For a Dubai-based hospitality company, the opening of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi was a significant regional addition as the group’s first flag in the UAE capital. Karen Osman visits the hotel to find out more from general manager Doris Greif
As the first female hotel general manager in the Middle East, it is fitting that Doris Greif took on the same mantle at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers to become the first female general manager in Abu Dhabi.
Despite originally wanting to become a car mechanic, her latest role — adding to an impressive CV of general manager positions at Jumeirah Emirates Towers and Jumeirah Beach Club Resort & Spa — is clearly one she relishes.
Passionate about operations, there were specific elements of the new project that attracted Greif, as she explains: “The owners of Jumeirah had agreed to bring me on very early, which was two years before the actual hotel opened, which is a bit unusual but it also gave me the opportunity to work with the architects, the interior designers and the consultants — there was just an incredible amount of experience and joy to be had working on the project”.
Being so involved in the creation, such input has clearly paid off as the hotel’s design, from the modern, sleek external facade to the luxurious yet elegant interiors, is simply breath-taking thanks to DBI Design, which was the lead consultant for the architecture, interior and landscape.
The achievement is no small feat, as the 280-metre-high, luxury hotel is part of a five-tower complex comprising of an office tower and three towers of residential apartments including an observation deck as well as restaurant and retail space.
“What is very important to the owners of Etihad Towers is to build a community, so the hotel is an integral part of that but it can never be perceived as standalone,” she says. “The hotel cannot function without the rest of the community and it is just as important that Etihad Towers is seen as one. Every one of the five components has its importance but they only work if they’re close together.”
While being part of such a complex will only enhance the footfall to the hotel, it also brought its own set of challenges during the opening phase. “If I had to single out the biggest contributing factor where I think it was a challenge, it was being part of a big mixed-use development because you’re not on your own; you don’t have a dedicated group of contractors for you only,” explains Greif.
But, while the remaining four towers are still being finalised, by the end of quarter four, “you will find a city within a city and this is the beauty of Etihad Towers”, she asserts.
Article continues on next page ...