VEEN Scene Round-Up
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New Opening: The Arts Club Dubai

Shorts, sports clothes, gym wear, beach attire,  are not allowed. Jeans are acceptable so long as they are not ripped or scruffy. And the list goes on. This is a sanctuary for those seeking comfort, hospitality and elegance, with a level of quality, service and attention to detail: it is an office away from the office, where members can conduct business at ease, as well as a social setting where members can entertain in beautiful surroundings, dine and drink from exquisite menus, dance until the small hours, celebrate occasions and experience a rich cultural programme – weekly events, including current debates, artist studio visits, panel discussions, live music and much more.The name is Arts Club Dubai. It is the first international outpost of the celebrated and historical private members’ club, established in 1863 in Mayfair, London. In Dubai, The Arts Club is housed in the heart of the financial centre, DIFC. The Club spans over 6000 square meters, set over four floors of a Foster & Partners designed building, featuring the renowned London brasserie, as well as two brand new restaurants.

Visit Arts Club Dubai

In case you missed: Gordon, Gino and Fred – Desperately Seeking Santa

Made in a cooperation between Studio Ramsay and Visit Finland, together with Visit Rovaniemi and Visit Levi, this past Christmas season must-see TV was ITV’s Gordon, Gino and Fred: Desperately Seeking Santa. The show follows Gordon Ramsay, Gino D’Acampo and Fred Sirieix as they bring the magic of Finnish winter to TVs across the world. On their Christmas adventure, the group travelled in their RV on an adventure across Finnish Lapland visiting Levi, Luosto and Rovaniemi – the Official Hometown of Santa Claus. In addition to sampling traditional Finnish food and drink, the adventure saw them try out Finnish winter activities from ice swimming at the Arctic Sauna World to tree hugging at HaliPuu Forest, and reindeer herding at Jaakkola Reindeer Farm. In Rovaniemi they helped the Elves sort through letters to Santa from children across the world and of course meeting Santa himself at the Santa Claus Office.

Hilton Luxury Brands Capitalizing on the “Workcation” Trend

According to research from Skift-McKinsey Research, average trip duration spiked during lockdowns, indicating that people have been looking for other places to stay and work during the pandemic. Hilton Luxury Brands are responding to this growing “workcation” and “staycation” need with unique offerings that range from extended-stay packages at their luxury brands. Dino Michael, global category head for Hilton Luxury Brands says ”the idea of the workcation, blending work and leisure, was certainly in motion before the pandemic, but the current climate has only amplified it and made it more relevant. We’ve all adapted quickly as behaviours have changed more rapidly over the past nine months.” The lines between business and leisure travel continue to blur at an accelerated pace due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a realignment of consumer travel priorities. Hence, in the luxury hotel space, servicing the work-from-hotel trend can be a winning strategy for building and retaining loyalty.

The Post-COVID Restroom

While restrooms are sometimes an afterthought for hotels, they can have a great and long-lasting effect on customers. In a handwashing survey, 76% of people have had an unpleasant bathroom experience, and that was before COVID hit. In addition, 58% are unlikely to return to a hotel if they don’t have a good feeling that the bathroom is clean or easy to use. Touchless technology has seen a great interest in the post-COVID world, as brands to try to make their restroom as touch-free as possible, but doing so while staying within budget. Automatic and touchless features, previously viewed as expensive solutions, are now a necessity. Automatic entry door hardware, soap, water and flushing capabilities are now a must. In addition to touchless technology, the materials used in restrooms will also be changing, with the ease of cleaning a major factor. In higher-end resorts and hotels, the more ornately designed surfaces, a lot of rustic materials that have been very en vogue recently, will likely move to smoother, easier to clean surfaces with fewer crevices, corners, edges, just because there is going to be so much more cleaning put in place.


Accor Joins Forces With Hoxton Hotels

Accor, Europe’s largest hotel company, is merging a quarter of its brands into a new USD 1 Billion company with the owner of the Hoxton hotel chain. The new lifestyle entity, which will be called Ennismore, will be headquartered in London and jointly led by Gaurav Bhushan — CEO of Accor’s lifestyle division — and Ennismore CEO Sharan Pasricha. The 73 hotels making up the combined company include brands like Hoxton, Gleneagles, SLS, Delano, and Mondrian. The entity will be two-thirds owned by Accor and a third by Pasricha. Sébastian Bazin, Accor’s CEO, said that the venture was “not COVID-related”, but reflected increasing interest from customers for boutique hotels that acted as desirable destinations in their own right. Earlier in October 2020, Accor said it had €4bn liquidity to see it through the remainder of the crisis.

Sharaan, Cave Resort in the Deserts of Saudi Arabia

Famous French architect Jean Nouvel has unveiled the conceptual plans for a new cave hotel in the deserts of Saudi Arabia near AlUla. The designs are inspired by the Nabataeans, the ancient civilization that built rock-cut tombs in nearby Hegra as well as their capital city of Petra, in modern-day Jordan. Hegra was the first place in Saudi Arabia included on Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites. The resort will have 40 suites and three villas carved into the cliff face, with private balconies looking onto the desert landscape. The rooms will be arranged around an 80m-long lift shaft, and the hotel’s entrance will be cut into a circular shape from the sandstone. Nouvel’s resort project in AlUla is expected to be completed by 2024. Nouvel’s architecture firm has put its stamp on the Middle East in recent years, with much-lauded openings including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the National Museum of Qatar in Doha.

India: Food & Beverage Report on 2020

According to a 2020 Trends Report published by Deneout App, an online table reservation platform and restaurant technology company based in India, the North Indian food emerged as the most missed, casual dining was most popular, and premium whisky and brownies continued to remain the preferred choice of alcohol and dessert respectively. The report highlights that Ahmedabad alone ordered 1,10,000 brownies;Bangalore, the alcohol capital of India, chugged down 5,466 liters of liquor in February 2020 alone, while Hyderabad, the city of buffets, continued picking up the most food in buffets. Goa grew into the new city of love for it had the maximum reservations for tables for two, while Agra & Ludhiana had the maximum reservations for tables of four.Dinner outings have increased to 63% post-COVID as compared to 55% before COVID.58% of Indians chose to go out for dinner, while only 24% liked going out for lunch, except in Hyderabad where 40% of the populace preferred eating out during lunch.Delhi spent the highest while dining out with an average transaction value of INR 2300 as compared to the rest of India where transaction value around INR 2000, and 61% of Indians preferred to dine out on weekends.

Dineout App

Sauna: the First Finnish Tradition on the UNESCO intangible Cultural Heritage List

For Finns, the sauna has always been a sacred place. In today’s hectic world, the sauna is a perfect place to wash away the stresses and strains of everyday life, bringing psychological and physical benefits. UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) decided on December 17, 2020 to inscribe sauna culture as a Finnish heritage on their list of intangible cultural heritage elements. Sauna culture is the first Finnish tradition to be included on this list. The “Sauna culture on UNESCO” project, which has now reached a successful conclusion, began many years ago with the determination of Finnish sauna enthusiasts to have sauna culture inscribed on the international list of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage elements. The aim of the “Sauna culture on UNESCO” project has been to nurture the continuity of the sauna tradition, strengthen the vitality of Finnish sauna culture and highlight its sign. More than 25 sauna operators from all over Finland were involved in the implementation of the UNESCO project.

Kempinski Announces CEO Transition

Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group Kempinski Hotels announced the appointment of Bernold Schroeder as Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer ad interim, effective immediately. The news follows the decision of the Kempinski Supervisory Board to part ways with former Chief Executive Officer Martin R. Smura. Since he arrived in 2017, Mr. Scroeder has been a key player in Kempinski’s strategy and growth, leading the Region Europe as Regional COO as well as being a highly committed Member of the Management Board of Kempinski AG and Vice-Chairman of the Management Board of Kempinski Hotels SA. In his new tenure, Mr. Schroeder will seek additional opportunities to achieve improved profitability, sustainable company performance and growth in the long run. Together with the Members of the Management Board, he will enhance the company’s strategy to deliver the brand promise to Kempinski guests, owners and employees and propel the company to further success.

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Jason Atherton: Dubai’s Food Scene To Be ‘Very Different’ Post-Pandemic

Increasingly sophisticated customers are going to make Dubai’s dining scene “a very different place” post-pandemic, believes Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton.“You’ve got two types of restaurants: You’ve got party restaurants which are the Zumas, Amazonicos, the Coyas, where the food is great but it’s a party scene, you get dressed up, everybody wants to be seen. But now you’re getting a more serious type of restaurant. You’ve got Yannick Alleno who’s been here a long time with Stay, where we always have a fantastic meal. Mauro Colagreco with Celebrities who’s a fantastic chef. Gordon Ramsay is going to open a fine dining restaurant on the Palm very soon, I believe, and so is Heston Blumenthal.” According to Atherton, the introduction of more top quality fine dining will make the Michelin Guide take notice of the region and finally come to Dubai. However, he thinks the Guide will have to adapt to the local market. “You don’t know what their criteria is going to be,” he said. “Are they only going to give it to 20-30 cover restaurants? I think that the food at LPM is some of the best in the city, if that doesn’t get a star I’ll eat my hat, but they might deem it’s too big. We don’t know, we just need to wait and see when they come”.