A year after his surprise appointment as CEO, I sat with Jose Silva in Dubai to discuss the evolution of Jumeirah Group under his strategic leadership. Few realised, at the time, that his appointment was a major statement by the owner company (Dubai Holding) to take the brand and the company to the next level so that it can achieve a leadership position beyond UAE (mainly Dubai) and the GCC.
While many hotel groups have been transitioning towards an ‘asset light’ strategy and position themselves purely as third party operators, Silva’s strategy is a mixed balance between owner & operator and purely operator. Since his arrival, one of Silva’s priorities has been to make sure the existing portfolio of the brand is coherent and consistent both in terms of product and service. A few properties have been de-flagged, while other properties which now benefit from an investment support from Jumeirah which used to be purely an operator of the respective property. During my recent stay at Dar Al Masyaf (Arabian summer houses – part of Madinat Jumeirah), I could not help but observe that since Silva’s arrival service standards have been significantly elevated across the entire Dubai portfolio.
In Dubai, Jumeirah is an undisputed leader of the upscale / premium segment, with its largest property, the Jumeirah Beach Hotel having recently completed an extensive renovation. The appointment of Michael Ellis (ex Michelin Guide) as Chief Culinary Officer has brought about significant improvements and changes in the dining offering of the Madinat Jumeirah complex but also at Burj Al Arab. A new luxury Spa on the rooftop of Al Naseem Hotel is currently under construction – this will be the second Spa of the Madinat Jumeirah. The renovation of Burj Al Arab remains a priority, while a brand new 400 key five star hotel resort is currently under construction within very close proximity of Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
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