General manager Michael Scully spoke to TTN’s Shalu Chandran about the new Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina.
What can we expect to see of Westin as a new brand?
The Westin is already a well known brand in the Far East and Americas and is gaining popularity in Europe now. That is one of the reasons we felt it would fit in nicely here in Dubai. Obviously we were looking for a brand that fitted into the Mina Seyahi way of life and the Westin has done that. It has got a very modern European feel about it. We are also positioned very well alongside the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi.
Does that mean you will target the same source markets?
There will be a cross over. Our rooms are a lot bigger at 50 sq m and we have 26 suites. We have a large banqueting and conference facilities and a ballroom for over 600 people. The Westin will definitely suit the older group, whereas the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi targets more of the younger group. But it’s all about complementing the complex of the Mina Seyahi.
What is your target occupancy rate for 2008?
We are looking forward to opening in May 2008 and already we have received tremendous amount of bookings for rooms as well as on the MICE front.
The opening of the Westin property had been delayed by a few months, has this affected plans?
Yes, we did see some delay, but that’s the construction industry in Dubai. It has affected the bookings but not in the long term. We expect to open with approximately 60 to 70 per cent occupancies. We will also introduce good opening rates, and will also have our summer specials.
How is the Westin Mina Seyahi unique?
The exterior of the hotel has classic Italian style architecture, but once you walk into the hotel, you will experience a very modern atmosphere - both in architecture and service. One USP is the nine-storey-high atrium in the lobby area that will include a library, a chocolaterie and a café.
We want our guests to feel as welcome at the Westin as they feel at the Mina Seyahi, and despite the synergies we want to ensure that the Westin property is differentiated from a Le Méridien property.
The Westin will have more sophisticated facilities, a greater choice of outlets including the re-opening of Italian restaurant Bussola at the resort following renovation.
Have green issues and sustainability been considered from development stage?
Yes of course. All the water from our laundry is recycled into irrigation, and our waste is sorted and taken to recycling plants. Our chemicals are all bio degradable and follow all the green standards. We offer a policy of not over laundering to guests with towels and bed linen.
As a new brand, what are your the biggest challenges?
Surprisingly there have been very few challenges. Things have gone very smoothly. I think our biggest challenge will be the opening and offering the best service possible.