LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
January 3, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Available exclusively to guests staying in Hotel Victor's $6,000-per-night penthouse suite, the Evian Experience is a bath like no other. For $5,000 a pop, you can soak in 1,000 bottles of Evian water (nearly 350 gallons) sprinkled with colorful Gerber Daisies. While your bath is drawn, the Spa V team provides a blissful selection of spa treatments (two hours of customizable spa services). Of course there is a luxurious food and beverage component; the Hotel Victor Chef, Vincent Muraco, creates sublime treats such as Smoked Salmon Lollipops, Potted Cru of Foie Gras and a signature hotel sweet platter, the Seven Sins of Chocolate. For Hotelchatter's take on Serena Williams' christening of the Evian Bath, click here.
January 3, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard
Heinrich Morio, born in the United States to German parents in 1960, joined Jumeirah in the position of General Manager Operations in October 2004. He brings over 25 years of operational experience all of which was spent in some of the finest luxury hotels including Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, Plaza Athenee in New York, Turnberry Isle in Florida, One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius, Ritz Carlton in New York and The Peninsula in Beverly Hills.
Prior to joining Jumeirah, Heinrich held the position of General Manager of One&Only Le Touessrok, Mauritius where he successfully directed the closure, re-opening and re-positioning of the hotel, as well as General Manager of the One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas and Little Palm Island, Florida Keys. Heinrich holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, Miami.
Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: I started working in the hotel industry approximately 30 years ago, over the years I have worked in many different functions including restaurants, kitchen and reception. I have worked my way up in the industry and I have now realized my dream of managing a luxury hotel.
Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: The architecture of the hotel in itself is very distinctive and unique. It is designed to reflect the shape of a breaking wave which has become an instantly recognizable symbol of Dubai.
In addition, we are unique in the fact that all of the 617 rooms, suites and villas at Jumeirah Beach Hotel have stunning ocean views across the beautiful Arabian Gulf, this feature is a favorite amongst all of our regular and first time guests.
Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: All of our guests are important to us and we have many guests who return to us on a regular basis. We provide all of our guests with the level of service that they would expect to find in a five star luxury hotel and we also respect the privacy of all guests.
Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: All of our rooms are extremely spacious and provide a minimum of approximately 50m2 of living space. Full advantage has been made of the fact that all of our rooms are ocean facing and each room has floor to ceiling windows which mean that guests have maximum enjoyment of the spectacular panoramic views.
For the ultimate in luxury the villas at Beit Al Bahar (Arabic for 'House by the Sea') are perfect for guests searching for a truly personal, uniquely special holiday hideaway. Each villa benefits from a private plunge pool and an unparalleled level of service which means that Beit Al Bahar is known as one of the regions most luxurious private retreats.
Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: Our impressive conference centre is Dhow shaped and has hosted some of Dubai's most spectacular and significant events. The conference centre has a ballroom space of 1332m2, a tiered auditorium that seats 416, two floors of dedicated conference facilities and custom-built executive boardrooms.
Another interesting feature of the hotel is the large sculpture in the atrium that shows the original destinations that Emirates flew to when the hotel first opened ten years ago. If we tried to update this sculpture to reflect the current destinations that Emirates fly to today, this would be extremely difficult due to the vast number of routes now in operation.
In addition there is also our iconic beach front location which is simply stunning, the hotel boasts over 3800m2 of beautiful outdoor beach and garden areas.
Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at Jumeirah Beach Hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: Jumeirah Beach Hotel provides guests with the ultimate in luxurious family resort style accommodation, in addition to our stunning beaches and rooms we also have a world class conference facility, Pavilion Sports centre, dive facility, private marina and over 20 restaurants and bars. The extensive choice of dining options at the hotel and range of international cuisine of offer is sure to satisfy any guest.
Our guests are also provided with the opportunity to upgrade for the duration of their stay to become a Club Executive or Premium Leisure Club guest. These options provide access to additional facilities such as the tranquil Executive Pool and the Club Executive Lounge.
In addition to the above, high on my priorities would be knowing what the weather forecast is for the duration of my stay!
Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: The hotel is ideally located on Jumeirah Beach and our popular beach front restaurants all have stunning views of the spectacular Burj Al Arab. We are very centrally located and all of Dubai's attractions, including the amazing shopping malls and world class golf courses are only a short taxi ride away. We are also only 20-30 minutes drive from the airport.
Wild Wadi Water Park is an integral part of the resort and is located right next door to the hotel, all Jumeirah Beach Hotel guests receive unlimited access to the water park for the duration of their stay.
My favorite way to spend time in the surrounding area is to take a visit to Bab Al Shams for a unique desert experience. Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is an elegant desert resort in a traditional Arabic fort setting and is perfect for a relaxing retreat away from the city.
Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: Over the past ten years we have welcomed guests from all over the world, many of our guests come from Europe and we have lots of visitors from the UK, Germany and Russia. Our excellent family facilities mean that we have lots of families who visit the hotel, many returning on a regular basis. In addition our superb conference facilities are used by a wide range of guests attending private and corporate events of all sizes.
Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: Over the last ten years Jumeirah Beach Hotel has undergone continuous growth and development, we deliver an excellent level of service which is largely due to our fantastic colleagues. If it were not for our exceptional colleagues then my job would be much harder!
Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?
Mr. Heinrich Morio: For me Jumeirah Emirates Tower is the finest business hotel in the world. It is very popular with frequent business travelers and is ideally located in the heart of Dubai's commercial district.
The Madinat Jumeirah is one of the most impressive and fascinating resorts that I have ever visited. Known as The Arabian Resort of Dubai the hotel is a magnificent tribute to Dubai's heritage and is styled to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel. The hotel offers the height of opulence and with two grand hotels, superb facilities and a traditional souk the Madinat Jumeirah really is unique.
Meet The Venetian's new neighbor. Las Vegas' newest, most hyped destination resort has opened its doors on The Strip-- at the "power corner" on Las Vegas Boulevard and Spring Mountain Road. Developed by Las Vegas Sands Corporation as part of the largest hotel and convention complex in the world, The Palazzo is the $2 billion stand-alone resort that has everyone talking. The Palazzo is home to 3,000 plush suites, the world-famous Canyon Ranch SpaClub and fitness center, JERSEY BOYS, and the 450,000 square foot retail space, The Shoppes at The Palazzo, anchored by the flagship Barneys New York (the ultimate mecca for the fashion forward!) Celebrities and trendsetters will soon be flocking to the biggest names in fine dining, as culinary superstars from all over the world have opted to open a variety of new restaurants at The Palazzo. And Las Vegas' newest nightspots are also coming to The Palazzo, starting with a new concept from the creators of Tao. Be among the first to experience a new era of luxury with special rates starting from just $199 per night (weekdays).
P.S. Over the weekend of January 17-19, 2008, the Grand Opening Event "Luminaries and Legends" promises to be a dazzling extravaganza, featuring a performance by Diana Ross.
There's been lots of buzz about "the next Croatia": the small, sun-soaked country wedged between Bosnia and Albania on the Adriatic coast. Montenegro is one of those jewels that tops 2008's hotlist of the "next destinations." In fact, Amanresorts is currently pumping millions into the restoration of the resort island, Sveti Stefan, a former haunt of movie stars which will soon open as an exclusive private-island resort. Dating from the 15th century, the island's picturesque dwellings and cobblestoned streets are encircled by golden crescent-shaped beaches. Sveti Stefan is in fact connected to the mainland by a narrow isthmus (pictured). Formerly a glamorous hideaway for all sorts of A-listers, the island fell into decline during the 1990s. But now Montenegro is on the tourist map once again and Amanresorts luxury playground will soon begin wooing well-heeled travelers to its magical shores.
Milan has a new high-design hotel from the folks behind Miami's Setai and Vietnam's award-winning Nam Hai Hotel. GHM's unique urban resort, a blend of Western technology and Asian ambiance, is a 250-room masterpiece located in Milan's residential Bovisa district. It's only fitting that Italy's fashion capital should be home to such a stylish hotel, perfumed with a subtle signature fragrance of mandarin and green tea. The Chedi's spacious guest rooms are decked out with Asian artifacts, large limestone bathrooms, and all sorts of high-tech gadgetry. Choose the Chedi Club Lounge Level and you'll enjoy butler service and a dedicated concierge. The exclusive Health Club is a haven of tranquility. You'll find a sauna, hamman, steam room and whirlpool, fully-equipped fitness club, treatment rooms, and-- the best part of all-- a heated indoor swimming pool. One of the largest pools in Milan, the Chedi's pool is flooded with natural light from a magnificent glass rooftop.
Thinking ahead to the hottest travel destinations for 2008? Think Stone Age in Turkey, with a stay at Anatolian Houses in the heart of the ancient region of Cappadocia. This awe-inspiring volcanic landscape-- like a bizarre moonscape-- has witnessed rule by many different civilizations throughout its rich history. Built deep within the caves, Anatolian Houses is a unique luxury hotel with 19 rooms. But these cave rooms are hardly soot-covered, claustrophobic spaces; in fact, they are upscale suites, equipped with whirlpool tubs, impressive antiques and works of art, fireplaces, and all the latest cutting-edge technology. Relax at the Spa and Wellness Center, take a dip in the pool, sip from the wine fountain. This could be the coolest setting on earth.
Bermuda's classic resort is also one of the most romantic hide-outs in the world. Last year's February relationship menu was such a hit-- private island fine dining, romantic movies by candlelight, cooking classes-- that Cambridge Beaches is again hosting a series of weekend events during the month of February to rekindle the romance. With its 30 acres of private beaches and gardens, the resort alone is a dream come true for couples seeking a little r 'n r. But couples can also look forward to interactive classes led by Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a renowned relationship expert who has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, and in the New York Times, about how the five senses hold the keys to an improved love life. February's "Come to Your Senses" events will allow couples to explore the five senses-- sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste-- with couples massages, dance, cocktail creating, and more.
Since its opening at the end of November, the Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro has been the talk of Las Vegas. The mastermind behind this new hotspot is the world's foremost chocolatier, François Payard, recognized year after year with prestigious awards from the French Government, Bon Appetit, and Wine Spectator. The third-generation French pastry chef has worked at many Michelin-starred restaurants, including NY's legendary Le Bernardin. With his new pâtisserie, Payard brings a little piece of Paris' Left Bank to the Strip. Located adjacent to Rao's at Caesars Palace, the restaurant offers classic French bistro fare and fresh pastries for breakfast and lunch, while the dinner features a four-course all-dessert tasting menu. And for those on-the-go, there's a retail area where you can purchase chocolates, candies, pastries, and coffee. Taste connoisseurs will be dazzled by the evening tasting menu, where you can choose from four distinct categories: Le Fromage, The Orchard, Coffee, Caramel and Nuts, and Tout Chocolat. Chocoholics will rejoice with the Tout Chocolat menu; the ingredient is served up in a variety of ways: warm chocolate tart with cocoa nibs tuille and gianduja ice cream; devil's food cake with cardamom pot de crème, chocolate pudding and whipped crème fraîche.
The French Riviera's glamorous Art Deco palace is home to one of priciest suites in the world. Overlooking the largest private beach on the Croisette, the Hotel Martinez lures the rich and famous seeking the fanciest digs in the South of France. The room of choice? The Presidential Suite, with its incredible panoramic views of the Bay of Cannes from wrap-around teakwood decks and sunken Jacuzzis. Rumor has it that the price tag is EUR 18,000- EUR 32,000 per night. The 8,000 square foot pad includes two sitting rooms, two dining rooms, four bedrooms, kitchen, hammam and sauna-- not to mention a plethora of high-tech accoutrements and the private butler on call 24 hours a day. But it's really the terrace-- arguably the most fabulous on the Cote d'Azur-- that has movie moguls coming back for more each year during the Cannes Film Festival.
Now there's another reason to love the Willard InterContinental, the D.C. institution that has hosted almost every U.S. president since Franklin Pierce. I Spa may be sinfully luxurious, the Cafe du Parc may be divine, but the Willard, the epitome of world-class hospitality, is also a green hotel. The International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) recently awarded the Willard and its General Manager with its Environmental Award for hospitality sustainable development for "Willard InterContinental- The Next 100 Years." What's in the plan? The conversion to 100 percent wind energy power, the first hotel in the nation's capital to achieve this; Complete hotel retrofit for energy-savings including the use of compact florescent bulbs; The rehabilitation of Pershing Park across from the hotel; Water savings projects where the proceeds go to cleaning the local Anacostia River and the Chesapeake Bay. Bravo.