Hotelier confidential: Save yourselves!

Insights from the news desk at Hotelier Towers

Save yourselves - and avoid Sheikh Zayed Road when Four Points by Sheraton is holding its mock fire drill.
Save yourselves - and avoid Sheikh Zayed Road when Four Points by Sheraton is holding its mock fire drill.

The month of May is behind us and that means, yes, we survived! With the events following in quick succession last month — AHIC, ATM, HOTEC, Domotex and The Hotel Show — many of you may have seen members of the Hotelier team scurrying around Dubai World Trade Centre, which became our temporary home for the month.

Throughout the events, we broke a series of stories and announcements online at HotelierMiddleEast.com, with our special daily updates bringing you a news summary as it happened.

But pipelines and projects aside, we promised to bring you some of the gossip, so here is a taster.

At ATM, Dubailand claimed it would be completed in 2025, but one highly-respected chef spotted hovering outside its stand told us in no uncertain terms that this was a complete lie. Meanwhile, one of the hotel operators promising to deliver several hotels in Dubai this year, which are already delayed, fell victim to one disgruntled supplier, who said a certain Palm Jumeirah based hotel had been canned.

The Hotel Show was, according to some “a disaster”, but others said if the leads they had generated resulted in business, that would cover the cost of exhibiting, while for one, the expense was justified as a marketing expense alone. Hotelier just hopes that some of the amenities companies from China that attended will rethink their strategy next year, as we were told on more than one occasion, quite adamantly, that “we don’t target hotels”.

And you just can’t stop gossiping about Jumeirah Group, which is planning a major overhaul of some of its outlets and an expansion of its Restaurants arm in partnership with Caprice Holdings. From celeb hang out The Ivy to nightclub Annabel’s, it seems that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are set to host some of London’s finest night spots. An annoucement is imminent, so check out the July issue of Hotelier Middle East.

While the events were exciting, it was only when we got back into the office that the industry seemed to reveal its quirkier side.

Firstly, Emirates Palace launched the world’s first gold vending machine. Developed by TG Gold-Super-Markt, a computer inside the machine ensures that the real-time prices are updated in line with the online shop at Gold-Super-Markt.de. In addition to 1g, 5g and 10g bars of gold, the machine also dispenses gold coins, which are sold in gift boxes at real-time prices.

The press release provided the following quote: ‘“We wanted the Emirates Palace to play a pioneering role and be the first hotel in the world to offer its guests this golden service,” general manager Hans Olbertz states with pride’.

It certainly got the hotel attention on a global scale, which was not quite the case for the other odd announcement of the month. Not for the first time, Four Points by Sheraton invited Dubai’s media to a “fun, exciting and very realistic” mock fire drill at its Sheikh Zayed Road hotel, which the lovely PR “guaranteed” to be newsworthy. Here at Hotelier, we hope that hotels would keep their fire safety up to scratch as a matter of course, which means for us, it was quite the opposite, and we declined to attend.

However, had we realised what a photo opportunity it would provide, we might have chosen otherwise.

In total, we were sent 913 photos to choose from and so decided to bring you our favourite this issue…

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