How would you evaluate 2020 and what are your expectations for this year? (in broad terms)
The term “unprecedented” has been used repeatedly to describe 2020 and while perhaps now cliché, it remains the most fitting expression. No one could have anticipated the extent of the impact that the existing pandemic would have on the world. Having said that, the year 2020 brought with it great lessons for the hospitality and tourism sector, including the importance of market diversification.
2020 was also a depiction of Dubai’s prominence as a world-renowned travel destination and the resilience of the UAE against trials, owing to the visionary leadership of this nation. I expect that Dubai will continue to see patterns of market recovery. Additionally, Expo 2020, the first World Expo to ever be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, is set to begin on 1 October 2021 and will undoubtedly draw countless visitors from the region and wider world.
Dubai has been experiencing solid performance, reenforcing its positioning a one of the leading global destinations. Tell us more about the activities and offerings your guests are seeking nowadays and how you are able to assist?
Our first priority is the same as that of our guests – protecting the health and safety of our guests and our Ambassadors. In response, Armani Hotels & Resorts has strengthened its prevention and safety procedures. To ensure that all our sanitation procedures were implemented to the highest standard and protocol, Armani Hotel Dubai partnered with Bureau Veritas Group, a world leader in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility. We have recently passed a follow-up inspection and subsequently have our certificate renewed for an additional six months.
Guests are still seeking luxurious dining, stay and wellness experiences but with significantly reduced contact, which we are well-equipped to accommodate. International guests in particular are always impressed by the sanitation measures they observe both within the hotel and as they travel around the city. Armani Hotel Dubai is also equipped to help guests arrange PCR tests for day-trips to Abu Dhabi or future travels, through the strategic partnership developed with Kings College Hospital.
With some of the key feed markets absent, how has your consumer profile changed? Are you targeting a different consumer? (other nationalities)
Armani Hotel Dubai has always been extremely popular with Chinese guests, and the absence of this key feeder market has caused us to look at our business through a different lens. In recent months, the South Asian, staycation and Israeli markets have been key for the hotel, with increasing interest from the Americas. Being a market leader in offering kosher dining also helped us to capture the first visitors following the opening of the Israeli market. Nonetheless, we are continuing to strengthen our relationships with our historic feeder markets to ensure that Armani Hotel Dubai remains a top choice once travel rebounds.
Like most other hotels, you have a certified kosher dining facility. Tell us more about this new market?
Armani/Kaf, the first kosher certified dining destination in the United Arab Emirates, opened its doors on 17 September 2020, just two days after the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace agreement was signed. The outlet’s premium Burj Khalifa location and its views over The Dubai Fountain and Downtown Dubai have turned Armani/Kaf into a major attraction for Dubai residents and visitors to the city. Within the first month of operations, Armani/Kaf was fully booked night after night, demonstrating a keen interest in the global gourmet take on kosher cuisine it offers.
The Israeli market makes up about 50% of the diners at Armani/Kaf, who are eager to experience all that Dubai and the UAE have to offer. These visitors are of course flocking to well-known attractions, yet also have a greater interest in understanding the culture and heritage of the nation. Another 40% of diners are Jews from all over the world, while the remaining 10% are expatriate residents and Emiratis.
How has the perception of luxury changed? (if in any way)
Luxury has traditionally meant high-contact, high-engagement interactions that were personalized according to guest preferences and desires.
While the expectation of personalization remains, luxury has shifted slightly away from high-touch and towards high-tech. For Armani Hotel Dubai and the sector at large, the challenge has been to adapt to delivering equally engaging experiences while significantly reducing staff-to-guest contact. At Armani Hotel Dubai, we have worked hard to implement new procedures that limit physical contact while retaining the integrity of the “Stay with Armani” lifestyle experience.
6. Personalised service of the highest standards has been the essence behind the success of Armani Hotels & Resorts. What makes Armani Hotel Dubai different in Dubai’s highly competitive luxury hotel sector?
Personalisation is our hallmark and the Stay with Armani experience is an invitation to experience an exclusive concept steeped in creativity, unsurpassed in ingenuity and designed with impeccable attention to detail.
Our Lifestyle Ambassador philosophy is built around meeting guests’ needs. Upon check-in, a Lifestyle Ambassador is assigned to each suite and they are at hand for guests around the clock to fulfill every request and desire.
7. To what extent does Armani Hotel Dubai relate to lifestyle and how is the hotel integrated into the power-house luxury brand of ARMANI?
A warm and welcoming home-away-from-home experience is at the core of what we do and echoes Giorgio Armani’s own highly personal approach to hospitality.
Our team of Armani ambassadors delivers the ultimate in personalised service through our signature Stay with Armani lifestyle concept and, during their stay, each guest is hosted by a dedicated Lifestyle Manager.
From fast track check-in from the comfort of the guest’s suite to customised spa treatments and added value touches, Lifestyle Managers are on call around the clock to ensure that guests receive the most out of their stay and visit to Dubai.
8. How important is the domestic market?
2020 demonstrated to hoteliers in the UAE just how essential the domestic market is. It was the staycation market that helped hotels across the UAE, including Armani Hotel Dubai, shoulder the second half of 2020 before international tourism rebounded substantially. Armani Hotel Dubai is especially popular among guests celebrating special occasions, who seek out the world-class service and elegance for which the hotel is renowned.
9. What novelties shall we be expecting at Armani Hotel Dubai this year?
Armani Hotel Dubai is launching a number of exciting activities in 2021. Most notably, Armani/Spa will soon open a new salon, outfitted with Italian-made Maletti hairdressing units; nail, hair and beauty services offered will round off the holistic care that is available in the 12,000-square-foot wellness oasis.
In addition, our signature restaurant Armani/Ristorante, has launched a new a la carte menu, providing diners with the essence of rustic Italy within the world’s tallest building. Key new dishes include the black angus manzo e tartufo, grilled beef tenderloin with seared foie gras and black truffle, and Culurgiones, homemade Sardinian ravioli stuffed with potato and mint.
More from LEADERS
Marriott International’s board of directors has appointed Anthony Capuano as the company’s new CEO. Capuano, who also has joined the …
How has your property performed in 2020 and what are your expectations? It has been a difficult time for the whole …
Behind the uninterrupted success of Bvlgari Resort Dubai with Pep Lozano, General Manager (Exclusive Interview)
How would you evaluate 2020 and what are your expectations for this year? (in broad terms) The year 2020 had really …