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RAK TO THE FUTURE Waldorf Astoria RAK's new GM unveils his plans for the property

NEW HORIZONS Industry leaders explore the latest hotel investment opportunities

BODY AND SOUL The founder of homegrown Alma Retreat plans a franchise empire JULY 2017 | WWW.HOTELNEWSME.COM


July 2017


10 | NEWS Five Holdings takes over Viceroy Palm Jumeirah; IHG signs deal for six hotels in Kuwait; Hilton confirmed for Yas Island project 18 CHECKING IN Park Inn by Radisson opens in Makkah; MGallery goes German for Wellness; emaar launches fourth rove hotel in Dubai 23 OPINION How the Internet of Things can only get better for hoteliers 24 COVER STORY Why Radisson blu dubai waterfront aims to become the emirate's friendliest hotel

24 10 News

30 RAK TO THE FUTURE an interview with Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah gm, Alan Stocker

18 Checking in

30 GM Interview

52 Marketplace




July 2017

Contents 38

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

Group Editor, Hospitality Crystal Chesters

Editor Patrick Ryan


Art Director Aaron Sutton Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

c o n t ribu t o rs Marouane Al Mandri

Photography Hayder Al Zuhairi

SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196

34 FACE TO FACE Hotel News catches up with industry leaders on the investment trends shaping the Middle East's hospitality landscape 38 PROCUREMENT PANEL Hotel procurement and purchasing specialists debate the burning issues that often go unnoticed 44 body and soul Entrpreneur Sarah Arnold on why she wants to transform homegrown Alma Retreat into a global franchise business

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



JUNTO WILL SURPRISE YOU. Sensual stoneware in matt earthy shades perfectly meets the fine porcelain with asymmetrical shapes.

On the web Keep up to date with all the latest news, features and much more on our website.

The friendly face of hotels

In this month’s issue, we take a look at why one new hotel is putting an emphasis on friendly service


patrick ryan Editor

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



eaders of a certain age might look at our cover and be reminded of the 90s sitcom, Friends. And who doesn’t enjoy seeing a friendly face? There’s no situation that can’t be improved by a little warmth and a smile. That’s why David Allan and his team at Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront are putting a policy of friendliness at the top of their agenda. It’s an interesting premise and when the team from Hotel News Middle East paid a visit, the friendly staff certainly impressed, as did the opulent interiors and well-appointed rooms. The views of the Burj Khalifa alone are going to take some beating – especially on New Year’s Eve. Elsewhere in the issue, we fired up our Delorean and headed ‘RAK to the Future’ for an interview with the general manager of the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, Alan Stocker, who made a compelling case as to why the emirate is the next big thing for hospitality. Describing the experience in RAK as an Arabic adventure away from the hubbub of daily work life, it wasn’t hard to agree with Stocker, particularly given the surroundings of

the majestic hotel, which really is the last word in luxury. Don’t take my word for it though, read the interview for yourself on p30. Continuing our focus on the Northern Emirates, we took a trip to Alma Retreat just outside of Ras Al Khaimah to meet with entrepreneur, Sarah Arnold, who is determined to develop her homegrown, sustainable haven into a global franchise business. Arnold’s dedication to her dream is nothing short of inspiring. Also in this issue, we present the findings from our procurement roundtable, which took place at Dukes Dubai with some of the region’s leading hotel purchasing and procurement specialists. It was a fascinating debate that shone a light on some of the issues that often go unnoticed in an industry that never stops moving. All that’s left is to let you get on with the magazine and I think you’ll agree there’s really something for everyone in this issue. Enjoy! Regards, Patrick Ryan


Dubai World Trade Centre 18 - 20 September 2017

Regional News


For News, features and more, Visit Follow us on twitter for breaking news: @hotelnewsme 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:

Court order prohibits Viceroy Palm Jumeirah takeover

DIFC Courts has issued a court order prohibiting the owner of the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai hotel from taking any further actions to prevent Viceroy Hotels and Resorts from exercising Viceroy’s exclusive authority to manage and operate the hotel. Viceroy requested the DIFC Courts’ assistance following the actions taken by the hotel’s owner on Monday 19 June. It had announced the purported takeover of the hotel by Five Hotels and Resorts, a company affiliated with the hotel’s owner, and took steps to attempt to remove 10


Viceroy from the property. Bill Walshe, chief executive officer of Viceroy Hotel Group, commented: “Contrary to the hotel owner’s statements and subsequent media reports, Viceroy has always been, and remains, the legal operator of the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai. “The Court’s order requires, among other things, Viceroy’s name, signage and branding to be reinstated at the hotel. Our priority remains to work with our outstanding hotel colleagues to ensure continuity of service and consistent delivery

of a guest experience in keeping with the Viceroy ideology. We will continue to work strenuously with our legal team to ensure we achieve this.” According to a statement from Viceroy, the owner’s actions breached the existing hotel management agreement. Viceroy is currently taking steps to ensure that the hotel’s owner complies fully with the terms of the court order and the hotel management agreement. Viceroy Hotels and Resorts signed a long-term hotel management agreement to oper-

ate the Palm Jumeirah hotel in 2013. The resort officially opened on 31 March 2017. The Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai has 477 rooms and suites, comprising 85 suites and 40 hotel apartments. Walshe added: “Viceroy is immensely proud to contribute to Dubai’s dynamic hospitality landscape with the opening of our Palm Jumeirah hotel on 31 March 2017. We are committed to supporting Dubai’s Vision to be a leading tourism market and will strongly resist any attempts to threaten this.”

Regional News

IHG signs deal for six hotels in Kuwait InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has signed an agreement with the Bukhamseen Group Holding Company to build and operate IHG hotels exclusively in Kuwait. The agreement grants country-wide exclusivity to the Bukhamseen Group for a 10-year term and covers six IHG brands, including InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites. Alan Watts, chief operating officer, Asia, Middle East and Africa, IHG said: “We

are pleased to be signing an exclusive agreement with our long-term business partner, Bukhamseen Group, for further hotel development in Kuwait.

“With this signing, we look forward to increasing the momentum of our growth in the country and continue our endeavour to deliver great experiences to

guests visiting Kuwait for business and/or leisure.” His views were echoed by Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG who said: “Our relationship with the Bukhamseen Group goes back over three decades, and together we have established a strong presence for IHG in Kuwait, with three operational hotels and one under construction. “Each one of these hotels has a successful legacy in the country and we are confident that our future ventures together will follow suit.”

All aboard for GulfHost in September The countdown is well and truly underway for GulfHost which takes place on 18 – 20 September 2017, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). The hospitality equipment and food service expo aims to connect all catering equipment manufacturers, suppliers, solution providers and investors with the most influential buyers from hotels and resorts, restaurants, cafés and bars, bakeries, fast food chains, and professionals serving kitchens, actively involved in the Middle East and Africa. “In short, we are showcasing anything purchased by a restaurant, bar or café that isn’t edible,” said Andrew Pert, portfolio exhibitions director at DWTC. “The region’s hospitality, foodservice and catering industry is continually innovating and investing in all aspects of the preparation and serving of food. The UAE currently has over 6,000 F&B outlets, with another 19,000 expected to open by 2019.” The event is part of the Dubai Hospitality Week which is organised by The Hotel Show and Dmg Events.



Regional News


Rikan reaches out

A special Iftar food packet distribution took place at a Labour Camp in Al Quoz Industrial Area during Ramadan. The event was organised by Rikan which distributed food to around 200 people who were fasting for the holy month.

Host Milan is in demand in 2017 The 2017 edition of hospitality exhibition, Host Milan, is currently outperforming the 2015 event in terms of visitor and exhibitor numbers. Already, 1,824 companies have confirmed their attendance at the 40th edition of the show, which is set to take place at FieraMilano from Friday 20 – Tuesday 24 October. These include 1,092 Italian companies (59.9%) and 732 international firms (40.1%), representing an increase of 11.4% compared to the 2015 edition. This year, 55 countries will be represented on the 12


opening day, including eight new entries – Belarus, Egypt, Lichtenstein, New Zealand, Serbia, South Africa, Sri

Lanka and the Ukraine. Germany, Spain, France, the USA and the United Kingdom top the list of the

10 main foreign nations in attendance. Over 1,500 buyers will attend, hailing from Europe (10%), the Mediterranean and South Africa (7%), the Middle East (15%) North America (23%), Central and South America (8%) Russia (18%), Asia and Oceania (19%). In addition to business opportunities, Host Milan will host a number of freeto-attend events, including workshops, training sessions, roundtables and show-cooking spectacles. For more information, go to:

Regional News

Flagship Address for Makkah

Emaar Hospitality Group and the Jabal Omar Development Company have signed a management agreement for the flagship Address hotel in Makkah. This marks the first expansion of Address Hotels and Resorts to Saudi Arabia. Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, said: “We are honoured to mark the expansion of Address Hotels + Resorts, the premium luxury hotel brand under Emaar Hospitality Group, to Saudi Arabia with the signing of this important management contract with Jabal Omar Development Company. “As an iconic development situated near the Grand Mosque, Jabal Omar Address Makkah will appeal to visitors from across the world by offering distinctive value propositions including its central location, attentive service and extensive amenities that meet the needs of visitors.” His comments were echoed

by Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality Group. He said: “Saudi Arabia is one of our focal destinations to expand the footprint of our hotel brands. The Jabal Omar development stands out for its unique design features and amenities, and will appeal to religious visitors as well as investors.” Yasser Faisal Al-Sharif, chief executive officer of Jabal Omar Development Company, said: “We wanted to ensure that the Jabal Omar Address Makkah stands out for its unique brand identity and exceptional service standards.” He added that Address Hotels and Resorts has proven expertise in managing world-class luxury mixed-use projects. “By choosing a brand that has its roots in the region, we are confident of delivering a hospitality choice that will support the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote religious and cultural experiences,” he said. July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Regional News

AED12 BILLION Yas Island development to encompass hilton Hotel

It has been confirmed that Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Resort will be part of the AED12 billion development plan announced by Miral for the southern end of Yas Island. The resort, opening in 2019, will be located in Yas Bay, a 3km stretch that is anticipated to become one of the most iconic and vibrant waterfront destinations in the region. Carlos Khneisser, VP, development, MENA, Hilton said: “This represents a land14


mark deal for Hilton and puts us at the forefront of the transformational journey Yas Island is undertaking to become one of the world’s top leisure destinations. “Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island Resort is indicative of the calibre of project we are looking at for our resort portfolio here in the Middle East.” The resort’s facilities will include a multi-purpose conference centre, seven dining outlets and an innovative

urban beach concept with an infinity pool suspended above the waters of the Arabian Gulf. The resort is also nearby the 18,000 capacity Yas Arena, a multi-purpose indoor arena designed to host large and intimate scale events, including sporting competitions, major cultural performances, concerts and MICE activities. B.R. Kiran, chief portfolio officer of Miral said: “We are proud to announce our

partnership with Hilton, which represents another milestone in our journey to establish Yas Island as a top global destination. “The creation of a worldclass family resort at the heart of Yas Bay, our iconic waterfront development, will provide visitors with a fivestar opportunity to extend their leisure and business stays and enjoy the unique attractions and memorable experiences that only Yas Island can offer.”

Regional News

Mövenpick SIGNS beach and golf resort IN EGYPT

Demand is sky high for Dukes apartments

Seven Tides has completely sold out of its Dukes Dubai Sky Collection apartments, less than a month after they went on sale. The mix of 60-studio and onebedroom properties is the final phase of hotel apartments at the Palm Jumeirah development, located on the 16th and 17th floors of the building. Abdulla bin Sulayem, CEO of Seven

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts is ramping up its presence in Egypt with the announcement of a new 214-key beach and golf resort. The company has signed a deal with Galalah Co. For Touristic Investments S.A.E. to manage the Mövenpick Hotel El Ein Bay. “As we accelerate our expansion in the Middle East and North Africa, Egypt is one of the key growth markets we are targeting and signing this new property in the stunning El Sokhna area not only confirms our longterm commitment to the country, but consolidates our position as a leading hospitality firm in the region,” said Andrew Langdon, chief development officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts. The new hotel is envisaged as a chic and contemporary resort with 214 rooms and suites; five dining options, including a specialty restaurant 16


and a rooftop lounge; meeting and event space spanning more than 1,000m2; a large swimming pool; and an extensive spa and fitness facility. “El Sokhna is one of Egypt’s leading tourism destinations and an emerging hub for golf, meetings and events. Mövenpick Hotel El Ein Bay aims to capitalise on this potential,” said Mahmoud El Gammal, chairman of Galalah Co. For Touristic Investments S.A.E. “Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ proven track record managing properties in Egypt and across the Middle East and North Africa and its desire for innovation, will help us realise our ambitions to be a leader in driving El Sokhna’s ongoing development.” Set to open in 2020, Mövenpick Hotel El Ein Bay confirms Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts’ ongoing commitment to Egypt where it already operates eight properties and eight Nile cruisers.

Tides, said: “In what is a very challenging market environment we witnessed huge interest in our Dukes Dubai Sky Collection properties. The project was extremely well received by investors who were attracted by its prominent location on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, the quality build, striking interiors and Dukes’ position, offering a quintessentially ‘Best of British’ lifestyle experience. “This project offered a developerbacked 10% guaranteed ROI for five years, allowing owners complete peace of mind knowing that their investment is in the professional hands of the Dukes management team.”

Ascott expands presence in Jeddah

The Ascott Limited (Ascott) is expanding its presence in Jeddah with the opening of Spectrums Residence. It will be the fourth property managed by Ascott in the city, along with the Ascott Sari, Ascott Tahlia and Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah. “We are honoured to have the opportunity to manage Spectrums Residence, which complements our existing properties in Jeddah – Ascott Sari, Ascott Tahlia and Citadines Al Salamah. With a fourth property in the city, Ascott

has strengthened its position as the leading international serviced residence operator in Jeddah,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s country general manager, Middle East & Turkey. The new 69-unit residence is located on Prince Sultan Road in the Al Salamah district. There will be an emphasis on meeting and events facilities, with several flexible layouts suitable for small meetings to medium sized conference and events.

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Rove Hotel launches next to DWTC

Rove Hotels has opened its fourth property in Dubai. The 270-room Rove Trade Centre is situated beside the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Olivier Harnisch, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “Rove Hotels addresses a very clear industry requirement: the need to offer contemporary lifestyle hospitality experiences for value-conscious business and leisure travellers visiting the city. We will continue to develop hotels in central locations, assure hyper-connectivity and mobility through metro and public transport, and deliver lifestyle amenities that are relevant to our guests. “Rove Trade Centre, like all other operating Rove hotels, also brings a unique positioning to the market. Dubai’s MICE sector is reporting robust growth, and with the preparations of Expo 2020 gaining momentum, the city is welcoming business professionals who are discerning yet value conscious.” Six more Rove Hotels properties are being developed by 2020. This will take the total number of rooms under Rove Hotels, developed as a joint venture between Emaar Properties and Meraas Holding, to over 3,700 by 2020. The other three hotels under the brand are Rove Downtown, Rove Healthcare City and Rove City Centre. Other properties will be located in Dubai Marina, Satwa and nearby to Dubai Parks and Resorts. Harnisch added: “Rove Trade Centre is uniquely positioned for welcoming MICE visitors as well as business guests and leisure travellers, offering them the distinct Rove experience, complemented by its central location and tech-driven environment.”



Park Inn by Radisson opens first hotel in Makkah

Park Inn by Radisson has opened its debut property in the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia. The Makkah Al Naseem represents the group’s 35th hotel in Saudi Arabia and gives it a total of more than 9,000 rooms. Mark Willis, area senior vice president, Middle East, Turkey & Africa for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, said: “We are delighted to open our first hotel in the holy city with Park Inn by Radisson Makkah Al Naseem. “This is a significant hotel addition not just for the Park Inn by Radisson brand but for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, as we now begin to see our strong development pipeline across Saudi Arabia materialise, with multiple hotel openings coming to fruition in the next 18 months. “We believe the Park Inn by Radisson brand is entering this important segment at a very opportune time to support the increase in pilgrim travellers seeking affordable accommodation and a hassle-free experience.”

Willis added the growth of religious tourism to the kingdom and the holy city of Makkah for local and international travellers is expected to grow, which means his company is well placed to provide all the essentials of an international hotel brand. Park Inn by Radisson Makkah Al Naseem has 459 rooms and suites, most of which overlook the Al Rajhi Mosque. Saad Ghosheh, general manager Park Inn by Radisson Makkah Al Naseem, said: “We look forward to welcoming local and international travellers visiting the holy city of Makkah for their Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage. “Our great location allows our guests to experience the many pilgrimage sites in the holy city. Our experienced and passionate team are here to ensure all of our guests have a memorable stay.” The new hotel is the latest property to open as part of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s plan to operate 200 hotels across the region by 2020.

Checking in

Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery puts wellness on the agenda

The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel has announced plans to become the first holistic wellbeing resort in the Middle East. The new property is scheduled for soft launch in summer 2017 and has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the German Medical Wellness Association. Samir Arora, general manager, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, said: “We are proud to introduce the first holistic wellness resort in the UAE, the property provides guests an unrivaled resort experience, different to anything else offered in the Middle East.

“We are delighted to be recognised by an international body responsible for more than 20 years of success in advancing the wellness concept worldwide. Wellness is a self-responsible strategy we are all accountable for, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel allows for each guest to become an architect of his or her own wellness.” The beachfront destination will showcase 255 luxurious rooms and suites, designed with natural elements, earthy tones and harmonising feng shui, synonymous with serenity and calmness.

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From Celebrities to Antiquities Hotel News Middle East talks to Ahmed el Shandawili, general manager of Sofitel Legend Old Cataract, Egypt, about his continent-spanning career

Work Experience Sept 2015 - March 2017: General manager, Movenpick Hotel Aswan Egypt April 2012 - Sept 2015: Director of operations, Alameda international, Cairo Egypt March 2006 - Dec 2011: Resident manager, Sofitel Winter Palace, Luxor Egypt

Describe your first ever role in the hotel industry? I started my career working as a busboy in a fine dining restaurant in one of the most famous restaurants in New York, where we used to host most of the celebrities in the US. Then I started my way up the ladder until I became the training director for the company, then general manager in New York City. Who has inspired you most in your career? My general manager at the Westin Hotel in New Jersey back in 1998, where I was director of food of beverage, was the biggest inspiration. I learned a lot from him as I gained my first leadership experience and I always respected his attention to fine details. 20


How do you view the hotel scene in the region? Upper Egypt will always be one of the most important destinations for cultural tourists. With more than one sixth of the world’s antiquities and very welcoming people, Upper Egypt is like no place else. The historical richness of the destination makes it one of the must-do for many travellers from all over the world. What is the biggest challenge of your role? Due to the special character of the property and our high-end clientele, it is very important to motivate the staff on a daily basis in order to deliver an exceptional standard of service and cater to the different needs of our guests.

What is the best aspect of your role? The diversity of people I meet from different parts of the world and the drive to deliver the best guest experience. My aim is that every guest will be an ambassador for the property, the brand and the destination. If you could work in any hotel in the world which would it be? Four Seasons – anywhere in the world. What tip would you share with new staff starting out in the F&B industry in the region? Enjoy what you are doing and never consider your job to be a routine. Smile and always communicate openly with guests, colleagues and management. No matter how much experience you gain, always remain open to learning things.


Jannah appoints Vice New GM for Coral President of sales Dubai Deira Hotel

Jannah Hotels & Resorts has appointed Ossama Charrouf as vice president of sales. Charrouf will report to the company’s COO, Mohamed Hani Fakih. Jannah Hotels & Resorts chief operating officer, Nehme Imad Darwiche, said: “It is our pleasure to welcome Ossama Charrouf as the vice president of sales of Jannah Hotels & Resorts. “His broad experience in the hospitality industry will enable us to further advance our strategies to pursue sales and profit goals.”

Hospitality Management Holding (HMH) has announced Rafat Gotta as the new general manager at Coral Dubai Deira Hotel. Gotta brings over 18 years of experience in the industry having worked with operators such as InterContinental Hotels Group, Kempinski and Marriott International. Prior to taking over the new role, Gotta was the hotel manager at Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport. He said: “I am extremely grateful to HMH for having given me this fantastic opportunity. Coral Dubai Deira Hotel is a fabulous property with tremendous potential for growth.”

Major appointment by Shangri-La hotels

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has announced the appointment of Oliver Bonke as president and chief operating officer. In his new capacity, Bonke will oversee the group’s executive vice presidents, responsible for regional hotel operations, as well as the operational division heads of food and beverage, sales, marketing, rooms, engineering, security and quality improvement. “We are delighted to welcome Oliver and look forward to his arrival as the new president and COO of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts,” said Shangri-La Asia Limited CEO Lim Beng Chee.





Should your hotel use open pricing? Michael McCartan, managing director, EMEA, Duetto Research, talks about open pricing and why it enables hotels to be free to sell all year round


pen pricing is a way of pricing and distributing hotel rooms that enables a property to always be on sale at the best price for the customer and the most profitable price for the property. It’s a departure from a best available rate (BAR) strategy, which is used by most hotels. You could even call it the next generation of revenue strategy. How open pricing works is simple. It’s about ensuring that your hotel never unnecessarily closes off an offer or distribution channel if a room remains open for booking. How does that work? The BAR concept was created in the 1990s as an evolution of seasonal rates. All prices in a BAR concept are fixed modifiers of each other, either at a dollar or dirham mark or as a percentage discount. For example, if your BAR rate is $200 on a particular night and your fixed modifier for a certain promotion is 10% you can only sell that rate at $180, or shut it off with an availability restriction. Most hotels set their BAR rate as the optimal price for a room with no or few conditions attached and then offer promotions and special rates to build a base of business. Great? No, because this rigid structure means you will be diluting your revenue on days with high demand. A fixed-tier strategy limits your revenue potential. You can’t incrementally reduce or increase the prices on promotions and other restricted rates based on demand for those particular products. What’s more, if you are closing out rates with availability restrictions on certain dates, then you are losing business. Your customer simply cannot find your most attractive offer. Open pricing enables you to have as many incremental price points on a demand curve as you can regardless of the



About the Author Michael McCartan joined Duetto as managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2014 to spearhead the rollout of the revenue strategy technology company throughout the region. Before joining Duetto, he served as CEO of eRevMax. Michael has an engineering degree from the University of Cape Town and a business degree from the Open University.

BAR price. So now you can charge $185, or $186 or $187, or even $216. It also enables you to be open and selling even during peak periods. For example, using a BAR method many hotels might close off channels for a busy Friday night. This means that a guest looking to book for a longer stay, say Thursday to Monday, will not even find your hotel. You are effectively turning down three extra nights of business, by closing off one night. Open pricing enables you to stay open and competitive on all channels. Price your busy Friday night at a low discount, say 5%, or even equal to BAR. Price your other nights at an attractive discounted rate to optimise on lower demand periods. The guest looking to stay with you Thursday to Monday will book, happy to receive a discount on three nights of their four-night stay.

With open pricing, you’re never saying ‘no’ to the guest. Open pricing enables hotel revenue managers to be surgical about their pricing strategy. It enables you to set independent rates for each channel segment and room type by the day, putting both you and the guest in control. You control the price and are always open. Guests will decide if they want to book at that rate. You never turn business away unnecessarily. With the right technology, open pricing is easy to manage. You can automate much of the process, getting more granular and scientific with your pricing strategy. It is a new way of thinking about hotel distribution. It is the evolution of BAR and once you adopt it you will see higher revenues and occupancy and gain further revenue control of your business.


Big Things are coming this way Florian Kriechbaumer, director of operations and development, Interel, explains why now is the time for the hotel industry to embrace The Internet of Things


he Internet of Things (IoT), already a major trend in the consumer space with devices such as the Nest thermostat, Philips Hue smart light bulbs and Fitbit wrist bands that measure heart rate, is set to take the hospitality sector by storm. By 2020, it’s expected that 50 billion “things” will be connected to the internet. In the context of hospitality, there is initial evidence that this trend will offer unparalleled opportunities for improved guest experience and operational efficiencies as well as new prospects for more sustainable hotel operations. It’s therefore no surprise that IoT is at the forefront of research and development for hotel guest room technology. Although adoption is still at an early stage, more and more hoteliers are realising the potential that IoT solutions can bring to the table in terms of innovation and guest experience, and are taking steps to reap its benefits. One such step is determining how IoT devices will communicate with other hotel systems and how hotel staff will interact and manage them, which requires a new infrastructure layer in the property. Most IoT devices rely on battery power, which means they need to use low energy, low range wireless networks (such as Bluetooth or ZigBee) to communicate, instead of utilising WiFi, as frequent battery replacements or recharging is not feasible in hotels. A trend we are observing is that hotel Guest Room Management Systems (GRMS) are used as the missing layer to bridge this IoT infrastructure gap. As most upscale and luxury hotels are already installing GRMS as a corporate standard to manage environmental controls in the guest room such as lighting, curtains, guest requests, maintenance

About the Author Florian Kriechbaumer joined Interel in 2015 and looks after software development and global operations based out of Dubai. His previous engagements include high growth companies, running product strategy and development at Iris Software Systems, creator of guest-facing hospitality applications for high profile clients such as Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and AccorHotels. He has also held various positions and consultancy engagements in hospitality organisations such as Kempinski and Jumeirah. and energy management, this eliminates the need for investment in additional technology. An example of how IoT is being introduced as part of GRMS in hotels today,

is through smart thermostat devices. With connectivity to sensors for motion, temperature and humidity, these thermostats can make more intelligent decisions when it comes to guest comfort and energy saving through the detection of activity in the guest room. Through the hotel’s existing WiFi infrastructure, the thermostat can also exchange data over the IP network in the hotel, allowing for remote monitoring and configuration. By also equipping it with low energy, low range wireless communication capability, they can serve as a gateway for other IoT devices to exchange data over the network, which otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Such devices may include the door lock, which can send access logs to a server in the security office without requiring its own infrastructure, or a door contact in the minibar, sending its status to a housekeeping tool; letting staff know which minibars need to be checked and refilled. The possibilities and applications for IoT in hotels are endless, yet nobody knows exactly what the guest of the future expects and what applications will become available to drive efficiency and sustainability in hotels. What we do know is that for hoteliers to truly advance in this space, it’s critical that they have the right infrastructure in place. Hence, now is the right time to embrace IoT and to get ready for the future of hospitality. To do so, hotels under renovation or construction must consider future-proofing their technology infrastructure to take full advantage of the promises of IoT. The installation of a low power, low range, IoT - enabling wireless network is a prerequisite for the many IoT devices and applications of the future. July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

The friendliest hotel in Dubai The team at the soon−to−be opened Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront have set themselves the unique challenge of creating the friendliest hotel in the region



Cover Story

The hotel is located near the recently opened Dubai Canal


here are so many hotels in Dubai, that you really have to think outside of the box, when it comes to opening a new property in the city. That’s exactly what David Allan, general manager of the 432-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront, and his team, have done – they aim to create the friendliest hotel in the region. “We want to position ourselves as the friendliest five-star hotel in Dubai,” says Allan, cluster general manager, Radisson Blu Hotels, Dubai Waterfront and Dubai Canal Views. “The reason we say that is because we think that service technically is very good in this part of the world but less so on the soul and personality front and that’s something that we are very much looking to address.” He says this has to start with the management team into whom the ethos is very much ingrained. The reason, Allan says, is that any hotel opening in Dubai will have to show that it offers something different, especially in the competitive cauldron of Business Bay.

“I understand what people are saying about the wider market in Dubai and we have got some sterling competition nearby,” he says, naming the JW Marriott Marquis, The Habtoor City Hotel Collection and the Steigenberger off the top of his head. “We have an awful lot of lovely hotels near us. It goes back to the friendliest five-star hotel in Dubai proposition to make a point of difference. We hope by tapping into something in peoples’ psyche and having the nicest bunch of hoteliers, running it, that people will buy into it.” The key to implementing a policy of friendliness, Allan says, is ensuring that it becomes the very culture of the hotel. “It’s very much a cultural thing. We speak to each other exactly the same way we speak to our guests,” says Allan. “There’s no Mr David or Sir, there’s no Ma’am. We are taking a different approach.” Allan is adamant that the goal can be achieved by instilling the right attitude into the staff from the very start. “At Radisson Blu we have some tremendous brand standards and brand

values already,” he says. “We are having our guys go through body language training, cultural awareness and language training. “It all sounds incredibly basic but we think these are things that can make a big difference and if we can get that across everywhere, I’d like to think people would believe we are the friendliest five-star hotel in Dubai,” he adds. Odile de Groot, executive assistant manager, believes the friendly culture must be felt at every touch point. “From the time you arrive at the hotel, how does the security guard treat you? How does the valet treat you? The parking agent? What happens in the restaurant? It is the overall experience we want to focus on,” she says. It’s clear that Allan places a premium on a happy working environment, which he hopes will resonate with the guests as well. He explains that he likes nothing more than working with a broad team of nationalities from all over the world, getting to know them in the process and aiding in their development. July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Cover Story

David Allan – cluster general manager David Allan brings a strong track record to the role and a solid understanding of the local market having successfully managed the Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Media City, since July 2014. Born in Scotland, Allan started his Rezidorian career at Radisson Blu Hotel, Glasgow, progressing from food and beverage manager to the role of deputy general manager.

Audrone Tikniute – director of front office Her first stop in Dubai was with the Radisson Blu Hotel, Deira Creek where she was part of the hotel rebranding team. Extending her international experience she moved on to Moscow and Doha and worked in similar roles. Originally from Lithuania, her nickname is Audra, which means 'the storm'.



A rendering of the Larder Restaurant

“I can try and have fun with them if I stand in a lobby for half an hour and greet people as they come through the door but that has nowhere near as much of an impact as if I walk around the departments making sure the concierge, the reception guys, the guys behind the bar or in the café are laughing and smiling,” he says. “If we can create that infectious happiness then they will go and touch more guests than I ever could.” The Waterfront property is clustered with the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View, which is scheduled to open in 2018. Khamis Kazzaz, the on-site representative of owners, Al Hammad Group of Companies, is delighted with the progress of both projects. “We are on track; the first property will definitely open on time in the last quarter of this year and 12 months after this one opens is when we expect the Canal View to be operational,” he says. Allan is adamant that both Waterfront and Canal View will be hits with guests. “We have to deliver for our owners, we have to deliver for Rezidor. The simplest way to do that is get the correct volume of happy guests coming through the hotel,” he says. “The short-term objective is to get the hotel open and to get the culture we want in place and the longer-term

What’s on the menu? Adam Tracey, executive chef, tells Hotel News Middle East about the F&B options at Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront. “We have two restaurants, the Larder Restaurant is our all-day concept and the FireLake Grill House specialises in Californian cuisine with a lot of open-flame cooking,” he says. The idea, Tracey explains, is modern American cuisine, minimal ingredients and quality produce with great flavour on the plate. “What’s really unique is the terrace with a total capacity of 500 people, it has a stunning view of the Burj Khalifa,” he says.

Khamis Kazzaz, Al Hammad Group of Companies

We are on track, the first property will definitely open on time in the last quarter of this year” objective is to get the hotel recognised as a centre of excellence for this part of the world.” Kazzaz is clear in his belief that there is room, not just for one, but two, new five-star projects in Dubai’s Business Bay.

Cover Story

Adam Tracey – executive chef Tracey joined directly from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. In a previous life before heading to the UAE and leaving the rainy weather of England behind, the Manchester City supporter was executive chef at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport.

Business events will be a key component of the hotel

The hotel has 432 rooms

Fathuma Hamziya – cluster director of Hr She joined from nearby sister hotel in Deira where she was responsible for all HR functions. Originally Sri Lankan, she has been in the UAE for a number of years and has an expert knowledge of everything involved in working in Dubai.

Rushdy Mubarak – Cluster IT manager The Sri Lankan national joined from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City. Mubarak is a multiple award winner. Besides rummaging through the internet he loves to read books and observe his surroundings through the lens of a camera.



Cover Story

George Anastasakos – cluster director of revenue Anastasakos’ previous role was cluster director of revenue at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek and he brings along extensive international and Middle East experience. In his youth he was a semiprofessional basketball player.

Katharina van Beugen – Cluster Director of PR and communication Katharina came on board directly from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City. She brings her skills gained from international positions in hotels and the airline industry. The half Torontonian and half Austrian mountain yodeller enjoys spending time with her family and friends or on the back of her horse.



“The majority of cranes located in Dubai are in Business Bay. This is definitely the right place at the right time,” he says. “Every time a hotel opens or a new area opens, we say ‘what are we going to do with all these hotels?’ Having been here for the last 22 years, Dubai has changed dramatically but what hasn’t changed is that occupancy has been very steady along with all the supply that comes in. “The message is that Dubai has seen the good, the bad and the ugly and it is here to stay and survive.” Allan is equally confident and stresses the cluster aspect of the properties will only serve to strengthen the team’s hand. “There are a lot of people involved in

cluster roles ahead of the opening of Canal View next year, and then we will try and split off on the assumption we have success here on the Waterfront and will replicate that,” he says. “I can categorically say that we will not cluster anything that is front-facing as that would be a complete contradiction to what we are trying to do. I will never take any resources away from making sure that we get that friendliness and welcoming atmosphere for guests as soon as they arrive at the hotel.” If there was any doubt about Allan’s determination to put his money where his mouth is, he says: “As soon as we’re open, everyone is welcome. Ask for the weird Scottish guy with the beard and I’ll buy you a drink in our Scottish bar, Makar!”

Cover Story

Odile de Groot –executive assistant manager Her previous role was with Radisson Blu in Nairobi. Making her way from her native Belgium, via West Africa, de Groot has also worked at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait. In the absence of the general manager, the cub scout leader is the captain on board.

A rendering of the lobby area

Yousuf Amiri – Cluster Director of Security Amiri joined the team from the former Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Downtown and brings along a wealth of experience. Originally from Ras Al Khaimah he kicked off his career in security more years ago than he cares to remember. When he is not working you will find him in the quiet areas of Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah where he enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Mohammed Abdo – cluster director of sales and marketing Hailing from Jordan, Abdo joined from his most recent position as DOSM for Moevenpick Ibn Battuta Gate in Dubai. He has a history with Rezidor and extensive Middle East experience. Confessing to being a huge Manchester United fan since childhood, he also loves watching mixed martial arts.

Laura Zanfirescu – Executive Housekeeper Originally from Romania, Laura set sail in her younger years on a journey of discovery in Spain. Her colleagues say they are fortunate to have this bundle of energy, with a considerable amount of experience on board with them and are proud to call her a member of their team.

Keith Moorton – cluster financial controller The Englishman moved over to Dubai from his last role in Scotland to join the team. His previous roles include regional finance director of MacDonald’s Hotels and Resorts. He has a background in asset management and a keen interest in keeping up to date with the latest music charts, much to the bewilderment of his two children.



GM Interview

Ras Al Khaimah is an unsung hero of the Middle Eastern hospitality scene but that’s all going to change according to the newly appointed general manager of the emirate’s Waldorf Astoria, Alan Stocker



GM Interview


he general manager of Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah believes that people don’t realise just how much potential there is in the emirate but, if Alan Stocker gets his way, that won’t be the case for much longer. There is an attitude, Stocker posits, of Ras Al Khaimah being treated like a suburb of Dubai – he says this couldn’t be further from reality. “When people talk about the UAE they presume that Dubai represents the entire country,” says Stocker. “That’s not the case and Ras Al Khaimah is an emirate in its own right. I think we need to do a lot more work on that basis here, as it adds a lot more value to a destination when you talk about it as an emirate.” Ras Al Khaimah, Stocker says, is in a unique position compared to the rest of

the UAE in that it can reap the benefits of being relatively close to Dubai whilst offering a completely different experience to the city at the same time. “The beauty of this location is that it is 45 minutes away from the airport via a very quiet road, and really when you factor in traffic in Dubai, it takes about the same time to get to a Palm hotel, for example, as it does to get here,” he says. “It’s a straight road up here and what we offer is an Arabian adventure away from the hubbub of city and work life, which can be quite hectic.” Ras Al Khaimah is first and foremost a holiday destination, says Stocker, which means people come to the emirate to chill out and recuperate but it is close enough to Dubai to offer the best of both worlds. It’s testament to the emirate’s ap-

peal that business is booming for Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, as Stocker explains. “April was actually one of the best performing months since the opening of the hotel,” he says. This year when we look at the forecast going forward it should be a really strong year.” This is down to a combination of things, Stocker says, not least a campaign from the local tourism board and a change of marketing and PR strategies, putting the emirate in the spotlight. “It’s really coming to the forefront now and I’m confident we can stay on the forecasted numbers and on-plan,” he says. “It’s getting to the point of exhaustion for people who have routinely travelled to Dubai, we are attracting

What we offer is an Arabic adventure away from the hubbub of city and work life”



Gm Interview

F&B options

The deluxe queen room overlooks the sea

General Manager Alan Stocker is ebullient in his praise of Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah’s F&B offering. “There is the Lexington Grill which does fantastic steaks, it has a beautiful selection of steak knives, and you can select your tool for the night, which is quite novel,” he says of the acclaimed steak restaurant that also boasts over 350 different labels of grape and hosts a jazz evening each Monday. Other restaurants: • Umi - Japanese restaurant bordered with Japanese gardens. • Azure - Mediterranean menu by the poolside. • Camelia - renowned for afternoon tea and a view overlooking the sunset and the landscaped gardens. • Peacock Alley - titanic style stairway and huge marble fountain. • Margin - traditional and modern Arabic offerings on the menu. • 17 Squared - picturesque views over Ras Al Khaimah with an extensive beverage list and designer cocktails • Qasar Al Bahar - all-day diner with both indoor and outdoor options with a terrace outside.



The pool at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

GM Interview

Alan Stocker, general manager Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

guests who want something different now. The holiday destination becomes all important.” Being situated in Ras Al Khaimah is one thing but you have to be able to keep the guests happy when they arrive. While Stocker is not complacent about the challenges of keeping guests happy, he is more than confident that Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah cuts the mustard in that respect. “In terms of the property, we have a palace style in both architecture and in the exterior. The rooms and corri-

dors are also oversized,” he says. “At the same time we have to make sure service levels are in line with that.” It comes as little surprise to find that Stocker has ended up as the general manager of one of the Middle East’s leading luxury hotels, given how instrumental the industry has been in both his career and life. “I came into the industry through my father, who was working with Sun International in South Africa,” he says. “I spent my holidays running around

glamorous hotels and would see the hotel team at the bar drinking beer and thought this was a job I could do.” Stocker, who hails from Cambridge, UK, started his career in his native country before getting the urge to broaden his horizons. “My first role abroad was the opening of Disneyland Paris, which at the time was known as Euro Disney, in 1991. That was my first walk away from the UK,” he says. “After Disney I travelled all over the place. I have been in the Caribbean, I’ve been in Mauritius, I’ve lived in different locations like South Africa and Jordan, and I try to incorporate those cultures and different styles into my own career.” Stocker says he tries to take the best elements of all the people he has worked with and put them together. It’s clear from speaking to Stocker that team spirit and a positive attitude are sacred to him. When he took over the property in January, one of the first things Stocker did was sit down with each individual staff member. “By doing that it fast-tracked me into the hotel and helped me get to know all the staff members and what their paths have been and the direction they want to go in,” he says. “It’s important for me to get the input of the staff and connect with them.” Stocker says he has been known to plant the seeds of competition among his staff, but that the results speak for themselves and he isn’t afraid to reward his employees when the desired results are delivered. “I love to celebrate, I like to crack open a bottle and have an ethos of work hard, play hard. We have to make sure we can celebrate wherever we can and that creates a fun environment with the team,” he says. “When I was in China and had good results come in, we would enjoy that one or two hours together and it was amazing to get that one simple touch, it went a long way, and I am looking forward to doing more of that.” July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


Face to face

Meeting the needs of new markets Hotel News Middle East spoke to a number of industry leaders at Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) about the key opportunities driving hotel investment trends in the Middle East

Wyndham blows hot for mid-scale market New opportunities for budget and mid-scale brands are opening up in the hotel industry across the region, according to Ignace Bauwens, regional vice president, Wyndham Group. Bauwens says that the midscale market is expanding all the time and will grow by a further five million people before 2030. “You will see the economy brands grow faster in the UAE, Jeddah and Riyadh than other places,” says Bauwens, whose own company counts Super 8, Days Inn and Travelodge among its portfolio. “We see the change in demographics, companies and people are looking at how they can travel three or four times a year on a budget. The millennial generation is moving, it is growing in importance.” So what about the projects that Wyndham has in the pipeline for the region? “A 650-room Tryp by Wyndham will be opening in Dubai in the summer,” he says. “It’s the second one in the UAE and it’s the largest one in the world. We are bringing more Wyndham family brands in, which will strengthen our name. Next year we will also have the Wyndham Dubai West Bay Marina. “Moving forward we are talking about bringing the Days Inn brand to Saudi Arabia; we will bring more Super 8 brands to the Middle East and we already have one in Riyadh.” Bauwens says he believes the Super 8 brand will prove to be a hit in the Middle East with one market in particular – Chinese travellers. “It is a big brand that is known so well by Chinese travellers over here, so immediately that creates a massive opportunity for investors. Secondly, it is a standardised brand, so people that come in will understand what they get for their money,” he says. “It’s the right time because it’s an economy brand.”



Ignace Bauwens, regional VP, Wyndham Hotel Group

Face to face

Emaar goes roving across region Emaar’s Rove lifestyle brand has just opened its fourth property in Dubai, the 270-room Rove Trade Centre near DWTC, but that is only the tip of the iceberg, says Jaidev Menezes, corporate director business development, Emaar Hospitality Group. “We have four hotels, with Rove, here in Dubai, and we have a commitment to do 10 Rove hotels in Dubai by 2020 so that will be 3,600 rooms in Dubai alone,” said Menezes. “We are very focused on seeing the opportunity in mid-scale. We are looking at building the brand in other parts of the Emirates in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah.” The UAE is only the beginning of the Rove expansion, according to Menezes who says that the brand will be rolled out across Saudi Arabia, Oman, India, China and Europe. Emaar’s confidence is largely in response to the reception that has greeted the Rove brand in Dubai. “It’s a fresh, different product and people are tired of staying at boring, cookie cutter hotels. Rove is a different product from the point of view of design and technology; it is efficient and unique, it’s a fresh and novel concept,” he says. Emaar Hospitality Group has a

Jaidev Menezes, corporate director business development, Emaar Hospitality Group

number of other projects coming to the fore as well. “We have announced 26 projects in the region. We are also looking at management agreements to grow the pipeline,” he says.

“We are not in a race to hit a certain number of hotels or get to a certain size. It’s important to be looking at signing quality deals with quality owners developing quality products.”

IHG takes to the clouds IHG has announced a cloud-based reservation system which it believes will revolutionise the hotel industry in the Middle East. “We have created an industry-first by introducing the cloud based Guest Reservation System (GRS),” says Rajit Sukumaran, chief development officer, Asia Middle East and Africa. “You walk into a hotel in New York and you have certain preferences, which are recorded in the

cloud reservation system.” He says the GRS stores guests’ preferences on the system, regardless of where they are in the world. “You come in as a guest and we know you like soft pillows. It’s rolling out in the Americas now, it’s going to be happening in the Middle East soon,” he says. “You are treated as an individual and not a customer who has to fill out a lengthy questionnaire.”

Rajit Sukumaran, chief development officer, Asia Middle East and Africa



Face to face

AccorHotels puts focus on Iran AccorHotels is determined to make an impact on the market in Iran, says Francois Baudin, senior vice president, development luxury hotels, Accorhotels, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Baudin was speaking to Hotel News Middle East about his company’s plans for the region and Iran was high on the agenda. “It’s an untapped country, which has huge potential for hotels. For us it’s very important to our plan, we are looking at it with open eyes,” says Baudin. “It is going to take time but we are committed.” Baudin speaks of the challenges that face hoteliers in the country. “Everything is a challenge when you go to Iran, you can’t use international credit cards. You can only use local credit cards there,” he says. “If you want to have a computer system for your back-of -house you cannot use an American credit card. It has its challenges so we have to rethink how we will do it.” The key, Baudin says, is to be patient when operating in a market like Iran. “It’s a long process. It’s worth it in terms of return on investment and there is a lot of need for international brands,” he says. “When you go to Iran you realise there is really a lack of supply. You have to make sure you have the right connections to get a permit in place.” The company already has an Ibis and a Novotel open in the Iranian capital of Tehran. “We have a Fairmont under construction there, so hopefully we can announce the signing by the end of the year,” he says. “We are also looking at opportunities for Pullman, Sofitel and a couple of Swissôtels as well. The mood of the market towards Iran is to be a little bit cautious at the moment due to elections in Iran and the US.” He added that while AccorHotels is being “cautious and prudent” it is a market that will be easy for the French group 36


Francois Baudin, senior vice president, development luxury hotels, AccorHotels, Europe, Middle East and Africa

Azadi Tower and Square, Tehran

to penetrate at the right time due to the set-up and experience it has. While Iran was certainly a hot topic with Baudin, it wasn’t the only issue on the table. “We have been very strong in the market in the UAE especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi,” he says, before turning his attention to the strategic partnership between AccorHotels and Rixos Hotels

that was announced in March. “We are going to be looking at Ras Al Khaimah next. The midscale and economy resort sector is largely untapped. The luxury market is reaching maturity and Rixos is an interesting proposition for AccorHotels as it has full board and is all-inclusive, which there wasn’t here before. There is a big demand and market for it here in the Middle East.”

Face to face

Majid Al Futtaim takes to the silver screen


Robert Welanetz, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Properties



Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira

Majid Al Futtaim is taking experiential travel to a new level by building a cinema-themed hotel in Deira City Centre Mall. The company’s CEO Robert Welanetz spoke to Hotel News Middle East about the Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira. “Connected to the iconic City Centre Deira, our latest hotel property with its cinema-themed concept is designed to bring a vibrant new ambience and experience for diners and travellers alike, delivering on the increasing demand for experiential travel and leisure,” he says, adding that the project is also being developed in response to the demand for more mid-market experiences. The Aloft Dubai City Centre Deira will feature a cinematic themed floor of 25 standard rooms and four suite rooms and is scheduled to open in Q1, 2018. He added that Majid Al Futtaim is expanding its footprint of hotels being built into malls across the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. “It’s been shown that the most popular activity for tourists, after checking into a hotel, is shopping,” he says. “With that in mind, the amenities around a hotel become more and more important.”

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Procuring an understanding

Hotel News Middle East invited some of the region’s leading experts on procurement to take part in a special roundtable discussion at Dukes Dubai, sponsored by Guest Supply

The panel (From left to right) Joseph Fonseka, purchasing manager, La Ville Hotel and Suites, City Walk Dubai; Pranab Pathukulangara, assistant purchasing manager, MĂśvenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach; Jean Manuel, purchasing manager, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort; Saji Idaculla, procurement manager, Dukes Dubai; Sonja Allen, hospitality specialist, Guest Supply and Sandeep Thomas, director of finance, Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek



What are the latest challenges facing the hotel procurement sector? Joseph Fonseka: Today it is such a huge market, you have to be so careful about what you are buying, reliability is the key. Sandeep Thomas: The run-up to 2020 means there is more focus on preopenings in procurement. There are 100-plus hotels being added in the next couple of years. Saji Idaculla: Compare the market here to the likes of the UK where there is limited access to suppliers; for us it is a global market. I have 150 food suppliers, which is unbelievable. Pranab Pathukulangara: At Mövenpick we had 99% of suppliers registered, all Mövenpicks use the same system as it is good for the hotels and each department. You can see the benefits of buying from this supplier or that supplier. By registering them on the system, it helps you with getting a better rate. Jean Manuel: Procurement is like working in HR, I need to check their background and if it is a good price. If I pay an advance payment I will be in trouble with the finance department. Sandeep: Another issue is that the entire operation should not come under the finance department. Their forte is

Saji Idaculla, procurement manager, Dukes Dubai

not negotiation, finance is asking if they have the right forms, if they are up to standards, if they are credible and so on. Jean: Finance will see the figures only. In terms of price there will be a clash. What about the quality? We need to balance it. It’s about quality and price. Joseph: There is an issue with deliver-

ies – when buying in bulk can we get it in one truck instead of having 10 or 20 trucks on the road? Traffic is also an issue and again it depends on pricing and manpower. What are the issues you have when it comes to orders? Jean: For example, one department July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



2017 is a very exciting year for Guest Supply, which is continuing to grow its brand profile worldwide, recently acquiring Gilchrist & Soames in order to further enhance their premium luxury tier offering within the amenities industry. As an education partner, Guest Supply continue to understand the daily challenges faced by the procurement department. Supply chain transparency, reliability, professional and trustworthy partnerships are a commitment every reputable supplier should strive to maintain. With 25,000 customers in 111 countries and over 30 distribution locations, Guest Supply are the world’s largest and fully integrated supplier of hotel guest amenities, textiles and in-room operational supplies to the hotel industry. Guest Supply is the only vertically integrated company in the industry: * Product Development / Design * Manufacturing * Direct Sales * Distribution As a global company, Guest Supply provides luxury retail brands; including Salvatore Ferragamo, La Perla, Korres, Ungaro, Aromatherapy Associates, Cochine, Tara Smith, Acca Kappa, Institut Karite, and many more to major hotel groups around the world through its offices in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Dubai and Asia Pacific. With continued global investment in research and development, Guest Supply is able to relate to its markets on a regional level due to region specific knowledge that enables an understanding of the differing priorities and profiles important for successful development in both the luxury and mid- market arena. Guest Supply, providing a full spectrum solution for you and your guest. Tel: +971 4 8808551 Email: Website:



emailed me to ask for an ashtray. Is it made of glass? Is it stainless steel, what shape? Some departments don’t even know what they want to buy, they will send a copy and pasted image, how can I send that to the supplier? I need the size… I need the texture. Saji: That’s the approach of some team members, once they send an email to purchasing they see their part as being finished. Sandeep: That’s time that could have been spent negotiating with a supplier but instead it is spent getting the specs and it can take days, going back and forth. Joseph: If you get the wrong product, everyone will try to blame purchasing. Jean: Not all purchasing managers are technical people, so I always put the IT and technical people in the loop, be it to buy TVs or alarm clocks.

Will the extra hotels being built for Expo 2020 change the procurement landscape? Sandeep: I see a lot of break-offs with all the extra hotels being built. You will see people who have worked under a company deciding to start their own. The product will probably be the same but they will undercut it, that will make it difficult as two people are going to be offering the same product. Saji: I can definitely see that happening. Reputed suppliers who worked for years in the same company will see an opportunity in the market to start their own company. People who usually deal with companies in Europe will go to the Far East and try to manufacture the same product for less. Sonja: It’s interesting to hear the challenges you are facing, they are exactly the same challenges we are facing as

Sonja Allen, hospitality specialist, Guest Supply

suppliers. We are a global company, but we get told by hotels they can get cheaper products, but then they are not guaranteed the network and supply we have. Other suppliers come in and undercut the market, hotels think ‘great, it’s cheaper’. But then they aren’t getting the same quality. Sandeep: Inferior products hurt a hotel as after a few years they have to be replaced, which affects the cash flow. You have to replace something before you expected. Even with pillows or bedsheets, you have to be aware of the wear and tear of constantly being washed. How do you identify the right suppliers and products? Saji: A supplier has to be transparent. Communication will help us, so they should let us know if there’s a

Jean Manuel, purchasing manager, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

Pranab Pathukulangara, assistant purchasing manager, MÖvenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach




delay. They have to be able to deliver what they promise. Jean: Some suppliers will try and take me out to dinner to discuss a deal, but I don’t see the point. You can see what a supplier is like through body language and how they talk. I can smell if something isn’t right… I will throw them out of my office if I have to. The finance director is relying on you and put their trust in you. Sandeep: You have a lot of suppliers looking for advance payments, so the trust issue comes in. They can ask for AED 250,000 in advance payment and you never know if he’s going to run away. Jean: If a department, F&B or housekeeping, wants to buy something, some departments even have their own favourite suppliers. When it comes to comparing samples though I don’t look at the name, I look at product A, B and C and see which is of the most benefit to the property. Sandeep: As long as a favourite supplier can deliver the right products at the right price it’s okay. What are the areas of procurement where money could be saved? Joseph: We spend a lot on maintenance. This is an area that’s being dictated by engineering. If you had a person with engineering experience in purchasing you could make huge savings. I worked in engineering so I know. Sandeep: During pre-opening you spend a lot on tools. When you go to IT they talk about gigabytes and megabytes. Along with engineering, these are two areas of a hotel that can wear you down if you’re not aware of it. Joseph: That’s where networking comes in, it just takes a call to a sister hotel and you can find if they have been using their services or if it can be done cheaper. Jean: We need to be able to inspect food suppliers and where food is stored. Twice a year we do a supplier visit, when they give us a delivery it is good, but how are they storing the food? If there is food poisoning the first place they will go is to purchasing and ask where the food came from. 42


The roundtable took place at Great British Restaurant, Dukes Dubai

Sandeep Thomas, director of finance, Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek

Joseph Fonseka, purchasing manager, La Ville Hotel and Suites, City Walk Dubai


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Just six months ago, high−flying corporate executive, Sarah Arnold, launched Alma Retreat, the UAE’s first homegrown, sustainable wellness haven. With new projects earmarked for the UAE and Germany, Arnold is determined to raise the funding needed to create a successful, global franchise business. Crystal Chesters reports



New opening

Sarah Arnold, founder and managing director, Alma Retreat


arah Arnold, founder and managing director of Alma Retreat was born next door to her aunt's bed & breakfast, in a small village with a population of 600, 120km north of Frankfurt in Germany. She helped out with the day-to-day operations of the five-room property as she was growing up, and saw the food being brought, quite literally, from farm to table. It was then that her interest in authentic, simplistic hospitality was sparked. However, the hotel went out of business, and Arnold decided to pursue a more financially stable career path with a degree in international business administration and IT. Soon she found herself on the corporate ladder, first working for IBM and then with Microsoft, her current employer. “From that childhood dream, I grew up into capitalism and made a non-romantic choice with my studies,” she comments. As a high-flying executive, Arnold was on a plane every week, staying at five-star hotels and admits she became ‘a spa addict’. But she found that all the hotels were the same and the spas only offered temporary relief from her stress. Seven years ago, she experienced a “career burn-out” and travelled to India, Sri Lanka and Thailand for six weeks to unwind. However, for the budding entrepreneur, this socalled ‘break’ turned into a research trip. “I visited all different types of retreats. I was sold on the concept and then I wondered how I could do something like that while still making money. I went to around 20 and wanted to take the heart of the most successful retreats in the world, extract the essence and make it replicable.”

I visited all different types of retreats. I was sold on the concept and then I wondered how I could do something like that while still making money. I went to around 20 and wanted to take the heart of the most successful retreats in the world, extract the essence and make it replicable” July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


New opening

For Sarah, taking the leap from the corporate world into hospitality was a huge risk, and one she knew she would have to put a lot of time, effort and investment into. “The hospitality industry is underestimated,” she comments. “Around 50% of the businesses go bankrupt after one year. You know what you like and think it will be easy to run, but it’s not about you, it’s about your customers and being open to eventually changing your concept a bit.” A certified meditation teacher, yoga teacher and change management coach, Arnold took inspiration from the natural and farm-to-table elements of Ulphotha Retreat in Sri Lanka, the medicinal expertise of Buchinger in Germany, the fitness aspects of Phuket Cleanse and the art and music offer from retreats in Africa and France, to come up with a concept that would fill a gap in the Middle East market. “When I travelled to Buchinger, over 50% of the guests were Middle Eastern,” she comments. “They told me there was no detox retreat in the Middle East they would go to. And it’s true – I’ve been to the best in the world.” Over the course of the following seven years, she saved money, carried out internships in hotels, talked to hotel general managers, and studied Glion courses. “I used that seven years to get ready for what I’m doing now,” she says. The result was Alma Retreat, located next door to Bedouin Oasis, outside Ras Al Khaimah. The getaway features 15 cabins offering either twin or double beds with orthopedic mattresses and en-suite, open-sky bathrooms with unheated showers and fairtrade toiletries. The grounds feature a dedicated workout area under shade, an ice bath, a sweat lodge, dunes for high intensity workouts, and a community room for up to 30 guests. Activities hosted by qualified and experienced coaches include high intensity workouts, yoga, meditation and art workshops alongside healthy diet plans and relaxation facilities. “Ecotourism is definitely a big trend in 2017 and there’s no concept like this 46


The death of any business is a lack of innovation and change – you need to continually bring new ideas” in the GCC, which is fully sustainable and offers a farm-to-table concept. It makes sense that this is the alternative to luxury,” she comments. When it came to the design and build of the property, Arnold was lucky to have the assistance of an architect friend and her brother, an alternative energy engineer. Despite not having the budget to see the blueprint through to completion, Arnold has worked hard to

make the first Alma Retreat as sustainable as possible. “Sustainability is a question of funds. I only had $200,000 so I decided to build this thing as sustainably as possible. All the materials are natural,” she says. However, she has been forced to take shortcuts on some aspects of the development for financial and administrative reasons. For example, getting a licence to build on the desert was complex, and partnering with Bedouin Oasis was the best option at the time. Arnold also opted to use their generator for the time being, but has plans to install solar power once the funds are available. Having opened the retreat at the start of the year, already she is looking to make some tweaks by creating better air flow in the tents, more shaded areas, and a dune gym. In addition, she wants to improve the F&B offer, which currently relies on outside catering. There are plans to install a solar-powered fridge, a juicer and

New Opening

The workout and yoga area

a blender, and a chef and assistant chef will be brought on-board to devise raw, vegan and juicing menus, and to offer guests on-demand refreshments. All food and beverage will continue to be provided on an all-inclusive basis. Another important differentiating factor for Alma will be its after-care element, through partnerships with suppliers such as Detox Delight and Nourishing Dubai who can provide meal plans. Utilising her IT background, Arnold is also looking to develop an app-based lifestyle programme to support guests and members in sticking to new-found resolutions following a stay at the retreat. Recruiting a highly qualified core team to oversee areas such as marketing, finance and F&B, has been vital to Arnold’s success so far. Among the executive committee are Kisso Diall, finance and fitness director, who previously held a senior leadership position with Moody’s Investors Service; Gaby-

Wunder Sambale, a senior advisor with 20 years’ experience in psychology and hypnotherapy and Sergio Lopez, development and operations director, a renowned F&B entrepreneur. However, staff shortages have been one of Arnold’s barriers to ramping up operational hours from weekends-only to full weeks. She is hoping that if her next seed round is successful, she will be able to hire another 10 staff, including a core team of trainers based in Ras Al Khaimah. “Bringing trainers from Dubai is almost suicidal from a cost perspective,” she says. “I don’t just want to offer the programmes on weekends. If someone wants to destress on a Tuesday, they should be able to. We will have yoga, fitness and meditation every day and then on the weekends we’ll add the art workshops and a couple of extra things to make it special.” A number of trainers from around the world have expressed interest in visiting the retreat to teach, and this is also something Arnold is looking into. “I want guests to see a base team but know they can also get inspiration from new people. The death of any business is a lack of innovation and change – you need to continually bring new ideas.” A key consideration for Arnold is scalability of the business – she is looking to expand quickly and believes the low-cost operational model makes the concept attractive to investors. “With

the back-to-nature concept, we’re also challenging the traditional hospitality investment model of 80% CAPEX and 20% OPEX – we’re reversing that,” says Arnold, revealing that locations are already earmarked for Ras Al Khaimah, Hatta, Sharjah and Germany. “The idea of profitability and growth is not to add more rooms but to add more locations. If you have three or five locations, you can introduce membership concepts and have standard operating procedures. It takes around 18 – 24 months to develop a franchise package for the international franchise organisation. “Germany could take a while so I’m working on it now. My goal is to have the land settled this year and then by 2018 I will have a track record of running the business for more than a year. When I do my second investor round, hopefully I can raise the $1.5 – 2 million I need to expand to Germany. Arnold certainly has bold ambitions and is determined to raise the funds necessary to create a successful global franchise business. She has launched a crowdfunding campaign online to raise part of the capital required to move closer to her target. If she can achieve $10 million dollars’ investment over three years, she expects to be able to secure six franchise licences by 2021, which in turn will provide a stable source of recurring revenue for further growth of the business. July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME


the hotel show

The Hotel Show is focused on ‘hospitality redefined’ for 2017 The Middle East’s leading hospitality event, The Hotel Show Dubai, has announced a raft of exciting new features for 2017 as it looks to lead the way in reshaping and redefining the region’s hospitality and tourism sectors


ow in its 18th year, The Hotel Show Dubai will take place as part of ‘Dubai International Hospitality Week’ – organised by dmg events and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) – which will bring together dmg’s The Hotel Show with the launch of DWTC’s GulfHost. The Dubai Tourism-endorsed event, set to bring the world of hospitality to Dubai, is anticipated to attract more than 50,000 visitors when it opens at the DWTC in September 2017. The Hotel Show Dubai 2017 will cater to every element of the guest experience, from décor, finishings and in-room technologies, to restaurants, leisure facilities and the design of staff uniforms. The Hotel Show redefined In consultation with the international hospitality industry, associations and professionals from the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, WORLDCHEFS, Emirates Culinary Guild, The UAE Professional Housekeepers Group, and many more, The Hotel Show’s global portfolio and associated events will reflect and cater to the whole of the industry like never before – showcasing and forecasting the latest trends, as well as harnessing industry talent and development. Taking place in Dubai in September, the portfolio’s flagship event, The Hotel Show Dubai, will offer unique networking platforms that celebrate every facet of hospitality, whilst helping its people grow and develop both personally and professionally, in one of the most active areas for hospitality development in the world. “The dmg events hospitality portfolio



the hotel show

is providing our students with invaluable opportunities via workshops, internships and more – to see inside the region’s biggest and longest-standing hospitality events company, and to meet the industry players when they attend The Hotel Show Dubai in September,” said Judy Hou, managing director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management. As such, across The Hotel Show floor, visitors will be treated to a range of educational seminars and workshops run by leading industry experts. The show will also introduce a host of live features, including The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions, The Runway, The Great Taste Theatre (for Middle East Hospitality Awards 2017 sponsors) and the second edition of The Tec-Innovation Zone, all of which will entertain and offer valuable hospitality insight. Ray Tinston, portfolio director of The Hotel Show, said: “Whatever stage you are at in your career, we aim to provide an experience to help harness your talent, keep you on top of the latest trends and provide unlimited access to suppliers to help your hotel and business grow in any way it needs. “As the industry changes and grows, so must we, and we have. The Hotel Show has been rebranded, creating a sleek platform on which to network in the most efficient way possible. Through our new features that directly reflect the industry, the hoteliers and all departments within a hotel, we are confident that our rebrand allows us to reposition our place within the region’s outstanding hospitality industry, and provides a stage that its people deserve and are proud to do business on. “Our format for 2017 seeks to pull down the hurdles that hoteliers find along the way – from career advancement to working with suppliers. We are a community, and The Hotel Show is our annual get-together.” What’s new this year? With its roots in the Middle East, The Hotel Show portfolio is expanding internationally this year. Identifying hospitality development hotspots in South

The Hotel show

• 3 DAYS • 600+ EXHIBITORS • 7 SHOW SECTORS • 8 EXHIBITION HALLS • 1000s OF INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS Africa and the Philippines, the event is launching new editions in Africa and Asia in 2017 in June and August, respectively – providing a unique opportunity for collaboration and insight into these thriving areas as the show has historically provided in Dubai. The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia kicked off 2017 for the portfolio, with its fifth edition in April. Identifying a gap in the market, a new cooking competition hailed as a “first” for the kingdom was introduced to the event, endorsed by WORLDCHEFS, Saudi Arabian Chefs’ Association and Saudi Arabian Chefs Table Circle. Jeddah’s Mövenpick Resort Al Nawras took home the gold medals and trophies designed by RAK Porcelain at Saudi Arabia’s first ever ‘Inter-Hotel Culinary Competition – Mystery Box Challenge’ – now established as a core feature of the Jeddah event. The first new installation The Hotel

Show Dubai 2017 has announced, is a feature area dedicated to housekeepers – a vital and strategic part of any hotel. The Middle East Housekeepers League of Champions concept is a live competition pitching hotel groups against each other. Two typical hotel rooms consisting of a bed, curtains, flooring and TV units, will be set up back-to-back. The rooms will then be turned upside down, and the two teams compete head-tohead to put the room back to its original state in just 15 minutes. There will be a league of competing teams and a prizegiving at the end of the show, with two teams in the final. In association with bespoke uniform designers, A. Ronai LLC, The Hotel Show will also welcome The Runway for 2017. Hospitality workwear is always picked up on by guests. As such, the new feature will give multiple hospitality groups the opportunity to show off their latest uniform ranges for the likes of security, front of house, spa and pool personnel, to the region’s key buyers. The Middle East Hospitality Awards have evolved from the Middle East Hotel Awards following five successful years, and are set to run on the second evening of The Hotel Show Dubai (19 September 2017). With the endorsement of industry leaders, including Ambassador and Judge, decorated Chef and restaurateur, Gary Rhodes OBE, the new-look awards reflect how the industry is evolving, with new categories for restaurants, bars, spas, sporting facilities, event and nightlife venues and more. Find out more: July 2017 HOTEL NEWS ME



Supplier interview: OSN Business

Raeda Al Ahmar, commercial sales director OSN Business, explains why hotels should tune into what her company has to offer What is your latest product launch? OSN Business has launched OSN Movies First HD and OSN First HBO HD to provide a home-from-home entertainment experience for hotel guests. What makes it unique? Hotel guests can now see Hollywood's biggest hits on in-room entertainment systems, such as our upcoming premieres: Doctor Strange, Suicide Squad and Rogue One. Furthermore, the recently launched entertainment channels OSN First HBO HD and OSN Series First HD are home to the global smash hits Game of Thrones and House of Cards. Why should businesses in the hotel sector purchase your product? OSN’s offering is truly unique and exclusive. At OSN, we know that there’s nothing more enjoyable than some family-friendly TV time; OSN has something for everyone to make you feel at home. It is not only the quality of content that makes OSN stand out. The service we provide, from no-fee installations to technical support, is part of a best-in-class holistic approach that OSN prides itself on to distinguish ourselves in the hotel sector. What’s next for your company? OSN, as a market leading entertainment provider, appreciates that people are consuming content on the move, and we are working with hotels to ensure that we are delivering our fantastic content to reflect these changes in consumption habits.



Lincat introduces Opus Combimaster Plus

Lincat has introduced a new generation of advanced Opus CombiMaster Plus combi steamers, with automatic cleaning. A spokesperson for the company said: “Using very little in terms of cleaning chemicals, water or power, the automatic cleaning function can be left to run overnight, to save time, ensure hygiene and reduce maintenance costs. “Combining outstanding performance with

unrivalled value for money, Opus CombiMaster Plus combis feature the same rugged construction, dynamic air mixing, active dehumidification and rapid cool down function as Opus SelfCooking Centers.” The products also feature ClimaPlus control, which regulates humidity within the cooking cabinet, a programming function and a choice of five air speeds. Lincat works in partnership with Rational, Germany, in the design and manufacture of Opus Combi Steamers. Lincat's brands include: Opus Combi Steamers, Opus 800, Silverlink 600, Lynx 400, FriFri, FilterFlow, Panther and Seal. Products are sold in the UK and in over 50 countries worldwide through a comprehensive network of distributors. Lincat Ltd is a member company of the Middleby Corporation.

4 Corners co-founder launches networking and consulting company Mike Walden, previous co-founder and commercial director of food distributor, 4 Corners, has launched a new UAE-based networking and consulting company called Tubby & Mac. The company works with businesses across a variety of sectors, including hotels and restaurants, to reduce costs and increase sales and efficiencies. It has come up with a “slick” way of taking new products to market in the Middle East. According to Walden, many companies spend a lot of money marketing their products in the region but rarely reach the decision makers, and this is something he wants to change. “We have set up a market research department to contact suppliers and offer a nominal fee to get samples of their products in front of their targeted customers for honest, professional feedback within four weeks of receipt. “If feedback is positive enough, we will take them to the most relevant distributor to get things moving. It is all about who you know, particularly in this market. If you don’t know the players and how the region does business, then you are five steps

behind before you even start.” In addition to representing new products and offering individuals and companies access to a global network of contacts, Tubby & Mac offers foreign exchange benefits and assists companies in managing their overall P&L. It is also launching a newly developed product called Breathsils, a mint that uses tongue cleaning technology to freshen the breath. Continuing to connect people through its extensive network and making a positive impact on the purchasing landscape in the Middle East are Tubby & Mac’s more longterm goals. Walden added: “Supply chain and purchasing is a function companies spend little time or effort on, but it is absolutely critical to managing the cost of goods and business efficiencies in what is a tough economy.’ Find out more at


Marketplace The latest outdoor furniture products on the market are under the spotlight this month

Desert River General Trading LLC

Casualife Antony Guss, vice president of international sales, says Casualife is the region’s leader when it comes to offering value-for-money on outdoor furniture products What is your best-selling outdoor furniture product? Casualife’s best-selling items for 2017 are both the new Gulf-specified umbrellas and the beach sun loungers. What is unique about these? The umbrellas have no maintenance requirements and have a flexible fibre reinforced frame –similar to a windsurf mast – to allow some flexibility in strong winds and prevent damage. Regarding the beach version of our sun loungers, we provide a molded replaceable 30mm thick foot to protect it from damage.

Claudia van der Werf, director of Desert River introduces the best-selling Fermob range What is your best-selling outdoor furniture product? Our best-selling brand is the Fermob outdoor furniture range from France. What is unique about it? The Fermob range is either made of steel or aluminum and yet, it is lightweight, compact and easy to move because of the way it is designed. All the chairs and tables in this range are foldable or stackable and thus convenient for terraces where flexibility is required. What is the most important feature of the perfect piece of outdoor furniture? It must be easy to move, stackable or foldable for easy storage, and easy to maintain. Wood tends to react badly to the harsh climate of the Middle East therefore metal is a great alternative. All Fermob furniture is treated with a special coating to make it weather and rust resistant. T: +971 4 323 3636 E: W:



What is the most important feature of the perfect piece of outdoor furniture? It should do the job you are expecting it to do! The quality is highly important and Casualife is the leader in the region when it comes to offering the best value-for-money furniture. T: +971 4 3928600 E: W:


Nakkash Gallery

INTERMETAL Cathy Di Savino, marketing manager at Intermetal highlights Monte Carlo, an outdoor furniture collection manufactured from high-grade aluminium

Omar Nakkash, interior designer at Nakkash Gallery presents the Dala range from Dedon What is your best-selling outdoor furniture product? Our best-selling outdoor furniture product is Dala from Dedon. What is unique about it? Dala takes inspiration from the artisanship and improvised seating arrangements of the developing world. Surface and structure merge in this versatile collection by Stephen Burks. It is a very playful and colourful collection that will lighten up any outdoor space. What is the most important feature of the perfect piece of outdoor furniture? It’s important to choose a product that is weather resistant, especially with the weather conditions in the UAE. Nakkash Gallery offers easy-care outdoor furniture that requires zero maintenance and we provide our clients with weather-resistant covers. T: +971 4 5511714 E: W:

Tuuci Dougan Clarke, founder and chief design officer of Tuuci believes that outdoor furniture products must demonstrate good design, innovation and performance What is your best-selling outdoor furniture product? Tucci’s best-selling product is the Max Cantilever Parasol. This can be used for both private gardens and the contract market. What is unique about it? The Max Cantilever Parasol is available in versatile shapes, variants, and in different sizes. It is also available with a mast, which has a powder coated layer and allows each parasol to be customised. What is the most important feature of the perfect piece of outdoor furniture? Design, innovation and performance remain the driving considerations for any new product of Tuuci. T: +31 (0)13 522 0471 E: W:

What is your best-selling outdoor furniture product? Monte Carlo is a distinct collection manufactured from high-grade aluminium, welded using the latest technology. With an on-site powder coating line, our customers can select their exact choice of colour to produce a finish that will endure the extreme weather conditions in the region. What is unique about it? The collection features a wide range of lounge seating and dining options so that customers can customise areas to exact venue and event requirements. What makes this collection distinct is that the table tops are provided with an artistic water jet-cut silhouette that produces beautifully crafted pieces of furniture that will define the atmosphere of your outdoor setting. What is the most important feature of the perfect piece of outdoor furniture? Monte Carlo is an eco-friendly range that not only looks great, but is virtually maintenance free as it can be easily cleaned without the use of harsh cleaning agents and chemicals to keep up its look. The aluminium is 100% recyclable. T: +971 4 8841650 E: W:



On the spot

On the spot

Waleed Samuel, director of engineering, Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach shares his experience of the Middle East hotel industry, having just completed 20 years with his company What's the best thing about your job?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

The best thing about being an engineer is that you're being paid to think. There are so many jobs and even careers that simply have you going through the motions. Personally, I've been building a skill-set since day one and it gets utilised more and more every day. When you have a unique blend of skills and knowledge, you become the go-to guy or subject matter expert within a company. It's very gratifying to feel that what you know is valued and used in directing things like product improvement and development, renewing, upgrading or renovating. No matter what the problem might be, you will find a solution.

I am always open to new opportunities and do not worry about where I will go. I will wait and see where my next stop will be with Mövenpick.

What made you choose this role?

Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by building things. I used to buy toys to destroy them and build them again, so I knew that my career would be in engineering. As I grew up, I was extremely influenced by my older brother who studies hospitality, so combining both was the perfect match for me.

I chose to be an engineer because I thought it would be a lot of fun! Engineering is the field that solves the biggest problems in the world, like creating clean energy or detecting cancer. As engineers, we are constantly changing the world with inventions and solutions that affect everyone's lives.

Tell us something that none of your colleagues know about you? My escape place is the beach and whenever anything goes wrong, the only thing that calms me down is the sea.

If you could stay in any hotel in the world right now, where would you go? A hotel on an island with very few people around.

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

What do you do when you're not working?

What would you say to someone starting out in your sector?

Nature is my life and I love all activities related to being in nature and outdoors. When I am off duty, I am either fishing, diving or camping or preparing barbecues for friends and family.

Watch out, you will never be able to get out!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received in the workplace? When I first started my career, my boss told me “love what you do until you do what you love”. Those words stayed with me and to date, I repeat them because you cannot reach success if you do not love what you do.

What's the worst thing about your job? The high level of stress we face on a daily basis. We are always on call and our work is very much related to the safety of our guests. It is not only about maintenance and repairing, any emergencies related to fire or any other hazards are directly related to us. These responsibilities create pressure especially when you are always on call because they can happen at any time.

BIN EID EXECUTIVE SEARCH & SELECTION (Specialised in 5* Hotel Sector) TWENTY (20) Years of Celebration *** TWENTY YEARS*** in Talent Sourcing in Hospitality segment BIN EID Executive Search is celebrating 20 years of existence. We thank our clients, candidates, well-wishers who directly and indirectly helped us in our wonderful & blissful journey. We also thank the Almighty, Bin Eid team members, ex-employees, associates and numerous unseen souls who supported us to navigate in our venture. We have touched and transformed thousands of individuals in our 20 years of spectacular journey. Thank you for the trust and confidence placed on us.

Our clients are currently recruiting for the following roles: VP-Operations-Asia, GM-hotels-UAE and Saudi Arabia, Corporate DOSM, DOSM, Sales Managers, Corporate Chief Engineer, CFO Please visit: to view the current jobs.



Hotel News ME - July 2017  
Hotel News ME - July 2017