5 Questions to Didier Jardin
General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya

 

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is the latest five-star hospitality addition to the Kuwaiti market. HN spoke to Didier Jardin, the property’s general manager, to learn more about Kuwait as a destination and about the new hotel

 



1. How do you perceive the hospitality scene in Kuwait?
The hotel sector in Kuwait blends the traditions of Kuwaiti hospitality with contemporary style. While the sector continues to support a high proportion of business travelers coming from the Gulf and internationally, leisure tourism is on the rise; in fact, leisure travel spending is expected to increase by 4.1 percent per year through to 2027, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s 2017 report. In terms of its offerings, Kuwait has so much to offer to both business and leisure tourists: from a diverse array of traditional attractions to extraordinary shopping and a much-admired food scene, championed by local chefs with great talent. In the years to come, Kuwait will only strengthen its position as a leading tourism destination with something for everyone. Through Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, we are excited to showcase the destination in a new light and draw attention to the essence of Kuwaiti hospitality.

2. Where do you position the Four Seasons’ brand, and what are your competitive advantages?
Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya brings exceptional Four Seasons service to the heart of Kuwait City. We pride ourselves on our ability to consistently deliver a highly personalized type of service excellence that is attuned to guests’ needs. The people who deliver this service are what make it special, and our passion for our people ensures that
we can continue to surpass guest expectations. In terms of the property itself, we have been honored by the tremendous reception that the look and feel of the hotel has received. Defined by a new standard of innovative modern architecture and high-style design, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya offers a treat for the eyes at every turn – from the extraordinary floating spiral staircase in the lobby, to the striking mashrabiya windows with traditional





Arabic latticework overlooking the pool. In addition, we plan to promote the MICE segment, which we believe is a huge opportunity for Kuwait. We have two ballrooms at our property, as well as a range of conference and banqueting rooms able to welcome up to 2,000 people for conferences, weddings and entertainment events.

3. What more can you tell us about the new property?
Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is the stylish new centrepiece of Kuwait City, positioned in a prime central location and offering a new experience in luxury. The property’s 284 rooms, including 67 suites, feature cutting-edge interiors with a warm color palette and carefully chosen textures and touches of Kuwaiti style and ambiance. The beautiful architecture of the building was conceived by Gensler Architects, while the striking contemporary interior design is thanks to the work of Yabu Puschelburg. Our beautiful outdoor pool creates an urban resort oasis, complete with a poolside waterfall, lush greenery and outdoor cabanas, while our ethereal indoor pool invites meditative relaxation, set among signature green marble of our world-class spa. Our hotel also features a yoga studio and state-of-the-art fitness center. Kuwait City is a food-lovers’ paradise and our hotel is no exception; five dynamic food and beverage offerings provide ample choice for local and international gourmands. On the 21st floor, our rooftop space offers two restaurants: Sintoho, serving pan-Asian cuisine in an ultra-chic setting; and Dai Forni, an open-kitchen Italian concept set around three wood-fired ovens that create the theater of noise, smoke, fire and technique. Complementing these delectable offerings are Elements, where Chef Fabio Quarta serves an international marketplace breakfast and lunch, our lobby lounge, Al Soor and our poolside restaurant, Al Bandar.





4. What are your market expectations?
Since opening our doors in late August this year, the reception to the hotel has been overwhelmingly positive and it is a great source of pride to me and the whole team here at the property to find local residents embracing Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya as their new home-away-from-home. Kuwaitis have long awaited the opening of their own Four Seasons address and the launch of this hotel is our way of responding to their wishes. We are delighted with the warm welcome we have received and have every confidence in building on this success in the coming years among both local and international travelers.

5. Where do you see the industry heading in Kuwait?
We believe Kuwait is on the cusp of a surge in tourism to the market, fueled by local investment and international trends, and driven by the government’s efforts to transform the country into a regional financial and cultural hub by 2035, as outlined in the Kuwait National Development Plan.
In terms of infrastructure, the construction of a new 708,000-square-metre terminal will enable the airport to handle more passenger traffic, specifically up to 25 million travelers when completed. This capacity increase is expected to provide a great boost for the hospitality industry from both a business and leisure perspective. At the same time, there are a number of increasingly popular travel preferences that we anticipate will see more people eager to experience Kuwait. One such trend is the rise in gastronomic tourism, as travelers from the Middle East and beyond start making decisions on destinations to visit based on food they can try there – particularly unusual dishes and fresh combinations by up-and-coming chefs. Kuwait’s buzzing scene of local markets and must-visit restaurants is driving a movement among entrepreneurs to make Kuwait City the World’s Food Capital by 2030, which will continue to entice foodies from far-and-wide. All this, and much more besides, fuels our excitement for the development of the hospitality industry in Kuwait over the coming years and we are thrilled to be a part of this story.

 

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