Breaking Travel News interview: Mahmoud Sakr, managing director, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
An iconic destination nestled on the quiet, pristine West Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is seen as an icon of Middle Eastern hospitality.
Here Breaking Travel News chats with Mahmoud Sakr, managing director of the property, about what it brings to the destination and the likely impact of the upcoming Expo 2020 on the source markets that have made this one-of-a-kind hotel such a success.
Breaking Travel News: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is one of the most established properties on the Palm Jumeirah – how has the hotel kept its offering fresh as other hotels have arrived in the destination?
Mahmoud Sakr: It’s true that Dubai is an incredibly competitive marketplace at the minute, but in terms of what we offer, we’re still very unique.
Not many hotels on the Palm Jumeirah, or indeed Dubai, can say that they are inspired by the opulence of the Ottoman Empire and every day we welcome guests who are ‘wowed’ by the architecture of the property.
When guests decide to book with us, they are booking an experience, not just another hotel, and that’s key to everything that we think about both strategically and operationally.
While that nod to history is important to us, we are also incredibly forward thinking when it comes to evolving our product.
We are constantly listening and anticipating the needs of our guests and whether it’s revised food and beverage offerings, a newly launched e-butler service via WhatsApp or the creation of bespoke packages, we put our guests experience first.
BTN: Saudi Arabia, the UK and India are among the most importance source markets for Dubai – is this reflected among your guests? How would you describe occupancy at the hotel in mid-2019?
MS: We’ve seen a positive trend of increase in occupancy year on year, which is testament to how we keep evolving our offer.
There’s no doubt that Saudi Arabia, the UK and India are key markets for us, but such is Dubai’s accessibility that we’re seeing guests from all over the world come and stay with us.
From the USA to Australia, it’s important that we continue to ensure that we’re one of the first hotels guests think about when they consider Dubai as a destination.
BTN: As a United Arab Emirates-based company, is Jumeirah well positioned to benefit from the arrival of Expo 2020 next year? How important is this event for the domestic hospitality sector?
MS: The eyes of the world will be on us next year, and everyone in Dubai, not just in the hospitality sector, is looking forward to welcoming guests from all over.
It’s expected that Expo 2020 Dubai will have the highest proportion of international visitors which gives us a tremendous opportunity to showcase Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, help our guests make memories and inspire them to come back in the future.
With 25 million visitors descending upon the Emirate during the six months event, it certainly is an important milestone for the hospitality sector in Dubai and an occasion that we can’t wait to be a part of.
BTN: With an offering centred on the spa facilities at the hotel, could we learn a little more about what is on offer there?
MS: Our award-winning Talise Ottoman Spa is actually a destination in itself.
In total it’s got 42 treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas, two thalassotherapy pools and even a snow room – perfect for cooling down in the Dubai heat!
What people might not know is that the spa was actually the first in the UAE to offer a traditional Turkish Hammam and we pride ourselves on maintaining that philosophy of community.
With a range of treatments and fitness classes, it really is the perfect place to come together, relax and enjoy an indulgent experience; whether that’s as part of a stay or indeed just for the day.
BTN: Jumeirah Zabeel Sarah is been recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Resort Residences by voters at the World Travel Awards. How important are such accolades for the hotel?
MS: Awards are incredibly important for the resort because it demonstrates that we’re delivering exceptional experiences to our guests.
Our trophy cabinet is being added to year upon year, and it is really is a source of pride for every colleague within the resort when we win these awards.
However, like I’ve mentioned, we continue to work hard to enhance our guests’ experience which will hopefully result in more accolades coming our way.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray stands as an ode to the excellence of the Ottoman era.
Inspired by the historic Turkish empire, the exquisitely done interiors of our 379 elegant guest rooms, 26 lavish suites, and 38 Royal Residences are a testimony to the magnificence of the golden Tulip era.
Find out more on the official website.
From carefully hand-painted interiors and stunning unrivalled views of the Arabian Gulf, guests indulge their senses within the resort, and beyond.
Flanked by stunning views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s skyline, you are in for a visual treat in more ways than one.