Never afraid to step outside his comfort zone, Chadi Farhat, global brand COO and head of Middle East and Asia Pacific at Ennismore, gives us the lowdown on the firm’s activities and what’s coming up.
Ennismore is a leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning hotels, residences, restaurants and nightclubs. What more can you tell us about the firm?
Ennismore hotels were the first to really drive lifestyle hospitality, and, as a result, the segment has grown stronger in the region. We continue to ensure that our team members and all the brands across our portfolio are staying true to Ennismore’s DNA.
The joint venture with Accor fuses Ennismore’s know-how in building brands with purpose with Accor’s wealth of knowledge in delivering scale, network growth and distribution.
We are dedicated to delivering unique experiences to every guest and responding to the latest market developments and fluctuations in demand. Adaptability has always been at the heart of the Ennismore spirit, and, true to form, each brand has developed creative ways to continue engaging with the public and delivering a quality experience to every guest.
Going that extra mile for your guests makes a world of difference when establishing an award-worthy brand.
Experiential dining is gaining importance in the region. How are you keeping up with this trend?
At Ennismore, we’re always looking for new ways to add value and create unforgettable, unique experiences for our guests; this is just as relevant for our dining concepts as it is for our hotels.
A great example of a multisensory dining experience was our first Taste of Mondrian at Mondrian Doha, which we hosted in June 2022. It was a four-day exclusive event; the hotel offered exceptional dining and entertainment experiences across all our F&B venues. It was a great success that we’re looking to turn into an annual tradition at Mondrian Doha and replicate at our other properties.
Our restaurants, by nature, are experiential and offer 360-degree experiences of fine food in stunning settings, thrilling entertainment and impressive food theaters, with unique background stories behind every concept.
What luxury hospitality trends should we be watching in 2023 and how are your hotel brands redefining the luxury experience?
We have been witnessing a strong trend in the luxury sector when it comes to sustainability and conscious travel, whether that’s supporting local talent, charitable initiatives which give back or making more sustainable choices with the everyday running of operations. It’s a big contributing factor that people will be considering before they book, so it’s something that is crucial to watch this year.
As travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, people are more particular and mindful of the locations where they want to spend their time and money. They’re looking for something out of the ordinary. Great hospitality is not just about fancy interiors, clean rooms and polite service; it is first about the people, staff and guests, and the ability to offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Travelers won’t expect anything less this year
At Ennismore, we constantly adapt and differentiate ourselves by remaining true hospitality trendsetters.
How is the company expanding its global footprint?
We have 13 projects in active stages of development. These new destinations will bring with them exciting entertainment and F&B offerings, as well as co-working spaces, making them destinations for travelers and locals. This exciting growth in the MENA region will account for 15 percent of our global development.
Following the success of Mondrian Doha and 25hours, as well as SLS and Hyde in Dubai, we are set to open approximately 12 new hotels within the Middle East over the next few years. We will continue to remain locally minded, adapting and catering to the relevant markets and audiences and continue to ensure all our brands have a purpose.
We are delighted to be welcoming SLS Red Sea, in collaboration with John Pagano and his team at The Red Sea Development Company. Once again, we will be working with architect Piero Lissoni to deliver our signature SLS experience, and we cannot wait for guests to be able to experience this in 2023. We truly believe that once open, the property will be a highly sought-after destination for global travelers and locals alike, with its exclusive spa, lounge and culinary concepts including Seabird, Fi’lia and Floating World.
We also have the opening of SO/ Uptown Dubai, boasting 188 luxurious rooms and suites, which will be joined by an array of five-star facilities and SO/ Residences located on the upper floors. With the interior design by Rockwell Group and architectural design by Thornton Thomasetti Dubai, in collaboration with Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture, the property will reflect the brand’s glamorous, fashion-led identity. Guests can expect elegant interiors that are distinguished by the style, art and energy of the locale.
I can assure you that 2023 is already looking to be another great year.