Page 40 - Simply Abu Dhabi Magazine VII

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What is your favourite hotel?
Each hotel offers an individual experience for our guests, and we love all of them equally.
In addition to hotels and resorts, Jumeirah Group also created The
Noodle House restaurants, which have been franchised around the
world. Why have these restaurants been so successful?
I think these restaurants have been successful because, as always, what starts good stays
good. The Noodle House, which was first established within the Boulevard of the Jumeirah
Emirates Towers in 2002, really took the market by storm. There would be lines of people
waiting to get in. The product really captured the imagination. Many people used to come
asking us, “Who owns the franchise?”, so we decided that, well, we own the franchise!
Under the management of Phil Broad, Managing Director for the Jumeirah Restaurant
division, the team has achieved very successful development, and The Noodle House is
now expanding throughout the Middle East, in Russia, in the UK…
Considering the trend for diversification, what areas can we expect to see
Jumeirah Group expanding into?
Our primary objective is to continue developing the Jumeirah brand as the best luxury
hotel group worldwide.
Regarding expansion within the UAE, what projects do you have in the
pipeline for Jumeirah in the short and long term?
We continue to have some very serious discussions about future developments in the
United Arab Emirates. We see the United Arab Emirates as our home base, and one of the
top priorities for us is to have Jumeirah hotels in prime locations throughout the country.
Jumeirah is heavily involved in the rehabilitation of sick and injured sea
turtles. Can you tell us more about this?
We are very pleased to have the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project based in our hotels,
led by Warren Baverstock, working in close collaboration with Kevin Hyland from the
Wildlife Protection Office. We are very supportive of everything that they do. Warren and
Kevin have been instrumental in putting the programme together, and they’ve done a great
job of rescuing the turtles and nursing them back to health – both within the Burj Al Arab
and later in Madinat Jumeirah. Corporate responsibility is a very important aspect of what
we do within Jumeirah, as we believe that hotels are a vital part of the local community
and should engage with the local community. What better way to do this than help to
preserve an endangered species that is native to the Gulf area?
Last November you opened your first hotel in Abu Dhabi. Why did you
make this decision?
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and Jumeirah is proud to be a United
Arab Emirates brand, so of course it was absolutely essential for us to be present in the
capital. We are particularly pleased to have His Highness Sheikh Suroor bin Mohammed
Al Nahyan as the owner of the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The whole complex, with its
five towers, is a truly iconic project and I think that the architectural beauty of the buildings
speaks for itself – particularly the building that houses the hotel and the luxury apartments.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers has state-of-the-art business and conference facilities,
whichmake the hotel ideal for the travel and business people in Abu Dhabi. Will
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers also be suitable for the typical holidaymaker?
Of course! The hotel has its own beach, and soon it will have the beautiful Scott’s restaurant
– which is one of the Caprice brands of restaurants that Jumeirah owns in the Middle East
– right on the beach. Abu Dhabi is an ideal tourism destination with an all-year sunny
climate – just like Dubai.
Lastly, Abu Dhabi continues to attract an impressive number of international
hotel chains this year – Jumeirah included. What is it about this great city that
continues to draw in the biggest names of hospitality?
As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is a dynamic, go-ahead city. I think
that with the development of the airport and Etihad Airlines, it will always attract
international hotel groups that see the potential for the development of leisure and business
tourism to this great city.
For more information or to make a Reservation at one of the beautiful
Jumeirah Properties, please visit:
Let’s speak about the Burj Al Arab. What gives it the reputation of being
one of the most luxurious hotels in the world?
When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai,
decided that he would create a symbol for the Emirate, I believe that his goal was to
establish the Burj Al Arab as the world’s most luxurious hotel. He first of all made sure
that it was architecturally iconic – which it certainly is – and followed by ensuring that the
hotel was built in a unique way on the smaller scale, too.
That he was brave enough to build a hotel that consisted only of suites is a testament to
his vision – he certainly broke the mould at that time. The Burj Al Arab will remain unique.
I don’t see any other investor, or any other company developing anything like the Burj Al
Arab – with its 202 suites spread over 27 double-height floors with butlers on every floor,
with every suite spread over two floors and a ratio of eight colleagues to each suite – and
still being commercially successful. The Burj Al Arab has definitely become an icon of the
UAE and the symbol of Dubai. We like to describe it very much as the Eiffel Tower or the
Sydney Opera House of Dubai.
How did the idea for the tennis match between Roger Federer and Andre
Agassi come about?
Well, it developed from an initiative of our Marketing team, who decided to have Tiger
Woods, who was the World’s number one golfer at the time, teeing off from the helipad
of the Burj Al Arab. Soon after, when the tennis players were in Dubai for the annual
Dubai Duty Free tennis championship, the Dubai Duty Free team proposed to have Roger
Federer and Andre Agassi playing tennis on the helipad. We arranged this in conjunction
with Dubai Duty Free.
What prompted Jumeirah Group to undertake an aggressive expansion
We felt that we had such a great platform and foundation of world-class hotels here in
Dubai that it was a natural progression to expand overseas. To achieve our objective of
becoming one of the world’s best luxury hotel brands, again thanks to the support of His
Highness SheikhMohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we were able to get management
agreements for the Carlton Tower and Lowndes Hotel in London; this started us on the
international front. We also agreed to focus mainly on management agreements for the
hotels we would take on overseas.
What are the current projects under development and which markets
are we going to see developing?
Well, we continue to be very optimistic about our possibilities and our developments
within the Middle East and Asia – particularly in China, where we have five hotels under
development, in addition to the one hotel already open in Shanghai. We also have hotels
being developed in Bali and Thailand.
Closer to home, last year we opened Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on the Palm Jumeirah, we
have recently opened in an iconic new building in Abu Dhabi – part of the Etihad Towers
complex – and we also just opened the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.
We are now looking to consolidate the hotels that we have taken aboard over the last 18
months, to ensure that we are offering the best service and standards possible, and that we
are making a good return for our investors in these hotels.
What kind of values do you seek to instil in the Jumeirah Group, and
how do you make sure that the service offering is consistent?
From a very early stage in the existence of Jumeirah Group, we established what we called
our Guiding Principles and our Hallmarks. These Hallmarks are the very foundation of
the culture of Jumeirah, whereby we instil in all our employees the importance of
recognising each of our guests as individuals. As we always say, the Jumeirahmotto is STAY
DIFFERENT™, and we want guests to stay that way. We want them to stay with a hotel
group that really embraces the individuality of each one of them through our Hallmarks.
The hallmarks are:
• I will always smile and greet our guests before they greet me
• My first response to a guest’s request will never be no
• I will treat all colleagues with respect and integrity.