Nigel Eckersall. Nigel Eckersall.

UAE needs to shed its stigma for uber luxury when it comes to hotel designs and architecture. VE Experts director of design and development Nigel Eckersall said the onus is on the designers to do so.

“We (designers) are always up against the stigma that resides in the UAE of being uber luxury. And we always start swaying towards the upscale when we start designing mid-market brands. That is where we need to be brave if we are going to see growth in this sector,” Eckersall said at the inaugural Hotelier Express Summit.

“It is important to remember we are designing for the upscale luxury, we are here for the mid-market consumer.”

Eckersall said the location continues to remain king. “One of the interesting things is the location of the property. You need to see where your plot is and what it will allow your hotel to be, this is a piece of information that helps in the design process.”

There are widely three location types available in Dubai at this point: waterfront, metropolitan and city.

“The biggest issue here is – and we face that as designers – is all brands think they need to have waterfront property. But, we are coming to the metropolitan era of hotels where we will be filling up the plots in areas such as JLT and Business Bay. We are also going to be refurbishing the old plots of the town in Karama, at the same time look at new districts all together such as Dubai South.”

“It is going to be an interesting few years as we all find our way together to create success for the customer,” Eckersall said.

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