The 50 biggest stories of 2014: Part 1

Major developments in the hospitality industry across the region in 2014

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai
Cargo, Pier 7, Dubai
Cargo, Pier 7, Dubai
Greg Pirkle, geneal manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
Greg Pirkle, geneal manager, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach
Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

From major hotel openings and refurbishments to big moves by key players in the industry, 2014 has once again demonstrated the fast-changing nature of the hospitality industry in the region.

Hotelier Middle East looks back on some of the biggest stories of the year in this two part retrospective. Look out for Part 2 next week.

Dubai's Atlantis apologises for Sandance NYE chaos (January 2)

The organisers of the New Year's Eve edition of Sandance in Dubai, hosted at Atlantis The Palm hotel, apologised to the many people who failed to get to the event due to traffic problems in the emirate.

SPECIAL REPORT: The key hotel trends of 2014 (January 3)

Attracting young, affluent travellers as well as young talent were some of the key trends predicted to emerge in the hotel industry for 2014, as well as the ever-growing presence of mobile as a customer service tool.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

Dubai's Atlantis confirms Sandance NYE refunds (January 5)

Sandance event organisers announced a full refund to all ticketholders after failing to ensure everyone could access the event at the Atlantis The Palm hotel on New Year’s Eve.

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah now open (January 8)

Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, the Hilton Worldwide luxury hotel brand, opened the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah hotel. The 319-room hotel became the brand’s first property in Dubai and its second in the UAE, with the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah having opened last year.

British teenager in Dubai hotel NYE tragedy (January 8)

A UK inquest heard how a British teenager was found dead in his Dubai hotel room in the early hours of New year’s Day. Coroner Andreé Rebello was told how the fifteen-year-old boy was found hanged from a towel rail in his bathroom at his hotel after a night out celebrating New Year’s Eve.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

Gordon Ramsay loses Dom Perignon to Doha customs (January 14)

UK celeb chef Gordon Ramsay returned to Doha to visit his restaurants in The St. Regis Doha but had a slight hiccup when he was stopped by airport customs in Doha for carrying alcohol. It was reported that the Hell's Kitchen chef tried to bring a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne into the Muslim state.

10,970 hotel rooms under construction in Dubai (January 19)

Dubai reported the largest number of hotel rooms under construction in the Middle East and Africa, according to the STR Global Construction Pipeline report for December.

Helicopter crashes taking off from Atlantis Dubai (January 23)

A private helicopter with two people on board crashed while taking off from Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Two people were taken to hospital, with one seriously injured.

EXCLUSIVE: Dubai's Jumeirah launches RnB division (January 26)

Dubai-based luxury hotelier Jumeirah Group pioneered a move away from traditional hotel food and beverage and instead focusing on creating and managing “highly innovative, desirable, market-driven restaurants and bars”, revealing the trio heading up new division, Jumeirah RnB.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

Four Seasons tops ME hoteliers' career wish lists (January 28)

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was labelled a sought-after employer after GMs in the region identified the group as the hotel chain they would most like to work for in the Hotelier Middle East GM Survey 2013. Four Seasons was the clear winner, with 38.5% of GM respondents saying they would most like to work for Four Seasons from a list of 44 hotel chains. Ritz-Carlton took second place, while Hyatt was third.

GQ Bar opens in JW Marriott Marquis Dubai hotel (February 2)

The two-storey GQ Bar Dubai in JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay officially launched on January 29 and opened to customers. The 10,700 square foot space was designed by Bash Hesnef, and features a fire place in the lounge area and a global magazine wall.

Will Smith and Dubai ruler attend JBR mall opening (February 3)

A soft launch for the 1km-long mall built along JBR’s beachfront was attended by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Hollywood superstar Will Smith.

Dubai visitors to pay Tourism Dirham from March 31 (February 4)

More details of Dubai’s previously announced ‘Tourism Dirham’ were revealed, with all hotel guests set to be charged between seven and 20 dirhams per room, per night, from March 31, 2014.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

Dubai hotels face Tourism Dirham fine of AED15,000 (February 17)

Dubai hotels were told they would face fines of up to AED 15,000 if they failed to comply with the correct implementation of the new Tourism Dirham, a charge of between AED 7-20 per occupied room night being applied to all of Dubai’s hotels and hotel apartments from March 31.

Asian eatery Cargo opens in Pier 7 Dubai Marina (March 3)

East Asian venue Cargo opened in Dubai Marina's Pier 7, with interiors reminiscent of 1960s Hong Kong at the harbour-side. The brand is a UAE-developed concept, specifically designed to cater to the Dubai Marina community and its surrounding areas.

Wyndham Hotel Group CEO Eric Danziger to step down (March 4)

Wyndham Worldwide announced that hotel division president and CEO Eric Danziger was to step down to pursue personal interests, effective March 28.

Chinawhite Nightclub to open in Grand Hyatt, Dubai (March 19)

The five-star Grand Hyatt Dubai hotel is to be home to the ‘rebirth’ of the famous Chinawhite nightclub, the London nightspot’s original founders revealed.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

INTERVIEW: What makes a good hotel manager? (March 24)

In an exclusive interview, Gary Dodds, VP HR, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa, analysed the difference between a good manager and a good leader, drawing on the inspirational leadership of J. Willard Marriott, whose values still permeate the Marriott business today.

British tourist raped at Sharm El Sheikh resort (March 24)

A British holiday maker was allegedly raped in her hotel room by a security guard while on holiday in Sharm El Sheikh. The guard was escorting the woman back to a five-star hotel in the Red Sea resort town when he is said to have pulled her into her room and assaulted her.

Kempinski Bahrain management contract terminated (March 25)

Kempinksi Hotels and Majid Al Futtaim ended the hotel management agreement for the Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre in Manama, effective June 30, 2014. It was later announced by Majid Al Futtaim that Starwood would take over the property, with its Westin and Le Meridien brands.

Four Seasons Bahrain Bay appoints pre-opening GM (March 27)

Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, which is due to open by end the 2014, appointed Greg Pirkle as the property’s pre-opening general manager. Pirkle, who has been with Four Seasons for 25 years, joined the team in April, making the transition from Saudi Arabia, where he was the GM at Four Seasons Riyadh at Kingdom Centre.

Continue to the next page for more of the biggest stories of the year so far...

Three Emirati women attacked at London hotel (April 17)

A man armed with a hammer attacked three Emirati women who were staying at the Cumberland Hotel in Marble Arch, London. The man entered the seventh-floor room where the three UAE nationals and three children were sleeping, according to police accounts.

Largest man-made adventure park launched in Dubai (April 30)

Dubai-based lifestyle and hospitality investment company WL Hospitality Group launched its first project with the world’s largest man-made adventure park, Wire World Meydan Adventure Park at Meydan, Dubai.

InterContinental Dubai Marina to hire 350 staff (May 5)

In an exclusive interview with at Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), Pascal Gauvin, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) COO India, Middle East & Africa said that 350 staff are to be hired for Intercontinental Dubai Marina and that the executive committee is almost complete.

Four Seasons Dubai reveals F&B concepts (May 12)

It was announced that Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will feature 10 F&B concepts. Regional vice president and general manager Simon Casson told Hotelier Middle East that the resort, which is due to open in Q4 2014, will include five in-house restaurants, while the rest will be operated by external brands.

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