Melia Group‘s ME by Melia lifestyle brand is adding ME Dubai to its portfolio, with an official opening this month. Located in the heart of the Burj Khalifa District, just a short distance from major shopping destinations, design hubs and fashion avenues. Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, can be seen from the hotel, while The Dubai Mall is five minutes away
Designed by Zaha Hadid, ME Dubai offers architectural and design lovers something to marvel at, with interior and exterior masterpieces galore. Designed by famed architect, Zaha Hadid, the exterior and interior of the hotel blend together seamlessly, showcasing light-flooded atriums, curved spaces and minimalist interiors.
The new hotel features several dining outlets including Central (operated by the hotel) The Maine Oyster Bar and Grill and Roka by Zuma. Wellness facilities include a 650 m2 gym with the most technologically advanced fitness equipment on the market, including the city’s first Technogym Biocircuit.
The Opus Dubai larger mixed-used complex which houses the ME DUBAI Hotel has been developed by UAE based real estate group Omnyat which is also developing a landmark luxury hotel project operated by an international luxury hotel group. Most of the other group’s projects include luxury residential complexes.
CPP-LUXURY.COM editorial team
With BAR (Best Available Rates) on the hotel’s website starting at USD 310 plus taxes, ME Dubai is positioned as affordable luxury among the other luxury lifestyle hotels of Dubai, including W Hotel The Palm and Andaz Dubai. However, although the front page of the website mentions 5 stars, the word luxury is carefully avoided in the branding and communications of the hotel.
Except for the ME London which was designed by Norman Foster and which is justifiably positioned as luxury (location, product, facilities and F&B), other ME by Melia properties such as the one in Milan, ME Milan, which is located in the infamous proximity of Milan’s train station (Stazione Centrale) are at most premium (4 star plus).
In the short history of the ME By Melia brand, three flagship property under in the ME By Melia chain were already de-branded and downgraded. ME by Melia La Defense Paris and ME by Melia Vienna were de-branded and downgraded to a 4 star Melia Hotel brand. As for the third property, ME Barcelona, which opened in 2008, part of the rooms inventory was downgraded has been marketed under a four-star standard brand of the group as Melia Barcelona Sky, while the rest of the rooms inventory (the rest of floors) are still ranked as 5 star but under yet another five star brand of Melia, The LEVEL at Melia Barcelona Sky. To add to the confusion, Melia is soon opening, once again in Barcelona, ME Barcelona, within a new built structure and in a different location. ME Miami which opened in 2016 was de-branded and today it is operated by Hilton under its CURIO brand.
It remains to be seen how ME DUBAI will actually manage to establish a distinct positioning beyond The Opus Dubai, the iconic mixed use building, the architecture of which is signed by probably one of the most famous architects of all times, Zaha Hadid. The challenge may equally turn out to be an exceptional opportunity for ME DUBAI to actually offer a consistently competitive set relevant to the context of Dubai’s hotel market.
A rather similar example from a different hotel group, is The Westin in the German port city of Hamburg, which is houses one of the world’s spectacular concert halls, the Elbphilharmonie (designed by world famous architects Herzog & Meuron). Not surprisingly, few of the concert halls attendees are actually aware of the fact the building also houses a hotel. Whether the hotel is operated by a hotel group / chain is also little known. In this particular case, Marriott has very sensibly chosen The Westin brand and not the W Hotels brand.
Regardless of interior design and architecture, any hotel has the opportunity to excel through service, the website of the hotel mentioning the property aims for ”ME Dubai offers guests extremely personalised service”. This also applies to dining – both quality of foods /drinks and service. As for interior design, W Hotels, known as Marriott Intl‘s most profitable brand, has proven consistency without necessarily utilising the most luxurious furnishings. This has also been a most ‘safe’ choice, considering that nowadays many classical music and performances, regardless of their calibre, are no longer targeting and attracting a wealthy audience which was the case in the past at such institutions.
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