InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is planning significant renovations and changes to the F&B operations at its Dubai Festival City hotel complex, area general manager Yannis Anagnostakis revealed.
“We want to tweak a lot of the food and beverage,” he told Hotelier Middle East, because the Dubai market demands that hotels must compete with freestanding restaurants.
Anagnostakis revealed that the hotel was planning to develop the fine dining Reflets concept and create an additional dining experience with Gagnaire.
“We’re also expanding our operation of Reflets by Pierre Gagnaire so very soon we hope to be in a position to inaugurate a different dining environment in Reflets at the terrace. We have a beautiful area outside. It’s a big secret but we want to present something different,” he said.
“Reflets is staying as is of course, but the terrace operation is going to be something different, complementary of course, to the existing operation but appealing to slightly different clientele we hope.”
He added: “Seven or eight years ago when we were planning or developing these properties, we never thought that we would end up with a city that has so many free standing restaurants coming from around the world."
As a result, he said IHG, in collaboration with owning company the Al Futtaim Group, wanted to focus on creating proper identities for its outlets — starting with Vista Bar and Lounge.
“We recently expanded our Vista bar into a beautiful terrace but already this summer we are planning a complete overhaul of both the Vista Lounge and the Vista Bar. They will become two completely separate concepts,” he said.
“We want to give them a destination identity,” added Anagnostakis. “We don’t want to operate just a hotel bar or a hotel lobby lounge.”
“We believe that every property must give a touch of differentiation and a reason for customers , residents as well, to visit those outlets. That’s the hotel guests — we’re trying to attract them to stay in the hotel by offering a different entertainment and dining scene — while we must also appeal to Dubai residents, we want more of that,” he said.
The replacement concepts are being created in-house but the hotel is also in talks with some third party restaurant operators for other venues.
“We are considering successful third party concepts and I think that any hotelier who doesn’t would not be serving their brand, their company, or their owners well.
“When a restaurateur or restaurant operator has created a successful brand it would be a shame to exclude them from functioning in a hotel environment,” said Anagnostakis.
InterContinental Dubai Festival City already has a partnership with three Michelin starred chef Pierre Gagnaire, who has been behind one of Dubai’s best restaurants, Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire, since it opened five years ago.