Taj Palace aims to be Dubai landmark

The new hotel takes shape.

Taj Palace Hotel Dubai, the emirate's newest five-star hotel, residence and spa property, will open in Deira area in mid-June.

Juma AI Majid's Engineering and Construction team is working round the clock to put the finishing touches to the property.

The Taj Palace Hotel is the first five-star hotel in the UAE to be managed by the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHC).

Hotel general manager Machiel van der Bruggen said business travellers would find the "intelligent rooms" of the new hotel a delightful innovation.

IHC is India's largest hotel chain with 8,759 rooms worldwide under the Taj brand.

"We aim to make Dubai the hub for our international expansion in the Middle East and Africa," said Rajiv Gujral, chief operating officer and vice-president of Taj's International Luxury Hotels Division during a visit to the emirate.

The Dubai hotel is part of the numerous realty structures built by Juma Majid Construction.

Taj Palace Hotel boasts 159 rooms and suites, 90 furnished apartments, three board rooms and four authentic restaurants (Japanese, Turkish, Indian and Italian).

The four restaurants are Verdi (Italian), Sakura (Japanese), Handi (Indian), and Topkapi (Turkish).

Other outlets are Le Rendezvous, a 24-hour coffeeshop and all-day dining restaurant, La Patisserie pastry shop which offers hand-made chocolates and bread and Aqua Vita, an Ayurvedic health club restaurant, where chefs can offer guests tailor-made diets based on body type and shape.

"Al Khaymah" is the Arabic styled ballroom with roof-tented structure. It is ideal for weddings and parties and is located on the sixth floor of the hotel with a magnificent view.

Each of the Taj rooms will have two telephones with two direct lines and an interactive TV set with Internet connection.

The general manager said the hotel rooms were fitted with superior features such as electronic keycard swipe system, interactive TVs where guests can instantly view their room bills, arrange wake-up calls, auto voice messaging, order from room service or make restaurant reservation and a host of other electronic direct access to any areas of hotel service operations Ñ all these in one click of a button.

Despite the growing competition, Van der Bruggen expressed confidence that the Taj, with its 100 years history of excellence in the hospitality industry, can hold its own against its competitors.

"We aim to tackle the competition head on," said Van der Bruggen, a veteran international hotelier.

"There should not be any question about your product's quality, otherwise you will not survive in such a tough market."

Van der Bruggen aims to cater to business travellers and visitors from the GCC countries and other countries around the world.

Taj Palace Hotel Dubai was built to meet the needs of GCC family and business visitors.

"With this size of our hotel rooms we have broken all previously existing records in Dubai. The huge rooms have been designed with the extended family structure of GCC families in mind, and offer them unrivalled space and comfort," he said

In keeping with its luxurious superior quality standards, Taj will offer 5-star deluxe service in its 90 apartments.

"We will have butlers and 24-hour room services from each of outlets," said Van der Bruggen.

Specialty chefs of the Taj Hotel will be available to prepare meals and dishes for residents of the hotel's apartments.

To give the hotel international expertise and outlook, Van der Bruggen has assembled an executive team composed of hoteliers with vast international experience.

"Half of the team-members worked for international hotel chains from several countries while the rest came from Taj properties in India," he said.

Van der Bruggen began his career in the hotel industry with the Hilton International and spent 30 years in Hilton hotels in Holland, Germany and Bahrain.

An eight-year stint with Bass Hotels in Holland and Belgium followed and he served as executive assistant manager and general manager on these properties respectively.

During the last 11 years, Van der Bruggen has been the general manager of Forte/Le Meridien Group in Amsterdam and in Malta. His last posting before joining Taj Palace Hotel Dubai was with the Diplomat Bahrain.

Supporting Van der Bruggen is Nicki Page, Director of Sales and Marketing. Nicki was educated in the UK and has a degree in psychology.

The construction team of Juma AI Majid faces a tough challenge to deliver an excellent product which will soon feature as one of Dubai's interesting landmarks, a spokesman said.

Construction manager Dr Soudan Ossama said "everything looks achievable and within the projected delivery period".

The hotel expects its first guest from mid-June this year.

Taj Palace Hotel Dubai is the newest addition to the portfolio of Indian Hotels Company, which also operates Taj International with hotels in London, Kathmandu, Oman, Yemen, Maldives, Colombo, Zambia and India.