x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hotel paints picture with a big difference

The Life: Klaus Assman discusses the opening of Dubai's newest five-star hotel, the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, which is managed by the luxury group that operates the Burj Al Arab.

Klaus Assmann is the general manager of the luxury Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Klaus Assmann is the general manager of the luxury Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Klaus Assmann is the general manager of the luxury Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, which is set to become the latest five-star property in Dubai when it opens its doors on Sunday.

The 292-room hotel is owned by Dubai Duty Free and is based next to the Aviation Club, a sports club Jumeirah Group also manages as part of the same complex. The group operates other hotels including the Burj Al Arab.

Here, Mr Assmann talks about how Jumeirah Creek will compete with the other luxury hotels in town.

How do you plan to manage the challenge of opening during the summer?

For us it's actually a perfect time. It gives us time to spend with our colleagues and train them and get them focused on the main season. We think it's a great time to finish certain things with the construction. We really appreciate the summer.

How do you feel about the broader industry in Dubai?

In 2008, everything was perfect, and then it wasn't that perfect any more. Now, there's a trend that we're getting more business than we thought we would get due to the unfortunate situation in Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. It's not great for those countries but of course it will direct business into Dubai.

What kind of business are you focusing on?

It's an 'art and lifestyle' hotel. We have a very, very strong art exhibition. It took a long time for the consultant curator to put this together. It's all Middle East artists. There are 482 pieces in the hotel. It goes from sculpture to video art to canvas art. It pushes into the food and beverage outlets, the guest rooms, everywhere. We have an arts and cultural programme manager who will promote the art and also network with the cultural part of town, the arts scene. We also have a screening room - a small cinema that's professionally specced.

That must have been quite a big investment. What do you think it will bring to the property?

I think for us investment-wise it's basically important for us to differentiate us from the others.

Are you concerned about the economic situation in Europe?

The traditional markets are important but we think we are flexible enough to be able to adjust to any kind of economic change out of Europe and just try to shift business out of Asia. Also, we're selling the hotel as a 24-hour stay hotel ... so if you arrive at 6 o'clock you can stay until the next day at 6 o'clock.

How long have you personally been working on the hotel?

It was meant to be just a few months before opening but now it has been two years. There were just certain parts of the construction that we were not happy with and the ownership was not happy with. We felt quality goes before just rushing into something. Certain things are not always falling into place. One situation that got delayed was basically that it took quite a long time to get all the windows delivered.

* Rebecca Bundhun