GHM’s uber luxury Chedi brand is making a huge foray into Saudi Arabia with plans for three properties. ‘Our way of doing things will compel customers to come to us whether it is a hotel in far flung mountains or in deep desert,’ says GHM CEO
The Chedi name is making waves across the region with luxury hotel operator General Hotel Management (GHM) announcing three properties under development across Saudi Arabia’s giga projects.
The Chedi Hegra, within the Hegra Unesco World Heritage Site, The Chedi Wadi Safar in Diriyah as well as The Chedi Trojena in NEOM were announced within a space of months this year.
We speak to GHM CEO Tommy Lai about the uber luxury Chedi’s carefully weighed Middle East expansion. “It’s quite simple really. As GHM, we make sure that the project we are taking on is a beacon, something that will draw people in, something that is unique and has a story to tell. Because we are not a big group, we are quite selective in choosing projects, ensuring we deliver value to both owners and customers.
As long as we are human, and as long as we are under tremendous stress from gadgets, screens and information overload, humans will need a sanctuary to relax, recoup and reset. And this will never, never stop
– Tommy Lai
“The Chedi brand’s unique selling proposition is ‘a style to remember’. The staff is passionate, and we are all involved in our projects, including myself.
Within the GCC, the Chedi brand has presence in the UAE (The Chedi Al Bait Sharjah), Qatar (The Chedi Katara) and Oman (The Chedi Muscat).
“We strongly believe that our hotels, our way of doing things, will compel a customer to come to us. Whether it is a hotel far flung in the mountains or deep in the desert. It doesn’t matter if it takes hours to get there, people will still come.
“We ensure we build a product that people will love to experience. We make sure we remain unique. This is what we do: we focus, we deliver,” says Lai.
Chedi properties are positioned in the luxury to uber luxury space.
“We are at a crossroads where the younger and older generations are coming together. Our most loyal customers used to stay with us for three weeks, a month even, and chose to remain with us, not to move. But if you look at the younger guests, they tend to move from location to location, but nevertheless they still spend a week or two with us. This is a very nomadic kind of habit.
“Just the way information these days needs to be short and punchy, luxury needs to be delivered in a very concise. There needs to be a constant evolvement, while bearing in mind what the target market feels and needs.”
Wellness and wellbeing are woven into the Chedi brand, says Lai. “From the beginning, we saw wellness as an important element, but wellness has taken a much bigger forefront post pandemic and our early projects don’t allow us to go too big with wellness. All new projects, however, will have an individual wellness sanctuary. We are going to showcase our wellness concept with an Asian twist into Western wellness treatments.
“As long as we are human, and as long as we are under tremendous stress from gadgets, screens and information overload, humans will need a sanctuary to relax, recoup and reset. And this will never, never stop.”
Lai teases the unveil of GHM’s second brand The Serai, a glimpse of which can be had in the newly announced Serai extension of The Chedi Al Bait Sharjah. “We are working on the flagship of The Serai in Shanghai, a project slightly delayed by the pandemic but now on track. While we want the region to be acquainted with the brand, we want to ensure people understand the concept first. The Serai will move into the Middle East soon enough and capture some of the feeder markets that The Chedi may have missed. This, in part, is the reason why The Serai was conceived.”