Hotel Luxury: East to West
Our World | On 23, Feb 2012
…Following on from my piece last week, how does the UK approach the word luxury and what is the mindset in the East?
In the UK; the property, traditional or modern, has to scream out ‘sumptuous living’. For example star performers for me would be many of the previously owned Von Essen Hotels such as Cliveden and Lower Slaughter Manor, the stunning Dorchester Collection, the often referred to as the world’s best – Chewton Glen. All properties where they understand that people are more important than product and where a reflection of a lifestyle can be sought and you don’t wish for your own bed at home!
Stand- out hotels, are not waiting for the economy to turn once again into the right direction. They’re spending time right now to maximise on their product offering, their service and customer understanding. They understand that their guests are becoming increasingly sophisticated and informed. They will naturally become more discerning and hold greater expectations. The future dilemma for the UK’s luxury hotels should not be whether they should do it, whether it will do them good, or whether their guests in the future will like it. The dilemma will be how they fund new and greater service levels, and what will happen if they don’t.
What do the Middle East offer?
Since the Middle East ‘emerged’ on to the C&I market such a relatively short time ago, whether you like it or not, you have to admire their extraordinary efforts to be the best and to outdo not only each other locally, but also every competitor in neighbouring regions.
Largely, they have achieved their goals of being desirable but expensive. Wholly opulent and very often, totally unique, featuring the biggest and the best of everything you could possibly imagine.
Middle Eastern properties cater for all needs in terms of city, beach, resort and desert experiences.
There is something to be found to appeal to old money as well as new money. An air of tranquillity is of paramount importance in any luxury hotel and it is often the discerning factor for selection. Many of my personal favourite luxury hotels are in the Middle East, namely Al Husn at Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort in Muscat, the Ritz Carlton Villas in Bahrain, Al Qasr Madinat Jumeirah and Emirates Al Maha Desert Resort in Dubai.
Expecting all of a hotel’s employees routinely to do something outstanding for a guest every day suggests at least that the hotel has a strategy in place as opposed to spasmodic tactics.
The higher end properties in the Middle East understand this well and historically have ensured that training retains a good slice of the overall budget, which is not a bad strategy for any business to have. Remember if you invest in your staff, it helps improve your service and thus your overall standing on the international market.
Susan Sexton, Events Team