Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates General Manager Slim Zaiane reveals the latest in the industry and at the hotel.
What’s the latest at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates?
With the lockdowns and stresses of 2020 now behind us, at least in our region, we’re looking forward to greeting our luxury-conscious clientele with offerings and experiences that will satiate their refined senses. Dubai is at its best in winter, and we have prepared alluring room offerings for those seeking to enjoy Dubai’s spring-like winter.
We also recently celebrated a new addition to our bouquet of venues. SENSASIA Stories, our newly opened flagship destination spa, is a destination experience in and of itself. It allows clients to script their own escape to deeply transformative total body journeys. While SENSASIA Lab express spa offers them a quick luxury fix that can neatly fit in their daily itinerary – including VR voyages to idyllic beaches and sweeping mountains in the spa pods.
As for outdoor activity lovers, we’re preparing to welcome them soon at the Tennis Academy. Our state-of-the-art court and facilities will cater to seasoned tennis players and beginners alike. We’re excited to welcome our guests to pick up the racquet and bask in the sunshine on our lush Kempinski grounds.
Last, but most certainly not least, I’m proud to share that Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates has been awarded the Platinum certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), making us the first Kempinski hotel to qualify for Platinum level. At Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, we’re conscious of our responsibility to create a sustainable yet luxurious guest experience. Our environment, after all, is our most gracious host. And as members of the hospitality community, we value all that our environment provides for us and are committed to being sustainability-oriented guests.
How do you see the travel and tourism landscape now?
It varies from one part of the world to another, but overall, I’m very optimistic about the upcoming months. Whatever happens, the landscape has changed. From virtual tourism and ‘safecations’, to live-streaming faraway destinations and nowhere flights, I think that the ingenious solutions that 2020 pushed us to create are here to stay. I believe they will evolve from trends to norms and integrate into the physical travel and tourism experience.
What sort of developments are you foreseeing this coming year in the GCC, specifically the UAE?
The GCC is arguably one of the safest tourism destinations in the world at the moment. I believe we will see an uplift in travel demands as vaccine programmes continue to be rolled out. The GCC states are in a position to capitalise on their health and safety advantage with a cascade of events and new and reopening attractions. Expo 2021 is back on track, which is something that we’re all excited about.
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing has, already, unveiled a comprehensive calendar of vibrant events and activities for the first quarter of 2021. Saudi, a regional tourism gem, has done the same. We’re also excited to welcome back visitors from Qatar, who have historically been one of the largest clientele groups at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates.
Do you think that the worst is behind us?
We might not be out of the water yet, but we’re definitely out of the deep end. We went from not knowing when or if we will find a vaccine to having at least three vaccines approved and more in the pipeline. I believe that we can overcome whatever challenges may lie ahead. Churchill once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” We’re more aware and better prepared this time around.
How can hotels move forward at this point?
By remaining positive. We must continue to uphold the health and safety measures we applied during the pandemic, reconceptualise our business processes, and evolve our approach to client service and luxury experiences. Like I mentioned earlier, experiential trends of 2020 in leisure and recreation are here to stay. The better we incorporate them into our hospitality models the more successful we will be moving forward.
You have further transformed your F&B offerings; what more can we expect, and what would you advise the industry?
We’re always looking for innovative dining concepts to serve to our guests. One is our Immersive Fine Dining Experience. Using cutting-edge 3D visual technology of story-telling theatrics, it’s a delectable spectacle of talking plates, levitating serve ware, magic candles, and bedazzling animated statues.
We also added new brunch concepts to our weekend and weekday offerings. Yoru Brunch at Noir offers flavoursome Japanese cuisine signature dishes, cocktails, and abstract performances. Salero Tapas & Bodega’s Friday Fiesta Brunch serves authentic Spanish fare and flair. Taste of The Levant at Olea takes our guests on a daily culinary journey to the Levant region.
For the ultimate movie-night experience, VOX@KEMPINSKI, our private 15-seater cinema, elevates movie-going to a fine dining affair. Our guests are spoilt for choice – from juicy burgers, to regional favourite grills, premium mezze platters and a well-stocked bar featuring French bubbly. They can enjoy the latest blockbuster movie with family and friends at this exclusively crafted journey only available at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates.
My advice to the F&B industry is to never set limits to their imagination when it comes to the dining experience.
What is the future looking like for Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates?
I think I’m warranted in my optimism when I say that the future looks bright! We will continue to apply our White Glove Services for which we received the Bureau Veritas Safeguard label. We will further our sustainability efforts to honour our LEED Platinum certification. And most importantly, we will carry on re-imagining the concept of luxury.