Sunday, August 20, 2017

ME becoming increasingly popular as a luxury destination

The region’s growing influence as a high-end tourist destination has been reaffirmed after the Middle East Hospitality Awards (MEHA) announced hotels from four different countries as their Luxury Hotel of the Year finalists for 2017.

Resorts in Oman, Kuwait, Morocco, and the UAE have been pitted against one another for the annual prize-giving’s most sought after title – the first time in the awards’ six-year history that all four finalists have come from different nations.

The five-star-rated properties identified as the Middle East’s most luxurious are Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara; Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa Kuwait; Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca; and Palazzo Versace Dubai.

“We received hundreds of entries this year, covering more of a geographic reach than ever before,” said Gary Williams, event director of The Hotel Show Dubai, organisers of the Middle East Hospitality Awards.

“Our finalists across all our award categories include hotels from Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, and the UAE, with five-star hotels from four of those competing for one of our top prizes. The stellar line-up for Luxury Hotel of the Year confirms the Middle East’s growing position as one of the world’s most impressive destinations for luxury hospitality.”

Dubai has the most properties represented in the shortlist, with almost 50 different properties nominated across the awards’ 17 categories.

One of the city’s most iconic hotels, Atlantis The Palm Dubai, is up for the most awards this year with four shortlisted entries: Hospitality Leader of the Year (Serge Zaalof, Chief Operating Officer, Atlantis Resorts & Residences), Head Chef of the Year (Grégoire Berger, Ossiano), Most Impressive Hotel Feature (The Dale Chihuly Sculpture), Best Use of Technology (Wi-Q).

Meanwhile Dubai-based Rove Hotels (Most Impressive Hotel Feature; Hotel Launch of the Year; Mid-Market Hotel of the Year); Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa (Most Impressive Hotel Feature; Resort of the Year; Hospitality Leader of the Year); dusitD2 Kenz Hotel (Mid-Market Hotel of the Year; Best New Restaurant of the Year; Most Impressive Hotel Feature); and Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai (Best Spa / Wellness Centre; Hotel Launch of the Year; Boutique Hotel of the Year) are all shortlisted for three awards.

Famed for its unique location on the edge of a cliff, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort Oman has been shortlisted for two awards (Hotel Launch of the Year; Hospitality Leader of the Year) alongside Gates Hospitality, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay, and The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, also with two nods each.

The 2017 awards received a record number of applications, with the most popular entered categories being: Luxury Hotel of the Year, Best Spa / Wellness Centre, Best Team of the Year, Hospitality Leader of the Year and Best New Restaurant of the Year.

A distinguished judging panel of 10 industry experts – headed up by Michelin-starred Chef and Restaurateur Gary Rhodes OBE – will now be tasked with selecting the winning entries.
Rhodes said: “The Middle East Hospitality Awards are a great opportunity to show the international market that we’re knocking on its door.

“There are world-class hotels here. There are world-class restaurants here. There are great eateries of all kinds – so let’s show everybody what we are all about.”

The Middle East Hospitality Awards 2017, sponsored by Restonic, Tagit RFID Solutions, Pastificio Di Martino, Zumtobel Group, Kimbo, and Pearl Tree, will take place on the first evening of The Hotel Show Dubai 2017 on September 18, at the Palazzo Versace Dubai. More than 400 hoteliers from across the Middle East are expected to attend. - TradeArabia News Service

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