Kirti Anchan, General Manager of Jumeirah Emirates Towers, discusses how this landmark property keeps ahead of the competition, the emergence of sustainability and technology, and the industry’s key issues

By Roma Arora

With a slew of new hotels with flashy designs on the horizon, how does Jumeirah Emirates Tower stay ahead of the competition?
At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we firmly believe that staying ahead of the competition requires a relentless pursuit of excellence in every aspect of our operations. To achieve this, we focus on several key areas that set us apart.

Firstly, we recognise the importance of maintaining our iconic status in the Dubai skyline. For over two decades, the hotel’s unique architecture and design have defined the city’s landscape, and we continue to innovate and evolve to ensure we remain relevant and attractive to our guests.

Secondly, we significantly invest in technology to streamline our operations enhance our guest’s experience by providing seamless and convenient services, including mobile check-in and check-out, keyless room entry, and a range of other digital features.

Thirdly, at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we place great emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility in our operations. We have implemented several initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, including the use of energy-efficient lighting, water conservation measures, and waste reduction programs. Our commitment to sustainability sets us apart from other hotels in the market and resonates with our guests, who are increasingly concerned about the impact of their travel on the environment. Lastly, we are committed to continuously evolving our food and beverage offerings to cater to the current trends and preferences of our guests. Our dedication to culinary innovation pushes us to constantly experiment with new concepts and cuisines to ensure our guests have a memorable dining experience with us.

What are the key challenges the hotel industry is currently facing?
The hotel industry faces several key challenges, but we see them as exciting opportunities for growth and innovation. From a technological perspective, hoteliers need to keep up with evolving customer demands and expectations. Guests now expect high-tech amenities such as e-registrations, online food ordering, high-speed Wi-Fi, and touchless technology, and hotels must adapt to these requirements to remain competitive.

Moreover, guests and partners guests and partners have become more conscious about environmental sustainability and are now demanding that the brands they support also implement sustainable practices. This puts pressure on hotels to take significant steps to reduce their carbon footprint and ensure that their operations are sustainable.

There is also a certain degree of saturation in the market, with numerous players offering similar services and amenities. In Dubai, new hotels are continuously being introduced, leading to fierce competition for guests. However, hotels can differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering unique experiences, personalised services, and implementing sustainable practices. At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we focus on these areas to stand out in a crowded marketplace and continue to thrive. With the right strategies and a commitment to innovation, hotels can overcome these challenges and succeed in the industry.

Sustainability is clearly important to you. Tell us about a few ways you’ve incorporated eco-friendly concepts into your hotel?
At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we take sustainability very seriously as part of our commitment to the Dubai Sustainable Tourism Program. As we progress towards a green future, we’ve implemented a variety of initiatives, from conserving energy and water conservation to managing waste management and prioritising sustainable procurement.

Our biggest sustainability initiative to date has been the implementation of an in-house glass bottling plant system, which has replaced the use of approximately 670,000 plastic bottles each year in our guest rooms and food and beverage operations. We’re also proud to offer several eco-friendly alternatives across many guest touchpoints in the hotel, including eco-friendly amenities, guest e-registration, e-menus, and sustainable food sourcing. As part of our giving back, we regularly donate used hotel linen and colleague uniforms to selected charities, amounting to approximately 1.1 tonnes recently, as well as 3000 kilos of paper products. And for electric car users, we have e-car charging stations available on our complex open for public and guest use.

We’re also taking steps to digitise our record-keeping process, replacing manual recording with digital systems to improve efficiency and accuracy while reducing paper waste. Recently, we have also partnered with Ne’ma to support the reduction of food waste during Ramadan.

We know that education and awareness are critical to sustainability, which is why we also continuously educate our team members on sustainable practices. Our goal is to create a long-term commitment to sustainability within our team and raise awareness of environmental responsibility exponentially.

What is the unique value proposition that you offer to your customers?
As a leading luxury city hotel in the region for over 23 years, Jumeirah Emirates Towers offers a unique value proposition that sets us apart from our competitors. Our commitment to providing exceptional personalised services and creating memorable experiences that exceed our guests’ expectations is the cornerstone of our brand. We believe in the power of human interaction in hospitality, and our colleagues offer unrivalled, genuine service that creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere for our guests. Located in the heart of Dubai, our hotel offers convenient access to the city’s key attractions and business hubs, including Dubai International Financial Centre and Dubai World Trade Centre. Our iconic architecture and stunning views of the city from our rooms and suites make us a stand-out area. Additionally, we provide our guests with a range of dining options, including a range of dining options and award-winning restaurants. As part of the Jumeirah brand, we take pride in upholding the brand’s reputation for excellence and unparalleled service.

Tell us a bit about the restaurants and bars in the hotel and how it offers a unique offering.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers is a popular destination for food enthusiasts, with 11 exceptional food and beverage venues that offer a unique dining experience. We take pride in catering to our guests’ discerning palates by offering an array of options to satisfy every taste bud.

Our award-winning Mundo is an all-day dining restaurant that offers themed nights and business lunch experiences. We are also home to Gohan, La Cantine Du Faubourg, Madeleine et Marcel, Ninive, and The Nice Guy, which are powerhouses of Japanese, French, Middle Eastern, and Italian cuisines, respectively.

For guests seeking an eclectic dining experience, Leen’s, located in the Office Towers, offers gourmet meals in a unique setting. Our Daefi Lounge provides a luxurious lounge experience for guests entering the hotel, where they can enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or afternoon tea later in the day. We also have Flow, a restaurant that caters to health enthusiasts and vegan guests, offering hearty meals throughout the day. Additionally,Mi Amie is the perfect place to enjoy magnetic vibes and tantalising cuisine, and The Agency is known as one of Dubai’s best wine bars in the noughties.

How does a hotel remain a part of the local community while attracting guests from afield?
At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we understand the importance of balancing our role as an active member of the local community while also attracting guests from around the globe. As part of our efforts to achieve this, we have integrated Dubai-exclusive experiences into our offerings to enhance our guests’ stay while promoting the rich heritage and attractions of the city.

We recently opened an air-conditioned bridge connecting us to the Museum of the Future and Dubai Metro, making it simple for our guests to easily explore the city’s newest attraction and travel seamlessly around it. Moreover, we have partnered with local travel experience providers to offer curated experiences that showcase the best of Dubai.

With its strategic location in the bustling Dubai Financial District, close to the World Trade Centre and Downtown Dubai, our hotel guarantees that our guests will feel the pulse of the city. Our address, adjacent to the iconic Emirates Office Tower, which is home to the offices of the Prime Minister of Dubai and other government offices, adds to the prestige of our hotel among government and corporate leaders around the world.

Our distinctive architecture stands tall, serving as one of the symbolic representations of the city worldwide, ensuring our enduring presence as an integral part of the iconic Dubai skyline.

In your opinion, what is the most impressive part of the property?
Every time I enter the lobby, I am fascinated to see our guests from quite varied backgrounds sitting side by side. This may be the only lobby in the world where one can meet a UAE cabinet minister, a CEO of a major multinational, a journalist, a young Emirati student, an Indian tech entrepreneur, a Saudi businesswoman, a head of state, intellectuals, politicians, diplomats, and even budding artists altogether, all in the course of one day.

The lobby was designed by Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will, which has abundant daylight, high ceilings, sophisticated interiors, and a dynamic atmosphere to complement the opulence. As guests sit in the lobby, they are greeted by a glimpse of the Museum of the Future, as if the beautiful structure itself were welcoming them to a memorable stay in the city. The tower’s opulence, status, and power are palpable in the lobby, providing a constant feeling of luxury.

Do you have any new initiatives or offerings you’d like to share?
We are gearing up for the summer to offer various exciting summer experiences for those seeking a luxurious escape this season. Our summer stay packages will be packed with value that guests will surely appreciate. Additionally, we are introducing new culinary experiences at our food and beverage venues, Mi Amie and The Agency, to tantalise every guest’s taste buds. We look forward to bringing you more exciting news to make your summer getaway to Jumeirah Emirates Towers unforgettable!

Tourism has had a massive comeback to Dubai – how do you see this translating to bigger growth in the hospitality sector in 2023?
With considerable investment being made in new hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses, Dubai’s hospitality sector is expected to see significant growth this year.

In particular, the luxury hospitality sector is expected to thrive due to Dubai’s reputation as a hub for business and finance in the Middle East. Businesses seeking high-end facilities that provide state-of-the-art technology and amenities for their events and conferences will further fuel growth in this sector.

Dubai’s hosting of COP 28 this year, a high-profile event that will bring together leaders from around the world to discuss climate change and sustainability, is another factor that will support the development of the sector. There will likely be a large influx of visitors to the city, increasing the demand for hotel rooms, conference facilities, and other hospitality services. As a result, the hospitality sector in Dubai is set to play a key role in supporting the city’s continued growth and development.

How has technology impacted and influenced design, and how might it continue to in the future?
Technology has significantly impacted the hospitality business, transforming how guests interact with hotels. More and more hotels have started incorporating technology into their guest rooms, with features such as smart lighting and temperature controls, curtain controls, and charging stations becoming increasingly common. Additionally, hotels have started implementing e-registrations for a more efficient check-in process.

To enhance presentations and events, hotels are also investing in state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment for event spaces, such as high-quality sound systems and large-screen displays,

Hotels have also increasingly incorporated digital signage and interactive displays to provide guests with information about the hotel and local attractions while also creating an immersive and visually engaging atmosphere. In order to provide guests from around the world with an immersive experience of our hotel rooms, we have made a strategic investment in 360-degree virtual tours. These tours allow us to visually engage and interactively promote our rooms on our marketing platforms, offering potential visitors a realistic and accurate image of what they may anticipate from their stay with us.

Looking ahead, hotels are incorporating sustainability into their design as guests become more environmentally conscious, with the use of energy-efficient lighting and cooling systems and water-saving technologies becoming more popular. Hotels are also using smart building management systems to optimise energy usage and reduce waste.

How, according to you, is the hospitality industry evolving? What is your vision for the hospitality segment in the Middle East?
Based on my observations, there are several important developments shaping the industry, including personalised experiences, an increased focus on sustainability, the integration of technology, and a growing attention to health and wellness. Nowadays, guests are more drawn towards personalised experiences that cater to their individual needs and preferences. At Jumeirah Emirates Towers, we leverage the use of data and technology to create personalised experiences for guests, which has driven our continuous growth in repeat guest ratio. Guests are also becoming increasingly concerned about the impact of their travel on the environment and are looking for sustainable options, making them support brands that show genuine commitment towards sustainability.

The use of technology has also become increasingly important in the hospitality industry, with many hotels and resorts using digital tools to streamline operations, enhance the guest experience, and improve communication.
We have also observed the rise in the importance of health and wellness, with guests looking for ways to incorporate healthy habits into their daily routines, even when they are away from home.

Moving forward, the Middle East hospitality industry will likely continue to evolve in line with global trends. However, there are also some unique factors that are shaping the industry in the region as global leaders. One example is the growing popularity of experiential travel, in which passengers focus on creating meaningful and engaging experiences rather than just visiting a region and ticking off tourist sites. The Middle East has all the advantages and resources to encourage travellers to engage with the local culture, traditions, and environment.