Even long before Amsa Hospitality was born, when I was sharing my project with friends and fellow hoteliers, I use to get almost systematically the same question: “What do you mean by ‘Arabian hospitality’?”
That question is even more frequent now that Amsa Hospitality is up and running and that our team is making the project a reality. A fair question: What is Arabian hospitality? How is it different from Asian hospitality? Or African? Or Western? Back in May of this year, in my very first articles, I discussed the concept of Arabian hospitality and what we, at Amsa Hospitality, understand by that:
‘Bringing the centuries old Arabian traditions of welcoming and generosity to today’s world’.
In real life, how does it translate to?
It is a threefold exercise:
Building design standards
Employees management style
If you are familiar with Amsa Hospitality blog and posts, you certainly read the recent interviews of Denis Sorin, President of Hospitality, and Mohamad Mandili, Head of Human Resources, and you already are familiar with the type of innovative management style we are implementing! I’ll get back to it in a future blog post.
Today’s post will discuss exclusively Amsa Hospitality building design standards. The way we look at it, we have three options:
Design a hotel that seems coming out directly from a Disney movie, “Arabian nights” style
Design a hotel that takes back as many traditional elements as possible, introducing a somehow oxymoron ‘modern ancestral Arab’ style, true to our roots
Design a hotel that takes back a limited number of carefully selected key Arabian décor elements (mashrabiya, textiles, etc.) judiciously scattered within an international contemporary design
You guessed it, we decided to implement the second option: Amsa Hospitality is about channeling Arabian centuries-old traditions (including décor and style) to the modern world. Therefore, the second option is the only and logical one!
Wherever our hotels maybe in the world, from exterior to interior, we proudly reveal unmistakable architectural Arabian elements.
Of course, we are aware that in some countries and cities local urban plans do not allow us to fully implement the exterior design of our choice. Nevertheless, we try as much as we can to implement Arab designs or markers – even so discreet - so that our buildings stand out from their neighbors.
We do have more freedom when it comes to interior design. As soon as a guest or visitor enters the hotel, they must feel like they are in the Middle East: From the greeting employees’ uniforms to the welcoming standards and décor, all must remind them of the best of today’s Arabian world – again, we are not in an ‘Arabian nights’ setting.
All is authentic without being ostentatious: Our hotels are not luxurious properties – we aim at mid-scale and upper-mid-scale segments. Nevertheless, we keep in mind the defining phrase from architect and deluxe furniture designer Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe: “Less is more”.
What does that mean? Clean lines and perspectives, soothing color schemes, comfortable furniture, warm lightings… all is made for guests and visitors to feel good, relaxed, secure.
All pieces of furniture, wall décor, artifacts are authentic and come from Saudi Arabia and neighboring GCC countries designers proud of their Arabian roots.
Prominently displayed, we showcase Saudi and other GCC artists may them be painters, sculptors, or video artists. Discreet and relaxing background music is composed by Middle Eastern musicians, as well as Amsa Hospitality signature scent.
Because we care and we are deeply environmentally conscious, sustainability is key to all decisions we make:
From lighting to sofas, chairs to the smallest décor element, we promote and select exclusively those with the least carbon footprint and highest score in our Sustainable Procurement Chart, hence supporting the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
We certainly do not have a ‘one fits all’ lobby, food & beverage and other outlets design: We strongly believe in the current ‘lifestyle hospitality’ trend that defines perfectly how Amsa Hospitality hotels are all about: “Quirky, cutting-edge, avant-garde, trendy, funky, charming”… the Arabian way!
In other words, all our lobbies and outlets are different from a hotel to the next. Nevertheless, guests always know that they are visiting an Amsa Hospitality property due to its uniqueness. As we always say… like never seen before!
For obvious cost and operational reasons, rooms and suites designs are standardized. Nevertheless, as much as possible, we are not proposing the usual room design that everyone has seen and is mostly unchanged since the 1950s – except for very few pioneering properties and hotel groups:
Bathroom on one side facing the closet within the corridor
Opening to the bedroom
Our standard bedroom design is modern and charming, and systematically calls the ‘Wow’ factor as soon as guests open the door – base-design expanding for junior suites and suites. Even in our bedrooms, guests feel the Arabian uniqueness, while benefiting from the best and most user-friendly today’s technology can offer.
No need to say, floor corridors and elevators landings are not those boring hallways that you see in most hotels: We style them from lighting to carpet and wall designs in such a way that guests keep that warm Arabian feeling of comfort, relaxation, and security they already enjoyed in the lobby and outlets.
As in rooms, cutting-edge user-friendly technology is easily available throughout the property: Didn’t we say that we bring Arabian best tradition to today’s world?
Of course, because we are first and foremost a ‘people company’, our unique décor, style and overall ‘feel good’ Arabian environment doesn’t stop when we get to the ‘back of the house’, when we enter the area accessible only to employees. More about that in a post in the weeks to come!
You better understand now what ‘Arabian hospitality’ means… at least when it comes to building and interior designs. Next week, I’ll discuss Amsa Hospitality innovative views on service standards. Stay tune!