Due to open this year, Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina offers a more social take on traditional business hotels.
The upscale new property comprises 273 rooms and suites, in addition to a variety of food and beverage options including its signature Thai restaurant Charm Thai and five other dining concepts. Located on the Marina Waterfront, Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina sits in close proximity to JLT, Dubai Media City, Dubai Internet City, Dubai Investment Parks and Jebel Ali.
We interview the new hotel’s General Manager Georges Farhat for a sneak preview of what’s to come:
You started your career working at a family-run restaurant; how did you develop your skills further to get to where you are today?
I began my career in the hospitality industry in 1989, at the age of only 20 where I worked in a family-run restaurant. This experience was very humbling for me and has shown me how important it is to treat each guest personally.
My career path then took me to Dubai, where I began working as a management trainee to a GM within the IHG Group. This swift succession has shown me the hard work and talent that goes into creating a successful hotel from every level from waiter and concierge, through to general manager. Every day, my role continues to encourage me to develop amazing talents who one day would grow to become the hospitality leaders of tomorrow.
When did you get your first opportunity to be a GM?
I was first appointed as the GM of Crowne Plaza Dubai in 2014, a role for which I was named GM of the Year in 2015 by a well-known hospitality magazines. This was an eye-opening experience and has taught me many interesting things, which I apply in my current role.
How will you be drawing from experience when it comes to running the new hotel’s F&B outlets?
F&B has always been of interest to me. As a result, I’ve designed, developed and launched many well-known restaurants in Dubai which have become popular fixtures on the dynamic Dubai F&B market.
The F&B outlets in Crowne Plaza are quite unique concepts, which I’ve been involved with at almost every stage of development. The competition in Dubai Marina among F&B outlets is very strong, but I’m confident that my experience and that of the wider Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina team, combined with our collective market knowledge, will guide these restaurants to success.
At Crowne Plaza, we genuinely understand the modern traveller. We know that for them, while productivity is important, so are experiences that restore and inspire. As guest-obsessed people, we act upon it and do F&B on our guests’ terms.
How did your role differ in each destination? Have you had to adjust to different cultures?
Each role carries with it a unique set of challenges, but also opportunities. Aside from my time in Canada, my experience has all been in Dubai. Within Dubai, the location of both the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina and Crowne Plaza Dubai has created two similar, but slightly varied, roles.
Tell us about Dubai as a destination. What do you think it offers to your guests?
Traditionally, Dubai was seen as a destination of choice for those seeking luxury and glamour, but the emirate is now showing it can also offer great value to business and leisure tourists alike.
Within Dubai, the Marina area offers a lot to both types of guests: for business travellers, being connected to many important business hubs including JLT, Internet City, Media City and Jebel Ali. For leisure travellers, being close to many important tourist attractions such as JBR beach and the many restaurants.
Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina, with its value-for-money proposition and standard of service, offers a lot for these guests as they seek a beautiful hotel to explore the city from.
What do you find inspiring about working in hospitality and being a general manager?
Working in the hospitality industry gives me huge job satisfaction and, every day, I’m motivated to do my job to the best of my abilities. I’m inspired and motivated by our staff’s hard work at all levels. Having worked as a management trainee, I have huge respect for what they do and how they can contribute to a hotel’s success.
As a GM, I’m empowered to give them the same opportunities I was given at the start of my career and one of my goals here is to help them develop their careers.
What will this new property bring to the market?
My goal for the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina is to establish an upscale business-class hotel, delivering distinctive stay and meeting experiences to our guests. Together with the rest of the team, my vision is to strengthen the Crowne Plaza brand further and develop a foothold in the competitive marketplace, which I believe will be made possible by the team’s determination and passion. We believe we’ll eventually become the most-loved business class hotel brand in the region and globally.