Dubai’s luxurious desert retreat the Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa has been crowned the region’s prime holiday destination after scooping no less than three prizes at this year’s Middle East Hospitality Awards (MEHA).
The collection of private villas – nestled deep in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve – was named Resort of the Year at the prestigious industry ceremony, held last night at the Palazzo Versace Dubai.
Described as “a truly unique Arabian paradise”, the serene desert oasis also took home the Most Impressive Hotel Feature award for their on-site safari, where guests can get up close to passing camels, oryx and gazelles. The resort’s General Manager Arne Silvis was named Hospitality Leader of the Year.
“It is wonderful to be part of a property that is so truly unique and successful,” Silvis commented on Al Maha at the awards ceremony.
“I love the desert. The silence and tranquility. Our team lives on-site and being a smaller property, we are able to provide a personalized experience to guests. I am incredibly grateful to the team who are so loyal, they have stood by me the past 15 years, and they make Al Maha what it is. The three awards we have won this evening are a tribute to their hard work.”
Pictured: Arne Silvis, General Manager, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai collects the award for Hospitality Leader of the Year 2017 from one of the ten expert judges – Rupprecht Queitsch, CEO, Senior Partner, INHOCO Group
The annual awards – orchestrated by and held during The Hotel Show Dubai, which began yesterday and runs through Wednesday at the Dubai World Trade Centre – celebrate the achievements, innovations and excellence of the Middle East’s ever-expanding hospitality industry over the past 12 months.
In what was the prize-giving’s biggest ever number of entries, judges had the unenviable task of assessing hundreds of different submissions across 18 separate categories. Last night’s ceremony welcomed more than 400 leading industry professionals.
Big winners included host venue the Palazzo Versace Dubai, crowned Luxury Hotel of the Year. Boutique Hotel of the Year went to the XVA Art Hotel in Al Fahidi, while the newly-opened Rove Downtown celebrated being named Mid-Market Hotel of the Year.
Across food and beverage, Hendrick’s Bar at the Four Seasons Jumierah Beach won Best Bar/Nightlife Venue; folly by Nick & Scott was named New Restaurant of the Year; and Gregoire Berger of Ossiano was announced as Head Chef of the Year.
Other individual awards went to 24-year-old Elham Bolooki of the Jumierah Group, named as the hospitality industry’s 2017 Rising Star. Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes OBE was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, the year Rhodes W1 – his signature Dubai restaurant – celebrates ten-years in the Emirate.
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort in Oman – famed for being perched on a cliff – won Hotel Launch of the Year, while on the leisure front Talise Fitness at the Madinat was voted Best Gym, and Al Barari’s Heart & Soul Spa declared the region’s Best Spa / Wellness Centre.
Gary Williams, Event Director at The Hotel Show, and who opened last night’s ceremony, said: “The Middle East Hospitality Awards celebrate the exceptional endeavor, service standards and guest experience offering that combine to keep visitors coming back to the Middle East time and time again.
“The exceptionally high standards of the hundreds of entries we had for this year’s competition prove only once again how our region now competes with any other destination in the world in regards to the level of hospitality we continually provide to all residents or tourists that spend quality time here.
“I would like to congratulate every venue and individual that entered MEHA 2017 – an awards ceremony which truly celebrated another outstanding year for the industry.”
MEHA 2017 sponsors included: Restonic, Pastificio Di Martino, Zumtobel Group, Kimbo, Pearl Tree and The L’OCCITANE Group.
The Hotel Show Dubai 2017 is running at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from the 18-20th September 2017 as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week. The Dubai Tourism endorsed event, organised by dmg events and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.
The three-day event encompasses six hospitality and foodservice trade shows under one roof: The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, owned and organised by dmg events; GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival and SEAFEX Middle East owned and organised by DWTC; and yummex ME, jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse.
Find out more and register to attend the show for free at: www.thehotelshow.com