Dubai is enjoying a period of an explosive economic blossom and thriving. Many new companies and start-ups are being launched in this Emirate. Last year alone saw the opening of over 50,000 new businesses. ‘Starting a hotel has never been easier. Right here, you can find architects, operators, recruit a team, source all the materials and everything else you need. Like Lego bricks, they will all come together and place you inside the most dynamic hospitality scenes in the world,’ says Hani Selim, Manager General of Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah.

We opened Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah almost 11 years ago. It was one of the first hotels on the island. Only seven years ago, there was still a lot of construction underway everywhere here. Today, Palm Jumeirah is the eighth wonder of the world – a man-made superstructure, offering everything one might need in one place. This palm-shaped island is connected to the mainland, which makes you appreciate the proximity to the water. We have an aqua-park, malls and other shopping venues. Michelin-starred restaurants, and endless white sandy beaches, creating the effect of a true getaway within just a stone’s throw from the thriving metropolis of Dubai.

Kempinski, a legendary hotel chain, established in 1897, is one of the oldest top-class hotel brands in Europe. Our philosophy is all-round luxury that only our guests are privileged to enjoy. Many successful businessmen from all over the world, including Russia, opt for Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah. I remember talking to a Russian guest, who said, with Zoom and 5G available 24 / 7, making distant business management a child’s play, he saw no reason to visit Russia more often than just a couple of times a year.

Dubai affords everything one’s heart might desire, from the best city infrastructure imaginable to its excellent healthcare, education, and IT facilities. I come from Egypt and do a good deal of travelling. Every city I’ve been to lacks something of essence. Once, I took my family to New York City, and my 11-year-old son discovered 50 drawbacks practically at every turn: at the airport, in the taxis, at the foodcourts, on the roads, and in the traffic management. I don’t think he’ll be rushing back there any time soon. My son was born and has always lived in Dubai, where everything is available and safe, so he judges all things by its standards.

This is reality. Besides the fantastic business opportunities, Dubai offers a lot of good jobs. Whilst many are hesitant considering foreign job offers and might think twice before accepting one, if an opportunity comes up in Dubai, most say yes without a moment’s hesitation. That is what Dubai is all about, and living here is, for a fact, a privilege.

Wherever you go in Dubai, you are sure to feel welcome as hospitality runs in the Emirati’s veins, It’s part and parcel of their character and lifestyle. It’s wonderful not only for the hospitality industry, relying on it, but for all business spheres because client centricity is at the heart of each and every successful organisation.

I’ve been working in the hospitality sphere for 20 years and am very happy with my career choice. My cousin brought me into the hotel business when I was very young. Sharm el-Sheikh was only beginning to develop then. I worked at a small three-star hotel, learning about hospitality while receiving Russian and British guests. Starting a career, you have to take in a lot in a short time.  I learnt about housekeeping processes, got the hang of food & beverage management, discovered the best techniques of dealing with guests from different countries and ways of understanding and adapting to their mentalities and cultures. 

Here in Dubai, I’ve gained a lot of valuable experience, working with Italian, Swiss, near- and Far-Eastern managers. One of the most important things I’ve come to realise is that investing in quality is all about financially secured operations and returns. Even the slightest failure to provide high standards means an inevitable fallout for your business and a long, if any, road to recovery.

Over these years, I’ve read many books about hospitality rules that must never be broken. An acquaintance of mine worked in Asia for a long time. One day, he was promoted from Financial Controller to Manager General. Taking over the new post, he decided to lower the prices to up the number of guests, hoping it would result in a higher occupancy – a typical quantity-over-quality move. He should not have done that by any means as the luxury sphere is all about tailor-made services and individual approaches to guests. If everything has been working well, lowering the prices drastically inevitably causes questions and just brings down the standards – the quality of food, talent, service, and everything else.Working out new solutions is perfectly all right. So is adapting promptly to the current market trends, but the basic business rules do exist and must be followed. He had to admit he’d misplayed. I remember him saying, ‘Hani, my big blunder was making an FC’s decision, being Manager General of a luxury hotel.’ Back then, it entailed his resignation, and re-emergeing took time and effort. Since then, I’ve been practicing what I learnt from his painful experience by being extremely careful in my decision-making and never ever sacrificing the quality my team is to deliver.

Not knowing how many staff members you need to make your guests feel at home means knowing nothing about the business. We are a team of 250 highly dedicated and carefully selected professionals, though, there being high and low seasons, the size of the team naturally depends on the hotel workload. So, we’ve got to keep a balance between full- and part-time employment respectively. All my team members are qualified, English-speaking, and talented hospitality experts. They always motivate me to grow professionally as the best team deserves the best leader.

We stay in touch with our guests at all times. The moment someone doesn’t like his coffee in the bar, the waiter lets me know about it via the manager. We decide on how to bring satisfaction to the customer. Then, he is offered apologies and an alternative option. With our staff being attentive to the slightest changes in our guests’ facial expressions, in most cases, they don’t even have to complain. So, if the taste of your wine proves to be below your expectations, you will immediately be offered a different sort.

Dubai hotels’ everyday life is filled with all kinds of events and stories, sometimes funny and sometimes astounding. Once, three guests challenged our hotel recreation team for a game of soccer. Seven employees agreed to play against them but were quickly defeated despite the numerical superiority. After the match, one of the challengers turned out to be an English Premier League player, Our team still has fond memories of the story. This is, by the way, what is so remarkable about our resort’s hospitality – we know your favourite beer brand but unconditionally keep your 100-per-cent privacy intact.   

Guests’ privacy is a top priority for the Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah brand, as well as for the whole of Dubai. According to the local rules, you cannot take a guest’s picture to post it on the Internet or sell it to the media. In this respect, Dubai is one of the safest places on the planet. That’s why it was recently nominated for The 2nd Safest Country in the World. Here, you can leave your kids in a children’s club, go elsewhere about your business and be sure they are perfectly safe and taken good care of. Or go strolling anywhere any time of day and night.

By the way, Dubai practices zero red tape. Everything can be done online and in practically no time. Whatever the need, there is always a quick solution. For instance, you can have your driving license renewed or even buy a new car, complete with all the necessary papers via a mobile app.

The local private sector is equally efficient. If my wife cannot get her car to the service centre for maintenance herself, and I’m unavailable to help her, all I need to do is place an online order. A car service centre specialist comes for the car and brings it back when the job’s done. How amazing it is!

The city I live in and my work give me an immense satisfaction. Driving along the Palm’s shoreline in the morning, I can feel it energizing me. The hotel is my seat of power, so the 40 minutes I spend on taking my morning rounds, making sure all is well with our guests’ breakfast arrangements, and greeting my team is a real inspiration for me to do my day’s office work. When I take time off, I start missing the sea, my colleagues, and the hotel atmosphere making me feel at home. My home is my castle, and so is my hotel.

In 2022, we are planning to open a beach club & restaurant, upgrade our food & beverage concepts completely, hire an additional talented chef, man the other key positions, and work out a new menu to make it ideal for family dining. This beach club & restaurant will embody all the glitz & glam of what the entertainment scene is known for but without the techno eardrum-hurting music that often comes with places similar to our resort. It will be perfect for families to unwind and enjoy the best of the best.

I am excited about our plans and the coming changes. Yes, they will keep me busy, but it is the greatest source of joy and happiness for me. When my hotel is full of happy guests, and I’ve got a lot of things to take care of, my life is in full swing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.