x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Middle East's first Supperclub: From Amsterdam to LA to Dubai

Jumeriah Zabeel Saray on the Palm has plans to open Supperclub, a performing arts and dining venue that already operates in locations around the world such as Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles.

The Music Hall at Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm is regularly packed as it hosts different acts every night. Photo courtesy Music Hall
The Music Hall at Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm is regularly packed as it hosts different acts every night. Photo courtesy Music Hall

DUBAI // Dubai has already established itself as a tourist destination, but two hotels are trying something different - upmarket dining combined with theatre and music.

Zabeel Saray, on the Palm, opened Music Hall, the famous Beirut music venue, in January. At the end of this month it plans to open Supperclub, a performing arts and dining venue that already operates in locations around the world from London to San Francisco.

The hotel's general manager, Stephan Schupbach, hopes the move will not only help the hotel, but lift the Palm's profile as a destination.

The hotel initially struggled with a perception that the Palm was too far away from the mainland, with it being a 20-minute drive away.

But as word got out about the quality of Music Hall - it hosts different acts every night, most often Russian or Arabic singers - it picked up to the point where the venue is regularly packed.

"The brand is so well known in the region that it didn't even require much marketing. People came simply to come and experience Music Hall."

And people have been coming from further afield. Galia Rizk, promotions manager at Music Hall, said there have been many inquiries from Abu Dhabi and Ajman, and visitors often combine a stay at the hotel with an evening's entertainment.

Richard Drake, general manager of Supperclub, a lounge and restaurant with acts ranging from aerial performance to song and dance, said there was no more appropriate location than Zabeel Saray.

"It's about making the Palm a destination," he said. "Since the recession, Dubai was the one place which really stood out in this region from all the other countries.

"We could have put this anywhere, but Dubai has such diverse culture and it's got global recognition, not least with all the new destinations Emirates [airline] is opening which brings people here from all over the world from LA to Amsterdam. Dubai is a hub now, so it's the next logical place to open a Supperclub."

Mr Schupbach hopes the Palm will get a major boost from the two new venues. "It will help 'destination the Palm'," he said. "People are talking about us and Music Hall has already had a major impact.

"We have to compete within the Palm but we also want to work together and complement what's already here so people don't feel like it's a place so far away from the mainland."

On Sheikh Zayed Road, the Shangri-La hotel recently opened The Act, a restaurant and nightclub concept from London where guests can see dancing and cabaret acts during the evening. Two floors of the hotel have been converted into a traditional-looking theatre space with a twist.

Simon Hammerstein, managing partner of Variety Worldwide, which runs The Act, said Dubai "seemed the perfect place to open my next location".

The hotel's general manager, Bernhard Haechler, said: "We had been interested in bringing something new to the hotel for some time.

"And with the fantastic space on the 42nd floor available, we wanted to lease the venue to a brand that would bring a dining or entertainment venue with a difference to the hotel and to Dubai."

mswan@thenational.ae