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Breaking Travel News interview: Jean-François Laurent, general manager, Anantara Dubai The Palm

Breaking Travel News interview: Jean-François Laurent, general manager, Anantara Dubai The Palm

Perched on the eastern crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is a remarkable location inspired by traditional Thai architecture in an Arabian setting. 

The resort is where one can savour moments of bliss surrounded by unimaginable magnificence.

Here Rebecca Cohen chats with general manager Jean-François Laurent for Breaking Travel News about the latest developments at the hotel and the growing importance of the Palm for tourism in Dubai.

Breaking Travel News: Thank you for taking the time to talk to Breaking Travel News. Here we are in Dubai. It’s been a busy week with Arabian Travel Market and Arabian Hotel Investment Conference. How important are these trade shows for you and your property?

Jean-François Laurent: It is very important to be in these shows, especially in Dubai where we can see all the trends and what are competitors are doing.

We can also showcase our property with every new addition that we have.

Not only for us in terms of our hotel, but also for Anantara as a company.

BTN:  We are sitting right now in the beautiful Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa. We were talking just now about some developments in the spa, which has just been re-launched. Can you tell us about those?

JFL: Yes, absolutely.

The spa we closed for three, nearly four months. We built a Turkish hammam, 750 square metres of Turkish hammam, which has recently opened.

It is simply stunning, so I would encourage everybody who is looking for a nice relaxing time to visit us.

BTN: An then also a new café on the horizon?

JFL: Absolutely, with the implementation of a boardwalk around the Palm we took the initiative of developing a new café/restaurant on the roadside that will be facing the ocean.

This is an amazing terrace, slightly elevated, with a magnificent view on Dubai and the skyline of Dubai, so we are looking forward to the opening of this. It’s called Revo Café.

A very urban design, a lot of organic food, everything really made for innovative cuisine as well.

But, affordable, and accessible to anybody passing by the hotel.

BTN: You are located here on the Palm, which some refer to as a destination in itself. With so many new hotels opening around you and the existing competitors, how do you keep your hold on the market?

JFL: Well, yes, there are many other hotels opening, and more residences.

I don’t necessarily look at it as a threat.

In fact I think a few more hotels on the Palm will really position, and reaffirm the position of the Palm as a destination within a destination in Dubai.

All these residences, when they are occupied will bring more business to us.

That is why we are looking at redesigning some of our restaurants and expanding some of the terraces.

The addition of the Revo Café is for this reason, in anticipation of the growing business here on the Palm.

BTN: With so much social media in this day and age, is this important tool you use to market yourself?

JFL: Yes, we are present on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Today, without social media, I don’t think you can survive!

Its part of the way we showcase out product and access the market.

We are extremely active on social media.

BTN: Lastly, your relationship with Anantara, the brand, within the Middle East region. How many properties are there? And what’s the reason for the stronghold within the Middle East?

JFL: Anantara is a very strong brand with a very strong reputation in Asia.

We see more and more hotels opening in the Middle East.

The most recent one was Banana Island in Doha.

We will open very soon two hotels in Oman, one in Salalah and one in Jebel Akhdar.

So that’s another two very, very nice properties for Anantara to reaffirm our position on the market. 
And there is more to come.

Anantara is part of Minor Group and therefore, under Minor, we have different brands, including Avani, and we will see also a couple of Avani hotels opening in UAE in the very near future.

We are looking at Saudi Arabia.

We are looking at Bahrain.

Yes, so for us the Middle East has been a success story so far and I do believe that Anantara will continue in that direction.

BTN: We wish you all the best with those exciting expansion plans and thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.

JFL: Thank you, it’s a pleasure.

Take a look below for the full interview: