Business Traveller ME - October 2022

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OCTOBER 2022 UAE DHS12 OMAN RO1.30 BAHRAIN BD1.30 SAUDI ARABIA SR12 KUWAIT KD1 CRAFTING AN ICON Raffles and Fairmont create a new landmark destination in Qatar COMMUNITY SPIRIT LUXURY HEALTH BREAKS 4 HOURS IN CANBERRA PLUS Inside the thriving serviced apartment sector Invest in yourself with some ve-star pampering Australia’s capital delights with a wealth of attractions Air Miles • Elevator Pitch • Sustainable Traveller businesstraveller.com

OCTOBER 2022

REGULARS FEATURES

06 UPFRONT

e latest airline, hotel and travel news

12 GLOBAL NEWS

An update on international travel

30 ELEVATOR PITCH

Andreas Searty, managing director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah

31 AIR MILES

Judit Toth, founder and CEO of Vivere Hospitality

32 OPINION

Dmitriy Korshunov on the potential of private aviation in the Middle East

36 4 HOURS IN...

CANBERRA

ere is a wealth of cultural and culinary attractions

54 LIFESTYLE

is month we are inspired by the jewel tones of the Qatari ag

66 POSTCARD

Will Moon World Resorts come to Dubai?

THE REPORT

TRIE D & TESTED

20 RAISE THE BAR

e 2022 edition of the Future Hospitality Summit in Dubai

22 PROGRESSING HOSPITALITY

Eric De Neef on Radisson Hotel Group’s expansion plans

26 TOUCHDOWN IN QATAR

Berthold Trenkel, chief operating o cer at Qatar Tourism

34 FIVE LUXURY HEALTH BREAKS

Splash out on yourself with some ve-star pampering

38 COMMUNITY SPIRIT

e serviced apartment sector continues to innovate and thrive

44 SPORTS UNLIMITED

Sports bars around the world to watch your T20 World Cup game

46 WATC HMAKING CONFIDENTIAL

Inside Parmigiani Fleurier with Guido Terreni

49 THE ART OF TIME

Vacheron Constantin has opened its second boutique in Qatar

50 FOOTBALL FEVER

All the eight FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums

CRAFTING AN ICON

Accor’s newest openings in Qatar include the Fairmont and Ra es hotels in Doha

Bay, Dubai

SMAR T TRAVELLER

Bohemian

Collection

Hotel, Oxford

64 Our guide to...

Which airlines allow you to pre-order food?

CONTENTS OCTOBER 2022
HOTELS 58 e First Collection Business
59 Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront 60 Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch 61 e Grand
Hotel Charlotte, Autograph
62 e Randolph
26 46 50 58
14
3

Around 1.2 million visitors are expected to descend into Qatar for the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup which begins next month. ere will be eight stadiums (familiarise yourself with these on pg50) where the teams will face o against each other. Come December 18, the tournament will conclude – but not before the host country receives its spot under the bright lights. is is a nation that, like its neighbours, has taken deliberate and signi cant steps toward diversifying beyond its oil and gas sectors.

Tourism will be a major growth driver for it, and you will hear on the following pages from Berthold Trenkel, the chief operating o cer at Qatar Tourism (turn to pg26) on what that means for the country in practical terms. In the process, landmarks and icons will inevitably be created – the new Katara Towers in Doha which houses Accor’s Ra es and Fairmont property ( ip to pg14) is a prime example. at structure is bound to become one that will de ne Doha’s skyline – and

equally illustrate the bold path that Qatar is taking as it looks to cement its legacy post the World Cup.

Beyond Qatar, you can read about a few luxury health breaks you deserve in locations around the world (skip to pg34), Radisson Hotel Group’s expansion plan within the Middle East (read pg22) and also the rise of the serviced apartment sector as a great alternative to traditional hotels for business travellers (details on pg38).

We’ve got a fairly good idea of what to expect from Qatar over the World Cup – the next few pages will help illustrate what Qatar 2.0 holds in store beyond that mega event.

Enjoy the issue.

Business Traveller Middle East is jointly published by Motivate Media Group and Panacea Media Ltd

MOTIVATE MEDIA GROUP

Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer

Managing Partner and Group Editor Ian Fairservice

Editor Varun Godinho

Art Director Clarkwin Cruz

Editorial Co-ordinator Londresa Flores

Contributors Ramsey Qubein, Hannah Brandler, Tom Otley, Gemma Greenwood, Amy Sessions, Allyson Portee, Hayley Alexander

General Manager – Production S Sunil Kumar

Production Manager Binu Purandaran

Production Supervisor Venita Pinto

Chief Commercial Officer Anthony Milne

Group Director Andrew Wingrove

Group Sales Manager Chaitali Khimji

Senior Sales Manager Murali Narayanan

PANACEA MEDIA LTD

Managing Director Julian Gregory

Associate Publisher Middle East Rania Apthorpe

Global Editor-in-Chief Tom Otley

THIS ISSUE’S PICKS

KATARA TOWERS

Ra es and Fairmont hotels enter Qatar with an iconic structure (Page 14)

ART AND WATCHES

Bespoke art at the Vacheron Constantin boutique in Doha (Page 49)

QATAR STADIUMS

A guide to all the venues for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup (Page 50)

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WELCOME OCTOBER 2022 © 2022 PANACEA MEDIA LTD AND MOTIVATE MEDIA GROUP
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4

GRAND HYATT OPENS FIRST PROPERTY IN KUWAIT

HYATT HOTELS HAS OPENED its rst Grand Hyatt property in Kuwait. e 302-room Grand Hyatt Kuwait is situated at 360 Mall, close to e Arena Kuwait as well as the Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait. e overall design of the property is inspired by the country’s history of sailing, dhow building and pearl diving. ere are several culinary options including Liberté, a modern brasserie, Turkish lifestyle-dining venue ’Stambul, ne dining Pan-Asian restaurant Mei Li and Saheel Lounge in the lobby that features prominent artwork. is is the second Hyatt branded hotel in Kuwait, and the sixth hotel under the Grand Hyatt label within the Middle East.

Masterplan revealed for Rua Al Madinah project in Saudi Arabia

THE MASTERPLAN for Saudi Arabia’s Rua Al Madinah Project which will be constructed in the area east of the Prophet’s Mosque has been revealed. The project is being developed by Rua Al Madinah Holding Company, a Public Investment Fund (PIF) company. The Rua Al Madinah Project will facilitate the hosting of 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030. After rehabilitating 1.5 million sqm, the project is set to add over 47,000 hotel rooms by 2030. As much as 83,000 sqm will consist of green areas, with open and green spaces comprising 63 per cent of the project’s total land area.

Four Seasons to grow Egypt portfolio

FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS will open two new luxury hotels in Egypt, as well as add more private residences to its existing property in Sharm El Sheikh. Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty will open in 2025. Designed by Pierre YvesRochon, it will feature 346 rooms and suites, along with 107 villas and 80 residences.

Four Seasons Hotel Luxor meanwhile will also open in 2025 and its 200 rooms and suites will o er views of the Nile River, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. Its property in Sharm El Sheikh will meanwhile double in size too following a multi-million refurbishment with the addition of 69 new private residences.

6 OCTOBER 2022 UPFRONT

EMIRATES TO ROLL OUT PREMIUM ECONOMY ON FIVE MORE DESTINATIONS

EMIRATES PLANS TO introduce its premium economy cabin to five more destinations over the next few months. It is currently available on its London Heathrow, Paris CDG and Sydney routes. Starting December 1, it will be introduced on its flights to New York JFK. Next year, beginning January 23, it will be available on its Auckland flights, and will be followed by its Melbourne service from February 1. From February 15 onwards, it will be bookable on flights to San Francisco, and to Singapore from March 1. Lastly, from March 26, the carrier’s premium economy cabin will be o ered on flights EK412 and EK413 to Christchurch.

Wizz Air to introduce 20 new routes between Saudi Arabia and Europe

LOW-COST CARRIER WIZZ AIR will launch 20 new routes to Saudi Arabia over the coming months. ese will be from Bucharest, Budapest, Catania, Larnaca, Milan, Naples, Rome, So a, Tirana, Venice and Vienna to Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia. Tickets for all the new routes have already gone on sale on the carrier’s website. Wizz Air recently signed an MoU with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment. e kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme aims to triple the country’s passenger tra c by 2030.

New Saudi visa rules for GCC, EU, UK and US residents

RESIDENTS OF GCC countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE can now apply for an electronic tourist visa (eVisa) to enter Saudi Arabia. Also, residents of the UK, US, and EU who have a passport with at least six months of validity are eligible to receive a visa on arrival in the kingdom. The new visas which include single- as well as multipleentry options will be valid for both tourism and performing Umrah within Makkah. The cost of the visa starts at SAR300, with an additional component payable for health insurance.

DUBAI DUTY FREE US$1.06bn Total sales from January-August 2022 TOP FIVE SELLING CATEGORIES: Perfumes (US$186 million) Liquor (US$168 million) Gold (US$106 million) Cigarettes and tobacco (US$98 million) Electronics (US$81 million) US$41m vs US$130m The JanuaryAugust growth in sales of the fashion category between 2021 and 2022 2,000 The number of sta recalled 4,407 Number of employees *All figures are for the months of JanuaryAugust 2022 7 OCTOBER 2022

CHEERS!

Emirates is the only airline with an exclusive agreement to o er Dom Pérignon on-board to its customers. It is currently o ering a Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 to its first class passengers. The exceptionally rare 2003 vintage is available on select routes until the end of October.

ROTANA TO OPEN TWO MORE PROPERTIES IN QATAR

ROTANA WILL OPEN two new properties in Doha ahead of the upcoming FIFA World Cup. Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana will open in October 2022, while Riviera Rayhaan by Rotana will do so the following month. With these two new properties, Rotana will add 688 keys to its existing portfolio in Qatar of 1,108 keys. Bin Al Sheikh Residences by Rotana includes 158 studios, 278 one-bedroom, 62 two-bedroom apartments, and ve three-bedroom penthouses. Meanwhile, Riviera Rayhaan by Rotana will be a four-star property with185 rooms and suites.

Hilton opens Waldorf Astoria in Kuwait

WALDORF ASTORIA HOTELS AND RESORTS has opened a 200-key property in Kuwait City. Connected to The Avenues, the country’s largest retail destination, Waldorf Astoria Kuwait is located a 15-minute drive away from Kuwait International airport. It has several dining options including Japanese restaurant Roka, as well as its signature o ering, Ava, which serves Mediterranean cuisine. Launching later this year, is an expansive 1,260 sqm Waldorf Astoria Spa. The latest opening joins two Hilton properties currently operating in Kuwait, Hilton Kuwait Resort and Hilton Garden Inn Kuwait.

Etihad strengthens US operations

ETIHAD AIRWAYS will ramp up services to New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport (JFK) and expand its partnership with Jetblue too. Starting November 15, it will add four weekly ights on the Abu Dhabi-New York route, providing a total of 11 weekly nonstop services to JFK.  e new ights will be operated with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, while existing daily services will continue on its new Airbus A350 aircra . Meanwhile, Etihad and Jetblue currently codeshare across 46 destinations throughout the Americas and will expand that partnership too. Jetblue recently began code sharing on Etihad ights from Abu Dhabi to Chicago and New York, with Washington DC scheduled to be added soon.

CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS NOW ACCEPTED AT PALAZZO VERSACE DUBAI

PALAZZO VERSACE DUBAI has begun allowing guests to use cryptocurrencies to pay for dining, stays and spa experiences at the property. It has partnered with cryptocurrency infrastructure provider Binance to allow guests the option of paying using BNB, Bitcoin and Ethereum. These transactions will take place through the Binance payment gateway. The hotel added that cryptocurrency payments will also be entertained on its e-commerce platforms too, which include gift vouchers and its flower shop.

8 OCTOBER 2022 UPFRONT
www.rixos.com+971 02 498 0000

Breitling partners with Swiss Air on sustainable aviation fuel programme

Grenchen-headquartered luxury watchmaker Breitling has entered into an agreement with Swiss International Air Lines on a new sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) initiative in Switzerland. Accordingly, Breitling will purchase SAF for all its business-related ights operated by the carrier, beginning retroactively for the calendar year of 2022. By way of the purchase, Breitling says that it will reduce its ight-related CO2 emissions by 80 per cent. It added that it will achieve carbon neutrality on its air travel by further investments in carbon o sets too.

“Achieving CO2 neutrality on our work-related Swiss ights is an important way for us to reduce our emissions and, through the purchase of SAF, make a small contribution to the sustainability transition of the aviation industry, which we’ve been closely linked to since the 1930s,” said Georges Kern, CEO at Breitling.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH

96%

The total percentage of recycled materials used in the new Air France amenity kits which are available for the airline’s long-haul business class and premium economy passengers.

ATLANTIS, THE PALM COMMITS US$120,000 TO UAE SUSTAINABILITY PROJECTS

ETIHAD TO PLANT

A MANGROVE FOR EVERY ECONOMY SPACE SEAT BOOKING

Etihad Airways has committed to adopting a mangrove tree on behalf of every guest who books an Economy Space seat – economy seats with extra legroom – thereby “ensuring every ‘space’ seat sold is eventually carbon neutral”. Each mangrove planted will absorb up to 250kg of CO2 in its lifetime – reportedly the same amount produced by an eighthour flight. Also, mangroves eliminate up to four times more carbon dioxide from the air compared to other tropical forests.

The Etihad Forest programme is part of the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative and is a programme to plant trees in forests to absorb carbon within every continent that the airline operates. In Abu Dhabi, the Etihad Mangrove Forest was launched earlier this year in February and aims to plant 182,000 mangroves by the first quarter of 2023.

Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm has said that it will contribute US$120,000 to diverse sustainability projects within the UAE. The amount was supported by way of its US$1 contribution initiative it launched in June 2021 – for every marine animal experience undertaken by a guest, Atlantis, The Palm collected US$1. The di erent projects that the funding will support include several programmes such as: a project to collect cigarette butts littering beaches and public areas; a Seafood Souq initiative to support the development of a digital platform to make the seafood trade more sustainable, traceable and transparent; a year of funding for the Dubai Dolphin Survey initiative by the Zayed University and researcher Dr Ada Natoli; funding for the United Arab Emirates University to support its research into the local shark and ray population and to study critically endangered species in local waters; and support for its own in-house dive teams who will assist Freestyle Divers in placing artificial reefs into the shallow coastal waters of Fujairah.

Tourism has the power to foster inclusion, protect nature and promote cultural understanding. We must rethink and reinvent the sector to ensure its sustainability.
António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
OCTOBER 2022
10 SUSTAINABLE TRAVELLER

1 Emirates agrees codeshare with United Emirates has entered into an agreement with United whereby it will have a codeshare deal at select US airports it currently serves, and an interline arrangement at the remaining. United will also launch a new direct flight between New York/ Newark and Dubai in March 2023.

2 Air Arabia Sudan launches in partnership with Dal Group conglomerate Air Arabia has entered into a joint venture with Sudanese conglomerate Dal Group to launch a new company called Air Arabia Sudan. It will be based at Khartoum International airport and will operate a fleet of new Airbus A320 aircraft.

3 Wyndham acquires Vienna House

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has purchased Vienna House for US$44 million. It will add approximately 40 mid and upscale Vienna House properties to Wyndham’s portfolio, equalling over 6,000 rooms. Its 23rd brand will now be known as Vienna House by Wyndham.

4 Turkish Airlines enters into codeshare with Air Seychelles

Starting October 15, Turkish Airlines plans to place its code on Mahe-Praslin flights operated by Air Seychelles, while Air Seychelles will place its code on Istanbul-Mahé, Istanbul-Tel Aviv and Istanbul-Paris flights operated by Turkish Airlines.

5 Flydubai starts direct services to Namangan Flydubai has begun operating twice-weekly flights to Namangan in Uzbekistan. It became the first UAE carrier to o er direct services from Dubai to Uzbekistan’s third-largest city. The carrier now connects Dubai to three cities in Uzbekistan – Samarkand, Namangan and Tashkent.

6 Zuma opens rst outpost in the Maldives

Japanese restaurant Zuma has opened at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. At the world’s first floating Zuma restaurant, expect signature o erings such as sliced seabass with yuzu, tru le oil and salmon roe, as well as roasted lobster, among others.

12 UPFRONT GLOBAL NEWS OCTOBER 2022
1

7 VFS rolls out Indonesia Visa on Arrival facility for Emiratis

VFS Global has introduced an Indonesia fast-track Visa on Arrival online application service for Emiratis as well as nationals from 75 countries residing in the UAE. VFS added that the visas are valid for business as well as tourism purposes.

8 Etihad to begin ights to Guangzhou

Etihad Airways will begin operating twice-weekly flights to Guangzhou in China from October 10. It will become the first international airline to operate long-haul passenger services to the top three Chinese gateways of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou since the start of the pandemic.

9 Accor to open its rst dualbranded hotel in Japan

Accor has partnered with Tokyu Resorts and Stays Co. to open its first dual-branded property in Japan. The 288-room Mercure Tokyu Stay Osaka Namba property will open on December 1, combining its midscale Mercure o ering and long-stay brand Tokyu Stay.

10 Emirates to delink DubaiKuala Lumpur-Auckland service later this year

Emirates will delink its DubaiKuala Lumpur-Auckland service and serve both cities individually with an A380. From December 1, it will resume direct flights to Auckland. The Dubai-Auckland service will therefore become its longest nonstop flight.

13 OCTOBER 2022
4 3 8 962 7 10 5

ELEVATING

Accor’s new Raffles and Fairmont hotels in Doha will service the top end of the market. It is meticulously addressing what the local hospitality industry requires, and then going well beyond to meet those needs

WORDS VARUN GODINHO
LUXURY

RAFFLES AND FAIRMONT, DOHA

Undoubtedly, Qatar has risen handsomely to the world stage. It has the fourth-highest GDP at purchasing power parity per capita globally, is one of the world’s largest exporters of lique ed natural gas and will soon host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Working in tandem with that growth is the country’s hospitality market estimated to reach US$54 billion by 2030, according to a recent estimate by Knight Frank. at report noted that at present there are over 56,000 hotel rooms under development in the country with an estimated value of US$7 billion. Also, international brands represent 62 per cent of its inventory pipeline.

One of the key players in the country’s hospitality sector is Qatar-based Katara Hospitality whose portfolio includes 42 owned and managed hotels across several markets including Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, e Netherlands, Singapore, ailand and the US. In a landmark signing last year, it reached a management agreement with French hospitality company Accor to bring the latter’s prestigious Fairmont and Ra es brands to Qatar. ese two iconic brands are located in Doha’s Katara Towers in Lusail, whose architecture is inspired by the upward-facing curved swords found in the coat of arms of the peninsular country.

Accor said that its worldwide revenue for H1 2022 stood at EUR1.725 billion, up 97 per cent year-on-year. As of the end of June, its worldwide portfolio included 777,945 rooms across 5,300 hotels with a pipeline of 212,000 rooms in 1,215 hotels.

In the rst half of 2022, Accor opened 85 hotels worldwide, while the upcoming opening of Ra es and Fairmont in Qatar will be among its biggest openings in the second half. “Ra es and Fairmont are for sure the most prestigious and important opening that Accor has this year in Doha,” says Christian Hirt, the managing director for both Ra es and Fairmont in Doha. “ ere are

some fantastic hospitality brands coming to market here, and we work closely with Qatar Tourism to promote the destination which serves as a great stopover destination for leisure travellers as well as a great MICE location.

e vision that the country has of six million visitors [annually] by 2030 is de nitely something achievable.”

In some respects, its déjà vu for Hirt in his role here at the hotel – he was the F&B director at another property in Berlin back in 2006 when Germany hosted the FIFA World Cup, and so he’s had hands-on experience of witnessing the hospitality behind-the-scenes trappings of a mega sporting event. Hirt con rms that for the Qatar edition of the World Cup, both the properties he now oversees are fully committed with two exclusive bookings and will only subsequently open to public bookings once the tournament concludes.

Living standards

e 132-key Ra es is Qatar’s rst all-suite property. Its suites range in size from the 88 sqm Urban suite all the way up to the twostorey 930 sqm Royal suite that has a private pool, wine cellar, hammam and yoga studio. e design of its Ra es suite is inspired by falconry and the desert dunes, whereas its Parisian suite is designed to resemble an apartment located along Rue des Beaux Arts in Paris’

LEFT: An exterior shot of the Katara Towers which houses the Ra les and Fairmont properties
15 OCTOBER 2022

ABOVE AND RIGHT: Raffles suite

BOTTOM: The bathroom within a Raffles suite

OPPOSITE PAGE FROM TOP: Malaki Lounge at Raffles Doha; Enrico Crippa; Alba by Enrico Crippa at Raffles Doha

Saint Germain district. “We intend to ensure that Raffles Doha will be the destination of choice for individuals and travellers who are looking for ultra-luxury hospitality. We will be able to cater to this market with three theme suites and one Royal Duplex suite, some of which will offer private barber and make-up studios, cinemas, saunas, beverage cellars, virtual reality experiences, steam rooms, and private fitness and wellness facilities,” says Bernd Knaier, hotel manager at Raffles Doha.

This will be the very first Raffles property in the world to offer what it calls an “in-suite scent library” that allows guests to choose which scents are diffused across their suites. “We have partnered with French perfume house Compoz and will be the first hotel in the world to offer its Le Compositeur intelligent, natural, bespoke and made-in-France fragrance diffuser in each of our suites. We have also partnered with Frederic Malle, the man behind the niche fragrance house Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle and have chosen an edition of his scent series that will be exclusive to Raffles Doha’s bathroom amenities,” adds Knaier.

Fairmont Doha on the other hand has 202 rooms and 95 suites, as well as Fairmont Gold rooms and suites – its hotel-within-a-hotel concept. The overarching design theme of the rooms and suites at Fairmont is inspired by mega yachts – extravagant flourishes include 18k gold tiles in the shower. The Fairmont global network comprises of 82 hotels and 32,149 rooms in 29 countries – with projections for 25 new Fairmont properties to open in 2023 adding 7,205 rooms. Fairmont Doha is therefore pushing itself to include elements that will set it apart from its global peers – it will, for example, feature four theme suites, one three-bedroom Presidential suite with its own salon, gym, and cinema, as well as a top-of-the-line Katara suite whose details are still kept under wraps. But what is expected to create a mighty buzz at the property is the crystal chandelier in the lobby. “As guests walk into the hotel, they will be met with a 56.5m high chandelier – the

height of the world’s largest

world’s tallest which is ready to enter the Guinness World Records. This chandelier weighs over half a tonne and is curated with individual wire pieces and 4,807 bulbs and glass parts which all create beautiful chimes – it is the centrepiece of our lobby. As guests look down, they will also see a vista of marble flooring in which 43 types of stone shimmer in the sun’s rays across the Fairmont lobby,” says Hani Akkari, general manager at Fairmont Doha.

RAFFLES DOHA 132 Number of suites 930 SQM Size of Royal suite 5 Number of restaurants and lounges 11 STOREYS The
kaleidoscope 16 OCTOBER 2022

F&B offerings

Both properties have several strong contenders that they are bringing to the Doha market. With Dubai having received its first Michelin Guide recently, and another confirmed for Abu Dhabi next month, it is likely inevitable for Doha to receive its own guide in due course. Fairmont and Raffles are leaving nothing to chance.

As Dirk Haltenhof, executive director of culinary at Raffles and Fairmont explains, Raffles Doha will include two restaurants and three lounges while Fairmont Doha will have three restaurants with sea views and two luxury lounges. He adds that a team of 700 people are employed to manage the F&B and culinary operations across both properties.

At Fairmont, theatrical food and beverage concepts take centre stage. One of the major highlights will be Masala Library – the progressive Indian gastronomy concept pioneered by Jiggs Kalra. Further examples can be found in Latin American restaurant Vaya, as well as the Cyra shisha lounge which has a botanical garden and will offer bespoke botanical shisha alongside the services of a shisha sommelier, all of which will be accompanied by live falcon shows. The 154-seater Provok at Fairmont meanwhile adds theatrical flare to the mix too. “Provok is an expansive culinary destination with an eclectic Asian feel where our version of the continent’s hottest dishes and drinks will be served high up in the Sky Balcony duplex. It has a theatrical element in that a master ice sculptor will be carving masterpieces and a ‘fire focus’ area that emphasises Japanese and Asian dishes such as teppanyaki and Korean BBQ,” says Haltenhof.

Total keys

Number of restaurants and lounges

Suites 3,700 SQM

Spa and fitness area 56.5 METRES

World-record height of chandelier in the lobby

Over at Raffles, the Acoustic Music Penthouse spread across the 36th and 37th floors will be a lounge with a commanding view of the city. It will feature unplugged music, contemporary “Silk Route” food, custom drinks created by a mixologist and a specially designed acoustic terrace. But perhaps the biggest culinary draw at Raffles will be its Alba by Enrico Crippa. The chef’s Piazza Duomo restaurant in Italy currently holds three Michelin Stars and is regularly featured among the World’s 50 best restaurants. “Raffles Doha’s Alba by Enrico Crippa will be the first international opening of a Crippa restaurant. Crippa – one of Italy’s most talented and renowned chefs – has created a special version of his distinctive cuisine for this restaurant,” notes Haltenhof.

While there are several options to dine within the two properties, guests can opt for a curated experience within their suite or room too. The in-suite dining at Raffles particularly has been given laborious consideration. Haltenhof says that at Raffles, guests ordering private dining can expect to be served their meals in custom-built trunks.

As for its overall operations, Haltehhof emphasises the use of local ingredients in all culinary creations. “We will [tap] a number of local farms and use homegrown ingredients and produce, some of which have even been planted by our chefs and mixologists, and which will be freshly harvested for our creations. In addition, we will pickle, ferment, dehydrate and dry freeze our produce, to serve it in various forms.”

Raffles Doha’s Alba by Enrico Crippa will be the first international opening of a Crippa restaurant outside of Italy

Haltenhof confirms that there will be several F&B activations at the two properties for guests to look forward to over the coming months. These include special themed dinners including ‘Personal Friends;’ ‘Celebrity Chefs’ and ‘Guest Pastry Chefs’ as well as mixologist appearances throughout both hotels. He adds that plans are afoot to invite chefs, pastry artists and mixologists back to a grand gourmet festival next year.

FAIRMONT DOHA
362
5
95
17 RAFFLES AND FAIRMONT, DOHA OCTOBER 2022

Wellness

When it comes to its wellness proposition, Fairmont is focused on fitness, physiotherapy and nutrition, while Raffles is primarily geared towards providing the ultraluxury spa experience.

“Fairmont Fit and Fairmont Spa will be home to international well-being gurus. Our indoor climbing wall will be the largest in the country. We will also feature a large hotel gym, and have an immersive spinning studio too. [Optionally], we can also offer well-being experiences within the guests’ rooms,” says Fairmont Doha general manager Akkari.

Shekhar Malkotia, executive director of wellness at Fairmont and Raffles in Doha, notes that Fairmont will offer clinical well-being programmes with an ability to diagnose, assess and prevent injuries and ailments. “Our new-to-market concept of mobility for fitness blended with recovery services and ideal nutrition will elevate the local fitness offering. Our sports and recreation offering is a highly developed programme to improve sports performance, prevent injury, enable rest and recovery and deliver personalised nutrition. We will also offer one-onone personal coaching with master athletes,” says Malkotia.

The Raffles spa offerings spread across 2,100 sqm will include one Fitness Suite, three Spa Suites, five Experience Suites, three beauty as well as three fitness studios. The Spa Suites are connected with either a fitness or beauty studio and are designed for two guests to undergo treatments in the privacy of the suite. Spa Experience Suites meanwhile

ABOVE: Fine finishings within the Fairmont suite bathroom

TOP: The wellappointed bedroom and living room in the Fairmont suite

TOP RIGHT: Raffles VIP meeting room

incorporate a sauna, hammam, outdoor pool and relaxation space along with a treatment space for two.

The Spa Experience Suites can be reserved entirely for a family to exclusively avail themselves of all of its hydrothermal facilities. “At Raffles, we will also offer the Dr. Burgener Haute Couture treatment which addresses personalised skincare, and analysis for heavy metals and trace elements. Our Dr. Burgener well-being programmes can last between four hours to six days, while the Dr. Burgener Experience addresses anti-ageing and regeneration, detox and immunity-building as well as slimming and contouring needs,” observes Malkotia.

OCTOBER 2022

RAFFLES AND FAIRMONT, DOHA

Art

Tal Danai is the founder and CEO of Artlink, an organisation which has curated collections for hotels around the world from Dubai and Shanghai to New York City and London. He was brought onboard to curate an expansive array of art installations across Raffles and Fairmont.

“For the art collection of Katara Towers, we asked local and international artists and craftsmen to focus on Qatar’s historical use of two fundamental materials – stone and iron – and their immediate derivatives including sand, glass, and precious metals. The majority of the collection for both hotels is bespoke. There are over 230 artists and artisans involved in the art collection of Raffles and Fairmont Doha,” says Danai.

From the lobby and corridors to its lounges and restaurants and even its suites, artworks are abundantly visible across the two properties.

The main lobby of the two hotels features a series of large sculptures by artist Khalid J Shahin and the artistic duo Hybycozo Art. Artist Jesús Perea was invited to develop a unique collection of over 100 original works inspired by Katara Hospitality’s properties worldwide. Further stunning works of art can be found at The Provok lounge in Fairmont by way of the 108 individually blown glass vessels.

The suites at Raffles have been imagined as minigalleries with curated art content within them. Pieces from artists including Noor Abuissa, Shua’a Ali, SophieElizabeth Thompson and Chris Wood are displayed in the hotel’s suites alongside unique creations from Art Basel too. At Fairmont, its Presidential suite has works by Kristin Breiseth, Lisa Hunt and Michael Thacker. It’s worth noting that at Fairmont, art isn’t the reserve of only the top-end suites. In fact, one of the large porcelain artworks has been cut into 362 pieces, with one piece placed in every room and suite across the property.

Experiential luxury

Fairmont and Raffles are set to surge ahead within the luxury hospitality space as they attempt to recreate experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in Doha – and perhaps are hard to come by at any of its properties elsewhere in the world too.

The Blue Cigar lounge in Raffles, for example, has an extensive collection of rare and difficult-to-find books. Fairmont and Raffles together sourced 40,000 titles in what is believed to be one of the world’s single largest purchase of books. The collection is spread across the rooms and suites, but it is within the Secret Library in Blue Cigar where some of the most prized classics will be available for guests to read. There is an extensive collection of spy and detective books, featuring over 200 first-edition titles as well as hand-drawn famous works. These include a rare two-volume copy of The Iliad and The Odyssey in Greek and Latin from 1707, an illustrated two-volume 1785 edition of Robinson Crusoe, a numbered Moby-Dick book from the limited artist edition with a foreword by Jacques Yves Cousteau and paintings by LeRoy Neiman, as well as a RL Stevenson’s Treasure Island in a First Trade Edition of Edmund Dulac illustrations from 1927.

“All these books are pre-loved and so have dedications and some bear the authors’ signatures. All have a livedin feel. We don’t want guests to be intimidated by their history but to touch the books and enjoy them,” says Raffles Doha hotel manager, Knaier.

230

Apart from its book collection, making luxury an experience in itself, Knaier adds that there will a team of 25 highly-trained butlers at Raffles around whom the core guest experience will be centred. Meanwhile, Fairmont Gold guests will have access to a dedicated team of butlers and concierges as well as a dedicated lounge at Fairmont. In a world-first for any Fairmont, these Fairmont Gold guests will have exclusive access to a dedicated pool at the Doha property.

The next step

Still to open at the property next year will be the Raffles Residences as well as the floating Privée lounge which is designed to resemble the reflection of the iconic towers on the water.

3,400 SQM

The size of the pillarless Katara Hall

Also, with one eye on the events market, the Katara Hall which is located at the base of the structure in between the two hotels will serve as a sprawling 3,400 sqm pillarless space that has 15-metre high hydraulic entrance doors that weigh 35 tonnes and a ceiling at a height of 22m – it’s a space that Hirt, the managing director for Raffles and Fairmont, says will particularly appeal to destination weddings.

Although the property is being opened in time for the World Cup, it will only be mainly reserved for FIFA World Cup delegations. Hirt says that while there will be an official grand opening party next year, the public can start booking their stays at both properties from December 25. Christmas, come early.

Number of artists and artisans commissioned for both properties
19
OCTOBER 2022

Raise the bar

The Future Hospitality Summit (FHS) in Dubai recently concluded, but a er having assembled the region’s A-list of hospitality stalwarts and brands –many of whom chose the event as a platform to announce the signing of deals worth millions of dollars.

Held from September 19-21 at the Madinat Jumeirah, FHS Dubai was hosted by Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, and co-organised by MEED and e Bench.

e event combined the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), African Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF) and Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF). Ultimately, there were over 1,072 attendees who gathered to listen to what some of the 200 speakers had to say about the roadmap for the industry.

e theme for the event was Lead e Change and staying true to it, apart from

giving the speakers a platform, several delegates were also invited to speak for up to three minutes about how they were personally and professionally leading the change.

Just ahead of the FHS, Knight Frank  along with analytics and marketplace insights provider for the hospitality industry, STR, released research gures which suggested that the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector will likely witness more than 100 million tourist arrivals and over US$270 billion in revenue this year, putting it rmly on the path of attracting 160 million tourists by 2030.

It’s those same levels of buoyant optimism that Jonathan Worsley (pictured le ), chairman of e Bench, observed universally among the delegates and speakers who were present at the event. “ e bounce back that we’ve seen has been surprising. What really thrills me is the way we’ve adapted this event from not just being about investment, but also being about the future. Hence the rebranding of the event to the Future Hospitality Summit, of which AHIC and GRIF fall underneath. We’re embracing the idea of looking at the future and bringing

The 2022 edition of the Future Hospitality Summit in Dubai witnessed the participation of key stakeholders from across the Middle East VARUN GODINHO
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OCTOBER 2022

in startups, having competitions, getting delegates to participate and providing a platform for innovation.”

According to the Knight Frank report, there are over 600,000 hotel rooms that are in the planning and development stage in the Middle East. At the FHS Dubai, regional and international brands announced their expansion plans for the Middle East. Rotana said at the FHS that it will open two properties in Dubai under its new Edge brand – the 328-room Arabian Park Hotel and the 295-key Damac Hills 2 Hotel.   Radisson – Elie Younes, its executive vice president and chief global development o cer as well as Elie Milky, vice president of Development were panelists at the event – con rmed a portfolio of 77 hotels in operation and under development across the Middle East. It added that it has a portfolio goal of reaching 150 properties and 30,000 keys in the region by 2030.

Equally ambitious were the plans outlined at the FHS by Marriott which said that it planned to expand its Middle East footprint with the addition of over 20 properties and more than 5,000 rooms across the region over the next 15 months. Its current portfolio in the Middle East includes over 150 properties and more than 40,000 rooms across 21 of its brands in 11 countries.

Likewise, Hilton said that it is aiming for a staggering 140 per cent growth – there are approximately 100 properties in the pipeline – in its Middle East portfolio over the next three- ve years. It recently opened its 608key Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah property in the UAE, a Waldorf Astoria in Kuwait, and a DoubleTree by Hilton Riyadh Financial District in Saudi Arabia.

At the FHS, the growth of Saudi Arabia and its potential as a tourism destination was

FUTURE HOSPITALITY SUMMIT

RIGHT: Amit Nayak receives the Leadership Award from Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum

BELOW FROM LEFT: Abdullah Abdooli, CEO Marjan, and Khalid Anib, CEO of ADNH; Jason Addison, CEO of SIGMAC with Haitham Mattar, managing director for India, Middle East and Africa at IHG

a topic of discussion revisited by several speakers. Earlier this year, the FHS Riyadh which was held in May 2022 was completely sold out. “It’s terribly exciting as [Saudi’s] economy changes to a multifaceted economy with tourism as one of its pillars. I love what they’re trying to do on the sustainability and human resources front. At the FHS in Riyadh earlier this year we had to stop registrations, which I’ve never done before. We had to put the emergency brake on because we couldn’t t any more people into the venue at the Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel where we were hosted by Dur Hospitality,” revealed Worsley.

e FHS is known to be a platform where mega deals are announced and at the Dubai edition, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange-listed Abu Dhabi National Hotels con rmed that it had acquired a prime plot on Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah to develop a US$272 million resort property. Ras Al Khaimah featured prominently at the FHS with Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Development, and Abdullah AlAbdouli, chief executive o cer of Marjan, joining Alison Grinnell, chief executive o cer for RAK Hospitality Holdings, in a panel discussion on day two titled ‘Integrated Resorts and eir

Impact on the Economy.’ It was here that it was revealed that the multi-billion dollar Wynn Resorts in Ras Al Khaimah is expected to open by the end of 2026.

Apart from the Middle East, there were panel discussions such as ‘Focus on China – Are you prepared for the Biggest Tourism Market?’ and ‘An overview of travel and tourism potential in Africa’ which discussed markets that the Middle East could play a vital role in growing.

e third and nal day of the FHS saw Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, founding patron of AHIC; president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; chairman, Dubai Airports; chairman and chief executive, Emirates Airline and Group; and chairman of Dubai Holding take to the stage for the FHS 2022 Awards presentation. e Lifetime Award for Services to the Industry was awarded to the late Ranjan Nadarajah who worked for over 35 years as the general manager at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre and was also a senior advisor to Wasl Hospitality. Assia Riccio, founder and CEO of Evolvin’ Women, won the Be e Change Award for her support of unemployed women from under-privileged backgrounds and female farmers in developing countries, while Amit Nayak, vice president of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) Middle East and Africa, received the Leadership Award in a nod to his over two-decade career in asset management and private equity within the region.

ere’s more coming up from the team behind the FHS. e Africa Hospitality Investment Forum (AHIF) in Morocco will take place from November 2-4, 2022, while dates and a con rmation of next year’s edition of the FHS are all expected imminently.

21
OCTOBER 2022

PROGRESSING HOSPITALITY

Radisson Hotel Group’s Eric De Neef outlines what the hotel major intends to achieve with its growing Middle East portfolio

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According to a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the global GDP in 2021 rose over 21 per cent to reach US$5.8 trillion.

at the industry would eventually recover from the blow it su ered in 2020 was beyond doubt – that it would do so at the pace that it did last year, was a surprise for many.

To the good fortune of a few players in the industry, they preempted and acted on the rushed return to normalcy. “We launched three di erent brands in the last three years – Collection, Radisson Red and Radisson Individuals which we launched during the pandemic,” Eric De Neef, executive vice president and global chief commercial o cer at Radisson Hotel Group told Business Traveller Middle East.

At the Arabian Travel Market in May, Radisson Hotel Group projected the opening of 15,000 rooms and the signing of 330 hotels total in the EMEA and APAC regions this year. Currently, it has an operational portfolio of 52 properties in the Middle East totalling 11,211 keys. Furthermore, there are 25 properties under development, with the group projecting a portfolio goal of reaching 150 properties and 30,000 keys in the Middle East by 2030. e market that is expected to be the major growth driver for it is Saudi Arabia. “We’re going to double our portfolio in Saudi Arabia over the next three years. We are opening properties focused on the resort as well as business segment there,” said De Neef. Within the kingdom alone, the group currently has 42 hotels and over 8,000 rooms in operation and under development. It will also open a regional o ce in Riyadh this year to support the growth of its Saudi portfolio which will account for half of its entire presence in the Middle East. Its Mansard Riyadh property under the Radisson Collection brand opened in June this year and includes

191 rooms, serviced apartments, and duplex villas. e Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh Convention and Exhibition Centre meanwhile will open soon.

e GCC – which includes Saudi, the UAE and Qatar, among others –is a region that De Neef is optimistic about. “You have a growing inbound market within the GCC. Travellers coming here are spending more too. If you put in place the right guest experience, they are ready to pay. is is the number one region from a development of RevPAR perspective.”

Part of that guest experience is being exible and adapting to the needs of the travellers – with the rise of bleisure, for example, very o en business travellers are looking for a leisure experience to cap o their visit to a particular city. Responding to that need, Radisson has

ABOVE: Radisson Riyadh Airport, Saudi Arabia

LEFT: Eric De Neef, executive vice president and global chief commercial o icer at Radisson Hotel Group

OPPOSITE PAGE FROM TOP: The lobby at Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah; Collection Room at the Mansard Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel

been developing its resort portfolio.

e Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah Marjan Island was its rst resortfocused o ering in the UAE, while the Radisson Beach Resort Palm Jumeirah in Dubai will be its second. e group has been careful not to create a separate resort brand, but instead to subsume the resort positioning under its existing brands. “We didn’t create one resort brand. We added the resort value proposition to all our existing brands –therefore a Collection brand could be a resort, as could a Radisson Blu,” explains De Neef.

e strategy that the group will adopt with regards to new builds and conversions, as well as the operational models for each, is being kept uid deliberately. Says De Neef, “You need to have lease properties as well as management. You have to de ne your strategy by the cities where you operate. If you think of Germany, for example, it is a lease or franchise market – you don’t have management. In Dubai, you’re much more into management contracts, and have fewer franchise contracts. You have di erent types of cultures, locations and cities and depending on these criteria, you de ne what is the best strategy. Also, you need to have a mix of conversions and new builds. Our Collection brand, for example, is much more about the conversion of an existing iconic property, rather than building from scratch. Radisson

RADISSON HOTEL GROUP IN THE MIDDLE EAST 150 Expected number of properties by 2030 30,000 Projected number of keys by 2030 42 Number of hotels within Saudi Arabia 23 RADISSON OCTOBER 2022

Blu on the other hand is more into convention centres which are newly built. All our brands need to be conversion friendly though.”

One of the biggest challenges to its growth, says De Neef, is the shortage of skilled labour. According to the WTTC report, the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to employment in the Middle East increased by 390,000 to reach 5.6 million jobs in 2021, accounting for 7.3 per cent of all the jobs in the region. It is forecasted that by the end of 2032, travel and tourism will create 3.6 million new jobs in the region compared to 2022. “Operationally, that’s one of the biggest issues that we have today. What we are doing is to therefore have a very aggressive recruitment wave linked to a strong training programme because a lot of people le [during the pandemic] and didn’t come back, and you need to attract new talent.” To that end, and pertinent to the region, the group launched ‘A Brilliant Journey of Advance Development Programme’ (ABJAD) in Saudi Arabia, which targeted employees within the kingdom to develop their leadership skills to help them progress across the group’s portfolio of 26 operational hotels in the kingdom, crucial when you consider that Saudi 2030 Vision aims to raise the contribution of the tourism sector to the domestic product to over 10 per cent and provide one million job opportunities.

Elsewhere in the region, the group is growing its Moroccan presence with ve properties in the pipeline in addition to

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Indoor swimming pool at a Radisson property; Render of Radisson Blu Al Sahafa Riyadh; Radisson Beach Resort Palm Jumeirah

3.6m

the recent opening of four hotels in Al Hoceima, Taghazout Bay and Saïdia. In June, it also signed Radisson Blu Hotel, Amman Galleria Mall which is expected to open next year.

One of the chief trends within the hospitality space accelerated speci cally by the pandemic, according to De Neef, is a renewed focus on sustainability. e group has set itself a target to become net zero by 2050. It’s something that, he says, is what the markets and its customers are demanding.

up to your loyalty programme and you have to address that base too.”

Going forward, De Neef doesn’t rule out the creation of further brands under the Radisson Hotel Group umbrella – although upscale and upper-upscale brands such as Radisson, Radisson Blue, Radisson Collection and Radisson Red will be the priority for the GCC.

*According

At present, its fanbase includes over 20 million Radisson Rewards members. “We will launch a new programme by the end of the year, where a customer will have much more exibility in earning and burning points. You have di erent consumer groups. Some are very focused on earning points, others are focused on obtaining discounts while there are some who only focus on guest experiences. You need to have exibility in enticing customers into your loyalty programme, but also must realise that there are those who are loyal to your brand but aren’t signed

e chief commercial o cer notes that investment in technology will also continue at pace. “We are investing a lot into robotics and AI because that will help us to manage the data – the problem is not getting the data, but making that data actionable. We are building an integrated system from the property management system to the reservation system to the customer relationship management system and content management in order to have a 360-degree understanding of the customer,” says De Neef.

And in a striking revelation as to where its investment in technology will lead, he adds, “What we are now trying to understand is how to leverage the metaverse.”

new travel and tourism jobs in the Middle East by
of
and tourism sector to the global GDP in
Number of
2032 US$5.8 TRILLION Contribution
travel
2021
to World Travel and Tourism Council Report, 2022
24 RADISSON OCTOBER 2022

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TOUCHDOWN IN QATAR

BERTHOLD TRENKEL, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AT QATAR TOURISM, SAYS THAT THE COUNTRY HAS A WELL-MAPPED STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE GROWTH IN VISITOR NUMBERS POST THE WORLD CUP
OCTOBER 2022

TOURISM

Recently, Qatar Tourism published gures which showed that it had made a stellar recovery from the pandemic-induced setbacks in terms of visitor numbers. It said that its international arrivals from January-June this year stood at 729,000 – which was 19 per cent more than the 611,000 number it clocked for the full year of 2021. Bear in mind that it blew past its 2021 gures well before the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar even begins. Qatar expects to attract approximately 1.2 million visitors for the World Cup, with the event forecasted to add around US$17 billion to its national economy.

Capitalising on the current tourist boom is one thing –making sure that there is sustainable growth is another. “Last year, we were asked by the Supreme Council for Economic A airs and Investment to come up with a ten-year plan that included our strategy and metrics. Tourism contributes about 6-7 per cent of GDP. In the plan, we’re essentially doubling that to 12 per cent by 2030,” says Berthold Trenkel, chief operating o cer at Qatar Tourism. at

12 per cent gure, he adds, includes both the direct and indirect impact of tourism, which means it takes into account the spending and living costs incurred by the hundreds of thousands of stakeholders supporting the entire tourism ecosystem within Qatar.

“When it comes to employment, pre-Covid, the tourism sector [in Qatar] had around 120,000 employees. To double the contribution to GDP, we should be growing this to around 220,000-250,000 employees,” notes Trenkel.

Reaching the 12 per cent mark would also make tourism one of the top three sectors contributing to the economy. at is a major shi considering that carbon-related industries, construction and infrastructure, healthcare, logistics and education were traditionally the focus sectors for Qatar. Tourism has now earned itself a seat at the high table.

e country is buzzing with major tourism projects in the pipeline. ese include Doha Winter Wonderland on Al Maha Island which is a 200,000 sqm property and will be operated by IMG (International Marketing Group) – the same rm that manages Hyde Park Winter Wonderland a er which the Doha venue is modelled. e Fuwairit Kite Beach resort meanwhile will allow visitors to indulge in scuba diving, parasailing, snorkelling – and, of course,

ABOVE: Berthold Trenkel, chief operating o icer at Qatar Tourism BELOW: Lobby of Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach OPPOSITE PAGE: National Museum of Qatar
27 OCTOBER 2022 QATAR

QATAR IN NUMBERS

729,000

Number of international arrivals from January-June this year

1.2m

Number of visitors expected for FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar

$17bn

The forecasted amount that the World Cup will add to the country’s GDP

kitesur ng for nine months of the year. Another major upcoming attraction is the Qetaifan Island North which will include a special fan zone for the World Cup, and is being referred to as an “Entertainment Island” which will include oating hotels, a water park and beach clubs.

Qatar expects to attract six million visitors annually by 2030. To support the growth of tourism in the country, a number of new luxury properties have either recently opened or will do so imminently. It includes Accor’s Fairmont and Ra es which has opened in the iconic Katara Towers in Doha, one of London’s most famous properties – e Ned – which will likely open this year, as well as existing properties such as the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort and Villas and the wellness-focused Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som.

While these properties are in the high-end range, Qatar will also have to accommodate those who might want a holiday on more modest budgets too. “We are in discussion with the private sector on the hotel investment side to encourage growth within the a ordable accommodation segment to balance the portfolio. How do we make sure we don’t have just exceptional ve-star hotels, but also good and a ordable three- and four-star accommodation,” says Trenkel.

Engaging the private sector is vital to the growth of tourism in the country, but introducing regulations that streamline the processes is equally important and is something Trenkel and his team are carefully considering. “ e tricky part is to get the balance right. You need some level of regulation, but you don’t want to over-regulate.

BELOW: An

St. Regis Porto Arabia

is whole regulation strategy is something we’ve been working on over the last two years with consultants. ere were a few areas where the regulation was not very mature, for example, adventure tourism and activities in the desert that either had no regulations or very light regulations. We’re making them much more professional and robust.

And that impacts the private sector because we’re putting standards in place for them to have either a license or to go through inspections.”

Accelerating growth

Doha’s Hamad International airport – Qatar’s main airport – will be able to host 58 million passengers a er phase A of its expansion plan concludes. Phase B of that programme will begin next year and will further boost its capacity to more than 60 million passengers.

Under Trenkel’s watch, Qatar Tourism launched a marketing campaign aimed at capturing the attention of those millions of arrivals – especially those transiting through Doha – to discover the country over the course of 48 hours. It got none other than superstar David Beckham – who has over 75 million followers on Instagram alone – to front the campaign which it launched in August. In that multi-media campaign, Beckham is seen travelling on a traditional wooden dhow boat, exploring the winding spice markets of Souq Waqif, taking in local street art, cooking tacos, camping in the desert, and riding a motorbike to visit di erent spots in Doha. He does so with the help of resident expats as well as prominent Qataris

aerial shot of
28 OCTOBER 2022 QATAR TOURISM

such as Sheikha Reem Al Thani, Chef Noor Al Mazroei, filmmaker Hamida Issa Al Kuwari as well as motorcycle champion Saeed Al Sulaiti.

Apart from conducting roadshows in different countries around the world to drum up support within key source markets including India and Saudi Arabia, Qatar Tourism in August also opened its first representative office in Tehran, the capital of Iran. It was its 13th global opening amidst an international network of representative offices which currently span markets including Australia, India, China and the US.

The chairman of Qatar Tourism – Akbar Al Baker – is also the group chief executive officer at Qatar Airways Group, which in turn lends a coordinated approach to the country’s tourism growth. “That’s a huge opportunity for us,” says Trenkel on the advantages of having a common leadership of both the country’s tourism body and its national airline. “Specifically on tourism where some of the investments are more long term, you need to have partners that look at the bigger picture. He

perfectly understands that and the level of collaboration between us and the airline is amazing, because we get insights from the airline with data on what’s happening which other tourism bodies don’t have.”

In June, Qatar Airways Group reported a record net profit of US$1.54 billion during the fiscal year 2021-22, 200 per cent more than its highest reported profit over the last 25 years that it has been operational. Passenger revenue increased by 210 per cent over the previous year, with it having carried 18.5 million passengers, an increase of 218 per cent year-on-year. The airline’s interests are well aligned with that of Qatar Tourism.

To accommodate the surge in visitors over the World Cup, Qatar will open its old airport in Doha to complement operations at Hamad International. At its peak, Qatar expects approximately 100,000 arrivals a day during the World Cup. Encouraging repeat visitations will be crucial as Qatar aims to build on the boost to its tourism figures that the World Cup will no doubt lend. There’s a solid post-World Cup strategy in place. “Qatar has the National Vision 2030. They also have the Qatar Development Strategy (QDS).

QDS 1 was focused on priority sectors.

QDS 2 is finishing this year with the World Cup. After that, tourism will be a part of the next development strategy. We’re working with the supreme council on detailing our plans and what we will do with tourism. Within those plans, there are 11 pillars which we need to focus on such as domestic tourism, asset development and cruise tourism. Each pillar has its own project plan and investment so that the numbers are built bottom up with different initiatives implemented, as well as timelines and KPIs put into place,” explains Trenkel.

At Qatar Tourism, it’s now showtime.

DID YOU KNOW?

Qatar Airways Group reported a record net profit of US$1.54 billion during the fiscal year 2021-22, 200 per cent more than its highest reported profit over the last 25 years that it has been operational

Tourism contributes about 6-7 per cent of GDP – we’re essentially doubling that to 12 per cent by 2030
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: St. Regis Porto Arabia; David Beckham explores Doha in the new Qatar Tourism campaign; Museum of Islamic Art; A restaurant at Rixos Gulf Hotel
29 OCTOBER 2022

The elevator pitch

Business Traveller Middle East gives Andreas Searty, managing director of Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, five minutes to pitch his property to prospective guests

As Hilton’s latest property in Dubai, our hotel is nestled at the entrance of the trunk of Palm Jumeirah adjacent to the sought-a er Palm West Beach, serving as the perfect base to explore the city’s main attractions including a four-minute drive to Nakheel Mall Palm Jumeirah, eight-minute drive to Aquaventure Waterpark and Mall of the Emirates, and a 20-minute drive to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

Spoilt for choice, our guests can choose from 608 rooms ranging from 40 sqm to 390 sqm with a collection of guest rooms, executive rooms and suites, all with balconies featuring unbeatable sea views of Ain Dubai and the Dubai Marina skyline. Our executive rooms o er access to our top- oor executive lounge which includes complimentary breakfast, a ernoon tea, evening drinks, canapés and not to forget, sweeping sea views.

We take great pride in our extensive F&B o ering with nine restaurants and bars on the property. O ering an array of unique culinary experiences,

our diners can indulge in Australian gourmet-style cuisine at Jones e Grocer, an idyllic spot by the beach, crack open a crab at Claw BBQ or take a culinary tour around the world at Mowsem, our all-day dining restaurant.

UAE residents and visitors can now soak in the shimmering rays by our beach, lounge in exclusive sunbed cabanas while sipping cocktails at our Zing beach and pool bar, or take a dip in our 65m long pool overlooking the Arabian sea. Guests can nish their day by dining at any of our restaurants, and even catch a live game on the big screen at the beloved Factory by McGettigan’s.

Proving to be a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation, guests can enjoy the spa facilities at our award-winning Eforea Spa and be pampered in one of our eight treatment rooms, as well as make use of the Moroccan Hammam and access our tness centre too which is open 24-hour a day.

In addition, our premium property o ers 2,274 sqm of indoor and

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Andreas Searty; The 65m long pool; There are a total of 608 rooms and suites; An exterior view of the resort

outdoor spaces for meeting and events. e open-air Ocean Terrace venue holds up to 800 people. Equipped with high-tech facilities and supported by dedicated events and catering teams, the hotel aims to o er great service for the perfect event, no matter the occasion.

I am beyond humbled and proud to be part of a team that strives towards achieving service excellence every day, carrying forward the 100-year legacy of Hilton. With great facilities, a dazzling beach-front locale and warm hospitality, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah promises to be the perfect beach escape for both leisure and business travellers in the UAE.

“Our guests can choose from 608 rooms with a collection of guest rooms, executive rooms and suites, all with balconies”
30 ELEVATOR PITCH OCTOBER 2022

AIR MILES WITH

Judit Toth

Judit Toth is the founder and CEO of Vivere Hospitality, a UAE homegrown brand which recently opened its rst property – Ink Hotel – in Dubai

How did the idea for Vivere Hospitality come about?

I was the business director of a Swiss hospitality school, establishing its campus in Dubai and focusing on training international and UAE nationals in the hospitality industry. I was always passionate about hospitality and in 2021 out of the challenges of Covid-19, I saw an opportunity to enter the market with a new idea of becoming an operator. is is how Vivere Hospitality was born with its non-traditional approach to hotel management.

What is the USP of Vivere and Ink Hotel?

Vivere Hospitality specialises in creating and managing boutique and lifestyle hotels. We are meant to be a rule breaker to create new homegrown concepts instead of acting as a traditional operator which works with large franchise brands.

We wanted to develop our own brand and operate it in Dubai. We felt that it was time to change the status quo, and Dubai is ready to produce its own success stories which mean

foreign brands are not the only option to succeed in the hospitality industry. is is how we decided to develop Ink Hotel, our very own UAE home-grown brand. It is sustainable, petfriendly and o ers rooms for all.

We are still in the startup phase. However, our team is growing fast as new opportunities arise. We are exploring new projects within UAE and other GCC countries at the moment.

Your golden rule when packing for a trip is… Pack a day in advance. I always ensure I take time for horse riding during my trips, and therefore booking my riding sessions and packing my horse-riding clothes are essential.

What’s your choice of in-flight entertainment? I catch up on new movies, and I love the podcasts and interviews by Emirates to keep up to date on new hospitality and F&B o erings. However, my absolute favourite on every Emirates ight is My Story by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. I can watch those series over and over again.

The three things that you never fail to pack in your suitcase…

A nice book is always important, hydration cream as my beauty routine has to go on no matter what along with my hair products, and my charger.

Your most rewarding travel experience to date. A recent trip to Hungary. I had the best time with family and friends in Lake Balaton, along with a beautiful wine-tasting dinner.

The one travel experience you’d rather forget When I went to ailand and unfortunately ended up with food poisoning and a few days of stormy weather. Needless to say, I nished all episodes of the series I was watching. Luckily, I stayed in a nice boutique resort that gave me inspiration for hotel interior designs.

How have you spent your air miles in the past? I usually use my air miles for upgrades and for purchasing tickets for the family.

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31 AIR MILES

Soaring high

As we gear up for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 this November, anticipation is running high in the Middle East. It’s the rst-ever football World Cup to be held in the region, so naturally there’s tremendous pressure to put on an unforgettable show.

Qatar is pulling out all stops – with several leisure and entertainment destinations launched in the run-up to the event. According to estimates, the World Cup is likely to attract over a million football fans from around the world and contribute around US$17 billion to the Qatari economy.

Flights from neighbouring countries –including the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia – are expected to ferry fans from the region to the heart of the action. Dubai has already announced the launch of the rst footballthemed hotel on the Palm – NH Dubai e Palm – which will o er attractive hospitality packages and match tickets for football fans.

Given their proximity to Qatar, many GCC nations, including the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are gearing up to support the surge in tourism later this year. Commercial airlines have announced additional ights to keep up with the demand. Equally, private charters are also vying for a slice of the pie. In fact, private aviation has emerged as a competitive option to transport fans with minimal delays from anywhere in the world to the heart of the action in Qatar to cheer on their dream team. Charter providers have access to light jets and commercial aircra which can accommodate small- to large-sized groups ranging from 20-100 spectators travelling to these games.

Historically, private jets have ferried athletes and scores of fans to leading global sporting events. For example, the Super Bowl is touted to be the busiest weekend in the global private jet calendar. One of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments – Wimbledon – attracts many guests who prefer the privacy and exclusivity of a private jet. Closer to home, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is known to draw substantial private jet tra c to the UAE’s capital.

impress their HNWI corporate clients. Guests can take advantage of faster security clearances, customs and other formalities compared to the tedious processes that come with commercial ights. ey can also enjoy the perks of a dedicated terminal for private ights and the relatively short distance between the FBO and the aircra .

Perhaps the biggest draw of private aviation is the exclusivity and privacy they o er, especially during a time of heightened health and safety precautions over the course of the pandemic. Guests can travel with a small group of people, minimising unnecessary interactions and avoiding crowded airports entirely. Many guests also appreciate the fact that they can have customised meals, in addition to tailored onboard experiences.

Meanwhile, private charters are rapidly upgrading to accommodate requests –whether it is specialised entertainment for accompanying kids, allowances to bring pets on board or catering to speci c dietary needs.

ere is plenty of opportunity for regional and international charters to cash in on a captive audience looking for bespoke private aviation travel services for the upcoming World Cup.

What makes private aviation such an attractive alternative? It’s the allure of ultimate convenience and exibility. Even though private jets remain una ordable for most, they served as a solution for travel during the pandemic. is has made the prospect of private aviation more real for many yers who were once business or rst class travellers on commercial ights, but have now switched to private charters.

Private aviation is also a great opportunity for companies looking to entertain and

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2021, the population of global UHNWIs (those with personal wealth exceeding US$30 million) rose by 9.3 per cent in 2021. e report also forecasts a 25 per cent increase in the number of UHNWIs in the Middle East by 2025. Many well-heeled sports fans will be dreaming of sitting in the VIP box rooting for their favourite team – there’s a real opportunity here for private aviation to make this a reality for football fans.

What makes private aviation such an attractive alternative?
It’s the allure of ultimate convenience
It’s game on for private aviation as the FIFA World Cup is set to get underway soon
32 OPINION OCTOBER 2022

Five luxury health breaks

After two years of working from home, splash out on yourself with some five-star pampering

SIX SENSES VANA, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA

Six Senses has taken over the Vana resort close to Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, and north of Dehradun on the approach to the Himalayas.

Open since 2014, the name of the resort means ‘forest’, and it is surrounded by organic kitchen and herb gardens in a sal-tree reserve within India’s Mussoorie region.

By this autumn the resort will have the Six Senses five-star luxury service installed, while continuing to offer traditional practices, including Ayurveda, yoga and Tibetan medicine. From mantras to meditation to massages, the aim is to ‘nudge’ you along a path to vitality. For those who need a lot of nudging, the Ayurvedic Panchakarma retreats welcome guests for up to a month for complete detoxification.

The organic gardens are being extended so that cuisine can be grown on-site, not flown in, while the bar will serve healthy drinks and tonics.

Also coming soon is a lifestyle concept store for sustainable fashion and spa products, a Cinema Paradiso, courts for various ball games, and more experiences that tap into the retreat’s location to encourage movement, mindfulness and reconnection with nature. sixsenses.com

THE OBEROI, MARRAKECH, MOROCCO

Set in over 11 hectares of landscaped gardens, citrus orchards, and olive groves with views of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, The Oberoi has 84 rooms, suites, and villas; 76 of which have private pools and private gardens. New this year is a wellness programme called Saha (health in Arabic) focused on four key cornerstones: Soul and Spirit, Active Body, Holistic Treatments and A Better Plate. Personalised wellness plans and packages range from dynamic fitness activities with a dedicated trainer to find inner peace through yoga, meditation, mindfulness activities or getting a good night’s rest with the hotel’s sleep therapy programme. Guests can choose from a three- to seven-night programme which includes a stay in a deluxe villa with a private pool, along with treatments, therapies and activities from the four key cornerstones. oberoihotels.com

34 WELLNESS OCTOBER 2022
ALAN KEOHANE/STILL-IMAGES.NET

DUSIT THANI HUA HIN, THAILAND

Last year Dusit Hotels and Resorts introduced a new group-wide wellness concept, Devarana Wellness, and this year, the Dusit Thani Hua Hin resort, one of its best-known properties, has rebranded its Devarana Spa to Devarana Wellness. As a significant refurbishment of the entire property, including all guest rooms and suites, and the large central pool, it now offers a three-pronged deceleration methodology based on the three key principles of Pause, Focus and Growth. It offers a complimentary programme of mindful and physical activities, such as meditation, forest bathing, Muay Thai martial arts, Kaoshikii dance, full moon yoga on the beach, and Family Day Retreats.

The spa offers more than 30 treatments including body exfoliation, facials, and various healing massages using bespoke oils and handcrafted ingredients. There are also personalised programmes to help guests ‘recover’ physical and mental well-being while inspiring ongoing resilience and optimal performance, especially in consideration of office syndrome and the stresses of day-to-day life. dusit.com

CHENOT PALACE WEGGIS, SWITZERLAND

Chenot Palace Weggis in Lucerne has three wellbeing programmes based on the Chenot Method – Advanced Detox, Recover and Energise, or Prevention and Ageing Well. On check-in you will receive a medical screening and a state-of-the-art diagnostic to determine which of the programmes is right for you, tailored to your exact needs.

Every wellness programme consists of preventative and regenerative treatments and is complemented by the Chenot Diet to ensure optimum results are reached during a mininimum of a seven-night stay. The Chenot spa spans 5,000 sqm and is a full-service integrated medical retreat with a metabolic and sports laboratory, an in-house blood analysis laboratory, a whole body cryochamber at -110˚C, antigravity technologies, an altitude chamber, a 21m indoor swimming pool and four dedicated sleep rooms specially made with technology to create a natural sleeping environment and optimise rest. chenotpalaceweggis.com

BORGO EGNAZIA, PUGLIA, ITALY

Borgo Egnazi is offering the chance to make local Apulian pottery in its ceramic workshop, a practice that can be both meditative and therapeutic. Not only do the repetitive motions of moulding, spinning, and shaping soothe the psyche, but it’s difficult to check your email while up to your elbows in modelling clay. The town of Grottaglie has been producing ceramics since the 17th century. You’ll have the chance to visit local ceramicists in their house-museum to view archaeological finds dating back to Roman times and also learn how to hand paint the traditional Apulian “splash” design. It’s not all handcrafts, though, the Borgo Egnazia’s Vair Spa is also available during your stay. borgoegnazia.it

35 OCTOBER 2022 GETY IMAGES/ MARINA SKOROPADSKAYA; ALEX TEUSCHER PHOTOGRAPHY; GIANNI BUONSANTE

CANBERRA

More than just the national capital, Canberra delights with a wealth of cultural and culinary attractions

1 NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIA

On the shores of Lake Burley Gri n (the manmade lake that is the town’s centrepiece) lies the National Museum of Australia. is showstopping collection of artefacts, interactive displays and gardens tells the story of Australia through the ages. Visitors learn about its history through innovative exhibits enhanced by lights, motion and sound.

With free entry, you can easily spend an entire day here surrounded by life-size dinosaur skeletons, crocodiles bigger than a car, aboriginal paintings and photography that show the e ect of climate change in the southern hemisphere. e newest addition is this summer’s opening of the Great Southern Land gallery with more than 2,100 objects and experiences showcasing all that makes Australia what it is today.

e museum’s convenience to the central business district (CBD), Parliament House and popular hotels like the Hyatt Regency is a real boon when your schedule is tight. nma.gov.au

2 PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Also near the city’s famous lake is Parliament House, the centre of Australian government. If you have a free a ernoon why not spend time perusing the impressive collection of art, photography a nd portraits of past lawmakers in the public areas.

Don’t miss one of the world’s largest tapestries, which is on display in the Great Hall. is grand, impressive room can also be booked for private events, meetings and conferences. If you visit when parliament is in session, you can even catch a glimpse of elected o cials in action.

Free tours throughout the day last about 25 minutes (make an advance reservation online) and include visits to the chambers where lawmakers meet. aph.gov.au

3 MUSEUMS GALORE

e two aforementioned hot spots within the National Triangle (o en dubbed the Parliamentary Triangle)

are worth visiting, but there’s more to experience in the city. Several impressive museums within this part of town include Questacon, a family-friendly and interactive science museum, and the National Portrait Gallery.

If art isn’t your thing, a jog (or walk) around the lake with towering Mount Ainslie as the backdrop is worth the visit alone. Nothing in Canberra is very far away, which means you can duck out of a meeting for a free museum tour or stroll around the lake and be back in no time.

Extending from Parliament House to the Australian War Memorial is a commemorative road that connects the two landmarks. Known as Anzac Parade, it is named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps of the First World War and serves as an alfresco museum of sorts. ere are numerous statues, memorials and monuments along the way, and it’s an interesting walk to learn more about the region’s history. questacon.edu.au

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4 NEWACTON

Just north of the lake, this revitalised part of the city showcases plenty of edgy shops and dining options within walking distance of the corporate, government and hotel buildings in town. With a mix of residential and commercial activity, the area is always lively. is is a hub for nightlife, weekend brunching or just an a ernoon stroll where you’ll nd some of the city’s best co ee and brews (Bent Spoke Brewing Co is a particular favourite). If you’re hungry, tuck in to a tasty breakfast at Morning Glory, but don’t miss Fekerte’s Ethiopian, which attracts queues for its traditional meat and veggie dishes. newacton.com.au

5 TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE

Not everyone is a er urban adventure though. Some (especially Aussie newbies) want the quintessential

animal encounters, which is exactly what you’ll nd in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Ranger-guided tours can lead you through the park if you wish but driving through on your own will surely show o the region’s exciting wildlife. It’s not just kangaroos and koalas; you’ll also see more elusive creatures such as the grassland earless dragon, eastern bettong and southern brush-tailed rock wallaby. Heard of them before? We didn’t think so.

tidbinbilla.act.gov.au

6 THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM CANBERRA AND WINE COUNTRY

If you want to enjoy one of the country’s best assets (its verdant nature), the National Arboretum Canberra is a hidden gem. It boasts more than 243 hectares of endangered or rare trees and plants, and the arboretum is a paradise for greenthumbed travellers and a supremely

restful place to visit. Plus, it’s only a ten-minute drive from the city centre.

Add an extra punch to your trip by taking in one of the many vineyards in Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Tour companies such as Van Du Vin o er half- and full-day trips from the CBD into wine country. Less famous than the big names of the Hunter or Barossa valleys, these vineyards are just as spectacular.

PHOTOGRAPHY; MARTIN nationalarboretum.act.gov.au

2019 STEVEN LLOYD PELANEK LUKAS BISCHOFF, MLENNY, GREG
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Community spirit

OCTOBER 2022

Fifteen years ago, serviced apartments and aparthotels were largely soulless; an inferior choice to hotels because of their bland design, corporate atmosphere and lack of buzzy social spaces. The last decade, however, has seen the emergence of several exciting brands, driven by the rise in remote working lifestyles, demand for flexibility and interest in design and interiors.

Progress from pandemic

The pandemic has accelerated the shift in attitudes towards oncedeemed-boring serviced apartments.

For one, the sector fared better than hotels thanks to the self-contained nature of the properties. In a world where contact was deemed dangerous, apartments with kitchenettes and living spaces proved to be a safe and reliable alternative to hotels.

“Serviced apartments weathered the storm better than most,” explains Daniel Johansson, director of development and acquisitions at Cheval Collection, adding that the group did not have to close a single property across its Cheval Maison and Cheval Residences brands during lockdowns. Aside from the exemption from restrictions, serviced apartments were a more attractive choice during the pandemic. “If you didn’t want to be locked into a 20 sqm room and wanted independence or to stay for a quarantine period, serviced apartments were perfect,” he adds.

Coupled with the convenience of serviced apartments was the acceleration of contactless technologies, with providers introducing digital keys and mobile check-in and check-out for a more seamless and touchless experience.

Singaporean company

The Ascott Limited, which has several serviced apartment brands and the Citadines aparthotel brand, used the opportunity to upgrade its Discover ASR mobile app so that guests could make contactless payments and perform mobile check-in and checkout. It went one step further in China, with service robots in properties and self check-in kiosks with facial recognition – a milestone that hasn’t yet reached markets like the UK.

Staycity, which operates its namesake aparthotels along with the Wilde brand, also brought forward remote check-in/check-out and keyless entry as a result of the pandemic, rolling out the latter across its estate.

Customer contact

The risk of relying on technology is that the sector loses its customerfacing touch. Stephen McCall, chief executive of Edyn, which has the serviced apartment brands Cove, Saco and aparthotel brand Locke, maintains that this won’t be the case.

“We’ve spent a lot of time finding exciting human beings to host the front of properties. I would never want to remove that element.” Instead, the group wants to “automate the mundane and the repetitive”.

There are check-in terminals at Locke properties to manage queues at peak times or cater to those that want a more independent stay. Likewise, WhatsApp is used as a form of 24-hour customer service for any assistance guests might need during their stay, but they can also head to reception and get advice on the local area.

Edyn’s newest brand, Cove, is different in that some of its properties don‘t have staff on-site, but the brand is aimed at a more autonomous crowd for much longer stays.

The serviced apartment sector continues to innovate and thrive
ABOVE:
13,400 units expected to open in Europe over the next four years 35% will open in 2022 32% will open in 2023 23% will open in 2024 10% will open in 2025 The sizes of the planned projects vary from 32 to 369 units, with an average of 139 units ‘Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe’, HVS, March 2022 39 SERVICED APARTMENTS OCTOBER 2022
Edyn’s new serviced apartment brand Cove

SERVICED APARTMENTS

26%

of participating operators expect to reach pre-pandemic cash flows this year; another 26% by next year, and 48% forecast reaching 2019 levels by 2024

‘Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe’, HVS, March 2022

table with power sockets, a TV, games consoles, books and board games.

While it’s certainly a trend, co-living does not appeal to all providers. Staycity remains focused on a model that offers private facilities and multi-functional public areas, while Edyn’s McCall says: “Our guests tend to love community but more on their terms and so we give our guests their own kitchens and living spaces along with animated public spaces.”

Driven by design

The blurring of business and leisure customers has also shaped the approach of providers, which must

Call for co-living

Over the past two years we have reviewed various serviced apartment properties during our travels, finding them an excellent substitute for an office. We aren’t the only ones – many digital nomads are using such accommodation for both work and socialising.

Providers have seen a growing interest in products that offer opportunities for networking and chances to connect with other guests as a way to remedy the solitude of remote working and digital nomadism. This has prompted the creation of ‘co-living’, a concept described by global hotel consultancy HVS senior associate Maria Coll as “a student flat share but for the corporate world”. Simply put, the properties tend to have en-suite bedrooms with shared living and kitchen spaces along with communal spaces such as co-working areas and leisure facilities.

Ascott has addressed this target market with its Lyf brand, which is designed for digital nomads, creatives and self-starters “to plug into the local community and form connections with one another”. The focus on social interactions is abundantly clear from the names of its facilities – the ‘Wash and Hang’ laundromat, ‘Bond’ kitchen where guests can prepare meals, and the ‘Connect’ co-working and lounge area. Ascott currently

has 18 Lyf co-living properties with more than 3,400 units in 14 cities and nine countries. It’s a clear focus for the group, with plans to sign 150 properties providing 30,000 units by 2030, including the European debut in 2024 with Lyf Gambetta Paris.

Accor’s Adagio brand, meanwhile, introduced its first co-living property within the aparthotel Adagio Paris Bercy Village earlier this year. The property offers self-contained flats with four rooms accommodating up to eight people, and a separate ‘hub’ area which has both leisure and business amenities including a large fully-equipped kitchen, a high-top

TOP LEFT: The lounge at Citadines South Vienna

ABOVE: An artist’s impression of a My Locanda room

now cater to both sectors. “We find that business guests are behaving a bit like leisure guests. It’s hard to tell if a guest is there on a corporate stay,” says Johansson. Earlier this year Cheval Collection launched its My Locanda brand, an affordable upscale serviced apartment concept which is targeting properties with 150-200 keys and compensating for the size of rooms with activated public spaces. The first 168-key property will open in Glasgow in 2024 and include an on-site grocer and a back-door concept so food deliveries don’t take place in the lobby.

“The pandemic has challenged, what is in effect a binary industry.

40
OCTOBER 2022

The hospitality sector has always catered to quite a specific type of traveller – you’re business or leisure, luxury or economy. It’s been very segmented,” says McCall. Design has been key in expanding the demographic of serviced apartments, with exciting décor and a programme of experiences transforming it from a B2B offering to a form of accommodation that appeals to business and leisure travellers alike.

“Serviced apartments were quite out of touch with people staying there. It was very functional, very transactional, and in my experience quite lonely,” explains McCall.

distinctive, right down to the bespoke keycards designed by local artists.

At first glance you might take it for a millennial-focused brand, with its trendy on-site cafés and co-working spots a hit with hipsters, but McCall is keen to steer away from the term ‘millennial’. “I don’t think millennials have a monopoly on edginess or design and aesthetics. If anything, my generation is waking up to what’s on offer, it’s just not been there before.”

Ascott, meanwhile, sees millennials and Gen Z as a core part of its target market, with the former making up a quarter of its customers. “Millennials are the largest generational group today, and most likely to travel compared with other generations.”

77%

of participating operators said top-line performance across the portfolio improved in 2021 compared to 2020, with most noting annual improvements of up to 25%

‘Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe’, HVS, March 2022

As long as you provide the necessary tools for business travellers – a desk, comfy chair and high-speed wifi – what’s the harm in adding some personality to the properties? “We don’t think music, art, etc., are trivial pursuits. We want to give people an experience and I don’t know why that would be confined to leisure travellers. It’s just as important for business people,” adds McCall.

Edyn’s Locke brand, in particular, is very design-led, drawing inspiration from the local area for its décor and programme of events. Most of its properties have different designers, meaning that every Locke is

In 2021, the World Economic Forum reported there are 1.8 billion millennials worldwide (those born between 1980 and 1994), making up 23 per cent of the population.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Ascott is firmly focused on the future.

In April, the company launched its Lyf Innovation Lab in collaboration with Singapore’s Temasek Polytechnic school to explore immersive virtual reality, with the recently opened Lyf One North in Singapore acting as the test-bed for such digital innovations.

“The idea is to find the best valueadded usage of the metaverse to enhance our guest experience beyond physical boundaries,” says Frédéric Carré, Ascott’s regional general manager UK, Germany, Spain and Georgia. It all sounds quite sci-fi, but essentially the brand is considering creating a virtual space so guests can meet those staying in Lyf properties around the world, or transforming artworks, wall murals and logos into live games where you can interact with guests.

Sustainability

While it may have weathered the pandemic, the sector is not immune to concern about climate change. The good news is providers are taking the issue seriously, incorporating environmental standards into their strategies. There’s also the argument

EDMUND DABNEY 41 OCTOBER 2022 TOP: Living space at Turing Locke Cambridge ABOVE: Communal area at Wilde Aparthotel Manchester

SERVICED APARTMENTS

that people are likely to travel less but stay for longer, with serviced apartments ideal for such trips.

Staycity has launched sustainability initiative Staygreen this year to reduce its overall carbon footprint.

Jason Delany, director of brand, product and marketing, says: “We will be setting targets that take us to the edge of what’s possible in the industry based around three pillars: greenhouse gas emissions; health and well-being; and waste management.”

e company is currently measuring and documenting its energy, carbon, water and waste usage, and emissions.

To make further progress with its green credentials, Ascott has launched a new programme, Go Green at Ascott, which will track its e orts and identify concrete targets in various areas of the business –from the construction process to employees’ actions and the use of sustainably sourced products. “We believe it is our responsibility to do our part to help our hurting Earth wherever we operate,” says Carré.

■ By 2028 Staycity will be operating 15,000+ keys

■ Ascott had an additional 15,100 units across 72 properties globally last year, and had its highest-ever property openings with 8,200 units in 40 properties launched across 25 cities and 10 countries

■ Adagio expects to open more than 13,400 branded serviced apartment units in Europe over the next four years

■ Staycity has plans for 6,000 apartments across 30 properties by the end of this year in countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the UK

Edyn is currently building its sustainable strategy to de ne its pathway to net-zero. If its Turing Locke property in Cambridge is anything to go by, the future looks promising – the aparthotel uses renewable energy sources, responsibly sourced furniture and lighting, and has more than 200 bike spaces and 20 electric vehicle charging spots.

Into the future

e current state of play is not easy to navigate for serviced apartment providers. e pandemic brought about sta ng shortages, increased operational costs and delivery issues making life tough for these operators, but the future looks much brighter. A

report published in March by global consulting rm HVS – ‘Serviced Apartment Sector in Europe’ –revealed that more than half of operators expect operating cash ows to recover to pre-pandemic levels in the next two years, though the con ict in Ukraine and oil and gas prices may impact this timeframe.

In the meantime, this burgeoning sector is set to see further innovation and a renewed focus on community.

“It’s important to evolve as the market evolves otherwise the danger is you get le behind. We don’t intend to do that,” says Delany of Staycity. I’m sure all providers are tracking new trends as you read – perhaps you can even start one.

CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT: Cove Landmark Pinnacle, Canary Wharf; An artist’s impression of Locke at East Side Gallery, Berlin; A rendering of the communal area at Wunder Locke Munich; Co-living at Adagio Paris Bercy Village
2020 PETO PHOTOGRAPHY 42
OCTOBER 2022

HOTEL VIEWS

CHARTING SUCCESS

How many units does The Ascott have within the Middle East?

The Ascott Limited has a global portfolio of over 900 properties across 40 countries. Within the Middle East, Africa, Türkiye and Central Asia, we currently manage 23 properties across our three premium brands – Ascott The Residence, Somerset Serviced Residence and Citadines Apart’hotel in 11 cities, spanning seven countries.

Ascott signed over 7,500 units in H1 2022. How much did the Middle

East contribute to that figure?

In H1 2022, we launched five properties across five different countries on three continents under our Somerset and Citadines brands. These include Ascott’s growing presence in Saudi Arabia, and our new launches in Oman, Kazakhstan and Kenya. MEAT is a key market that continues to be an important expansion region for us. Our growth in Türkiye continues to gather momentum with the new signing of Citadines Lara Antalya. Following our keen focus on growing in Africa, we have also signed our second property in Ethiopia – the Citadines Bole Addis Ababa.

Are serviced apartments your biggest vertical of growth?

Ascott’s three core brands – Ascott The Residence, Somerset Serviced Residence and Citadines Apart’hotel – continue to stay as the prime growth vehicle in the MEAT region. The recent launch of our Citadines revamp introduced new brand signatures that would encapsulate

the versatility of a Citadines property anywhere in the world. There is also a considerable peak in the demand for co-living spaces within the urbanised, first-tier cities of the region, and we are introducing our co-brand ‘Lyf’ to cater to this next generation of travellers. We are currently in talks to introduce this brand to our region in the very near future.

Ascott recently acquired Oakwood. What are the plans with it for the Middle East?

Oakwood currently has no presence within the Middle East, but shares a long history in managing and operating serviced spaces in distant geographies where Ascott has a modest footprint such as the Americas. We are therefore grateful for the synergy driven by our acquisition as we aim to introduce Oakwood brands in the Middle East.

Are there any current impediments to your regional expansion plan? The onset of Covid and its impact on the economy made us costconscious of our spends, whether at our operational properties or new openings. As such, we are ready to mitigate any crisis to support an uninterrupted business environment. On the workforce front, our serviced residences business model enables us to work with a comparatively lower workforce ratio than the typical hotel model. In addition, we have a vigorous global training programme at Ascott that focuses on developing and retaining local talent which allows us to witness a higher employee-satisfaction rate and a lower attrition rate.

Which are some of the key emerging source markets for Ascott’s residences within the Middle East? While Europe continues to be a high-yielding market over the years for Ascott, our key emerging source markets in the Middle East currently are Egypt and Morocco, with our biggest source market being the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Vincent Miccolis , managing director of The Ascott Limited for the Middle East, Africa, Türkiye and India, explains the potential for growth of its serviced apartment business within the region
43 OCTOBER 2022
ABOVE: Vincent Miccolis BELOW: Citadines Abha in Saudi

Sports unlimited

Don’t let your business trip get in the way of catching your favourite game – here are the sports bars to head to in six cities around the world

The countdown for the T20 World Cup has well and truly begun. Australia will not only be hosting the T20 World Cup this month, but will also be the defending champions a er having beaten New Zealand in the nals last year.

e 2022 edition of the tournament will see 16 teams go head-to-head from October 16 to November 13. Even if you can’t travel to Australia to watch the matches live, and nd yourself booked on a business trip in another city, here are some of the sports bars where you can catch all the action. Expect solid food options, great viewing arrangements and an atmosphere to match the calibre of the tournament.

DUBAI

LONDON

Ernst Biergarten, 25hours Hotel Dubai One Central A gem of a sports bar, it’s a great place to catch the T20 action. Ernst is a Bavarian bar. It helps that the tournament coincides with Oktoberfest and is the only excuse you need to pair some hops with baked pretzels. ere are multiple screens and a seating capacity of over 420 indoors and outdoors.

+971 42 102511; 25hours-hotels.com

High Note Pool and Sky Lounge, Aloft Al Mina Dubai Summer is behind us by now, and a tting way to celebrate is by being seated outdoors. Best then head to High Note Pool and Sky Lounge. ere are screens as large as 192 inches at the venue which provides an immersive experience to watch all the cricket action unfold live on the screen.

+971 58 591 8153; marriott.com

Sixes Social Cricket, Fitzrovia London

Sixes boasts colourful cricket nets. Instead of screaming into the TV screens, pick up a bat and show your friends just how to execute that square cut. e menu features burgers, each one focused on the cuisine of a cricket-playing nation, with the space also paying tribute to all-rounder Ian Botham.

+44 20 4531 2000; sixescricket.com

Famous Three Kings, Fulham London

e award-winning Famous ree Kings in Fulham London has consistently made it to the top of the list of the best sports pubs in the UK. Following a comprehensive refurbishment, it has now reopened. Located close to a tube station, it makes getting to it and back to your hotel very convenient.

+44 20 7603 6071; cra ed-social.co.uk

WORDS HAYLEY ALEXANDER Sixes London
44 OCTOBER 2022
Social Cricket,

Café Oz, Paris

Founded by Australian expats, there are four outposts in the city including in Chatelet, Grand Boulevards, the Denfert area, and a roo op café overlooking the Seine on Quai d’Austerlitz. Café Oz shows several sports on its giant screens from football and rugby to basketball and tennis. But being Australian, cricket is always on the cards.

+331 40 39 0018 café-oz.com

Bal Rock, Paris

ere’ll be no looking over shoulders or struggling to nd a spot to watch the match here –this spacious venue has 32 screens spread across several oors and is located near the Grand Boulevards metro. If you’re with a group of friends or entertaining a set of clients, you can pre-book VIP packages and even reserve an entire oor for a gathering.

+33 1 49 29 5050; balrock.

NEW YORK CITY

+1 212 922 9009; stoutnyc.com

BARCELONA

Stout, New York City ere are four Stout locations spread across Manhattan, but the Grand Central (the others are located at Bryant Park, Financial District and Penn Station) branch seems to be the most popular among locals. Apart from a great selection of hops, Stout is also famous for its Wisconsin-style thin crust pizzas and Bavarian pretzels.

All Stars Sports Bar and Grill, New York

Famous for its lively ambience during games, All Stars Sports Bar and Grill serves typical pub grub – sh and chips, chicken wings and sliders.

All Stars regularly celebrates several special events, as it will Halloween on October 31 –come dressed the part if you are visiting on that day.

+1 212 956 1606; allstarsportsbarandgrill.com

The Wild Rover, Barcelona

Close to Las Ramblas, this Irish pub is all about the numbers – 17 draught beers, 20 bottled beers, three giant screens and six large TVs. e wood-panelled interiors and black-and-white photographs of sportsmen as well as musicians hint at what this place aims to be. Stick around a er the game – live music kicks in every night at 11pm.

+34 935 34 27 62; wildroverbarcelona.com

PARIS DOHA

Sports Bar Italian Food

If you’d fancy some Italian food while in Barcelona, head to Sports Bar Italian Food which is located within walking distance of Las Ramblas. While you watch the game, order the cured meats and cheese platter or the quintessentially Italian burrata and carpaccio. Did anyone say that sports bars don’t have great menus?

+34 933 106858; sportsbaritalianfood.it 45

Champions, Doha e licensed venue boasts a total of 47 screens. Located in the Marriott Marquis City Centre Doha, it’s an added advantage if you happen to be staying at the property itself for a business trip Occasionally, Champions hosts a quiz night – dare to put your well-honed sporting knowledge to the ultimate test.

+974 4419 5510; marriott.com

Mulberry Tavern, Doha

Located in the Hilton Doha e Pearl Hotel and Residences, this gastropub has a pool table to keep you occupied during the commercial breaks. A er the game, head to the fourth oor of the Hilton to dine at Lebanese restaurnat Levantine, or indulge in theatrical table-side o erings at e Kitchen restaurant.

+974 4492 4630; mulberrytaverndoha.com

T20 WORLD CUP OCTOBER 2022

Watchmaking

A few months ago, Parmigiani Fleurier brought on board Guido Terreni to change the fortunes of the small-batch independent luxury watchmaker

GODINHO

Ever since Michel Parmigiani founded Parmigiani Fleurier back in 1996, there has been an abundance of creativity gushing from the independent brand. From the Tonda 1950 Tourbillon which featured the world’s thinnest ying tourbillon to the Ovale Pantographe which showcased telescopic hands, Michel’s expertise in restoring pocket watches and vintage timepieces in the Seventies and Eighties has manifested in consistently innovative creations under his Parmigiani Fleurier brand.

While its watchmaking cra was in great shape over the last few years, its marketing, messaging, positioning and distribution weren’t. Guido Terreni, who spent 11 years as the head of watchmaking at Bulgari and

who undoubtedly created a reputation for Bulgari as a major player in the high-end watchmaking space, was brought on board in January 2021 as CEO of Parmigiani Fleurier to turn things around. “I learned at Bulgari that the most di cult thing to gain is watchmaking legitimacy in this business. It is no secret that when I took over the [Parmigiani] brand, it was in a di cult position. But its clients were very knowledgeable, re ned and understated. We did an introspective on our core aesthetic codes and we were able to in just a few months launch what is de ning the brand today which is the Tonda PF collection,” says Terreni.

Last year, a few months a er Terreni took over, the new Tonda PF collection debuted showcasing

WORDS VARUN
confidential

PARMIGIANI FLEURIER

an integrated bracelet and variants which included a chronograph, annual calendar and a split-seconds chronograph, among others. But while those watches generated a renewed interest in Parmigiani, it was the Tonda GMT Rattrapante which broke cover at Watches & Wonders earlier this year that really stole the show. An 18k rose gold hour hand indicates home time, while the white gold hour hand indicates the local time in a city where you find yourself on any given day. Once you reach back home, engage the pusher and the white gold hand will move over the rose gold hand and indicate only one time – do you really need to know the time in a distant foreign city when you’re at home? It is the first time that the rattrapante function has been applied outside of a chronograph and used instead to instantly swing the second minute hand across the dial. “The GMT Rattrapante is part of the philosophy of what we think independent brands like us should be. Independence is about independent minds. And independent minds look at watchmaking in a way that refuses to accept that everything has already been done. So the rattrapante function that we added to the crown and applied here is a true innovation – we have an hour hand instead of a chronograph seconds hand,” explains Terreni.

But the success that the brand found with this timepiece wasn’t without a fair share of brickbats too. Most of the critical comments were directed at the fact that the watch didn’t have the ingredients of a conventional GMT timepiece. Terreni acknowledges that feedback, but vigorously defends his decision. “A lot of people said this is not a true GMT, because a GMT should have a 24 hours format and you should have a night and day indication. But this is exactly the reason that we did what we did because when you do not travel – which is around 70 per cent of your time – you don’t need a GMT function. You are in your home zone and you don’t want to be disturbed by the night and day indication because you already know

if it’s night or day, and neither do you want to be disturbed by a 24-hour indication. The second time zone function is there when you need it, and it disappears when you don’t.”

BRAND BUILDING

Terreni’s mandate is to ensure that the business model followed by Parmigiani is sustainable and scalable. To that end, he says, he has rearranged the watchmaker’s global distribution and reduced the number of points where it is available by a third since he came on board. Today it has approximately 100 points of sale worldwide. “We’re not a brand that makes hundreds of thousands of pieces each year. It’s a confidential brand with only a few thousand pieces in production. We have a 12-month waiting list for our watches. I’m very conscious that there are aficionados who are patiently waiting for our watches.

“But [creating artificial scarcity] is not a pre-decided strategy. I don’t believe in building desirability through retaining products. On the contrary, I would love to have more people enjoy our creations. The industrial network in Switzerland that supplies our watches has lead times that have increased because of the demand that is growing and because also when you exit a crisis there is a moment of adjustment where suppliers need to restart and reinvest. Those were the ones who were hit by the pandemic and so the demand is higher than the capacity of the industry at this moment,” says Terreni.

He cites Japan, Germany, the US and the South Pacific regions of Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore as prime markets for Parmigiani. He admits that the Middle East is a market that Parmigiani has yet to fully realise the potential of. This despite the fact that the Parmigiani Fleurier Hijri Perpetual Calendar which was introduced in 2020 was believed to be the world’s first Hijri perpetual calendar wristwatch that follows the lunar calendar. In the Middle East, it currently has only partnered with Mohammed Rasool Khoory & Sons to

retail in Abu Dhabi at the World Trade Center Souk and the Emirates Palace Hotel. “We are rebuilding our business in the Middle East because we had not performed well there previous to my arrival. It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we might open one [additional] door next year in the Middle East,” notes Terreni.

An entry-level price point at Parmigiani is around SFr10,000. While a stainless-steel GMT Rattrapante costs around SFr26,000, a Tonda Split-Seconds Chronograph in platinum can retail for SFr155,000. Even at those price points, the

THIS PAGE FROM TOP: Parmigiani manufacture OPPOSITE PAGE FROM LEFT: Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda; Guido Terreni
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OCTOBER 2022

demand for its timepieces is everpresent. Terreni con rms that plans are afoot to double production of its watches next year – provided that the suppliers and component manufacturers can keep up.

Parmigiani is a highly-integrated watch manufacture. e Sandoz Foundation which owns the company also owns other smaller companies like Atokalpa which specialises in hairsprings, Elwin which makes screws, Les Artisans Boîtiers are reputed casemakers, the expertise of Quadrance & Habillage lies in producing dials and Vaucher Manufacture is a movement specialist (Hermès has previously acquired a 25 per cent stake in Vaucher). However, there are still components for which Parmigiani needs to turn to external suppliers. “ e level of integration is extremely high in our manufacture, but it doesn’t mean that we are in control of the whole production process of a watch. We don’t do crowns, for example. We purchase subcomponents. You have more or less 100 suppliers to coordinate to make a watch. Even if you are an integrated watchmaker, you will still need to acquire a supply of specialised subcomponents. We don’t have a stock of components to ease the supply pressures. To produce a crown from scratch, for example, took six weeks last year – today it takes 26 weeks.”

As Parmigiani ramps up production and arranges its supply chain to keep up with the demand, Terreni is interested in organically growing the

appeal of the brand and not actively entering into collaborations. Before Terreni’s arrival, one of the most successful and long-running car and watch brand partnerships were struck between and

Terreni’s arrival, one of the most Parmigiani Bugatti when in 2004 the two companies began collaborating on co-branded timepieces and continued to do so until 2019. “I’m not interested in doing collaborations just to put the logos of brands on a Parmigiani watch. at’s a commercial activity, and we are not about being commercial. In the near future, I don’t see any collaboration coming up at Parmigiani,” states Terreni.

His independent state of mind is resolutely re ected in the attitude that the brand has adopted – not least of which was creating a GMT this year which altered the traditional de nition of a GMT timepiece.

“Today, independent brands are the frontier of luxury because they are challenging the status quo and are more creative. ey also appeal more to collectors or people who don’t want to follow the crowd…and this is what true luxury is about.”

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Guido Terreni; Tonda Hijri Perpetual Calendar; Tonda PF GMT 48 PARMIGIANI FLEURIER OCTOBER 2022

VACHERON CONSTANTIN

The art of time

Vacheron Constantin recently opened its second boutique in Doha at the Place Vendôme mall. It’s art that is the major highlight at this landmark space

Vacheron Constantin is a 267-yearold watchmaking bulwark, and is present in boutiques around the world. Here in the Middle East, it is found in several locations. In the UAE, for example, it recently reopened its newly renovated flagship in Dubai Mall. Over in another GCC country where its watches are very well received, Qatar, Vacheron opened its second boutique in Doha last month, located in the prestigious Place Vendôme Qatar.

Vacheron opened this boutique with its partner Alfardan Jewellery Qatar on September 22. It has two VIP rooms available for private meetings with key customers. It’s here where you can learn about some of its novelties including the yellow-gold Ref 222, the salmon-dial platinum-cased Traditionnelle Perpetual Calendar Chronograph, or even the open-worked Overseas Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin Skeleton.

FROM TOP: The North painting in the boutique; Hard To Get by artist Ahmed AlMaadheed; Vacheron Constantin’s new boutique in Place Vendôme

But while discovering Vacheron’s watches are the priority at the new boutique, taking in its stunning art is a pursuit that comes in at a close second priority. The watchmaker has commissioned Ahmed AlMaadheed – the only Qatari artist to have ever exhibited in the prestigious Qatar Museum – to create two exclusive art pieces for the boutique

AlMaadheed’s bespoke works for the boutique include North (2022) and Hard To Get (2022). North takes inspiration of the sea and interweaves rare sea creatures with some of the maison’s timepieces. His second art piece, Hard To Get, is an image of the Qatari seabed with more marine life mixed with timepieces – as Vacheron says, the journey of discovery in the artwork “parallels the journey which a collector would have in the boutique, making the painting a metaphorical deep dive into the brand’s iconography”.

Vacheron has been extensively linked with the arts in previous years too – back in 2016 it partnered with the Musée du Louvre in Paris on a restoration of an 18th-century clock named La Création du Monde presented to King Louis XV in 1754. More recently, this year, the Vacheron Constantin Métiers d’Art collection, Tribute To Great Civilisations is a series of four timepieces, each limited to just five pieces, and is a design collaboration with the Louvre. Each watch is a reference to a piece in the museum’s antiquities collection – Lion de Darius, the Grand sphinx de Tanis, Buste d’Auguste and Victoire de Samothrace.

Here in Vacheron’s second boutique in Doha, the link to art is a natural one and will be an additional draw when taking in the timepieces from one of the world’s finest watchmaking brands. Qatar itself too is quickly building one of the region’s foremost collections of public artworks. “In celebration of the opening of Vacheron Constantin boutique at Place Vendôme Qatar, we are delighted to strengthen the constant commitment of our maison to the Qatari local community,” said Christophe Ramel, Middle East Regional Brand Director of Vacheron Constantin.

At the Vacheron boutique in Place Vendôme, it is the watches that might get you into the door – but, it’s the art that will keep you there.

VARUN GODINHO
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OCTOBER 2022 WORDS

Football FEVER

Here’s your guide to all the eight stadiums which will host this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Sixty-four games. Twentynine days. That’s how the fate of the one team that lifts the trophy at this year’s quadrennial FIFA World Cup will be determined in Doha. There are eight FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 stadiums where the world’s attention will be focused as 32 teams compete against each other for one of the sporting world’s biggest and most prestigious trophies.

These eight stadiums that will be in the spotlight include: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Janoub Stadium, Education City Stadium, Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium, Stadium 974, Al Bayt Stadium and perhaps the most important one, the Lusail Stadium.

Each of these has a story to tell and a legacy plan post the World Cup too. The Khalifa International Stadium, for example, was inaugurated in 2017 and was the first venue readied for the mega tournament. After the World Cup ends, it will serve as Qatar’s national stadium. The Al Janoub Stadium meanwhile was the first venue to be built from scratch for the tournament – its design inspired by the sails of dhows was conceived by none other than Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

Al Janoub Stadium Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 23km Education City Stadium Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 13km GODINHO
50 OCTOBER 2022 WORDS VARUN

FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 22km Khalifa International Stadium Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 11km
51 OCTOBER 2022

Lusail

Stadium

Stadium Capacity: 80,000 Distance from Doha: 20km
974 Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 4km 52 FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 OCTOBER 2022

The Education City Stadium – referred to as “Diamond in the Desert” – will always be remembered as the venue inaugurated in June 2020 during a virtual event which paid rich tribute to frontline healthcare workers who have proved to be absolute heroes since the start of the pandemic. Over at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium located in Al Rayyan, more than 90 per cent of the old Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was reused in the development of the new stadium.

The Al Thumama Stadium, which is situated 12km from the city centre of Doha, was designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah whose portfolio includes the stunning St. Regis Al Mouj in Oman and the development of the Fuwairit Kitesurf Beach in Qatar. The precinct of the Al Thumama Stadium will feature 50,000 sqm of green spaces.

The 974 in Stadium 974 not only represents the calling code of the country but also the number of shipping containers used in the construction of it – the stadium is the first fully demountable venue in the history of the FIFA World Cup.

The Al Bayt Stadium, the secondlargest venue at the tournament with a capacity of 60,000, will in a far-reaching move donate 28,000 seats from the stadium to developing countries after the World Cup ends. And finally, the Foster + Partnersdesigned Lusail Stadium, whose design resembles the hand-crafted bowls found within the Arab world, is where the finals of the tournament will be played. It is located in Lusail City which will eventually be home to 250,000 people. The legacy plan for it after the World Cup ends is for it to be transformed into a community space and repurposed to include cafés, o ices, clinics and schools.

Alongside are some stunning images of the new stadiums – all of which you will be deeply familiar with starting November 20.

Al Thumama Stadium Capacity: 40,000 Distance from Doha: 12km Al Bayt Stadium Capacity: 60,000 Distance from Doha: 46km
53 OCTOBER 2022

Business Attire

Your answer to smart-casual workwear – this month we are inspired by the jewel tones of the Qatari flag

Champ de Mars D-Frame Acetate Sunglasses Dhs1,300 Ahlem ahlemeyewear.com

Dark Grey Slim-Fit Mélange Cashmere Blazer Dhs7,970

Saman Amel samanamel.com

Portofino Leather Holdall Dhs14,100 Valextra valextra.com

Grey Slim-Fit Puppytooth Wool and Cashmere-Blend Trousers Dhs2,700

Loro Piana ae.loropiana.com

OCTOBER 2022
WORDS & STYLING AMY SESSIONS
54
OCTOBER 2022 Tetra Neomatik 39, Ref. 421.S2 Dhs11,900 Nomos Glashütte nomos-glashutte.com Cotton and Wool-Blend Shirt Dhs1,700 Charvet mrporter.com Slim-Fit Mercerised Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt Dhs975 Canali canali.com Original Achilles Leather Sneakers Dhs1,300 Common Projects mrporter.com 55 LIFESTYLE

Ascott highlights stunning offerings in Jeddah

Four exclusive addresses from an award-winning brand

Whether on business or leisure or even a bleisure trip, travellers and expats in the pulsating city of Jeddah will find themselves in the comforts of global living spaces at the four exclusive addresses, managed by the leading international lodging owneroperators, The Ascott Limited.

Featuring spacious serviced apartments and world-class amenities, each property is home to short- and long-stay guests.

Ascott Sari Jeddah is a boutique residence that flaunts a Parisian vibe for a stylish stay; while the luxurious Ascott Tahlia Jeddah is home to business and C-suite executives who enjoy their own private sanctuaries.

Ideal for vibrant guests, Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah is perfect for city explorers and travel enthusiasts; while Spectrums Residence Jeddah is home to families and holidaymakers who enjoy a pulsating lifestyle. Both properties are located within lively neighbourhoods, lined with dining and shopping avenues. Ascott’s properties are renowned for their well-furnished spaces with each apartment offering separate living and dining areas, and comprehensive global amenities for a balanced lifestyle.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Ascott Sari Jeddah is a boutique Parisian style residence; Ascott Jeddah is a leading premium serviced living brand; Ascott Tahlia Jeddah is ideal for C-suite executives; Citadines Al Salamah Jeddah is perfect for city explorers

The brand’s loyalty programme, Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), allows guests to avail of a complimentary membership where they can easily manage their reservations, perform self-check-ins and check-outs, reclaim e-vouchers, and earn and redeem points during their stay through the ‘Discover ASR’ mobile application.

Members can now enjoy 20 per cent off at all Ascott residences in Jeddah as part of the ‘ASR Member Special Rate’ promotion when they book directly on its website. discoverasr.com/offers

The Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand Investment. It is one of the leading international lodging owner-operators with properties across the Asia Pacific, Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the USA. Its portfolio of serviced apartments, coliving and hotel brands includes Ascott The Residence, The Crest Collection, Somerset, Quest, Citadines, lyf, Préférence, Vertu, Harris, Citadines Connect, Fox, Yello, Fox Lite and POP!.

56 OCTOBER 2022 SPONSORED

TRIED AND TESTED HOTELS, RESTAURANT

The First Collection

Business Bay, Dubai

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront

58 59

Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, Autograph Collection

The Randolph Hotel, Oxford

Tried, Tested, Tasted.

SMART TRAVELLER

the eport 60 61

Our guide to... Which airlines allow you to pre-order food?

62 64

The First Collection Business Bay, Dubai

BACKGROUND Expectations for this new property which opened in June this year were soaring from day one given that its sister property – The First Collection at Jumeirah Village Circle – was the only hotel from the region to make it onto the TripAdvisor’s list of the Top 25 Hottest New Hotels in the World last year. Fortunately, as we found out during our recent stay there, the Business Bay property has hit the ground running.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The lobby with a muted grey and brown colour palette isn’t expansive or imposing. It immediately feels like it wraps itself around you, though the triple-height ceiling and full-length windows make this a brightly lit and airy space. While you complete your check-in formalities, there’s Risen café just across the floor where you can grab a quick smoothie or doughnut.

LOCATION Located across the road from the Godolphin stables, you can access the property from either Al Khail Road or Sheikh Zayed Road. It’s very well connected to Downtown-centred leisure and business locations including DIFC, Dubai Mall and City Walk. Should you wish to reach locations further away, such as Dubai South or Dubai Marina, you can easily slip onto Al Khail Road and conveniently skip Downtown tra ic as you head out.

BEST FOR Great value for money considering the price points of the rooms

DON’T MISS

The butcher’s shop at The Blacksmith Bar & Eatery

PRICE

Internet prices start at Dhs400 for a Deluxe room in October and Dhs850 for an Executive suite

CONTACT Al Amal Street, Business Bay, Dubai; +971 4873 4444; thefirstcollection.ae/ business-bay/

ROOMS There are 437 rooms and suites across 16 floors. There are three primary rooms – Deluxe, Premium, and Club –and two kinds of suites – Executive and Collection. Each has views of either the stables and the racecourse, or the Canal and the Burj Khalifa. We stayed in the onebedroom Executive suite. It had a lounge area with a sofa and large-screen TV. The bedroom had a king-size bed, a large

writing desk, a closet with plenty of space within it. The bathroom had a tub as well as a standing-shower space.

FOOD AND DRINK First o , there’s a 24hour in-room dining facility. In the morning, the bu et breakfast is served at Vyne. Breakfast had all the essentials – eggs to order, a cheese board and selection of cold cuts, as well as a fruit- and salad-bar. You can step back into Vyne for lunch too where you can pick from an a la carte menu – we’d recommend the Prawnacado pizza and the antipasto platter which is a great sharing option. For dinner, head to The Blacksmith Bar & Eatery on the ground floor to fully satisfy carnivorous cravings. It’s the second Blacksmith restaurant in the city, and unlike its sibling, has an on-site butcher’s shop from where you can select your meat with a little help from the resident butcher. His recommendations of the boerewors sausage from South Africa and wagyu beef from Australia were spot on. There’s a wine cellar and a large screen that streams sports channels – you don’t have to step out of the hotel to catch a game during your stay. Before you leave Blacksmith, you can purchase some raw meat from the butcher’s shop to take back home too.

There’s a 24-hour in-room dining facility at the hotel

BUSINESS When we visited, a business centre was still being built in the basement. It will feature two meeting rooms. For guests who want a space immediately, there’s a smaller boardroom in the basement that they can currently book.

LEISURE The gym is open 24 hours a day. There’s an outdoor terrace area to work out too. There’s a 25-metre swimming pool on the same floor and a shisha bar is currently being built alongside the pool that will also stream sports events. The Rayya Wellness Spa meanwhile is open from 10am-10pm daily, with the last booking accepted for 8pm.

VERDICT It might be positioned as a four-star luxury property, but the design and décor of the rooms, the quality of its culinary establishments and overall levels of service suggest this could well hold its own among the city’s five-star majors. Varun Godinho

OCTOBER 2022
TRIED & TESTED HOTEL 58

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront

BACKGROUND Properties under the Radisson Blu brand, part of the Radisson Hotels Group, are described as stylish, elegant and inviting, combining convenience and individuality. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront, opened in 2018. If you’re making a reservation or already booked and in a taxi on your way to check in, make sure you have the right hotel. Why? Because there is also a Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Canal View, located nearby.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? It’s a modern business-focused property with a pleasant waterside (Dubai Canal) location. The lobby is spacious and flooded with natural light, and there are plenty of places to sit and work, including a co ee shop in the lobby with a co-working table.

WHERE IS IT? Located in Business Bay, it’s 15 minutes away from Dubai International airport and five minutes from Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai World Trade Centre, Downtown Dubai and attractions including the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and the Museum of the Future.

ROOMS There are 432 rooms and suites with views of Business Bay. Some have private balconies overlooking the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Canal. I stayed in a Standard room (33 sqm), which was practical and comfortable – perfect for

a business stay. It featured a king-size bed, table and chair, a work desk, TV, mini bar, tea/co ee making facilities, plenty of clothes-hanging space and a very large bathroom featuring a walk-in shower, bath and all the amenities you need. The furnishings were dark wood, which did make me want to open the curtains wide to ensure there was enough daylight when I was not sleeping.

FOOD AND DRINK There is a good selection of dining options including Firelake Grill House and Cocktail Bar serving Midwest classics, thanks to its open-flame cooking technique. There’s a laid-back atmosphere, and plenty of spaces to work and dine. I dined here for lunch and enjoyed a delicious niçoise salad with fresh sourdough bread. All-day-dining venue

The Larder is busy, but e icient, with a decent bu et as well as eggs and other hot dishes to order. I also ate dinner here on the terrace, which is a good spot, and when the

building work around the property is complete, the views will be impressive.

There’s a Scottish lounge, Makar, with big leather chairs serving drinks, bar snacks and sharing plates. Smoking is permitted so if you are not a smoker, it might not be for you.

BUSINESS There are 11 meeting rooms, a breakout area and a boardroom, catering to a wide range of events with a capacity to host up to 350 people. Radisson Meetings also o ers hybrid multi-site meetings and events options.

LEISURE There’s a large gym, so plenty of space to work out and a small outdoor pool and separate kids’ splash pool. There are sunbeds and access to poolside dining and drinks, so if you have a few hours to spare during your work trip, there’s a place to wind down. There’s also a Dreamworks Spa. I didn’t have time to try it, but the massage prices were very reasonable for Dubai and I suspect it would be money well spent after a busy day of work.

VERDICT If you are looking for a ordable, comfortable and reliable accommodation, close to major business districts, this hotel is a good option. The food is good, the service e icient and there are plenty of places to work or hold meetings. Radisson Blu is a consistent brand you can trust. Gemma Greenwood

BEST FOR On-the-go business travellers

DON’T MISS

A massage if you have time PRICE

Internet rates for a Standard room starts from Dhs600 per night for a weeknight in October

CONTACT Marasi Drive, Business Bay; +971 4249 7800; radissonhotels.com

The food is good, the service e cient and there are plenty of places to work or hold meetings
OCTOBER 2022
TRIED & TESTED HOTEL 59

Nobu Hotel London Shoreditch

BACKGROUND This Shoreditch hotel was announced in 2014 and opened in 2017, but closed during the Covid pandemic. It has fully reopened, and now has the addition of a new sixth floor of 16 rooms in a slightly di erent style from the rest of the hotel.

Nobu Hospitality was founded by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and director Meir Teper. It currently has 13 hotels, with the latest in Chicago and Warsaw opening in 2020. It has plans to add properties in locations including Santorini, Rome, Hamburg, Marrakech and Tel Aviv.

WHERE IS IT? In the heart of Shoreditch on Willow Street, just o Great Eastern Road, a short walk from Old Street station.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Certainly striking. From the outside, viewed from the small garden at the end of Willow Street, this Ron Arad Architects-designed hotel is like a modern cruise liner which has come to rest in the middle of Shoreditch, slightly bewildered but determined to make the best of things. The bow of the vessel is almost in Paul Street while the stern ends in a series of terraces with cantilevered corten steel beams and printed, layered glass, allowing light into a small Japanese-inspired concrete garden just beyond the stern of the vessel.

Although the concept came from Ron Arad Architects, the hotel was built by Ben

Adams Architects and Studio Mica were the interior designers (with the exception of the restaurant which was designed by Studio PCH). The design inside is thankfully not so brutal and is a mix of Japanese with a gentle nod to the industrial heritage of the area.

The reception is a large room with lots of comfortable indigo sofas and a Japanese aizome-blue interior with a double-height ceiling. I spent time here since our room wasn’t quite ready, so I was o ered a co ee while I did some work.

ROOMS The rooms are quietly luxurious. They have good-quality furnishings and design elements, such as a cabinet with tea and co ee, and a minibar. A muralcovered screen slides across the floor-toceiling windows creating a very e ective

This category and above have Nespresso machines. The new Yuhi and Yuhi Skyline suites on the sixth floor have views across the rooftops and are described as “Shoreditch loft and Japanese Ryokan style”.

FOOD AND DRINK Nobu Shoreditch Restaurant has a separate street entrance or you can enter from the bar and reception area, which first takes you into Nami bar where it’s worth stopping for a cocktail. The food is outstanding with signature dishes, such as yellowtail with jalapeno and black cod miso, created under the watchful eye of executive head chef Sandi Richmond.

MEETINGS On the ground floor, the Kaijo event space can host events up to 200 standing guests or 150 seated, or can be split into six smaller meeting spaces. The new penthouse level has a private event space designed by Studio Mica.

LEISURE There is a good-size gym with Technogym equipment and a full-service spa.

blackout for when you want to sleep, or there is a slatted blind, also floor-toceiling, for when you just want privacy. The bathroom had both a rain shower and hand shower, and Natura Bissé products. Soundproofing was excellent and the beds were comfortable.

Entry level Deluxe Rooms (22 sqm) have 55-inch TVs and a traditional Japanese tea set, as well as a round table that doubles for food and working. Executive Rooms are identical but on higher floors, while Premium Rooms are 26 sqm and have either a super king bed or twins. Zen rooms are 33 sqm and o er connecting options with adjacent rooms.

VERDICT Five-star luxury at its finest with a first-class restaurant. Tom Otley

BEST FOR

Entering the zen-like calm of this five-star hotel from the busy urban street outside

DON’T MISS

A blow-the-budget meal at Nobu

PRICE

Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in October starts from £429 for a Deluxe Room

CONTACT 10-50 Willow Street, London EC2A 4BH; nobuhotels.com

The hotel is like a modern cruise liner come to rest in the middle of Shoreditch
OCTOBER 2022
WILL PRYCE TRIED & TESTED HOTEL 60

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, Autograph Collection

BACKGROUND The Grand Bohemian is a luxury hotel in the Queen City of Charlotte in North Carolina. If you are familiar with the Kessler Collection, the founding member of the Marriott Autograph Collection hotels, then you will know that art and urban elegance rank high within its o erings. As you will rightly expect here, The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte is built to the exacting standards of a Marriott property.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Argentinian influences are seen throughout the hotel, from the menus to the names of spaces like Mico Restaurant and Búho Bar, as well as the rich colour scheme of artic blue found throughout the hotel. As you enter the lobby, you are met with an elegant space that consists of a black-and-white marble floor, striking artwork, and a unique sculpted silver front desk.

LOCATION The hotel is located in the city’s business district, known as Uptown, where several Fortune 500 companies are headquartered. Nearby, you will find cafés, live music venues, parks, the Bank of America Stadium where the Carolina Panthers play American football and the Spectrum Center where the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets play. If you’re into race car driving, the Nascar Hall of Fame is located in the vicinity too.

ROOMS There are 254 rooms and suites at the property. The hotel’s Standard rooms feature realist artwork from four artists – Leticia Banegas, Peter Keil, Stefano Cecchini, and Jean Claude Roy.

BEST FOR Stunning views of the city from the higher floors

DON’T MISS

Mico for its Argentinian fusion menu, and Búho Bar for its mocktails

PRICE

Internet rates for a Standard room in October on a weekday starts from US$266

CONTACT

201 W Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202; +1704 372 1877; marriott.com

separates the bedroom from the living area. The Presidential suite meanwhile features two bedrooms and panoramic views of the park located across the hotel.

FOOD AND DRINK Mico is an openconcept restaurant located on the ground floor. Its Argentinian flavours are inspired by Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Córdoba. Start with the South American Dip and Spread Trio, served with taro root chips, and celery sticks. For the main course, order the Branzino a la Parrilla. The whole grilled fish is perfect for two and is served with salsa criolla and charred lemon. In the morning, the only breakfast options are from the onsite Starbucks or Mico. The latter o ers limited options including a Bohemian Breakfast which includes eggs cooked the way you like along with bacon, sausages, fries, toast and fresh fruit. In the evenings, head to the Búho Bar on the rooftop which o ers great views of Charlotte. Drinks here are paired with tapas including garlic shrimps, chicken wings and plant-based sliders.

BUSINESS The meeting and events space includes a 1,486 sqm ballroom with large chandeliers, an outdoor tent, and three meeting galleries. The pre-function area has a self-playing piano that adds to the charm of the space.

All Kessler Collection hotels feature art from Richard Kessler’s private collection too. The Executive suites are located on the 14th and 15th floors and allow access to the Executive Lounge as well as to the hotel restaurant Mico for its continental breakfast. The Terrace Suite includes its own outdoor terrace, a king bed, and a privacy wall that

The hotel’s Standard rooms feature realist artwork from four artists

LEISURE Located on the 16th floor is a wellness centre. Apart from the gym, there is Poseidon Spa which is open daily from 9am-7pm. Massages here focus on reflexology, deep tissue and prenatal as well as neuromuscular treatments. You can even opt for a European-inspired facial cleanse or exfoliation treatment.

VERDICT Even though it’s located in the heart of the city, it still feels like an exotic faraway getaway once you are inside.

Allyson Portee

OCTOBER 2022
BRANDON BARRE TRIED & TESTED HOTEL 61

The Randolph Hotel, Oxford

BACKGROUND The Grade II listed Randolph Hotel was built in 1864 by William Wilkinson and has a Victorian Gothic façade and internal arched windows as though it has been converted from a chapel. It is named for the Rev Dr Francis Randolph who was the chief benefactor of the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Technology which it faces across Beaumont Street. The Randolph reopened in 2021 after an extensive renovation. It is now a Graduate Hotel, a brand which has 30 US locations as well as the former Doubletree Hilton in Cambridge which is now the Graduate Cambridge. The brand is owned by AJ Capital Partners which also owns and operates Marine and Lawn, a collection of hotels in golfing locations, including the rebranded Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews, the Marine North Berwick and the Marine Troon.

WHERE IS IT? In the centre of Oxford, on the corner of Beaumont Street opposite the Ashmolean Museum and Magdalen Street by the Oxford Martyr’s Memorial by Gilbert Scott. Car parking is available with prices beginning at £45/day for overnight parking. Rates include parking from 2pm on day of arrival until 12pm the following day.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The entrance on Beaumont Street leads to a concierge desk and the Morse Bar. Light spills down from the stately central staircase, which is festooned with the coats of arms of Oxford

colleges in an Instagram-friendly fashion. Check-in was quickly achieved and we went up to our room on the second floor.

ROOMS The hotel has an extension built in the 1950s, so the floor arrangement is unusual with twists and turns. There are four floors in both buildings. The oldest part is on floors one to three with an attic floor above, while in the newer building, there are three main floors and a mezzanine floor above the ground floor. In total there are 151 rooms, accessed in the old building by either two small but slow lifts or the wide staircase. Rooms are decorated with a mix of traditional and modern elements, typified by the power sockets which, as well as the usual three-point ones, also have an older format that the UK stopped using in the 1950s. Apparently the hotel’s maintenance department converts some of the floor and desk lamps so these sockets can be used.

There is no attempt to conform to the ubiquitous neutral design of today – rooms have bold floral wallpaper, striped curtains, patterned carpets and woodwork painted in

dark heritage tones, and some furniture is freestanding. Large arched windows allow for lots of natural light.

There are several room categories and, depending on which building you are in, a variety of views and arrangements (some have baths, some just showers). All have air conditioning, tea- and co ee-making facilities, fridges, a good work desk and lots of art. Toiletries are by New York brand Malin and Goetz.

FOOD AND DRINK The historic Morse Bar is to the left as you enter and then further to the left is The Alice restaurant and bar named after Oxford alumnus Lewis Carroll’s famous books. It has tall windows looking onto surrounding streets, faded plaster walls, dramatic chandeliers and bubble-gum pink leather banquette seating.

The Alice serves British dishes under executive chef Chris Emery. It’s a short menu with few vegetarian options, though if you let them know at the time of booking they have o -menu alternatives, which you would certainly need if you were vegan. The Drawing Room is open for afternoon tea and has comfortable chairs and sofas.

MEETINGS The refurbished ballroom can seat 220. There are two private dining rooms and meetings rooms on the first floor.

LEISURE There is a spa with a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, all of which have to be booked at extra charge.

VERDICT A lovely refurbishment of a classic hotel with young, enthusiastic sta . This is a special treat when staying in Oxford. Tom Otley

BEST FOR Luxury right in the centre of Oxford

DON’T MISS

A drink in the Morse bar followed by dinner at The Alice

PRICE

Internet rates for a midweek stay in a Graduate Classic room in October starts from £254

CONTACT

Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2LN; +44 (0)344 879 9132; graduatehotels.com

Bedrooms have bold oral wallpaper, striped curtains and patterned carpets
OCTOBER 2022
ALEXANDER BAXTER 2019 TRIED & TESTED HOTEL 62

WHERE BUSINESS MEETS LEISURE

SPECIAL MONTHLY RATES FROM

Our guide to…

Which airlines allow you to pre-order food?

Passengers can plan ahead and pre-order their inflight meals on a variety of airlines. The benefits are that some meals are available exclusively in advance, you often receive your meal first during the service and are likely to get your top choice. There’s also a sustainability angle, with pre-ordering reducing food waste. Many airlines also allow customers to pre-order food if they have special dietary requirements. Here we round up some of the airlines that allow you to buy before you fly.

AIR BALTIC

Passengers can pre-order hot meals on flights lasting more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, and cold meals on shorter flights. How and when? Online from five days up to one hour before departure via My Booking. airbaltic.com

AIR TRANSAT

Passengers can pre-order from the airline’s Bistro menu for flights of three hours or longer to the south and US or within Canada in economy class (Club Class passengers can make their meal selection at the time of booking or at the same time as their seat selection). Drinks and snacks can only be ordered during the inflight service. Customers benefit from discounted prices when pre-ordering. How and when? At the time of booking or via the Manage my Booking page up to 72 hours before departure. airtransat.com

AMERICAN AIRLINES

The US carrier allows those travelling in first and business class on the majority of flights with scheduled meal service to reserve an entrée. AA says that meals may

not be available at times due to a limit on numbers.

How and when? Meals can be reserved by calling the customer service team or by logging in using your name and reservation number up to 30 days and at least 24 hours before departure. aa.com

BRITISH AIRWAYS

British Airways’ Speedbird Café is available for pre-purchase on Euro Traveller (short-haul economy). It includes a range by award-winning chef Tom Kerridge. The menu includes soft brie and apple chutney ploughmans sandwich, steak and ale pie, and vegan spiced cauliflower and chickpea wrap.

How and when? Visit the Speedbird Café page at highlifeshop.com and add an item to your basket. You will need to provide your flight number and departure date. Items can be ordered a minimum of 12 hours before departure.

britishairways.com

FINNAIR

Customers can pre-order sandwiches or light and hot meals with wine, co ee and tea when booking flights if the flight is

operated and marketed by Finnair. It states, however, that there is a limited number of meals available per flight and that if the purchase is not successful, it means the quota may be full. The menu prices and availability can be checked when booking the flight.

How and when? Via the Manage Booking page, through the app or online check-in. For flights in Northern Finland and most two- to four-hour European flights, you can order light meals and sandwiches. These must be ordered at least seven hours before departure on flights departing from Helsinki and 24 hours before departure for all other flights.

For flights in the Middle East or four-hour southern European flights, you can pre-order a hot meal with a drink. These must be ordered at least 16 hours before departure on flights departing from Helsinki and 36 hours before departure for all other flights.

finnair.com

ICELANDAIR

Customers can pre-purchase items ranging from three-course meals to sandwiches and salads. This service is not available on domestic flights.

SMART TRAVELLER
64 OCTOBER 2022

How and when? Through the My Journey page at least 24 hours before the flight. icelandair.com

JET2

Meals can be pre-ordered on flights longer than 2 hours and 25 minutes, while sandwiches can be pre-ordered on all flights.

How and when? Customers can add meals up to 48 hours before their flight, and sandwiches up to six days before departure. jet2.com

LOT POLISH AIRLINES

Customers can order meals and light snacks on selected domestic and short-haul flights. The menu varies depending on the route and date of travel.

How and when? Via the Manage My Booking page, or via the LOT

Contact Centre, sales o ices or sales agents. This must be done at least 24 or 36 hours before departure, depending on the flight. lot.com

MALAYSIA AIRLINES

Economy, Business Suite and business class passengers can select a range of meals as part of the ‘chef on call’ service on select flights from Kuala Lumpur in advance of their flight.

How and when? Online via the Manage Booking page from 30 days up to 24 hours before departure.  malaysiaairlines.com

NORWEGIAN

Travellers can pre-order a hot meal with a sweet dessert on most international flights that exceed 2 hours and 15 minutes. Drinks can only be purchased on-board.

How and when? Online using your booking reference and last name up to 36 hours before departure. Drinks can only be purchased onboard. norwegian.com

QANTAS

Customers can select an inflight meal from the Menu Select before boarding on selected international flights in all cabins.

How and when? Via the Manage Booking page between seven days and 12 hours prior to departure. qantas.com

RYANAIR

The low-cost carrier allows passengers to order meals and snacks and benefit from an o er which promises €25 worth of credit for €20. There is also a range of

meal deals for families, individuals, kids and vegan passengers. How and when? Via the Ryanair app up to one hour before departure. ryanair.com

they are served to them inflight.

Business class customers on long-haul services can also pre-select their inflight meals online.

How and when? Economy passengers should visit swiss.com/saveurspreorder and enter their name and booking code to pre-order the service up to 36 hours before departure. Business class passengers can place their orders at swiss.com/preselect between four weeks and 36 hours before scheduled departure.  swiss.com

SAS

SAS Go travellers can pre-order a meal on most European flights longer than 80 minutes. On morning flights, breakfast can be pre-ordered when travelling on European, Nordic and domestic flights longer than 60 minutes. When travelling between Scandinavia and the US, customers can also pre-order a three-course Premium set menu. How and when? Online via My Bookings up to 18 hours prior to departure. flysas.com

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Travellers flying in Suites, first, business or premium economy can pre-select their main course for all meal services. SIA says that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the pre-ordering of meals may not be available on certain flights. How and when? Online via the Manage Booking page with a booking reference up to seven days before departure. singaporeair.com

SWISS

Economy passengers on shortand medium-haul flights to or from Zurich or Geneva and of more than 50 minutes’ duration can pre-order items from the Swiss Saveurs menu. Customers do not pay for the orders until

THAI AIRWAYS

Passengers in the airline’s business and first class cabins can pre-order meals for flights departing Bangkok depending on the route and aircraft. Royal First Class passengers can pre-order dishes on A380 and selected B747 aircraft, while Royal Silk passengers can pre-order on selected flights depending on aircraft type and duration of flight. How and when? Online at least 24 hours before departure time from Bangkok. thaiairways.com

UNITED AIRLINES

Customers in the premium cabin on eligible flights departing its hubs in Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles can pre-order meals. The airline is adding the service to further routes in the future.

How and when? Customers will receive an email five days before their flight with a link to the selection page, allowing them to see the menu and pre-order a meal. Customers can also visit united.com/preordermeals and enter their last name and flight confirmation number to see the options. Meals can be ordered five days before departure and up to 24 hours before the flight. unitedairlines.com

SORBETTO/GETTY IMAGES
65 OCTOBER 2022

Moon World Resorts – Dubai

Moon World Resorts is an architectural design firm and the brainchild of Canadian entrepreneurs Michael Henderson and Sandra Matthews. Their wildly imaginative concept includes plans to licence one of the most otherworldly designs by far we’ve seen for a resort in four broad locations worldwide: North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. For the Middle East, they are currently considering sites in either the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar or Saudi Arabia – though they add that Dubai is a clear frontrunner. Where specifically in Dubai this structure would be built – if at all – is unclear, though the duo have gone up and mocked up renders of what this structure could look like in Downtown Dubai as well as at the entrance to the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah (pictured above). It will rise to around 224m above the ground and be perched on a base. It will include a resort, events centre, wellness facilities as well as around 300 sky villa residences that can be purchased. It’s a US$5 billion dream for now, but one that does not necessarily need to be an impossible one. moonresorts.com

OCTOBER 2022
66 POSTCARD

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