Exploring the richness of Jordan’s hospitality sector with Muhannad Hameed

Exploring the richness of Jordan’s hospitality sector with Muhannad Hameed

Muhannad Hameed, GM of Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa

Muhannad Hameed, GM of Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa, discusses Jordan’s hospitality landscape, the launch of Oak Tree Kitchen restaurant, and Jordan’s future.

How long have you served at Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa?

I have held the position of general manager of the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa for the past five years. However, my journey with this remarkable property dates back two decades. Initially, I joined the property during its opening phase as the event manager in 2002. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to take on responsibilities in various departments. In 2014, I undertook a two-year international assignment with Marriott in Kuwait. Returning in 2016 as hotel manager, I became the general manager in 2018.

During this time, we’ve implemented several enhancements to elevate the guest experience at the Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa. From refreshing culinary offerings to upgrading facilities, our aim has been to align with the evolving expectations of our guests. Our latest venture, Oak Tree Kitchen, a new Jordanian-Arabic restaurant, holds a special place in our hearts.

How do you evaluate the hospitality sector in Jordan?

Jordan’s hospitality sector is experiencing very healthy dynamic growth, evidenced by the opening of new hotels in the past 10 years that cater to diverse traveler preferences. Indeed, Jordan has experienced a significant development in the luxury segment. Several projects were developed in Amman and key destinations such as Aqaba created new market demand.

Jordan’s genuine hospitality, diverse attractions and strategic investments in accommodations make it an attractive destination with unique appeal and charm. Furthermore, Jordan Tourism Board initiatives further support tourism growth. With a commitment to excellence and sustainable growth, Jordan’s hospitality sector is poised for continued success on the international stage.

What inspired the concept of Oak Tree Kitchen, and how does it reflect Jordan’s culinary and cultural legacy?

Oak Tree Kitchen encapsulates the essence of Jordanian and regional flavors, taking you on a culinary journey. The interior design draws inspiration from the Salt City in northern Jordan. Reflecting our cultural aesthetics in décor and featuring authentic Jordanian dishes, every aspect is crafted for an immersive dining experience. We collaborate with local artisans and culinary experts, ensuring each dish at Oak Tree Kitchen tells a story of Jordanian traditions and flavors. More than a restaurant, Oak Tree Kitchen is a story connecting international guests and the local community with our rich heritage.

How does the restaurant aim to convey Jordanian hospitality beyond just providing a delicious meal?

At Oak Tree Kitchen, we believe that Jordanian hospitality extends far beyond the plate. Our main goal is to create an environment where guests feel the warmth and authenticity of Jordanian hospitality. We designed our restaurant to evoke the feeling of entering a Jordanian home, drawing inspiration from the old houses in Salt. Furthermore, the Oak Tree Kitchen service and culinary team undergo training to serve meals and engage with guests. Consequently, we want our guests to feel like cherished members of an extended family. Each dish on our menu tells a story – a story of tradition, history, and regional influences. Thus, we encourage our team to share these stories with our guests.

This storytelling element enriches the dining experience and creates a connection between the guest and the culinary heritage. Beyond a restaurant, Oak Tree Kitchen aims to be a cultural exchange, where Jordanian hospitality is not just tasted but felt and embraced.

Given your vast experience, how do you see the future of the hospitality industry in Jordan and what trends do you anticipate playing a significant role in the coming years?

In Jordan, we’re witnessing some exciting shifts that are likely to shape its future. There’s a growing awareness and appreciation for sustainable and responsible tourism. Guests, mindful of their environmental impact, increasingly influence choices in accommodation, dining and overall experiences, shaping sustainable hospitality preferences. Furthermore, hotels and resorts are adopting eco-friendly practices to align with these values. We are fully committed to environmental contributions, and several initiatives reflect our dedication to responsible tourism. A notable highlight is our 100 percent reliance on solar energy to power our resort. Utilizing abundant sunlight, we reduce our carbon footprint and promote clean, renewable energy sources, aligning with sustainable practices.

This aligns with our commitment to sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. Modern travelers seek authentic, immersive experiences. Jordan, with its rich cultural heritage, historical sites, and local engagements, offers guests unparalleled experiences. The ongoing trend in guest services integrates technology. We offer online check-ins, a mobile key option for contactless guest services. Online platforms and social media shape travel decisions, emphasizing the importance of a strong digital presence, a key focus for us.

Guests seek well-being facilities: fitness amenities, spa services, and healthy dining options. We’re well positioned to capitalize on this growing trend. Travelers seek local cuisines, and Oak Tree Kitchen is a significant achievement, focusing on local products and herbs since its opening. The future of the hospitality industry in Jordan appears promising, with a focus on sustainability, authenticity, technology, health and personalization. Embracing these trends caters to evolving traveler preferences and positions Jordan as a dynamic, forward-thinking destination for unique experiences.


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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