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Walid Al-Awa

General Manager, Tamani Marina Hotel

Samir Moussa

General Manager, Marina View Hotel Apartments

Serviced apartment hotels are offering visitors a comfortable stay in Dubai, providing much-needed rooms and amenities to support the thriving sector.

How does your hotel stand out in Dubai’s saturated hotel industry, and what amenities do you offer guests?

WALID AL-AWA We have a mission and vision that comes firstly from our religion; everyone here is equal. Our approach is that once you enter the hotel, you feel safe and calm—like you have come home, and whenever there is feedback from our guests, we act immediately on it. The building Tamani Marina Hotel is housed in was originally intended to be a residential tower. We offer huge rooms with a fantastic view of the Palm, in a great location. Throughout the hotel, we display Islamic art, which is one way in which we stand out from Western hotels. Tamani supports charities, and we host charity events every month with the participation of our employees. In order to show our responsibility to the community, we participate in events ranging from cleaning up the city to sponsoring yearly Ramadan activities. We have hosted an art auction, from which all profits went to charitable organizations. We not only respect our guests, but our employees, owners, suppliers, associates, and society in general. It is easy to work here, and we have a fantastic employee environment. This is our approach; our philosophy differs from other hotels.

SAMIR MOUSSA From 2013 to 2014 we saw significant changes around our property, starting with the main hotel lobby. We have refurbished the entrance, choosing marble tiles in soothing earth tones. Dubai Marina View Hotel Apartments is primarily a family-oriented hotel, and the idea was to make this a home-away-from-home for all guests from the moment they step inside. The second set of notable changes is in the poolside area. Some landscaping was incorporated, and we updated the swimming pool tiles. We organize games and activities daily for our guests to participate in, such as water volleyball. Accordingly, it was important for us to create an aesthetically pleasing as well as practical area for visitors to enjoy. We also expanded our family restaurant, building a terrace for the spill over of diners we receive. The terrace is a relaxing area with two large screens, four TVs, and an impressive audio system, airing international sports. The terrace seating area was very popular during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In our experience, not many hotel apartments within our category can honestly match the number of onsite amenities we offer. For example, we have an electronic shop that sells mobile phones and accessories. Here, guests do not need to go far to pick up any gadget they may need during their stay. The gentlemen’s spa and ladies’ salon are other unique features not typically found at hotel apartments. These subtle differences appear to have positively impacted on the hotel’s popularity.

How will new infrastructure and investments in Dubai help the Emirate become a top tourism destination?

WA Dubai has come a long way over the last 15 years or so; you can see what it looks like now compared to the early 1990s. When the metro was built people questioned its usefulness as everyone drives cars, but is has been incredibly successful. The new Marina Tram will likely see similar results. With an increasing number of hotels, it is becoming easier for tourists to come to Dubai. We will need even more hotels to support the sector. Dubai is now competing with major cities around the world, like Istanbul and London.

SM With the upcoming Expo, Dubai is expected to receive 20 million visitors annually over the next few years, almost doubling 2014 figures. Additionally, over 100 new competitors are set to enter the market considering the new developments in the pipeline, such as the Mall of the World that is expected to feature at least 100 new hotels alone. As a brand, Dubai should be positioned as a futuristic city, the world’s main business and leisure hub, and a safe haven for travellers. These points are crucial to the Emirate’s development.

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