Breaking Travel News interview: Charles Clark, general manager, ME Dubai
Located at the heart of the Burj Khalifa district, ME Dubai is an architectural wonder and is just a short ride away from the major shopping destinations, design hubs and fashion avenues of the city.
Housed in the Opus by Zaha Hadid, the property offers design lovers something to marvel at with a breath-taking façade and interiors adorned with intricate masterpieces.
Having been nominated as the Middle East’s Leading New Hotel by the World Travel Awards, Breaking Travel News here sits down with general manager, Charles Clark, to find out more about this one-of-a-kind property.
Breaking Travel News: Can you bring us up to date with the reopening of ME Dubai and of the city more generally? Is it fair to say the tourism sector is now on the road to recovery?
Charles Clark: We have just announced the upcoming arrival of four new dining and entertainment venues to the property, scheduled to open in quarter four of this year.
The new restaurant, bar and nightclub will be completed over the summer months and will complement our existing venues, Deseo, Central, Botanica, Maine and Roka.
We have also implemented a Stay Safe programme that was developed by Melia Hotels International, to ensure the safety of our team and guests.
With the relaxing of restrictions, international borders and the introduction of travel corridors we are definitely seeing positive indicators of recovery.
There is pent up demand of leisure travel among travellers, who have been waiting patiently to travel again.
Additionally, corporate travel investment is increasingly growing, further aiding economic growth.
BTN: What is it that makes ME Dubai unique in this competitive market? The façade of the property is certainly eye-catching, but there are further surprises inside?
CC: Zaha Hadid’s legacy project, ME Dubai is the only hotel in the world to have both its interiors and exteriors designed by ZHA, and its futuristic architecture, characterised by curves, sharp angles and bold materials, epitomises Hadid’s unique design style.
From exterior to interior, each detail is a testament of her unique aesthetics and vision of the future.
In addition to the remarkable design, the lifestyle luxury service we create for our guests is a key differentiator.
We create bespoke experiences for each guest with our AURA team.
The team create the ambiance and energy of the hotel making sure each stay is tailored to our guests’ tastes – from the personalised welcome gifts they select, to the custom recommendations they’ll make for each visit.
Acting as a conduit for ME’s vibrant personality, the Aura team ensure each guest experiences the essence of ME.
We express contemporary culture, creativity and energy in every aspect of our hotel experience.
For our guests, a stay at one of our hotels is more than just a vacation or a visit - it’s an all-encompassing experience in architecture, design, gastronomy and art.
We align with like-minded creatives to bring unique and contemporary experiences to guests and visitors alike.
We recently welcomed our first artist in residence, Mark Rios aka Mr Dripping.
This creative collaboration saw Mr Dripping take up a pop-up studio in ME Dubai’s Atrium by Zaha Hadid, while showcasing his innovative works in a temporary display on the hotel’s first floor.
Earlier this year, we had internationally acclaimed bar Dante NYC host a month-long pop-up at Botanica, located on the ground floor.
The partnership featured an exclusive cocktail menu that highlighted the diversity and multiculturalism of Dubai.
Currently, we have an exclusive showcase of work by Zaha Hadid Architects and Zaha Hadid Design across various areas of our hotel.
Cementing the hotel’s position at the forefront of contemporary culture, this partnership with Zaha Hadid Architects & Zaha Hadid Design brings a multi-disciplinary showcase of Hadid’s legacy to the Middle East.
As we progress through the year, we have exciting and unique collaborations mapped out to further enhance the city’s cultural scene.
BTN: With Expo 2020 Dubai just around the corner, is there a mood of optimism in the city – what are the hopes for the mega-event?
CC: Certainly, as we move closer to Expo 2020, the city is working towards becoming a global showcase to connect minds, innovate change and create the future.
Everyone is positive and excited about this key global driven event to further drive the recovery of the industry in the region.
Our plans are to work closely with our global partners to promote and aid logistics.
BTN: ME Dubai has been recognised by the World Travel Awards as one of the leading new hotels in region – how will this help from a marketing perspective?
CC: To be recognised above some of the major luxury brands in the region, is definitely humbling for both the team and me.
All awards are gladly received as it further enhances our exposure and awareness in the market.
It also showcases our hotel to both new customers and clients globally which aids our marketing efforts.
BTN: What changes can we expect to see to keep guests safe at the hotel as we enter the post-Covid-19 world?
CC: As we enter a post-Covid-19 world, we will still maintain the strict safety and hygiene protocols that we have implemented as this will continue to affect guests’ behaviour and expectations.
We will continue to respect and implement any regulations or restrictions introduced by Dubai Municipality.
Additionally, we will ensure all staff are full vaccinated to ensure guests’ have a safe and comfortable stay.
Purposefully crafted to be more than a hotel, ME Dubai is a lifestyle of sensorial connections.
Enjoying pride of place at the cultural epicentre of the city, the property rewards curious explorers with a combination of art, cuisine, fashion and music.
Find out more on the official website.