By CHRISTINE KARAN
Oman Magazine’s very own Christine Karan meets with the General Manager of Al Habtoor Complex for an exclusive interview about his unique lifestyle property, V Hotel, where art takes centre-stage.
Can you please explain the Curio Collection?
The Curio Collection is an independent collection of hotels but with the support of the Hilton Group. Hilton supports us on standard systems, marketing and of course in its worldwide reach. However, we are a homegrown brand, which is all about being a unique hotel. V is also a very fluid brand. We are still building up and we are trying to be different and flexible in dynamics and creative in every way possible. For example, today when you walk in here you’d see an art exhibition, a few weeks later, we will have some other creative event happening. We try our best to be different in our presentation and dynamic in our operations. Just like an art collection, ours is all about curated music, energy and colours. Our suites are very lifestyle-oriented and are very unique.
We are a good mix – a home brand associated with an international brand, which already makes us different. We get the best of both worlds.
What is that one feature that sets V Hotel apart?
It’s our people. It’s a fact that guests judge a hotel by its people. We have taken extra efforts to put in the best team in place, who makes sure the personality of our signature V-brand comes alive. We have quite a few artists in our team as well as a DJ. Also, we have carried out pop-up events where we ask our chefs and sommeliers to come out and educate our guests on their speciality.
Dubai is a shopper’s and a traveller’s paradise; there are many international brands and luxury fashion houses already operating in the city, and new ones opening up. How are you keeping up with the competition?
We believe that we have found a gap in the market and we are trying to serve that gap with our own style of uniqueness. We are doing our own thing. We don’t believe that whatever works in New York or London will work in Dubai as well; we want to present our own way and engage with the society. We want to make that connection with the community we live in and share that with our international guests. That’s what makes the difference. Also, we have become a destination of our own. We have the Le Perle in the property, the Dubai Canal just next door, and of course, Dubai Mall is just a few minutes away.
Tell us about yourself. Were you always passionate about the ‘Hotel- Life’?
I have been a hotelier all my life. I’ve been in the region for a while, around 17 years. I have worked with local as well as international brands and I am very excited to be working as the Group General Manager of the Al Habtoor City hotels complex that includes three very distinctive styles of hotels.
How does your daily life look like as a hotelier?
I never have two days that are the same. Every day there is something very different; a different challenge to overcome, a different experience to learn from.
My day starts off with a tour around the property, which also serves as my exercise due to the size of the property. I make sure I check around the lobbies to get a first-hand feeling of how the guests are doing.
I try to keep myself free to be available for urgent meetings with guests or just to walk around. Afternoons are filled with meetings with various department and at the end of the day, I catch up with emails.
What is your favourite part of the hotel and why?
The V Lounge is one of my favourite places in the property; It’s the vibe, the energy, the view and the cocktails – it truly is the best place to be in the V Hotel.
If there is one movie you wish Al Habtoor City could be featured in, which one would it be?
Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction; just like the movie, there is so much happening in the hotel. Many short stories to be told.
We are at the end of 2018, what exciting plans do you have for 2019?
We have a lot of plans and we are working on various creative events. We have a new beverage concept coming up as well. I can’t give away too much at the moment, but my team and I are working on multiple concepts at the moment.