Solutions Leisure, the name behind some of the region’s most successful dining and nightlife venues have launched a brand-new concept, Wavehouse, at Atlantis The Palm. From the bowling alley and arcade area to a waverider, the new destination aims to address a gap in the market for family-friendly nightlife venues. Mahak Mannan caught up with Paul Evans, founder and managing director, Solutions Leisure, on the new opening.
From the makers of STK, Inner City Zoo, Q43, Karma Kafe, Asia Asia, and Lock Stock & Barrel comes another unique dining concept, Wavehouse, which officially opened on 1 February. Founder and managing director of Solutions Leisure, Paul Evans, says when the opportunity to partner with Atlantis came up, he knew it was the break the group had been waiting for, and as such, the concept had to be unique.
“We at Solutions Leisure, have always identified gaps in the market. It started with Q43, catering to the middle man by offering a diverse, unpretentious experience from lunch to the early hours of the morning. Then came Asia Asia, following suit with its immersive and experiential offering. Lock, Stock & Barrel took the Middle East by storm as we threw a spanner into the nightlife works, creating a 360-degree encompassing bar and restaurant concept that brought together great interiors, live music, affordable food and beverages, and a warm, friendly team. That set the bar very high for us, and we knew our next major move was going to have to be a big one. Over the space of the year that followed, we began to recognise a lack of family-friendly entertainment that didn’t feel juvenile. People wanted to go out and enjoy the social scene that expat life in Dubai offered, as a family, so when the opportunity to partner with Atlantis and create something epic in the old N’Dulge space arose, we knew it was the break we had been waiting for,” Evans explains.
“With no other family entertainment concept in the region right now, Wavehouse offers adults the opportunity to sit back, relax, and enjoy a beverage amongst friends or families to get together in a safe, immersive location. With bowling, a soft-play area in LEVELS, our dedicated youth-zone, an arcade suitable for both young kids and big kids but young at heart like us, a major climbing frame, Surf’s Up machine to catch some waves, and a terrace to enjoy the weather at this time of year, Wavehouse truly hits the nail on the head as it offers fun, interactive, and safe spaces for the entire family.”
The final outcome that Wavehouse stands at today, exceeds the founders’s expectations, Evans says: “The idea of Wavehouse was such an epic dream, we knew we needed to find the right space and partners to truly bring it to life. With the immense support of Atlantis, The Palm, our vision of building a family entertainment and F&B venue exceeded our own expectations of what the completed project would be.
“Filling a gap in the market, the venue was inspired by the need for family entertainment with an adult edge in a region so busy with developing social options, and very few allowing families to be themselves in one spot. Wavehouse combines a collection of carefully curated spaces, catering to children, teenagers, and adults. Delicious food, thirst-quenching beverages, a terrace, and a dedicated retreat for the offspring, Wavehouse is everything from an afternoon out and a break from the water park, to an evening of live music and entertainment. This isn’t a new concept, it’s a new sector, and we’re excited to see what it holds for the social scene of Dubai.”
Evans found that there is a growing need for this new sector, that addresses the need for family friendly destinations in the region, especially in an expat driven city like Dubai.
“How many times have you had conversations with your friends, or heard families discussing whether the next social activity will include the kids?” asks Evans.
“We should all be able to enjoy our adult’s only time, no doubt, but I think one of the biggest aspects Dubai lacks is the ability to entertain kids and adults alike, under one roof, regardless of what time of the day it is. There is no other venue in the UAE that offers any two of the components you will find at Wavehouse, and in an expat-driven economy, that is scary.”
Although the amount invested in the project was not revealed, Wavehouse is Solutions Leisure’s most expensive project to date, according to Evans.
“Boasting an adults-only bar, a family friendly restaurant, bowling alley, gaming and arcade zone, children’s soft play area and climbing frame, the terrace and outdoor bar, and Surf’s Up waverider machine, the venue’s blend of activities is ideal for all ages. We have a fantastic lineup of events set to launch in the coming months and being such a diverse, flexible, and all-encompassing venue, we can tap into some really great ideas,” he says.
“Our target audience includes parents, tourists, music-lovers, surfers, gamers or just those who enjoy a good pint. Whether you’re out with friends and family, taking a break from the waterpark, trying out Surf’s Up or having a beer while catching the live music, Wavehouse is an all-star choice for any occasion or event. Wavehouse customers have multiple faces in their daily lives, from parent to friend, colleague, tourist or those hosting visitors from abroad. Adults can relax, kids can let off steam, and the waverider, bowling alley, and games arcade is fun for the whole team. Wavehouse customers are looking for somewhere relaxed and entertaining to balance out their busy lives. T-shirt and jeans, board shorts and flip-flops, or something a little more sophisticated, there is something for everyone at Wavehouse.”
Speaking about the location at Atlantis, The Palm, Evans says, “I don’t know whether we really chose Atlantis, The Palm for Wavehouse, I think the opportunity found us. We’ve seen major growth in the past year, meaning we have upped our connections significantly and formed some strong relationships internationally, Atlantis, The Palm being one of them. The resort is one of, if not the best, family destinations in the hotel sector and having Aquaventure on-site tied in perfectly to the waverider idea.”
Having introduced successful concepts to the sector in the past years, now is the time focus on the core business, and for Solutions Leisure, that will be the family entertainment sector Evans says, “The UAE is one of the most competitive, fierce, and cutthroat markets in the world and right now, it’s tougher than ever. We’re being challenged every second of every day to produce unbeatable products, services, deals, offers, and content, let alone driving new concepts to success. The whole sector is not only saturated, but also down as a result of the current economy. With new players entering the market, it is time to focus on your core business, keep tight, stay creative, and keep working hard to hit that end goal. In saying that, you should never have an end goal. An end goal means you’ve accomplished it all, but since the market currently demands survival of the fittest, our end goal needs to keep moving forward. As you begin to approach one end goal, set another. Stay hungry as much as humble and keep looking forward.”
“We are not here to just add to sectors, we’re here to grow, create, and develop current ones into the evolution of new ones. Our proudest achievement to date is the pioneering of the 4-star sector, offering our guests a 5-star experience without the hefty price tag often attached in such a luxury-driven market. Today, there are hundreds of venues taking the same approach as we did seven years ago. For us, the introduction of family entertainment is the next untapped thing.”