Armed with 25 years of hospitality experience, Anne Scott has been entrusted with the task of being at the helm of affairs at W Dubai – The Palm as its General Manager, making her the first woman to hold this position for the W brand in the Middle East.
Premiering this June, on the iconic Palm Jumeirah’s East Crescent, is the first W Escape that will disrupt the idea of traditional luxury offering amazing experiences to its guests. Of Scottish descent and having worked in the industry for 25 years, Anne Scott is brimming with excitement about this luxurious gem, W Dubai – The Palm.
Scott has spent eight years working in Asia Pacific, where she held the role of General Manager at the St. Regis Kuala Lumpur Hotel & Residences, St. Regis Sanya Yalong Bay, The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort and Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort. Prior to Asia, she also held the role of Hotel Manager of The Park Tower, Knightsbridge, London – a member of The Luxury Collection.
Her efforts in Asia earned her the laurels ‘Asia’s Leading Woman in Hospitality 2011’ at the Women in Leadership Forum, as well as Starwood President’s Award 2012 for ‘Outstanding Team’ on the launch of a coral nursery. On being asked about why she left London for Asia, Scott says, “I have lived in London all my life. One of my birthdays, I realised it’s time to take on a big adventure and that’s when I accepted the first stint in a totally different part of the world – Northern Thailand. I was the only foreigner in that community.”
Scott derived inspiration for her career at a very tender age. “When I was eight years old, friends of my parents invited us for lunch at one of the hotels. As I was the youngest, nobody was talking with me, so I remember sitting there and swinging my legs, observing all the nice things that surrounded me at the restaurant. I remember running my hands along the table linen and thinking how nice it felt, how pretty the flowers were on the table, how handsome the waiters were and how everything was so clean, neat and smelled lovely. In that moment I remember thinking that I will somehow become an hotelier and this is where I am. In my family we have a doctor, lawyer, accountant and even a church minister and I am the official hotelier. So we are very well sorted out in to different fields,” she comments.
Highlighting the importance of technology in all spheres of life, Scott says it has transformed the way in which we do business and operate. “So our ability to communicate with each other and directly to the end user and connect with the clients has changed. What has not changed is the service expectation that people would still like personalised services and something which is thoughtful and not mass marketed. People still expect a luxury hotel to be about ‘me and what I want.’ It is just how we embrace technology as a better way of doing what we want to do. From an Operations point of view, I can say that because of technology we have more time to interact with the customer. Technology cannot replace what is fundamental to what a customer expects. As a guest of a luxury hotel, I still want you to concentrate on my needs, expectations and personalised offerings and solutions,” Scott states.
Passion v/s Challenges
As a passionate and experienced hotelier, Scott has been putting in new ideas into the launch of the property. “We are writing creative action plans about launching the hotel to tell the market place about W Dubai – The Palm. The opportunities to communicate with people are twelve-fold than what they were before but also much more complicated as it is simple. I still believe that if you are exceptional at what you do and if you provide the guests with amazing experiences, people will find a way to hear about it, know about it and become part of it – that is the service connection,” she says.
‘W’ on focus
W Dubai – The Palm will consist of 350 sea facing guest rooms and going by the sneak peek they will definitely be exceptional, high end and just right for the discerning luxury traveller. The nomenclature of the rooms and suites is very different from the usual ones. There will be three room categor ies–Wonderful, Fabulous and Spectacular replacing the regular Classic, Superior and Premium. For the suites there are seven different categories; W Suite, Cool Corner, Fantastic, Marvelous, Mega, Wow and e-Wow. In terms of culinary offerings, world renowned chef Massimo Bottura will turn up something exceptional, so it will be a treat to have him prepare his magic in Dubai than wait for a period of six months to grab a seat in his exclusive 3-star Michelin restaurant in Italy.
“We are targeting June this year for the opening and I’m really excited. We will give ourselves a summer to create fantastic experiences and to let everybody experience all of the services. We will continue to polish our own offerings and understand a little better the opportunities that we have, so by September or October we will do a full-fledged launch. We have some incredible offerings for culinary experiences and weekend escape. At the heart of the W is the Wet Deck which will be the heart and soul of the property, where the DJ will keep the excitement levels high with fantastic music and entertainment, amazing cocktails, fabulous food making it the place to be on the Palm on weekend,” Scott concludes.