Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Taj Dubai opened in April 2015 in the crowded ultra luxury hospitality market in Dubai, which has a constant stream of new entrants. Acknowledging that it is a competitive space and will become more so in the future, Jason Harding, area director and GM, Taj Dubai said, “Hotel operators in the region are doing an incredible job, but the differentiator for us is that we have over 130 years of experience running luxury properties and the heritage that comes with the Taj is far beyond anything glass and concrete. We bring a totally different emphasis to the Dubai market and Taj Dubai has opened to great acclaim.”
The property, he pointed out, is being promoted as a Taj hotel – an international property with elements of Indian design. “It is not an Indian hotel for Indians but an international hotel for international affluent travellers. The fact that it is by Taj gives the property deep roots in the heritage of hospitality. We should have more hotels in the market that is so vibrant and dynamic,” mentioned Harding. The Taj Group is also looking at other projects in the city and the region. “Taj Dubai is our absolute focus but there is always more that we can do. Taj Dubai will be a pillar for all these projects,” added Harding.
About 20 per cent of the business comes from the India market and Harding is keen to see this segment grow. “For most Indians there is always a connect with the Taj. You start to understand the power of the brand when you speak to the customer directly,” he said adding that other markets are important as well, like the US and European leisure. The GCC countries, like most hotels in Dubai, is the biggest market. “It comprises more than 50 per cent for us,” said Harding.
Located in Downtown Dubai, the property is just a 10 minutes walk from the Dubai Mall. “Almost 60 per cent of our rooms have views of Burj Khalifa. On New Year’s eve we are extremely popular with fireworks going on and all the activities in Downtown,” stated Harding with evident pride.
The interesting F&B options include a gastro pub called The Eloquent Elephant, which, according to Harding, has great traction. Then there is the Bombay Brasserie, the highlight of which is food style based on open grille. This in particular has been well received by Indian expats. Tesoro is the global eatery. Night lounge venue Tree House has just been opened, which offers an amazing view of Downtown and Burj Khalifa.