Essex House, NYC, now under Burj Al Arab management
Jumeirah is probably the most ambitious hotel
chain is the world, and plans to expand its
portfolio of hotels from 10 to around 40 properties
over the next four years.
The re-branding of the Jumeirah Essex House
follows in the wake of a $500 million purchase
last September by the Dubai Investment Group,
which is owned by the Dubai Government. Jumeirah
is in turned owned by Dubai Holdings, another
Dubai Government entity. As Chief Executive
Officer Gerald Lawless comments:
'North America is a very
important market for future growth and we
will continue to work with our partners
in expanding on this continent. We are looking
at between four to five hotels in North
America, including a resort in the Carribbeans
and our next expansion could come this year.'
The Jumeirah portfolio of properties is already
an impressive one. Aside from the magnificent
Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the group operates
the neighboring Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the
Madinat Jumeirah with its two large hotels;
the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in downtown Dubai,
and the Jumeirah Beach Club Resort; plus the
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. In London there
is the Jumeirah Carlton Tower and Jumeirah
Lowndes Hotel, both in Belgravia.
The latest addition, the Jumeirah Essex House
was formerly managed by Starwood under two
brands: a 501-room Westin and 104-room St
Regis hotel. Jumeirah is to keep all the existing
600 staff to run the 605-room hotel which
will start a $50 million refurbishment later
'All the employees will undergo a training
programme to get acquainted with our unique
luxury hospitality culture,' says Mr. Lawless.
'Our senior management has already moved here
as a part of the takeover process.'
Middle East travelers staying at the Jumeirah
Essex House are unlikely to be disappointed.
This splendid example of Art Deco architecture
was completed in 1931, and has a prime location
at 160 Central Park South between Sixth and
Its signature restaurant features the celebrated
French chef Alain Ducasse, and in the Zagat
Survey 2005 its service was described as 'meticulous
but unpretentious' and rated No1 in New York
City, no mean achievement in a city where
the restaurant scene could be characterized
as competitive to say the least.
Over the past decade the success of the Dubai
hospitality industry has been the talk of
the global industry, and Jumeirah has been
a driver of this phenomenon. The arrival of
Jumeirah in New York City thus marks a new
stage in the expansion of the sector.
But with the Burj Al Arab, arguably the world's
most luxurious hotel, already heading its
portfolio, the Jumeirah Essex House looks
just another step towards establishing a much
larger chain over the next few years.