Headquartered in Hong Kong SAR, the Shangri-La Group is an iconic Asian hospitality brand, well-loved by both regional and global travellers. The Group is the trade name of Shangri-La Asia Limited’s management arm.
Co-Head, Middle East, Europe, India & Americas at Shangri-La Group
What are the newest developments at Shangri-La in the region?
The highly anticipated opening of the Shangri-La Jeddah in October this year will mark the brand’s debut in the Kingdom, blending our renowned heartfelt service with Saudi Arabia’s warm hospitality.
The hotel situated on Jeddah’s most desirable and picturesque waterfront, will offer 235 guestrooms, suites and residences, featuring floor to ceiling windows and private balconies, with views over the Red Sea and cityscape.
Perfect for both business and leisure, it will offer state of the art health club and spa facilities for both men and women, an extensive kids club and swimming pool, and some of the most exclusive and versatile event spaces in the city.
The hotel is highly anticipated to be the next dining hotspot in the city, offering a total of seven restaurants. World-class culinary expertise combines Shangri-La’s signature flavours from the East with traditional local Arabic influences and international favourites to create a truly unique dining experience for guests.
The hotel will open with four main restaurants, including the awardwinning Chinese restaurant, Shang Palace, an international buffet restaurant, a Patisserie located in the lobby and a poolside bar and lounge area. An Arabic and Japanese restaurant and a cigar lounge are planned to open later in 2022.
How has the chain handled the effects of the pandemic in the region, especially in the UAE?
The Covid-19 pandemic has required us to raise our already demanding hygiene standards with new protocols, procedures, and training. Throughout our hotels worldwide, Shangri-La Group introduced the “Shangri-La Cares” commitment, a global safety programme.
Shangri-La has followed recommendations laid out by the World Health Organization, or more stringent local directives where appropriate, to ensure our operational protocols are comprehensive. Concrete measures have been adopted at all hotels and resorts to combat the risk of
COVID-19 so that guests can feel safe when staying at or visiting its properties.
To reinforce the strong culture of health and safety, we enhanced training, learning and development resources for colleagues on essential preparatory and prevention measures.
Colleagues will also be equipped with personal protective equipment where necessary. Shangri-La will continue to build awareness on sanitation standards, as well as developing program for colleagues on stringent personal hygiene practices to ensure a safe work environment.
These measures will be continuously updated based on the local requirements to ensure they meet evolving customer needs and expectations.
As people look to travel in the future, health, safety and sustainability will remain top of mind, particularly as the world continues to react and respond to the
COVID-19 pandemic and a ‘new normal’. We will continue to convey our heartfelt care by creating a safe environment where our colleagues work with peace of mind and guests can confidently enjoy the moments that matter most.
Caring for people is the bedrock of Shangri-La’s service value and the health and safety of our colleagues and guests remains of utmost priority.
What are some of your latest F&B innovations?
Most industries across the globe are experiencing a surge of accelerated and new consumer trends and food and beverage is no exception. In addition, we have faced a number of continuously changing local restrictions across our markets, that have largely affected our food and beverage operations.
But as they say, with change comes opportunity and the circumstances have also inspired us to relook at our approach to traditional hotel food and beverage. We’ve reimagined existing experiences, found new replacement revenue streams and formed incredibly creative partnerships that differentiate our dining experiences. And naturally, we have focused on online channels of communication.
The key factor throughout all this has been to remain close to our customers, listen closely to their changing needs and act accordingly.
For example, at the start of the pandemic, our hotels received a number of requests from regular guests who missed dining out, missed our restaurants and missed our cuisine. They were asking for delivery which is not something we had traditionally done in our hotels in the region. In response, our teams have worked on putting together extensive menus catering to the domestic palate, in order to bring our
We also tapped onto the online shopping experience trend early on by extending our online retail options to include food and beverage creations. In Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi for example, guests can purchase anything from Ramadan luxury hampers to a to Girls Day Out and more!
For unique, relevant and differentiated activations, our partnerships have added stand-out offerings to their local markets. We introduced a number of industry-first private dining experiences with Veuve Clicquot for example. In the Shangri-La Toronto, our Clicquot in the Snow introduced guests to a private dining experience in a redesigned bedroom, themed around a winter ski chalet and including an après ski fine dining menu paired with Veuve champagnes.
For a fascinating evening in Shangri-La Bosphorus, Istanbul, guests are whisked away to a Suite, redesigned with notable stylish décor reminiscent of years past. The suite is decorated with colourful folding screens that line the spacious room while chic mirrors, vintage frames with iconic sceneries and inspiring books in travel, fashion and style, set the sophisticated scene. Guests can relax in pink posh and art deco-style winged chairs while enjoying popular jazz records on the antique gramophone.
The experience continues on the suite’s terrace, where a choice of Retro East and Retro West themed menus accompanied with Veuve Clicquot champagne pairings are served as take in spectacular Bosphorus views.
And let’s not forget our partnership at the Shangri-La Dubai with luxury event planner ByTuleen creating whimsical themed events accompanied by the glittering Dubai skyline. Enhanced with direct reach-out-and-touch views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, the new unforgettable private experiences are available in two themes – Fly Me to the Moon and the more carefree and relaxed Bohemian Chic – and feature bespoke dining menus prepared by the hotel’s talented culinary team.
We’ve been in a continuous cycle of listening, testing, learning and optimising so watch this space for more…especially as we embark on our brand’s 50th anniversary journey this year!