One-on-One with Luke James, General Manager of Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens
XPEDITION MAGAZINE sits down with Luke James, the General Manager of Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens to know more about the fresh and vibrant one year-old property
Tell us about Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens? What is the vision behind the property, what makes it stand out and its positioning – for example, we understand it’s a community-focused hotel?
Zabeel House is a 210-room upscale casual brand,endorsed by Jumeirah, which has over 20 years of legendary hospitality know-how here in Dubai. High on design but low on complexity, we take care of the basics brilliantly. It is an eclectic hotel that sits perfectly as a neighbourhood concept. Community is at the heart of Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens and everything that it does.
It has been a successful first year for Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens. What are the key highlights?
Not only are there the operational and commercial highlights but what enabled these to occur was our ability to connect immediately with the neighbourhood. My proudest achievement is hitting over 3,500 CommuniKey neighbours which is our loyalty membership for anyone who lives or works in the immediate area.
Community being key to your property, how do you engage the neighbourhood and what makes Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens the ultimate hang out?
Prior to opening I ran focus groups for our neighbours. Design, concept development, promotional calendars and all the areas that make a successful opening were not 100% completed so it was time to get a real feel for what the neighbours want.
Too many hoteliers develop and execute ideas that he/she THINKS is the correct one, but I spent 40 evenings taking 400 neighbours through a hard hat tour and then into focus groups where I listened to what they wanted from their neighbourhood hotel. Now we engage constantly with them, whether it be through community events or even small touches such as personally delivering food from one of our restaurants to some of regular guests and top CommuniKey holders – we constantly think about what we can do for our neighbours and community.
We will continue to grow our Neighbourhood Ambassador team whose role it is to be the first point of contact for our neighbours. Mohammed and Vera from the Front of House team, along with myself, Sinead (Sports & Leisure Manager), Sebastian (F&B Manager) and Jodie (Hotel Operations Manager) aim to enhance our relationships with our frequent guests and visitors
What can guests and loyal clients expect through the year? Do you have any targets or big ideas planned for 2020?
This year, we’re looking forward to even more community engagement than in last year. The hotel is also looking to expand with new areas and ideas to further grow the business and create a more diverse offering for our guests and CommuniKey holders. We have a huge outdoor space, LAH LAH BAZAAR, next to LAH LAH that we plan to do even more with for example, starting with a monthly LAH LAH Fest with live music and outdoor fun for friends and family.
How many types of rooms do you have at the property and what are some of the more luxurious or quirky experiences guests can enjoy when staying with you all or dining at some of your popular venues?
210 rooms including 10 Apartments, 10 studios, 10 family rooms and 10 balcony rooms. We have everything from a beautiful in-room bath treatment from our Native Club, the most detoxifying treatments, along with exciting gym classes, through to a lively weekly ladies’ night and hip-hop brunch at LAH LAH, the pan-Asian kitchen and bar on P4.
Social Company, the super hip, dine, drink and chill venue that’s connected to our lobby, also has a host of weekly offers that promises 24/7 entertainment for community residents, such as a daily happy hour, weekly quiz night and roast to name a few. Social Company is also a pet-friendly hub where pooch parents are encouraged to treat their fur babies to pup play dates at Social Company’s terrace, or simply bring them along while you enjoy some well-deserved down time.