he has been encouraged by what he describes as the most exciting challenge of his life


here are moments in life when things just click into place. For Alexander Schneider that moment came last year when he was offered the chance to become the general manager of Nikki Beach Dubai. “At the beginning of last year, I got the very exciting call for Nikki Beach and had a look at the project back then in February, I have to say when I saw it I immediately fell in love with it,” says Schneider. His latest role, in charge of the Dubai launch of a brand that started out as a Miami Beach party hotspot, is the culmination of 16 years in the industry. “Initially I wanted to become a chef, that’s a long, long time ago, I actually finished my studies in the Culinary Institute of New York,” says Schneider, who left his native Germany in 1997. “Gradually I moved my way through the hospitality ranks, spending a lot of time in the sales and marketing departments. “Funnily enough, this is still my passion – introducing exciting brands into the market.” Schneider is coming up to his sixth year in the UAE, having spent time working as the hotel manager at Emirates Palace in addition to having the role of Dubai cluster general manager at Rixos Hotels on his CV. “I just thought of the potential that Nikki Beach might have and how it could potentially break the mould in the current Dubai hospitality scene,” he says. Breaking that mould is certainly something that Schneider is keen on, as he explains when speaking about his management philosophy.

Nikki Beach • Nikki Beach Spa and Resort opened its Dubai property in December 2016 at Pearl Jumeirah. • The resort’s opening came on the heels of the beach club which launched earlier last year. • The luxury lifestyle resort is surrounded by a 450-metre beach. • Nikki Beach has 132 keys consisting of 117 rooms and suites and 15 villas. • The predicted occupancy for 2017 is 80 per cent. • There are 13 Nikki Beach clubs around the world. • There’s a poignant story behind the name. Nicole Penrod, the daughter of businessman Jack Penrod, was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997. Her father created Café Nikki in her memory a year later, which evolved into the Nikki Beach franchise. “I think I’m all about empowerment and entrepreneurial decision making within my team. I’m very on-brand when it comes to Nikki Beach,” he says. “I truly believe the greatest parts of hospitality and the greatest experiences in hospitality start with interaction between everyone who works in a hotel.

“It is these interactions that we are all about.” It’s something of a cliché that a manager can have the best philosophy in the world but if he or she can’t get the right people then this becomes redundant. That’s something that is core to Schneider’s beliefs. “I think selecting talent and fostering that talent you have is key,” he says. “We are in the people business, I think we are one of the most analogue industries that are still out there, I think many parts of the hotel experience can never replace the human factor. The human factor is really what counts.” A lot of mistakes are made in this part of the world when it comes to hiring staff, Schneider comments. “To find the right people for the right brand, there is a tendency to hire a lot of people but you have to ask ‘are they really the face of the brand?’” he says. “Are they able to cater to the expectation of the client and to make that happen, find the right people, train and empower them to the desired level? If you can do that then as a GM you have a very, very good chance to succeed.” The Nikki Beach general manager strongly believes that the individuals on the floor make the most difference, ensuring that a first time customer becomes a repeating guest. “If you have that in your pocket then you have a good hotel; if you don’t have that in your pocket then usually you have an empty hotel,” he says. With Nikki Beach only opening in late 2016, Schneider could be forgiven for keeping a low profile, keeping his cards February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


GM Interview

What’s the biggest challenge facing the hotel industry? We really need to make sure in this transition from Generation X to Generation Y that we understand how to attract new talent. I think the war for talent is fiercer than ever in hospitality. When I look at some of the top brands in the world and I walk into their properties I am wondering if this is really what the brand is reflecting. We’ve done almost 1,000 interviews for the first 100 positions and I have to say we are very happy with the talent we’ve attracted, but it was really an experience to see how few people are really out there that can make a difference. close to his chest to see what way the wind is blowing before making any bold predictions. However, that’s not his style. “I want to rattle the market and bring something new to Dubai,” he says. “I think the Dubai hospitality landscape is now at a very interesting moment. We have a certain level of saturation with conservative brands and conservative products. “Obviously we have a good amount of supply in the market at the same time. We’re finally at that moment where you have to bring something to the table that matters in order to be successful, to have this, to bring a meaningful hotel that makes a difference to a location… that’s an interesting task to do, we at Nikki Beach want to fulfil that.” Schneider isn’t convinced by suggestions these are tough times for the hotel industry in the Middle East. “I think, you know, we have a very strong demand in Dubai and this bickering about there being a crisis, when we look at other 32

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

The view at Nikki Beach

The pillar in the lobby is based on a hurricane

The resort offers guests a view to remember.

worldwide destinations, we don’t have a crisis, we have a very healthy market with a very healthy supply,” he says. “The difference is you can’t just open a hotel anymore and expect it to fill up by itself these days.” It’s that challenge that appeals to Schneider. “It’s good for Dubai because it will definitely bring more pressure to the operators to bring quality and new experiences and think out of the cookie cutter,” he says. So now the hotel has been launched, what’s next for Schneider and Nikki Beach? “Opening in this part of the world is always a work in progress. Opening in any part of the world, in fact, you never get the perfect hotel,” he says. “There’s always something you need to fix, that you just need to improve, we’re also not perfect. Coming with a brand new proposition into a market there are areas where you will want to improve and adapt it a little bit to the sort of audience we have here.”

Nikki Beach Locations • Miami Beach – USA • Saint Tropez – France • Marbella – Spain • Marrakech – Morrocco • Koh Samui – Thailand • Mallorca – Spain • Ibiza – Spain • Porto Heli – Greece • Bali – Indonesia • Monte Carlo – Monaco • Dubai – UAE • Bodrum – Turkey • Versilla - Italy


Owning the Debate Simon Allison is pictured at last year’s GIOHIS summit.


imon Allison is uniquely placed to offer insight into the hotel industry. He is the CEO of Hoftel, the organisation that brings together hotel property investors and provides them with a voice. That’s a voice that he is hoping will be heard loud and clear this month when Hoftel hosts the Gulf and Indian Ocean Investors Summit (GIOHIS) 2017 in Yas Viceroy, Abu Dhabi from 6-7 February. “I joke that we are kind of the trade union for the owners,” says Allison. “They’ve increasingly found the con-


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

tracts they are locked into are pretty unfavourable. We just got bored with going to the big hotel investment conferences where investors barely make up 10% and the subjects are all pretty shallow and nobody wants to say anything that offends the sponsors. “Even with networking at these events, you’ve probably got 90% of the room who are not owners or are selling things to owners.” Allison says the next logical step was creating a forum for owners that’s run by owners. He describes this decision as cru-

cial because owners are increasingly finding that trends are moving against them. “The online travel agents (OTAs) are charging up to 20%, when they used to pay travel agents 10%,” he says. “Owners are still paying 6,10, 12% of revenues in different forms to the brand and 20% to the OTA. Owners are left scratching their heads.” One major issue of concern for Allison is brands are starting to work closely with the OTAs; he fears that owners could be left out in the cold. “As the brand companies get bigger and


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GIOHIS 2016 • Last year’s event took place on 6-7 February • There were 210 attendees at the event • 34 were CEOs • 39 per cent were owner operators

bigger, they start to get into bed with the OTAs like the Marriott/ Expedia deal. Is this good for us and, if not, is there anything we can actually do about it?” he asks. “The biggest trend that owners have been talking about for the past number of years is the online travel agents.” BRAND AWARENESS The other major point of concern for owners, Allison believes, is brand proliferation. Barely a week goes by, he explains, without the announcement of a new hotel being built in the Middle East. “What does that mean if you own 10 Marriotts or 10 Sheratons?” he says. “The brands prefer to create new ones to find a new niche or new segment. Of course it means that restrictions on not building near their existing owners are often eliminated. Everybody’s trying to create something new all the time. The issue of obsolescence is something that people aren’t thinking about enough. “There are an awful lot of hotels and if nobody wants to stay there because they are all off to somewhere new, what are you going to do with it? “The brand companies ultimately control all this inventory because they are the ones telling you what to spend and how to renovate it; they are not really reinventing the old brand they are just creating new ones.” Allison is keen to point out that, despite joking about being a trade union for owners, he has nothing against the big brand hotel chains. “To become a member of Hoftel you have to be paying fees to a brand,” he says. 36

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Allison and Robin Rossman, STR Global managing director, enjoy a laugh on-stage at last year’s GIOHIS event.

Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach

Markus Aklin, executive director of Orion Hospitality, at last year’s event.

“We’re not anti brands, I actually believe in brands and they do a good job in what they are best at, which is creating a high standard that guests know they are going to get when then stay there. “What we are saying is to be a really

good brand you have to be transparent and fair with contractual arrangements and much more profit driven because actually what the brands are making isn’t a customer paying $100 a night, it’s the owner paying them a million a year in fees.” Allison says that many brands have been supportive of the forthcoming event. “We’ve got the head of development from Accor, sponsorship from Hyatt and from InterContinental, Viceroy and Rotana,” he says. “Most brands know perfectly well what the real situation is, they welcome the chance to go and meet owners and put forward their side of the case.


Looking Ahead

“One of the things we’ll be exploring at the conference is the theory that the brands will become like Coca-Cola, who don’t own, make or distribute anything, they just have a formula and a brand,” he says. “The theory is essentially that’s where this is going and the OTAs will have total control of

“We’re very happy to put their side of the case forward and we’ll always have a brand in one of these discussions.” FROM JP MORGAN TO ZIGHY BAY When Allison talks, people listen. That will come as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with his rise to becoming a key figure in the hotel sector.

distribution in the end. “It’s so much easier to book on one of their websites than a brand site, they make it a very seamless process.” It’s not just a case of brands versus OTAs in a battle for supremacy, as Allison explains, there are other operators entering the market too. “I went to Oxford before I went off to JP Morgan as an investment banker and did that for 10 years. I specialised in real estate and, within that, in hotels,” he says. “I realised the hotel sector wasn’t a good one in investment banking, the deals simply just weren’t big enough for the lifestyle you led.” It was at this point that Allison went to

“The white label operators are coming in too, they don’t have brands but they will run it for you much cheaper and more cost consciously than the big brands,” he says. “Outside the gateway cities, it becomes increasingly hard to justify why you would have one of the big brands managing your property.” one of his clients – a Kuwaiti-based hotel investment company – with an idea. ”We brought in very blue chip investors, the Government of Singapore, General Motors Pension Funds, we’re talking serious blue chip investors. We built that up to a half–billion–dollar portfolio in Europe and that was where the idea of Hoftel came from,” he says. “We still felt

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16.12.16 16:23 February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Q&A with Simon Allison

Blowing hot Airbnb


Q. What about the threat that the sharing economy, driven by the likes of Airbnb, poses to hotels? A. It is interesting, a year ago I would have said the sharing economy was the biggest single threat to the hotel industry. Just look at how Uber is looking forward to the day when nobody owns a car anymore. You could almost have seen the sharing economy going in that direction. Why do you need a hotel when there’s always someone’s home to stay in? That has been pushed back by the lobbying of the residential sector. You have right wing politicians across the world saying ‘these people bought lovely apartments they don’t want to be disturbed by people with suitcases every day’ and then you have left wing politicians saying ‘these people are displacing housing in our cities’. The whole political classes are united against the Airbnbs of the world. Frankly the issue here is cost. We do not have the lobbying power of other sectors and we tend to get clobbered. I think if you have a glut of short term oversupply, like you have in the Gulf, at the same time as rising prices, it’s going to hurt.

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

The W Hotel, Doha, is part of the Starwood group.

we were being legged over quite often. Often on stupid things, but the brands couldn’t answer questions we had, they were being evasive or frankly charging things they shouldn’t be.” It was at that point that Allison began setting up Hoftel, as an opportunity for hotel owners to have a peer-to-peer discussion. “I went off and left that to become

CEO of Six Senses, which includes the famous Zighy Bay. I was doing that for four years when I went off to become head of development at Onyx Hospitality in Thailand,” he says. “I’ve seen most of the sides. I’ve seen most of the bits of how this works, when I was going back to the UK I thought ‘I believe in this, let’s see if we can build this up into something’.”


Dubai World Trade Centre 18 - 20 September 2017

Regional News

Shaken not stirred Dukes is one of London’s most famous boutique hotels. It’s even more famous for being the birthplace of James Bond’s drink of choice. Now the brand is coming to Dubai thanks to Abdulla Bin Sulayem, the CEO of property developer Seven Tides. While Dukes is renowned for its cosy and intimate surroundings in the heart of the English capital, Patrick Ryan catches up with the team to find out how they plan to capture that atmosphere in a 506-key property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah.


ou can’t get away from the sheer Britishness of Dukes. Rumour has it that it was in the hotel’s London branch that patron Ian Fleming was so enamoured with one particular drink there, the vodka Martini, that he made 40

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

it the tipple of choice for his most famous literary creation, James Bond. It’s that level of quintessential Britishness that Seven Tides CEO Abdulla Bin Sulayem is banking on for the opening of Dukes Oceana in Dubai. “We felt from our experience

in London that we can deliver a far better experience and better service level than customers are used to here,” says Bin Sulaymen, whose company Seven Tides owns Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa and Mövenpick Hotels in both Deira and Ibn Battuta Gate.

“We know it will do really well in the market,” Bin Sulaymen says, confident that the success of Dukes in Mayfair can translate to the Middle East. “There are more than a few hotels in Dubai; people say it’s over supplied, I don’t think it’s

New opening

5 minutes with Carl Chapman, director of F&B What’s unique about the F&B in this hotel? What’s unique about our hotels is that we do offer something quintessentially British and very new to Dubai. What has been the main challenge during the preopening phase? The first was recruiting the right team to deliver the service expected by our guests. The second is positioning ourselves through our concepts and price points. We are competing with upward of 12,000 eateries and restaurants in Dubai. You’re looking at standalone restaurants along with hotels and making sure the price is correct, which is very important. How many restaurants will the hotel feature? We’ll have seven operations from West 14th Beach Club to our Great British restaurant to The Tea Lounge, Cigar Lounge, Khyber, which is our Indian restaurant, the pool bar and our in-room dining and private dining so there are a lot of different areas. What is your ethos and, indeed, that of Dukes? Take our sister property in London, based in the centre in St James’. You want to take everything that happens in terms of your charisma, your approach, and your oversupplied when rates are as high as they are today and occupancy is still high. “This year so far we noticed it is doing really well; bookings have improved from last year, this only shows Dubai has the strength to pump more occupancy into the supply.”

understated service style and bring that into Dubai. It’s a lot more like a country house hotel and a lot more intimate than some of the properties here locally. We’ve recruited a lot of people who are fresh into the hospitality industry, which allows us to encourage them and give them the skills that we want to offer our guests. What do you look for in your staff? People with the right personality and the right drive. Even the desire to offer a service to our guests. If I’m looking to our leadership team I’m not looking for someone who’s been here for 10 years with a lot of experience, I’m looking for someone who has the energy and ambition to succeed in offering something new to Dubai. The skills to open a hotel and restaurant are different from those required to continue with an already established brand.

Despite his confidence, Bin Sulaymen knows that success won’t come without hard work. “In today’s market with all the competition we need to have a unique product,” says Bin Sulaymen. “We always need to be there promoting different things.

How are you going to entice people to come to a new hotel, given there are so many options already in Dubai? We have an entire sales and marketing programme. We’ll start that very shortly in time for the official opening. West 14th Beach Club is an area already operating, we have promotions already underway there and we’re launching a new family Friday brunch. As and when we open the hotel there will be lots of exciting promotions. I mentioned our Tea Lounge which is a classical offering for all the ladies and gents in Dubai. Our Great British Restaurant has four theatre kitchens where the chefs can interact with our guests, which will offer something a little bit different. It will be your very classic British cuisine, anything from a great beef wellington through to a jam roly poly, sticky toffee pudding or classic prawn cocktail. Those are just some of the very straightforward and recognisable British cuisines we’ll have. Positioning ourselves correctly from a price point and offering point is really key. Looking at the markets both locally and internationally is very important, we will use the reputation of our owning companies and partners around town and how we develop those relationships will be key for driving people to the hotel.

If you go to some hotels they are known for one thing and that’s it but with Dubai you always need new advances. “This is what we will be doing for the next 10 years, we’ll always have to keep on probing like we did with our other portfolio titles.”

CHALLENGING TIMES Getting to a standard that’s acceptable to Dukes didn’t come easily, as Bin Sulaymen explains. “Delivering quality is a challenge,” he says. “If you’re in the construction business everything February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


New opening

Meeting facilities include: • Seven British-style meeting rooms accommodating conferences, meetings and private celebrations. • Capacity to host between 10 to 150 guests. • Complimentary business centre facilities. is a challenge. The challenging part is making sure each contractor delivers on time. I give them a very tight programme but the level of quality and service we get from our contractors is amazing. “Dubai is so busy, each contractor is overstretched, the construction has come back very well since the global financial crisis. You can see all over the place projects being delivered.” HERE COME THE GIRLS General manager Debrah Dhugga is equally buoyant about the new hotel’s prospects, especially when it comes to offering up 007’s favourite tipple. “It is really a USP of our London property, it will be the first great Martini bar actually based in Dubai,” she says. Another aspect of Dukes will be the Duchess floor, which Dhugga explains will be a female only floor, the showcase of which will be a tie-in with high-end department store Liberty London where else? “We will have The Tea Lounge too which will be female oriented,” she says. 42

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Debrah Dhugga is planning on keeping things ultra British at Dukes

West 14th is now operated under Dukes Dubai

There are 279 guestrooms in the hotel

New opening

Dhugga, who will be dividing her time as GM of both the Dubai and London hotels, stresses that it’s not all about the ladies at Dukes, with a cigar and whiskey lounge, harking back to the old gentlemen’s clubs that were synonymous with the English capital. TEAM SPIRIT When it comes to picking her team, Dhugga is very clear about what she wants. “We really, really strive for attention to detail and excellent service levels,” Dhugga says. “We have a multicultural team and we brought a lot of great team members from London, so we already have the UK experience and drive.” She concurs with Bin Sulaymen that there is room in Dubai for Dukes to thrive. “There are a lot of hotels

GBR - Great British Restaurant

The Crowning Glory

When you walk into the lobby of Dukes you won’t be able to take your eyes off the chandelier that greets you. Abdullah Bin Sulaymen, CEO Seven Tides couldn’t be happier with the centrepiece of his hotel. “I remember going to a few other hotels and seeing paintings in lobbies, one in particular must have cost between $400,000$600,000 to buy and it doesn’t do it justice as people who aren’t in that field will just presume it’s another painting, it doesn’t catch the eye, whereas this does,” he says. General manager Debrah Dhugga is equally proud of the chandelier. “It took an awful lot of finding, we wanted something that would be a real statement for the property and that would be eye-catching but not with the whole glitz of Dubai. I wanted something that would be very elegant,” she says. “We had it hand-made and it’s Swarovski crystal and it took three days and six men to actually hang it. It’s a unique statement for the hotel. “It’s almost like the Breakfast At Tiffany’s chandelier; it’s about bringing that true British elegance to the hotel.”

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


New opening

Leisure facilities include:

Abdullah Bin Sulaymen, the CEO of Seven Tides

• Indoor pool • Outdoor infinity pool • Garden river pool • Private beach • Water sports • Fully-equipped gym • Dukesy Kids Club • Hair and beauty salon

Hotel features:

279 64 227

guest rooms including


fully-furnished hotel apartments and


studios and 42 onebedroom apartments. ------The Duchess Floor with rooms, suites and amenities dedicated to ladies


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

opening and a lot of five-star hotels in particular but, as far as Dukes goes, it is very much going to bring something different to Dubai,” she says. “We’ve got an awful lot, it’s going to be one of the best resorts on The Palm, offering great British service and attention to detail.” She explains how she has faith in her team. “My leadership is very much about creativity and

excellence, I trust my team to deliver excellence and be creative,” says Dhugga. “I also think knowledge of the industry is important, that your team has great knowledge of the business and hospitality to promote excellent management.” To that end Dhugga has recruited 500 staff members. “Commitment as well is vital, I’ve been really committed

to this project and it’s great to see it come to the opening stages now and a lot of the executive team has committed to it, which is really important. It can actually be challenging,” she adds. “I think the big picture is really important but the smaller details are just as vital. After all smaller actions lead to the bigger picture so it’s about being skilful in both sets.”

26 Feb - 2 Mar 2017

Dubai World Trade Centre

THE BIGGEST FOOD BUSINESS your business. Make it bigger by visiting Gulfood. INNOVATION. TASTES. TRENDS.

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Chain Focus

Hilton Worldwide Hotel News Middle East profiles the group’s performance over the past 12 months and looks to the year ahead

Group overview Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 brands comprising nearly 4,900 properties with more than 796,000 rooms in 104 countries and territories. The company's portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton,

Curio - A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages a customer loyalty programme, Hilton HHonors. Hilton HHonors members

who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to benefits including an exclusive member discount, free standard Wi-Fi, as well as digital amenities that are available exclusively through the industryleading Hilton HHonors app, where Hilton HHonors members can checkin, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key.

Opening soon in the region: Property



Total keys

Opening year

Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa





Hilton Garden Inn Ras Al Khaimah


Ras Al Khaimah



Hilton Makkah Convention Hotel

Saudi Arabia




Hilton Tanger City Center Hotel and Residences





Hilton Garden Inn Al Khobar

Saudi Arabia

Al Khobar



DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai - Business UAE Bay




Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences




Saudi Arabia

The exterior of Trader Vics at the Doha Hilton.

The lobby at the Hilton Dubai Creek.


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Chain Focus

Middle east operating portfolio

Hilton has more than 75 hotels open in MEA across five brands in countries including the UAE, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Nairobi, Egypt and the Seychelles.


Name of hotel

Saudi Arabia

Conrad Makkah

Saudi Arabia

Hilton Garden Inn Tabuk

Saudi Arabia

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Riyadh - Al Muroj Business Gate

Saudi Arabia

Hilton Suites Makkah

Saudi Arabia

DoubleTree by Hilton Dhahran

Saudi Arabia

Hilton Garden Inn Riyadh Olaya

Saudi Arabia

Waldorf Astoria Jeddah - Qasr Al Sharq

Saudi Arabia

Jeddah Hilton Hotel

Saudi Arabia

Madinah Hilton

Saudi Arabia

Makkah Hilton Towers

Saudi Arabia

Makkah Hilton Hotel


DoubleTree by Hilton Doha - Old Town


Hilton Doha


Curio, Doha


Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Mall of the Emirates


Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Mina


Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Muraqabat


DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai - Jumeirah Beach


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Residences Dubai Al Barsha


DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island


Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah


Hilton Capital Grand Abu Dhabi


Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah


Hilton Dubai The Walk


Hilton Al Hamra Beach & Golf Resort


DoubleTree by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah


Hilton Sharjah


Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa


Hilton Ras Al Khaimah


Hilton Dubai Creek


Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort


Hilton Al Ain


Hilton Fujairah Resort


Hilton Abu Dhabi


Hilton Salalah Resort


Hilton Alexandria King's Ranch


Hilton Alexandria Corniche


Hilton Marsa Alam Nubian Resort


Hilton Cairo Zamalek Residences


Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa


Hilton Cairo World Trade Center Residences


Hilton Hurghada Resort


Hilton Hurghada Long Beach Resort


Hilton Alexandria Green Plaza


Hilton Pyramids Golf Resort


Hilton Sharks Bay Resort


Hilton Sharm Waterfalls Resort


Hilton Sharm Dreams Resort


Conrad Cairo


Hilton Hurghada Plaza


Hilton Sharm El Sheikh Fayrouz Resort

Comment Rudi Jagersbacher, president, Hilton, Middle East, Africa & Turkey “2016 has been a year of strong, organic growth for Hilton in the Middle East, where we have over 15,000 rooms currently under construction. We have taken major strides into the mid-market segment – with our regional pipeline now boasting over 30 Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton by Hilton hotels, as the segment continues to exhibit strong growth potential. Curio, A Collection by Hilton made its Middle Eastern debut in the form of AlRayyan Hotel Doha in 2016. The launch of this brand is a direct response to growth in demand for new travel experiences globally, and we look forward to continuing the development of The Rosemont Hotel & Residences in Dubai. “With the region benefitting from proximity and ease of access to rapidly emerging markets in Asia and Africa, hospitality companies which demonstrate a clear vision in terms of leadership, an ability to operate innovatively and efficiently under strong, distinct brands - will continue to attract developers, employees and guests in 2017 and beyond.” February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Gulfood preview

Gulfood 2017 Hotel News offers a preview of the companies and brands being showcased at the 22nd edition of Gulfood, which will take place from 26 February – 2 March at Dubai World Trade Centre

In 2017, Dubai World Trade Centre's Gulfood, the region's largest food and hospitality show, will undergo its most significant evolution in layout, format and visitor experience since its 1987 inception as a biennial event. With the aim of increasing accessibility and trading potential, the 22nd edition of Gulfood will focus on finished food and beverages split into eight show components. Food service and catering equipment profiles will no longer feature. The eight components will highlight the largest commodity trading sectors with dedicated halls organised by: Beverages; Dairy; Fats and Oils; Health, Wellness and Free-From; Pulses, Grains and Cereals; Meat and Poultry; Power Brands and World Food. Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, exhibitions and events management, DWTC, commented: “Gulfood’s new sec48

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

tored format will allow visitors to get straight to business by accessing the most relevant international and regional brands, companies and operators – the people they most want to meet from the sectors they primarily serve.” The realignment will allow global buyers to discover more than 1,000 new-to-show food and beverage producers. With space already completely sold out to exhibitors, February’s event will span more than one million square feet of indoor exhibition space and purpose-built temporary structures that welcome product innovations and services in line with consumer demand. The new show will feature 120 national pavilions – including first-time participants Malta, Finland and Slovakia – and is set to host 5,000 companies showcasing hundreds of thousands of finished food and beverage products. Hundreds of international heads of state,

DATE 26 February – 2 March, 2017 VENUE Dubai World Trade Centre OPENING HOURS 11am-7pm (26 February – 1 March); 11am-5pm (2 March) ministers, government officials and scores of national trade associations will attend with the objective of inking bi-lateral trade agreements among 95,000 anticipated visitors. Single-entry chef competition, Salon Culinaire will return to raise the profiles of more than 1,000 of the region’s top professional chefs, pastry chefs, cooks and bakers during a series of competitions evaluated by a panel of experts. Meanwhile, the eighth edition of the Gulfood Awards will recognise best-inclass excellence and innovation across the region’s food and drink industry. Divided into 20 categories, the event is judged by an international panel of independent industry experts, with winners to be announced during a gala ceremony hosted alongside the exhibition. Here we provide a preview of some of the companies and brands to be showcased at Gulfood 2017.

Gulfood preview


The overhaul of the layout of Gulfood follows news of an alliance between Gulfood and The Hotel Show to create the Middle East and Africa's largest hospitality and food event, Dubai International Hospitality Week, set to launch in September 2017.

GULFOOD SEGMENTS • Beverages • Dairy • Fats and Oils • Health, Wellness and Free-From • Pulses, Grains and Cereals • Meat and Poultry • Power Brands • World Food

WORLD FOOD World Food, one of eight specialist sectors of the exhibition’s new format, will showcase country-specific products, services and business opportunities. World Food will highlight the importance of transparency and brand-trust, allowing exhibitors to offer greater insight into the origin and source of their produce.

POWER BRANDS More than 140 international food and beverage producers will come together at the new Power Brands segment, which will connect regional buyers with international producers and distributors of F&B brands, represented by heavyweights including Unilever, Nestle, Del Monte and IFFCO.

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Gulfood preview

American Kitchen USA American Kitchen USA is engaged in the export marketing of American food and non-food products. Its food products include condiments, spreads, pickles, beverages, canned food, frozen foods, and snacks, while its non-food products include aluminum foils, cling wraps, kitchen towels, food wraps, food storage bags, and food containers. American Kitchen USA is looking forward to showcasing its entire food range at Gulfood and in 2017 plans to launch a new phase of products, including fruit spreads, honey, canned beans, ketchup, hot sauces, and canned tomatoes. Its ultimate vision is to become one of the leading exporters of food and non-food products worldwide.

On show:

• Sauces, mayonnaise, salad dressings, syrups, vinegar, apple cider • Peanut butter, popcorn, gherkins, corn, jalapenos, breadcrumbs

Asbah Asbah debuted at Gulfood in 2015 and was Gold Sponsor at Gulfood 2016 and will do the same again in 2017. The company launched in 2015 in India and is looking to expand further into the UAE market with its premium quality basmati rice, which is already available on supermarket shelves in the UAE. At the exhibition, it will be presenting its flagship product, Platinum Basmati Rice. Apart from Asbah’s commitment to providing premium quality products to the consumer, it is also well known in India for its social initiative – “Women Empowerment”. Asbah’s idea of business is unique as it contributes part of its profit to the empowerment of talented and underprivileged women. Its motto is “Great Food for a Great Cause”. The company’s plan is to expand its international footprint.

On Show

• Platinum basmati rice and entire product range

Gulfood Stand Number: Za’abeel Hall, Stand No. ZL-A40 T: +971 4 5521356 E: W:

Boncafe Middle East LLC

Gulfood Stand Number: Z6-D52 T: +971 4 282 8742 E: W:

Gulfood Stand Number: S2-332 E: T: +971 4 5586450 W:


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Boncafe is a manufacturer and supplier of fresh roast and ground gourmet coffee. At Gulfood, it will be showcasing its two coffee ranges, Boncafe and Segafredo Zanetti. Its latest launch includes three Boncafe blends from Vietnam: Boncafe Classic, Royale, and Gourmet. It is also launching the latest Mahlkonig K30 grinder, with the PuqPress (automatic coffee tamper) included at its base. Its vision for 2017 is to expand through the

MENA region in collaboration with partners, targeting both B2B and B2C channels.

On Show

• Three new Boncafe blends for the B2B market • Retail range from Boncafe and Segafredo Zanetti • Mahlkonig K30 grinder

Gulfood preview

Bridor de France


Bridor de France produces a full range of bakery products embodying the French lifestyle of elegance and sharing. This year, it is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its partnership with Lenôtre and will be launching a Lenôtre recipe for a croissant with a lighter, milkier flavour with Echiré Butter. Following its success with the mini sweet mix, ‘Mix Gourmandises’, it will be showcasing a new assortment of ‘Mini Friandises’, which includes a mini chocolate twist, mini raspberry twist, mini praline finger pastry, and mini jesuite with Madagascar vanilla. The company will also be showcasing its new 90g filled croissants with apricot, raspberry, cocoa-hazelnut, and creamy confectioner's custard.

Cherry-Rocher produces, selects and transforms plants and fruit to make liqueurs, aperitifs, fruit in alcohol and syrups and to also make a wide array of natural extracts for the agri-food business. At Gulfood, Cherry-Rocher will be showcasing its new range of halal certified premium syrups for coffee shops, cocktail bars, and restaurants. This range offers modern shaped bottles and attractive labelling. The company’s plan for 2017 is to find distributors in the Gulf countries for its halal syrups range and challenge the well-established brands in this market segment with an attractive looking, high quality and competitive product range.

On show

• 90g filled croissants (apricot, raspberry, cocoa-hazelnut and confectioner's custard). • Mini friandises

On Show T : +971 528522656 E: W:

• Halal certified premium syrups for coffee shops, cocktail bars and restaurants

Gulf Stand Number: Z5 F18 T: +33 678 933 275 E: W:

From 20 to 2,000 meals a day.

Always the right solution. Find out more:

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Gulfood preview

Gulf Food Industries – California Garden In 1989, Gulf Food Industries – California Garden (GFICG) was established to revolutionise the front of canned foods in the Middle East. Today, the company is an industry leader and distributes its products globally. GFICG is eager to showcase its new range of products at Gulfood 2017 with the intention of meeting with potential new partners and distributors. It just launched three new packaging sizes for its tuna, mushroom, and corn products. Its vision for 2017 is to provide customers with very high quality products at fair prices.

On show

• Fava beans, peeled fava beans, chickpeas and corn • Tuna (in water, olive oil, or sunflower oil) • Mushrooms (whole and sliced) • Olives (green, black, sliced, pitted, and stuffed)

Gulfood Stand Number: B5-19 Hall 5 T: +971 4 881 5633 E: W:

Highland Spring Group Highland Spring Group has exhibited its natural mineral waters at Gulfood for seven years and enjoys the opportunity to launch new products, hold annual meetings with existing distributors, and meet with potential new customers and distributors. The company is looking forward to presenting its two major natural mineral water brands: Highland Spring and Speyside Glenlivet. It is also introducing a new one-litre PET sparkling x 6 bottle multi-pack product for retail. Highland Spring Group is investing heavily in new developments and new line installations as it plans innovative product launches during 2017.

On Show

• Highland Spring • Speyside Glenlivet 52

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Gulfood Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Hall S-N33 / Truebell, Hall 5 A5-40 T: +44 1764 660600 E: W:

La Marquise International La Marquise International has been attending Gulfood for the past 10 years because it values the quality of visitors the platform delivers. This year, La Marquise aims to acquire new customers from the GCC, Middle East, Africa and South Asia. It is also looking forward to meeting and engaging with its existing clientele. The company will resume its tradition of having an interactive stand at Gulfood. Visitors will feel they are not at the exhibition, but in a bar with 1883 Maison Routin, or in a coffee shop with Pellini, or even a gourmet shop with Monbana. The company is proud to announce that Chocolatier Monbana – the French manufacturer of gourmet chocolate and frappe powders – will be exclusively distributed by La Marquise in the UAE and Oman and it believes Gulfood will play a major role in this partnership announcement. The company also plans to open its showroom in Oman during the first quarter of the year, and will set up an office in Qatar to provide more efficient services to its clients there.

On show

• The new Saffron Syrup • The whole range of products

Gulfood Stand Number: Hall 8, B8-30 T: +971 4 3433478 E: W:

Gulfood preview

Lanjarón Arabia Distributors Lanjarón Arabia Distributors returns to Gulfood with a long-term vision of becoming the top selling European natural mineral water in the Middle East. This year, it will be showcasing the entire range of its trade and consumer bottles, including several sizes of glass and PET. It will also prove its commitment to sustainability by displaying its 20% plant based and 100% recyclable PET bottles. The company provides 100% natural mineral water from the highest mountains in Andalucia, Spain. It is excited to be launching its new labels early this year, which will incorporate the latest design and high-end PET. Its plans for 2017 involve gaining the trust of its trade clients and consumers as a reliable supplier of a historically famous water, the oldest bottled water in Spain.

On show

• 20% plant based and 100% recyclable PET bottles • Glass and PET bottles in a range of sizes

Gulfood Stand Number: Hall Beverages – Za’abeel New Halls - Z6-D15 (Spain Section) E: T: +971 50 444 4450 W:

MOBILE LIVING MADE EASY. Keeping your Guests refreshed and their belongings safe Whether it is a five star Hotel or a family-run Bed & Breakfast, the hospitality industry trusts us to deliver high-quality and comfortenhancing solutions for their guests. Today you will find more than 5 million of our sophisticated miniBars, guest fridges and safes in hotels and other lodgings across the world. In addition to cooling solutions, we provide a range of tough and reliable safes. For the complete offer visit Dometic Middle East FZCO, P.O.Box 17860, Phone: +971 4 8833858, Fax: +971 4 8833868,

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February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


16.01.17 10:19

Gulfood preview


Al Rawabi Dairy Company

On show Al Rawabi is the biggest dairy company in the UAE. It has been exhibiting at Gulfood for six years in a row and is coming back this year to meet new suppliers and buyers and establish new business opportunities. Al Rawabi has launched Vitamin D milk, which is enriched with 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 in one cup of 250ml. Regarding its vision for 2017, Al Rawabi is planning to maintain its leading position in the dairy industry by investing more in its brand and by providing healthier products. With 100 years of experience, Monin has over 140 flavours available in 140 countries. The company is currently aiming to expand in the Middle Eastern market. It considers Gulfood a highly important exhibition for showcasing its latest products and developments, and strengthening its relationships with existing and future customers. At Gulfood, the company will be launching its latest products, including: Le Fruit de Monin Pineapple and Cherry, Monin Cheesecake syrup, Monin Cloudy Lemonade, and Monin Toffee Coffee Frappe.

On Show

• Le Fruit de Monin Pineapple and Cherry • Monin Cheesecake Syrup • Monin Cloudy Lemonade • Monin Toffee Coffee Frappe.

Gulfood Stand Number: Z6-C38 T: +971 44520600 E: W:


HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

• Vitamin D Milk • Long life juices in several new flavours • Plain and flavoured milk • Cheeses such as halloumi, jar cheese, slices, mozzarella.

Gulfood Stand Number: F 1-6 T: +971 4 704 3000 E:; W:

Morning Star Packing Company Morning Star Packing Company is returning to Gulfood for a second year, with the goal of gaining visibility within the Middle East food manufacturing market. Its three tomato processing facilities located in California’s central valley provide it with the capacity and ability to meet the exacting performance standards of customers looking for paste, diced, purees, ketchup, and crushed tomato products all over the world. At this year’s exhibition, it will be showcasing tomato paste and diced tomatoes, both conventional and organic, that are packed in industrial-sized 300 gallon bins and 50 gallon drums. The company also offers multiple other tomato ingredient products, which it will be showcasing at the exhibition.

On Show

• 300 gallon bins and 50 gallon drums of diced tomatoes and tomato paste • Full line of bulk tomato ingredients

Gulfood Stand Number: USA Pavilion SC-348 T: +1 209 826 7100 E: W:

Gulfood preview

Mozarella PDO Mozarella PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) will be exhibiting at Gulfood to promote its Mozzarella di Bufala Campana. The Consorzio – the organisation appointed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture to protect and promote PDO cheese – will be showcasing different varieties of Italian cheeses, including Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano, Pecorino Toscano, and Casciotta di Urbino. At Gulfood, the stand will be equipped for cooking demonstrations and tastings of the PDO Italian cheeses. The Consorzio’s plan is to teach people and stakeholders how to recognise and taste the original and traditional Italian PDO cheese, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana.

Gulfood Stand Number: Hall 2 – Stand B2-34 T: +39 0823 150 0563 E: W:

ProChile The Chile stand at Gulfood will showcase 17 companies exporting shelled and unshelled walnuts, dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, peaches and apricots, concentrated juices, fruit and tomato pulp, chestnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, lupini beans and, for the first time, honey, a principle livestock export. Chilean shipments grew 4% between January and November 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. This year, Chile will continue to diversify its range in the market, while maintaining traditional sectors such as salmon and trout. It also wants to boost products with added value, like concentrated fruit and vegetable juices and mineral water, which grew 405% and 56% respectively between January and November 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.

On Show

• Chilean honey • Shelled and unshelled walnuts • Raisins, prunes, peaches and apricots • Concentrated juices, fruit and tomato pulp • Chestnuts, almonds, hazelnuts • Lupini beans

Gulfood Stand Number: Sheikh Saeed Halls Stand S-J15 (Arena) T: +971 4 321 0700 E: W:

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February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Gulfood preview

Tegel Foods


Tegel Foods Ltd, a New Zealand-based poultry producer was established in 1961 and has been offering its premium New Zealand chicken and ready-to-serve meal solutions to the UAE retail and foodservice market since 2014. At Gulfood, Tegel will present the texture and flavour of its premium New Zealand chicken. The company offers a solution for every meal occasion and menu style, from fresh and frozen whole birds and portions to convenient, portion-controlled fully cooked ready-to-serve products. Tegel’s chickens are raised cage-free in a clean environment and temperate climate, which produces naturally healthy chicken, with no added hormones, no injections and with the highest standard of animal welfare.

On Show

• Whole chickens, fresh and frozen • Cooked and ready-to-serve products

Gulfood Stand Number: Stand D3-18, Hall 3, Dubai World Trade Centre T: +971 435 7442 E: W:

Since 1922, Valrhona has been using its expertise in selecting and processing cocoa to provide gastronomy professionals with a wide, aromatic range of couverture chocolates. By working alongside professionals, it has developed an in-depth awareness of their needs, practices and limitations. The company has recently launched its ‘Inspiration’ range, which combines cocoa butter with the intense flavour and colour of fruit. This new range of products has been developed using the Valrhona Research & Development team’s expertise. At Gulfood, Valrhona will be showcasing its new products from the Inspiration range along with a wide variety of chocolate desserts and spices.

On Show

• Inspiration range • Chocolate desserts • Spices

Unilever Unilever is participating at Gulfood for the fourth year in a row. It will be showcasing its entire food and beverage portfolio, which cuts across dressings, savoury and desserts. To address local cuisine needs, it recently launched the Knorr Chicken Shawarma Marinade, which contains a balanced mix of Baharat, thus enabling shawarma chefs to add their own signature touch to the taste profile. For international cuisine, it launched the Knorr Jus Base, which enables chefs to make a jus base with an intense, meaty flavour and a velvety shine in just 10 minutes (a process that normally takes 12 hours of simmering). Unilever’s mission is to provide more than just professional food and beverage products, but also food service solutions that help customers work smarter.

On Show

• Knorr Chicken Shawarma Marinade • Knorr Jus Base • Dressings • Desserts 56

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Gulfood Stand Number: B540 T: +971 50 776 0161 E: W:

T: +971 50 640 6455 E: W:


Room service The Panel

This month, Hotel News talks to a number of suppliers of in-room accessories and hears about the competitive nature of their industry and how they are meeting the demands driven by the latest trends in the sector

Robert Dupree general manager, Ada Pacific Direct

Anne Low general manager, Diversified

Farah Aslam managing director, Dimara International

Mohammed Muwafi regional sales manager MENA, Dometic

Rachael Towl regional sales manager, ME Guest Supply

Claudia Barua assistant manager marketing and business development at UPI

What is your best-selling product? Robert Dupree: ADA Pacific Direct has a niche brand boutique of products of which our most popular are our liquids and soap ranges. Floris Luxury Hotel Collection is a range of elegant bottles and pleat-wrap 58

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

soap, featuring the brand’s bestselling fragrance Cefiro, perfectly suited for men and women, with crisp lemon and lime, warmed by spicy notes of cardamom on a fresh floral jasmine heart, leading to a clean, musky and woody base. Our latest product launch is the

Chopard Sparkling Indulgence range, this luxurious guest collection captivates with a distinctive design signature. Anne Low: Molton Brown is the best selling range for us. Farah Aslam: The most popular are Jo Malone, Roberto Cavalli and Etro due to

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the fact that some of them are able to provide bespoke concepts and maintain their niche luxury status. Mohammad Muwafi: The miniBar DM50 is our best-seller. Rachael Towl: We have partnerships with some of the world’s leading brands, including Salvatore Ferragamo, Aromatherapy Associates and Tara Smith; however the best-selling product format, no matter what the brand, is always shampoo and shower gel. Claudia Barua: The liquid amenities are our best selling products such as shampoo, conditioner, bath gel, body lotion and soaps. We have a wide variety of luxury, premium and value range amenities that best suit all the hotels and resorts. Currently, Charlotte Rhys, a luxury brand from Cape Town, and Fresh our own UPI brand is our best selling. What is unique about it? Dupree: Amouage is a lifestyle sought after by only the most sophisticated and discerning international consumer. Today, it has a stellar following around the world including royals, global leaders and some of the most celebrated names in film, television, fashion, sport and music. Low: It is still made in the UK and the room accessories are made to the same high formulation quality as the retail product. So whatever you buy in the shop is the same for the hotel guest’s experience. Aslam: These brands have an awareness in the market, as they keep launching new perfumes and fashion collections. They like to provide an exclusive collection for each property, which make the hotel feel very unique. The brands have a strong presence in the market and the luxurious brands makes the guest feel special and enhance their experience. Muwafi: The miniBar DM50 incorporates two refrigerated compartments, a small one for miniature bottles and snacks, a large one for bottles and cans and a unique design with automatic slide-out for mini bottles and snack trays. Towl: Guest Supply provides products that enhance the hotel guest experience in more than 28,000 hotels in over 100 60

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

One of the products provided by Guest Supply

Ada Pacific Direct has catered for royals, global leaders and celebrities

countries. For three decades, hoteliers have depended on our unique combination of industry experience, service, manufacturing, global sourcing, distribution and product design and development. As a global provider to the hospi-

tality industry, Guest Supply maintains relationships with leading hotels around the world through our offices in the UK, USA, Canada, Dubai and Hong Kong. Barua: Charlotte Rhys has an elegant simplistic look with a refreshing fra-


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GRIF 2017 will again host a celebration of the brightest and best of the industry at the 2017 Global Restaurant Awards through partnership with The Caterer. The Global Restaurant Awards are an opportunity for the industry leaders to get together and celebrate those organisations that have shown innovation, vision and leadership in their businesses and concepts. Recognising the brands that have really engaged with their consumers through social media, technology, design or sustainability. GLOBAL RESTAURANT AWARDS IN ASSOCIATION WITH


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grance, it’s a well-known brand from Cape Town. Fresh, another product, has a delightful freshly cut grass fragrance, an ideal product for hotels that want quality and an attractive price. What is the most important feature of the perfect in-room accessory? Dupree: The most important features are product quality and safety. Hotels want to provide their guests with a perfectly satisfying product experience in every detail, from fragrance, texture and colour to packaging. With the high quality and variety of our hotel amenities ADA Pacific Direct aims to offer a “feelgood factor” in its most enriching form. Low: Quality and consistency is key when it comes to providing an inroom accessory. Aslam: The perfect in-room accessories should reflect the hotel’s philosophy and concept and create the perfect sense of place and best guest experience. The colours and designs need to match with the image of the property. For example, if the property is Arabian inspired we would align it with a brand that can depict that heritage and offer a sense of place while incorporating fragrances that are valued regionally such as sandalwood, oud, vetiver, jasmine or a bespoke combination. Towl: When creating bathroom collections, it is important for the formulation and fragrance to not only reflect the brand that we are representing, but also to be of the highest quality and ideally cater for both male and female guests. Product packaging is another key element and at Guest Supply we pledge to match the ambience of the hotel with a guest collection that reflects its style and overall guest experience. Barua: A good looking product made out of good ingredients, at an attractive price, from a vendor who keeps stock at all times. What are the latest in-room accessory trends? Dupree: There are two main trends: First, the ongoing trend for luxury retail brands available in hotel amenities. Second the growing popularity of green hotel cosmetics. ADA Pacific Direct is 62

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Etro is one of the lines provided by Dimara

Dometic specialise in safes

able to meet both of these trends. Low: We still notice that customers want recognisable brands for their guests to enjoy and give them a luxury experience. There is also a move towards more environmentally sound

products at a more cost effective price. Aslam: The general trends are niche luxury brands that tell a story for your guest. Mass market “off the shelf ” brands are passé and guests are looking for something that has personality and

HOTEC 17 Middle East

HOTEC Middle East 2017 Fairmont Baku Flame Towers, Baku, Azerbaijan 25-28 April 2017 HOTEC is the original one-on-one meeting forum for buyers and suppliers in the hotel industry. HOTEC will bring senior decision makers from the industry in the Middle East and leading executives from supplier companies together in Baku this April, for networking and face-to-face meetings by appointment. Spend quality time with leading procurement, project, and design decision makers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, the Levant and surrounding territories, all with ongoing operations and important new projects, this April at HOTEC Middle East 2017. Why attend HOTEC Middle East 2017? – You know ahead of time who is attending – You know the buyers are senior decision makers – You get to choose who you want to meet – You are guaranteed limited competition – You spend quality, uninterrupted time with the buyers – You profile your company to a high level audience – You network, build relationships and get to know the key people in the industry – You receive VIP treatment in a 5 star atmosphere away from the pressures of the office

For more information please contact: Stephen Pace-Bonello: Email: Tel: +356 9945 8305


will create a unique experience for them. We have aligned ourselves with brands such as Roberto Cavalli, Roja Dove, Etro, Jo Malone, Bottega Veneta that are willing to develop bespoke concepts that stay true to the brand while providing a sense of home, adding that local flair. Having a branded product is not enough, it must be taken to the next level in terms of fragrances, designs and packaging. Muwafi: We can see a trend towards more design driven products, be it mini bars, safes or our winecellars. Hotels are looking into creating a memorable and unique guest experience. The room needs to offer something which is different from what people are used to seeing. This will make hotel guests talk about their positive experience at a specific hotel. Towl: Research indicates that there is a clear shift in the region towards the requirement of mid-market hotel rooms. The opportunity to expand our business via a market sector that is clearly underdeveloped is very exciting for Guest Supply. The potential for growth from the emerging middle class markets (India, Africa and China), combined with budget millennial travellers from around the world mean that the UAE will become an increasingly vibrant city catering to tourists from varying walks of life who will bring their own flair to this already incredible city. Barua: The current trend in the hospitality is for organic and eco-friendly products. The clients are aware of the ingredients put in these amenities which is why our products are eco-friendly. What type of hotel operations do you cater for? Dupree: ADA Pacific Direct caters for all hotel ratings but specialises in the luxury five-star market. Low: We cater for hotels from the three-star to five-star luxury categories and across different departments from housekeeping, spas and health clubs to F&B for small room amenities to bulk refills for public areas. Aslam: We work closely with the luxurious properties, mostly fivestar properties. These hotels usually 64

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

Security is the name of the game for Dometic

like to develop bespoke concepts and portray uniqueness. Muwafi: The Dometic Group manufactures its mini bars in its own factories. We have different production facilities in Europe and China that matches with the end user’s needs to guarantee that the investment becomes an immediate success. Towl: We cater for all hotels requiring amenities in the region, from mid-scale to luxury. What maintenance services do you offer your clients? Low: We offer a full service from storage to monthly deliveries. We have an after-sales service for all of our products in the Middle East to ensure they are in tip-top condition.

Aslam: We like to support our clients in term of logistics and delivery, in fact, we handle all our clients’ storage and deliver them as per their request directly to the property. Muwafi: The Dometic Group is locally based in the Middle East through exclusive and long term partners in the region guaranteeing local representation for sales, support, maintenance and service during the entire life cycle of the units. Towl: We have efficient deliveries of product and consistent follow up in terms of after-sales service. Barua: We provide 48 hours of delivery from the date of PO on stock items. Having our own warehouse, delivery team, customer service reps and operations manager this makes it possible.

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Myriam Redouane

Regional Commercial Director - SAGMA CORP

Contact details Email: phone: +971 4 454 84 02

What is your best-selling product? Honouring the heritage of the worldwide renowned haute couture elegance, the Oud & Rose scented hotel amenities set, by Lanvin is our best-selling product. In 1924, Jeanne Lanvin opened her atelier de parfum in Paris. Les Notes de Lanvin continues the fragrance legacy with refined collections for the bath and body with an avant-garde and attractive packaging suiting all types of bathroom designs: from the perfume shaped bottle with a shiny black capsule, to the pearly white material and elegant branded stamp. What is unique about it? The range of formulas are gentle and adapted to all skin types ensuring sensorial textures and experience available in white vetiver and orange amber. The oud and rose range is suitable for all genders, invigorating and authentic to the oriental traditions. Each bottle size is 45ml which represents a great value for the rates therefore this product line is very competitive on the market. We offer to extend this memorable experience with beautiful products that are designed with elegance and that French touch. Lines are made in the USA and certified as per the sustainability requirements. What are the trends in the industry at the minute? Did you know that when it comes to in-room lines of amenities, one new brand enters the market every other day on average worldwide? There are many requirements from the hospitality field and it is too vast to speak about trends. One area of focus these days is sustainability; properties have extended their green concerns through the cosmetics and consumables they are acquiring. In the meanwhile, partnering with a renowned high end luxury brand is a major plus point. 66

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

What type of operator do you cater for? We work closely with the housekeeping, marketing, events and spa departments in five-star hotels. Extendedly our clients are also airlines, private jets, yachts and palaces.

What maintenance service do you offer? Well it is more of a qualitative customer service and after-sales support: collaboration, and active follow-up. We strongly adhere to our core values therefore, we efficiently innovate through adapted solutions, intelligent marketing support and buzz events. We collaborate with our retail network to enhance our clientele guests voyage and support them in communicating our collaboration through our media network. We extend our support to train hotel staff and provide them with valuable information about our products. Customer service, to us, is not just about getting a deal through. It’s about connecting to ensure a healthy and sustainable relationship. We are a passionate team dealing with a passionate clientele and we will continuously commit to the optimal level of satisfaction.

26 Feb - 2 Mar 2017 Dubai World Trade Centre

THE BIGGEST FOOD BUSINESS your business. Make it bigger by visiting Gulfood.


Register at






Bedding in for success

In this month’s product focus we speak to a number of key players on the beds and bedding scene about what keeps them ahead of the pack

NG Matt

La Vida- Espain The Arabian is banking on its new La Vida -Espain range of bed linen and bath and guest amenities proving to be a big hit with clients. “All of our products are on trend in the market but the one which stands out is our La Vida – Espain range of guest amenities and bath and bed linens,” says sales co-ordinator Christine Cuenca. The next frontier for the company is the launch of the Aero Cart range of housekeeping maintenance carts. That is followed by the launch of the company’s original real flowers range, imported from Japan, that see flowers staying preserved for five years. “We do not need to make promises about our products as they speak beyond the expectations of our clients,” said Ceunca. “We love what we do and it’s our goal to continue to inspire our client base and to expand in the years to come.” Supplier: The Arabian Website: Email: 68

HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

The NGMatt, controlled through an Android or iOS app, records and reports the sleep quality of each individual. “Total connectivity also means users can load their sleep profile into other NGMatts at hotels around the world, configuring the mattress exactly as at home or in previous hotels — ensuring the deepest, most restful sleep for guests wherever they are in the world,” says Hassan AlHazeem, managing director of Intercoil International. The company is banking on success with the new product, citing a good night’s sleep as one of the most important parts of a hotel experience. “With the NG Matt, a guest’s comfort is elevated with the delivery of a customised sleep experience based on their personal sleeping traits – because when it comes to sleep, one size does not fit all,” says Al-Hazeem. “For a guest to know they can enjoy the same quality sleep at a hotel anywhere around the world, that they would at home, certainly adds value to a hotel.” The next step for Intercoil is to strengthen its presence in the GCC with two showroom concepts being launched in February and March.

Supplier: Intercoil Website: Email:

Ergo Coil, Verticoil and Soft Touch

Beds and bedding firm Silent Night is keeping anything but silent about its latest product, the three spring units from Leggett and Pratt: Ergo Coil, Verticoil and Soft Touch. The Ergo Coil features a unique crosslaced design thus providing enhanced comfort and a more supportive sleep surface. “The Active Support Technology in the Silent Night Verticoil collection allows your muscles to relax in a more natural sleep position,” says Matthew Go, Silent Night contracts sales manager. “The coils adjust spontaneously to your sleep movements, comforting and supporting the body actively. “The Soft Touch Pocketed Coils incorporates a revolutionary soft touch spring system providing a special combination of responsiveness, comfort and support making them highly receptive to individual body weight, shape and sleep pattern.” Go says people are always prepared to invest in a good, comfortable mattress. “They also realise they would be spending a third of their life in the mattress so investing in a good one make sense,” he says. Silent Night caters to all hotels within the three to five-star sector as well as deluxe and service apartments. Supplier: Silent Night Website: Email:


Sleep Cool Pillow Protector from King Koil The Sleep Cool Pillow Protector from King Koil is a must have for anyone looking for a comfortable night of snoozing, according to Sudarshan Rai, marketing manager, of Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Company. “During sleep, our body generates heat and sweat which is being absorbed by the bed and pillows,” says Rai. “With the Sleep Cool Pillow Protector, the cool gel capsules absorbs body heat and provides cool optimal temperature surface thereby ensuring your night’s sleep is free of discomfort. “The pillow protector has a zipper so you can use any pillow of your choice. It is extra soft and very absorbent and is machine washable. The cooling pillow protector also protects against dust mites, bacteria and allergens.” Another product that the team at

DFMC are excited about is the EZ lift bed lifting mechanism device. “EZ lift is a light weight, portable bed lifting mechanism which lifts the bed from foot side, allowing cleaning underneath the bed,” he says. “The bed can also be dragged forward and sideways for better cleaning and tucking bedsheets, duvet and bed throws. At DFMC, we continue to adopt the latest in the sleep technology since sleep is vital for our body’s revitalisation to meet the demands of the waking hours. “The bed lifting mechanism helps in cleaning the room faster and ensures more productivity for the team.” Supplier: Dubai Furniture Manufacturing Company Website: Email:

February 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Top 10

Top ten

with Kim Milton, director of spa and recreation, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Oman 1) What's the best thing about your job? I can't limit my answer to one best thing. My current job has me in Oman, the friendliest country in the GCC. Working and living in the well-acclaimed Jabal Al Akhdar with dramatic canyon views and spectacular sunsets. I work side by side with 35 nationalities and we launched a luxury five-star hotel 2,000m above sea level.

Men's spa Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

2) What made you choose your current role?

5) Where do you see yourself in five years?

Having always managed five-star luxury spas, I was offered the opportunity to become director of spa and recreation for the pre-opening of an iconic property. It was an opportunity I couldn't resist as I was given carte blanche in the concept, menu design and final roll-out of all the services and activities now being offered – every manager’s dream!

I'm very happy working for Minor Hotel Group. They have several hotels opening globally, and I see myself being part of more pre-openings and progressing into a regional position in Minor’s head office.

6) Tell us something that none of your colleagues know about you? I have a deep love for horses.

3) What do you do when you're not working? I enjoy being close to nature. Living in Jabal Al Akhdar allows me to take leisurely walks and hikes in the mountains, as well as an endless amount of sunset photographs.

7) If you could stay in any hotel in the world right now, where would you go?

4) What's the best bit of advice you've ever received in the workplace?

The industry found me. As a little girl I regularly gave the family pets massages. As I got older my friends and family had the benefits of my massages. In high school a well acclaimed

My current GM comes to mind: "Act, act, act". He is very results driven.

Anantara Kihava in the Maldives.

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

international beauty school from Cape Town hosted a presentation; which sparked my journey in the beauty industry.

9) What would you say to anyone who is starting out in your sector? The spa world is endless, ever expanding and evolving. Whether you work in the private sector, cruise lines or hotels you will find opportunities: On your journey, work hard, keep focused, stay informed with global trends, let your passion find your niche in the field and your succession progression will unfold.

10) What's the worst thing about your job? Having worked internationally on luxury cruise liners and five-star spas - I've made many friends whose careers took them in a new direction. Saying goodbye never gets any easier.

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HOTEL NEWS ME February 2017

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Hotel News ME - February 2017  
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