In 1865 The Langham, London was Europe’s first grand hotel – historic, traditional, quintessentially British, the epitome of luxury for its time. It had “everything a man, woman or child could desire under one roof”. Now fast forward to 21st-century Dubai, and envisage that same brand in this modern, contemporary city. Does it fit? It most definitely does, say brand representatives and developers.
“Dubai is one of the great tourist destinations of the world, and everyone wants to come here. It’s a hub and it’s truly global,” says Andrew Jessop, senior vice-president of worldwide development at Langham Hospitality Group. “It’s said if you can make it in the New York City market you can make it anywhere, and I think the same can be said of the Dubai market too now.”
With Dubai such an important international hub, he explains, it’s only natural a brand such as The Langham would want to establish a presence here.
Following its launch, Langham Downtown Dubai is on track to be completed in the third quarter of 2020. Mahdi Amjad, executive chairman and CEO of developer Omniyat, says the brand was the ideal partner and both parties are delighted to finally be bringing The Langham to the Middle East.
“The Langham is a very popular brand with Middle Eastern clientele, and we at Omniyat like to bring something different to the market, building on our commitment to long-term relationships with brands,” he explains. “We feel we have a unique location for The Langham Downtown Dubai in the heart of the Marasi development on the banks of the Dubai Canal.”
With The Langham brand known worldwide, does it seem something of an anomaly that the planned Langham Dubai is such a modern, contemporary building? Not at all, says Amjad, it’s simply testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation. “What we have designed and planned for Dubai is an evolution of the brand,” he explains. “It’s the same principles, the same touchpoints, the same positioning of luxury, but it’s a modern interpretation of the Langham tradition. We’re interpreting the rich history of the brand into a contemporary development.”
Jessop agrees. “The Langham Dubai is going to be a modern classic, and we have to remember some classic elements have moved on,” he says. “We will be bringing years of service and tradition, but combining it with our attention to innovation. And we’re very subtle, there’s nothing aggressive about this at all. The Langham Dubai will most definitely have the spirit of the Langham brand, but the 21st-century interpretation of the brand is also influenced by Omniyat, the developer.”
Back in the day, The Langham made history by being the first hotel of its time to feature hydraulic lifts and both hot and cold running water in all its rooms. Will The Langham Dubai be bringing new superlatives, and where will it fit in a market full of luxury hotels? Amjad and Jessop believe there is most definitely a space, although again, the brand will not be relying on gimmicks.
“The Langham Dubai will have its own position within Dubai’s hospitality market,” says Amjad. “It’s not an easy task to bring in new brands that truly contribute to the city, but The Langham has a unique proposition for both UAE residents and international visitors. The Langham is quite unique as a brand, in that is the perfect blend of East and West together, and ideal for the Dubai market.”
Jessop says the brand will be reliant on one of its four pillars of success, its firm commitment to superior service, in order to ensure it is well-received in Dubai. “Of course, The Langham Dubai will ensure guests have the best possible service experience with us,” he explains. “The spirit of great service never goes out of fashion.”
In a departure from the planned expansion in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East, the Langham Downtown Dubai will have 239 fully-serviced luxury residences, ranging from one, two and three bedroom suites to duplex penthouses available for sale as well. Jessop believes this approach is a key factor in allowing the brand a foothold in the market even before the hotel opens, thereby increasing awareness as the development is opened up for sale to investors and potential residents. “Having residences along with the hotel itself will allow the developer to sell the story of the brand long before the opening, giving it a longer ramp-up to position the brand in the market,” he explains.
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