What motivated the choice of Dubai for the opening of the first SLS Hotel in the EMEA region?
Dubai is one of the most relevant global destinations. Bringing SLS to Dubai was always a goal of ours. SLS Dubai’s opening is integral to our global development strategy as it marks SLS’s entry into the Middle Eastern market and sbe’s second property following the Mondrian Doha launch in 2017. The Middle East is a critical market for our lifestyle platform as we are looking to open more properties in the region, particularly in the GCC. We are also expanding to Australia, Asia, Europe, North America and South America with major announcements in the few coming months.
Was the property conceived as a flagship for the brand?
The Dubai property was conceived to become a destination for the local and international traveler, bringing the best culinary, mixology, spa, residential and nightlife experiences to the city. This property is certainly a flagship of the SLS brand, ushering in a new era of individualised services comprising residential and hotel apartments with its regional debut.
The property features world-class art, elegant rooms, a rooftop pool that overlooks the entire Dubai skyline. I am especially excited for our culinary options at the property.
SLS Dubai will be host to Fi’lia, a fully female-led restaurant. The opening of Fi’lia Dubai marks the fourth location worldwide and the very first in the Middle East for the concept. The restaurant is helmed by Chef Sara Aqel and her team of talented women. From the restaurant management to the service team – the female influence and leadership can be felt throughout. The menu is inspired by the recipes and traditions that were passed on from one generation of women to the next. Located on the 70th floor of SLS Dubai with 360-degree views over Dubai’s impressive skyline, the iconic Burj Khalifa and an outdoor terrace perfect for al fresco dining.
We have also introduced the S Bar concept, which playfully celebrates the guests’ two personalities (the healthy versus the indulgent) with innovative cocktails, a tempting array of light bites, all enjoyed from the 71st first floor with sweeping views of the city.
Additionally, guests will receive an unprecedented range of 24-hour lifestyle amenities which includes the holistic experiences in Ciel Spa. This is an essential offering as we look to further cement our position into the bedrock of the city.
We will be opening the second Carna into our portfolio which will be an exceptional gastronomic addition to the Dubai market. Helmed by famed Italian butcher, Dario Cecchini, Carna will offer an unforgettable contemporary steakhouse experience and is set to open in May.
Why the choice of a tower in the city versus a more leisure location on the beach?
SLS is all about luxury with a twist – when our guests can enjoy two of the tallest infinity pools in the region here at SLS Dubai, the beach is secondary. The building is an iconic pillar of architecture in the skyline of Dubai. SLS Dubai guests can enjoy the urban lifestyle with an elevated, bespoke experience.
Which are the pillars of the SLS Hotels brand DNA?
Combining the ingredients of flawless service, exceptional cuisine, transcendent design and enthralling environment and wit, SLS lives up to its reputation as the ultimate luxury experience.
What is the positioning you are aiming for In Dubai’s highly competitive and, some say, saturated, luxury hotel sector?
Dubai is a very critical market for our company. Over the past few years, from both a travel and residential perspective, Dubai has become a much more global destination and continues to be one of the great international thoroughfares with visitors coming from all corners of the world.
We pride ourselves on being providers of luxury lifestyle living but also integrating ourselves into the DNA of the city. I couldn’t be more excited to extend the SLS footprint into the city, providing amazing experiences from our hotels to our award-winning culinary offerings.
By bringing the SLS brand to Dubai, we have added a new twist on luxury. From its architecture, design, signature brands and lifestyle attributes – we’re expecting SLS Dubai to have a strong regional presence and to be a main attraction, even in a highly competitive luxury hotel sector.
How would you define the interior design? Most other SLS Hotels properties feature a lavish, sleek and very colourful design.
Acclaimed Dubai-based designer Paul Bishop is responsible for the sleek yet contemporary interior design. Every element within the interiors represents the SLS brand aesthetic and upholds the highest standards in terms of quality and durability. From the rose-gold accents to the blend of lilac and grey furnishings, the interiors are not just welcoming and inviting, but truly reflect a “sanctuary,” for hotel guests and residents alike.
With a rather large inventory (254 rooms & suites) tell us more about your approach to providing a personalised / bespoke service.
The hotel attracts international travellers and locals alike because of the lifestyle experiences and bespoke service we deliver.
Our service personality is sophisticated, playful, cosmopolitan, elegant and stately. We are polished and refined in our language interests and tastes. We always inject witty, fun and surprise into the smallest details. It’s what makes us different. We live to bring people together and bring energy to communities. Sometimes understated, sometimes loud but always graceful in how we act and stylish in how we look. Our party spirit is underpinned by a deep intelligence and gravitas, a position we’re proud to uphold.
What about the choice of F&B, especially considering that many Dubai luxury hotels feature franchised restaurants of renowned Michelin star Chefs or concepts which have been proven successful in similar projects.
We are bringing something unique to Dubai. This is the first time that renowned butcher Dario Cecchini will bring his talents to the Middle East. His reputation precedes him and the culinary experience at Carna is unmatched.
Fi’lia is providing for the first time in the region, an entirely female-led management team. From the front of house to the back of house, it will be a culinary experience curated by women. We are excited to bring the Fi’lia experience to Dubai, particularly with this feminine twist.
With the pandemic, in Dubai, an increasing number of travellers have opted for hotels with beach locations rather than city locations.
At SLS Dubai, the health and safety of our employees and guests is always our top priority. Regardless of travellers’ preference of hotel locations, SLS Dubai’s commitment to implementing all the safety measures is to ensure and maintain the quality of service that characterizes the SLS brand.
Chadi Farhat, Chief Operating Officer sbe, is responsible for overseeing the operations of all sbe hotels globally and focuses on sbe’s expansion in Europe and the Middle East as well as strengthening owner relationships. Prior to this role, Chadi was the Chief Commercial Officer at Morgans Hotel Group (MHG), where he continued on in the role after the company was acquired by sbe in late 2016. As CCO, he was responsible for guiding and supporting all the revenue processes globally and leading the strategy for driving profitable revenue growth through e-Commerce and revenue management. At the same time, as Interim Chief Operating Officer, Chadi was responsible for the general operation and financial performance of
MHG. Chadi oversaw the company’s operations, food and beverage, sales, revenue management, eCommerce and digital marketing teams. Chadi also served as Chief Revenue Officer, where he integrated and aligned the functions of revenue management, sales, e- Commerce and Digital Marketing into a succinct distribution platform that has helped drive a cohesive strategy for the company and positioned MHG for future growth.
Prior to MHG, Chadi was the Global Director of eCommerce Revenue Management at Marriott International. In that position, he was responsible for developing and implementing pricing and revenue management strategies focused on optimizing revenue through Marriott’s electronic distribution channels (Marriott.com, OTAs, GDSs). He also has held multiple positions at Marriott International and Ritz Carlton Hotels.
Chadi earned his MBA from Johns Hopkins University and his BA in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Notre Dame University in Beirut, Lebanon. Chadi is a frequent guest lecturer at New York University’s Center for Hospitality Industry Studies and Cornell University as well as a guest speaker at various Revenue Management and Distribution conferences.
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