By Gavin Gibbon
Venue in Address Skyview Hotel offers stunning 360-degree views over Dubai
Mark Bedingham is happy to keep Cé La Vi’s entry into the Middle East exclusive.
The company’s executive chairman has just overseen a huge expansion, which has included adding to their original locations in Singapore and Hong Kong, with openings in Taipei, Shanghai, Tokyo and, most recently, Dubai, on the 54th floor of the imposing Address Skyview Hotel in Downtown.
After opening last week, Bedingham told Arabian Business they had no immediate intention to increase their presence in Dubai, the UAE or the wider Middle East.
He said: “We will continue to look at opportunities, but there are no plans.
“I think we will be very selective. We’re not expecting to open 20 Cé La Vis. Our horizon, although we’ve been very active in the last 12 months, and four new venues is a lot, I think going forward one every two or three years is more likely.”
The venue, which bears a striking resemblance to the restaurant atop Singapore’s iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, is split between a contemporary Asian restaurant, sky bar, chic club lounge and the dramatic infinity pool deck, with stunning 360-degree views of Dubai.
“It’s obviously very similar to Singapore,” said Bedingham. “We basically say, we’re a three-in-one concept. We’re looking to have extraordinary food, to have a great wine list and selection of cocktails, and great music, but also a great vista. They are pretty spectacular and very spectacular at night.”
The restaurant itself, which will soon be accessed from the ground floor by two glass elevators, is headed up by executive chef Howard Ko, from Los Angeles, who brings more than 11 years’ experience at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.
On average, two new licences were being issued a day for new F&B services across the UAE last year. Of these, 868 were for cafes, 755 for restaurants, and 671 for “dessert-focussed” servings.
Bedingham is confident Cé La Vi will be able to compete in what is a crowded market.
He said: “We’re used to competition, Singapore is a very competitive environment. I think you have to go into it on the basis that, if the concept is strong enough, and you execute it well enough, then there’s always going to be room for you.”