Earlier this month, IHG debuted its latest brand in the Middle East with voco Dubai. The inaugural property is located on Sheikh Zayed Road, about five miles away from Dubai International Airport and the World Trade Centre. All of its 471 guestrooms have been recently refurbished with modern décor and come with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering views of the downtown.
We got in touch with its general manager Simon Stamper and asked him to spill the beans about the brand’s plan and the highlights of the new hotel.
TD: Could you share with us your background in hospitality?
SS: I have been with IHG for almost 30 years. I began my career in hospitality as assistant food and beverage manager at InterContinental Abu Dhabi in 1990. Following that, I gained experience across a range of brands and markets, spending consecutive years working across Athens, London and Cairo.
Before assuming my current role as area general manager Dubai central and general manager of voco Dubai, I served as director of operations in Africa and spent a year as the regional general manager in Egypt and Lebanon.
How does it feel to be leading the first voco in the Middle East?
It is an honour to be leading the first voco in the Middle East, and I am incredibly proud to have stepped into the role, working with both IHG and the hotel owners. It has been an exciting journey to date, and we are delighted to debut voco in the Middle East!
“We are aiming to open over 200 voco hotels globally”
What can you tell us about IHG’s plan to expand voco in the region?
voco is expected to drive significant growth for IHG. Over the next five years, we are aiming to open over 200 voco hotels globally. IHG has also identified significant opportunities for voco across the region. To date, we have already signed agreements for voco in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with voco Al Khobar scheduled to open later this year and voco Giza Pyramids expected to open in 2022.
What would be the highlights of the hotel?
The voco brand combines the informality and charm of an individual hotel, allowing guests to experience the freshness of unique hotels under a name they can trust. From the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, offering incredible views of Downtown Dubai, to the award-winning spa, Spa Zen, as well as a host of delicious cuisines, voco Dubai brings a vibrant hotel experience to the city.
My favourite touchstone of the new hotel is the incredibly comfortable beds and voco mattresses made from 100% recycled materials. Guests can wake up to the stunning views of the city and indulge in our freshly-baked croissants baked by our in-house baker, for a fantastic start to the day!
“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive”
How has the reception to the brand been so far?
Since the global launch of the voco brand in June 2018, we have seen growing interest from owners, partners and guests. The reception has been overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of feedback regarding the brand mascots of the finch, owl and flamingo and the various hallmarks. Internally our colleagues love the brand and have embraced the voco spirit.