Global Traveler: Tell us about your career at Jumeirah and in the hospitality/travel industry?
Gerald Lawless: I worked most of my hotel life with the Forte Hotel Group and was stationed three times in the Gulf area, twice in Dubai and once in Bahrain. I was with the regional office of Forte in 1994 when they assumed the Meridien Hotel in Dubai. In June 1997 I was offered a position overseeing the opening of The Jumeirah Beach Hotel and setting up the company organization. I have been with the company ever since — through the transition and building of Emirates Towers and our worldwide expansion including the recent re-brand from Jumeirah International to Jumeirah.
GT: What are Jumeirah’s plans for the Essex House in New York City and for the North American market?
GL: As part of our global strategy, we plan to manage 40 hotels within the next five years all over the world. We have a very strong group of hotels in Dubai, two in London and now New York. We would like to further expand into other parts of the world including China (where we have just announced a property), Southeast Asia, Europe (Munich and Paris, for example) and major gateways in the United States. The Essex House was a natural progression for us. It offers an excellent anchor to set up our sales and marketing offices in the United States, so we are prepared for the expansion. We have three sales offices in the works in the United States — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles — and possibly the Caribbean. We see possible locations for Jumeirah properties in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, Miami and Boston.
GT: With Emirates flying to the United States, have you found a significant increase in American travelers to Dubai?
GL: Certainly with Emirates flying to Dubai nonstop from North America we have seen a significant increase in traffic from the North American market. We have also seen an increased knowledge of Dubai and the Gulf region due to their efforts. We are looking at the MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and events) market as a real growth area for our properties in Dubai. We also feel individual business travelers will think of Dubai as a place to bring their families for an extended business trip or holiday. The cruise market is another opportunity. Silversea has already added Dubai to its permanent visit roster.
GT: Do you expect guests who have experienced Jumeirah properties in Dubai and London to frequent the Essex House?
GL: We aspire to be at the top end of the market with Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton, but we want our hotels and the experience of our guests to be different. Each hotel has its own personality. We also are excited about the team at Jumeirah Essex House. Their attitude, motivation and support in the transition process has been incredible. We will be refurbishing the property, including the public areas and the rooms. Celebrating its 75th anniversary, it is the story of a 5-star hotel that is not turning condo, but continuing its tradition of luxury. We have also invested a great deal into our Recognition & Rewards program, Sirius, so we can track our most loyal customers and guests to deliver an experience that meets their expectations.
GT: What can the North American market expect from Jumeirah in the terms of quality and service?
GL: Our corporate branding is “Stay Different.” That covers everything from architecture to service and hospitality. We allow the general manager of each property the freedom to make his or her property unique. Our company culture is based around three hallmarks that all of us practice all day and every day. Always smile first and greet the guest before they greet you. Our management teams will lead by example. Our first response to a guest will never be “no.” If it eventually has to be no, we exhaust all opportunities to make it happen first. Respect and have integrity with each other. These hallmarks make Jumeirah a unique stay for the frequent traveler.
Celebrate World Vegan Day Nov. 1, with these vegan dishes from around the world.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
The Hotel AMERON Zurich Bellerive au Lac, forged from the collaborative efforts of interior design firm Monoplan AG and other cutting-edge design firms, bills itself as a celebration of the 1920s and ‘30s aesthetic. The story behind it is compelling as the building dates to 1928 and has connections with the early days of Switzerland's movie industry. However, there are several fun Mid-Century Modern and late 20th-century design touches in the public and private areas. Clearly, it's going for the "modern luxury" vibe Millennial and Gen-X business and leisure travelers look for when seeking a quality smaller property with a great location.
InterContinental New York Barclay is the perfect spot for luxury in the heart of Manhattan. With the 1946 Package, enjoy a two-night stay in the Penthouse Suite, an exclusive InterContinental75 cocktail lesson with a mixologist, 75-minute couples massage with Zeel, a movie screening on the Penthouse Suite terrace with classic films from the year of InterContinental’s birth with a premium 1946 vintage wine to enjoy.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
One of the many fallouts from the turbulent past 1.5 years of pandemic-related travel restrictions and lockdowns has been the rethinking and imminent restructuring of loyalty programs throughout the travel industry, from airline and hotel brands to cruise and rental car companies. Loyalty programs are more than a perk for customers; they can be worth more than the brand itself for the program owners and operators. For example, the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, is valued at roughly $6 billion, whereas its passenger loyalty program, AAdvantage, boasts an estimated worth of $24 billion according to a recent analysis by Financial Times.
This holiday season, escape to the Caribbean with Celebrity Cruises and reconnect with family and friends in luxurious accommodations that make you feel right at home. Savor globally inspired cuisine designed by our Michelin-starred chef, paired with the most awarded wine collection at sea. Elevate “me time” with a soothing spa treatment sure to renew. With both long and short cruises to celebrate in December, and even three special Ultimate Holiday Cruises that sail over Christmas and into the New Year, the time to gift an experience and create unforgettable memories is now. Celebrity Cruises’ Always IncludedSM pricing — drinks, WiFi and tips — ensures a seamless, carefree vacation with the ones you love.
It’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Ayutthaya, Thailand, with us.