Langham's Middle East projects on track for completion by 2020

The Langham Downtown Dubai is a AED 1 billion (US$275 million) project encompassing a 167-key Langham Place Hotel and 239 fully serviced luxury residences

Langham Hospitality Group senior vice president worldwide development Andrew Jessop.
Langham Hospitality Group senior vice president worldwide development Andrew Jessop.

Langham Hospitality Group's hotel projects in the Middle East are proceeding at a vigorous pace and on track for various dates of completion in the lead up to 2020, senior vice president worldwide development Andrew Jessop revealed to Hotelier Middle East in a comprehensive update during an exclusive interview.

The interview occurred alongside a 'Langham style experiential demonstration" hosted by the Hong Kong-based operator and Dubai's Omniyat at the ballroom of Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah Beach to showcase The Langham Downtown Dubai, a AED 1 billion (US$275 million) project encompassing a 167-key Langham Place Hotel and 239 fully serviced luxury residences scheduled to be completed by 2020. A lavish set-up and display recreated the elegance of various Langham properties around the world, from London to New York, Chicago to Hong Kong, featuring Langham teddy bears, ladies serving as 'Service Stylists' clad in pearls and Chanel-style pink suits as well as demonstrations of the group's signature afternoon tea experience, 

During a press conference preceding the Langham experiential demonstration, CEO Robert A. Warman said: "We believe that the unique thing about Langham is we do bring a great heritage of Europe, of great hotels and excellence in service, yet we bring the modern world of the East together. We call that ‘sincere service’. We talk about being attentive yet unobtrusive. We talk about being sophisticated yet warm and friendly."

In a presentation following Warman's speech, Langham Hospitality Group senior vice president worldwide development Andrew Jessop said:"Yes, we are a brand with British, European heritage that does go all the way back to 1865 but what we bring to the table today is an interpretation of what that brand in 1865 is all about, with a very strong sense of identity here in Dubai in the 21st century. We believe that great service never goes out of fashion.People may perceive it to be classic service of a bygone era, but the way in which that service is delivered, the level of sincerity, the level of empathy, and understanding of individual customers’ needs is we think our defining factor and unique selling point for the Langham Hotel."

During his interview with Hotelier Middle East, Jessop shared more details about The Langham Downtown Dubai, stating that the hotel will feature the group's signature Chuan Spa and afternoon tea in the lobby, a destination bar, as well as a speciality restaurant, the operating partner of which will be a well-known European chef whose restaurants have been awarded with multiple Michelin stars.

"There's going to be some secrets. One of which is, who is going to operate as our partner for the speciality restaurant. A lot of the very famous well known chefs are already here in Dubai but not all of them," Jessop said. "We’ll also be having a Chuan Spa,our signature spa which is on four continents already. There are a lot of great spas in Dubai but we think Chuan is among the best. We'll have a great destination bar and will have our signature afternoon tea in Palm Court. It's a beautiful ritual which activates real estate in the hotel lobby, which normally would not see that much footfall."

Jessop was adamant in saying that the Langham in Downtown Dubai is determined to compete in the city's fiercely contested F&B landscape. "Whatever F&B we’re going to have in the hotel, it’s not just going to be an amenity for hotel guests. We believe that 80% of F&B business comes from the local clientele. So the pressure is on us to make sure we come up with a range of F&B products that will appeal to the local market."

Jessop also provided an update on Langham's hotel project on the Palm Jumeirah, saying that the group remains very much committed to the property. "That project is still very much alive as a managed project. The developer is currently stalled but we are confident that he will eventually finish that building. Construction is already 90% completed and the interiors just need to be finished. The hotel is well positioned on the Palm with a fantastic view over the sea to the Dubai skyline." 

He added that he remains "hopeful" that the project will be delivered by 2020.

Touching on the group's regional supply pipeline, Jessop also shared that The Langham Jeddah, located 10 minutes from the new international airport and 15 minutes to the high-speed train station for Makkah and Medina, is on track for completion by either end of 2018 or early 2019.

"Jeddah is making fantastic progress," he said. "The building was actually one of Dame Zaha Hadid’s last projects. What's happening now is that since the façade of that hotel was not fully developed before she passed, her studio in London is trying to interpret what her original intention would have been. The design of the façade is that of an Arabic head scarf; that will be the skin of the building, absolutely stunning. The hotel is now 70% completed with construction."

As for The Langham Downtown Dubai, Jessop is particularly enthused about the intimate scale of the project, saying that this can only help the operator to be focused on service.

"With 167 keys, it's very intimate and will help us to really manage the luxury experience," he said.

"We're extremely focused on service, that’s our mantra. We're focused on service the way it's intended to be but interpreted and delivered in the 21st century manner," he added. "We hope that’s enough to distinguish us along with amazing food & beverage, that's important here."

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