Page 39 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine VII

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ver since the opening of Jumeirah Beach Hotel in 1997, the Jumeirah Group has been a pioneer in
the UAE’s hospitality and leisure scene, and responsible for iconic projects like Dubai’s Burj Al
Arab, which is widely considered to be the world’s most luxurious hotel.
But it does not stop there. Jumeirah was also the first Emirati hospitality group to venture outside of the
Middle East to develop hotels and resorts in exotic and faraway destinations like Shanghai and theMaldives.
Jumeirah has further established itself as an innovative brand, through the acquisition and extensive
refurbishment of ageing properties, as was the case at Istanbul’s Pera Palace Hotel and London’s Jumeirah
Carlton Tower.
Jumeirah Group has expanded at a phenomenal rate, and today possesses a global portfolio of 21 properties
in locations ranging fromMallorca to Abu Dhabi, with another 14 projects under development. As a result,
it is safe to say that Jumeirah Group has joined the ranks of the finest luxury hotel chains – the key difference
being that the Jumeirah empire was built in a mere 15 years.
Last November, Jumeirah Group unveiled its first property in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.
Centrally located on the waterfront of Abu Dhabi’s West Corniche, directly opposite the Emirates Palace,
this establishment is part of the highly anticipated Etihad Towers development, one of the tallest additions
to the Abu Dhabi skyline.
Standing at an impressive height of 280 meters, Jumeirah at Etihad Towers offers 382 spacious rooms and
suites, in addition to 199 residential apartments. As for food and beverage, each guest is spoilt for choice,
with nine different onsite restaurants and lounges, with three more opening soon. Other key features
include state-of-the-art business and conference facilities. The combination seems destined to turn Jumeirah
at Etihad Towers into Abu Dhabi’s favourite venue for business and leisure alike.
For discerning guests looking to spend a little extra time in Abu Dhabi, Jumeirah has an astounding selection
of suites, including the breathtaking 980 square metre Royal Etihad Suite on the 60th floor, which includes
four bedrooms and many fine pieces of art. As the name suggests, the Royal Etihad Suite is most definitely
suitable for royalty, and can only be booked upon special request.
In addition to Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Jumeirah Group is set to open the doors to more properties in
the West Indies, Azerbaijan, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Kuwait and Qatar.
While Jumeirah Group is mostly known for its hotels and resorts, the company has also undertaken an
effective strategy of diversification, which has seen it expand into the restaurant business with its very own
The Noodle House franchise. Earlier this year, Jumeirah Group signed an agreement to open 27 of these
restaurants across the UK, in addition to several more restaurants in Russia, Morocco and Lebanon.
Jumeirah Group has also diversified into amusement parks, with the opening of Wild Wadi Water Park.
Neatly located between Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi has quickly become a
popular attraction in Dubai, particularly during the sizzling summer season.
We caught up with the Group’s executive chairman,
Gerald Lawless
, to discover what makes him tick.
How did Jumeirah originate?
WhenHis Highness SheikhMohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoumdecided to establish the Jumeirah Group
in the 1990s, I was privileged to be invited to head up the company. I am sure that His Highness had, from
the start, the objective to position Jumeirah as one of the best hotel brands in the luxury segment.
We have always been ambitious for what Jumeirah could achieve. I certainly believe that thanks to our
wonderful hotels and colleagues – that’s what we call our employees – around the world, Jumeirah has
now exceeded early expectations.
As a long-term resident of the UAE, what are your thoughts on the country’s
I originally came to Dubai in 1978 and stayed for 4 years. When I left due to my company transfer, my wife
and I both promised ourselves that we would return to the United Arab Emirates as soon as possible.
Fortunately, we were able to do so in the early 90s, when I became Managing Director for Forte Hotels in
the region. I have always felt extremely privileged to have worked in this country; I have been welcomed
so graciously by the citizens of the United Arab Emirates and this country has given great career
opportunities to so many of us. I am extremely grateful to the leadership of this country for their openness
in hosting so many nationalities from all over the world.