HN spoke with David Wilson, an industry veteran and GM of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, to find out what the future holds for the luxury property.
How has your 30-year career in hospitality prepared you for this role?
Throughout my career, I have gained valuable experiences in various positions, which have prepared me for my current role. I was fortunate to work with some of the industry’s best leaders and learn from them. Initially, I started my career studying finance at the London Hilton and then worked with different hotel companies, specializing mostly in food and beverage and marketing. My experience at Grosvenor House in London was a great learning opportunity. There, I worked with some of the industry’s greatest professionals. Subsequently, I gained international experience in luxury hotels in Jakarta, Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Bali and China. This gave me great exposure to all aspects of the business. I believe that running a luxury hotel requires a complete understanding of all aspects of the business, and to be a good leader, you need to be able to guide your team, which ultimately requires experience.
Having previously served as the GM of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah from 2015-2020, what excites you the most about returning to this property?
Returning to Waldorf Astoria is a first, as I have never returned to a property where I have previously worked. However, this hotel holds a special place in my heart. Upon my return, the moment I arrived, I felt the same positive energy that I experienced on my first day. Waldorf Astoria is a unique property and one that I am immensely proud to manage. It is wonderful to reunite with our regular guests. Moreover, I am looking forward to working with my team at the hotel, many of whom have been here since opening. Additionally, we also have several new projects in the planning stage, which will further enhance the property.
How do you envision enhancing the dining experiences for guests at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah?
F&B has always been a passion of mine. I really enjoy working with our food and beverage director and executive chef on the offerings at the hotel. Now, we are pleased to announce some exciting news. Firstly, our Asian restaurant LAO will be introducing a Friday evening “drunch” with a relaxed ambience. Meanwhile, Social, our Italian restaurant, has just launched a new menu. It’s already received positive feedback. In October, we’ll also have an exciting entertainment program to enhance the dining experience for all guests.
How are you planning to create memorable experiences for guests while ensuring the profitability and sustainability of the hotel?
Our team strives to create unforgettable experiences for our guests. We cultivate a culture of exceptional service that gives our team both a sense of belonging and purpose. Furthermore, it empowers them to exceed the expectations of our guests and be rewarded accordingly. We firmly believe that delivering excellent products and guest experiences drives profitability. Furthermore, by focusing on excellence, our hotel can achieve competitive rates in the market. Sustainability is a core value that we uphold, and we have implemented various practices throughout the hotel, from sourcing ingredients to reducing waste. Moreover, we consistently communicate to our team members the importance of minimizing waste to ensure a greener future.
What is your vision for the future of the resort?
Our goal is to create a luxurious environment for our discerning guests. To achieve this, we aim to provide seamless service that will make them want to return time and time again. Our team members engage with guests to create a home away from home and anticipate their needs. Furthermore, we are committed to continually improving the services we offer. We understand that we can always do better, and that is a constantly moving target to achieve. As challenging as that may be, it is an exciting challenge, and one that my team and I are happy to take up.