Experiences key for high end travellers

Shangri-La Group seeks to create new themes blending with regions


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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The Shangri-La Abu Dhabi.
The Shangri-La Abu Dhabi.

Published: Thu 23 May 2024, 7:43 PM

In today’s fast-changing hospitality landscape, high-end affluent travellers are increasingly seeking unique, meaningful, and purposeful experiences that provide a deeper connection with the world, a senior official said.

“In response to this trend, we at Shangri-La continue to put increased emphasis on curating new innovative experiences designed to resonate personally with our guests, Nicolas Hauvespre, VP of Commercial for Shangri-La Group, MEIA, said.

Additionally, sustainability remains a central focus. “Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword for us; it’s a core value embraced by Shangri-La. Through initiatives like ‘Rooted in Nature’, we review our food supply chain holistically, ensuring responsible practices from growing and harvesting ingredients to transforming them into delicious dishes and managing food waste. Over the past decade, we’ve achieved significant milestones, including serving over 1,700 sustainably minded dishes and implementing innovative farming systems on-site and in partnership with local farmers worldwide,” Hauvespre said.

In terms of regional experiences, Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah in Oman introduced last year the world’s first Frankincense Sommelier, Khalid Al Amri, who takes guests on a tour of the resort’s tree garden to further expand their knowledge and understanding of the Frankincense history and the usage of this precious resin in food, beverages, spa treatments, perfumes, and other cultural practices. “Additionally, guests are invited to participate in hands-on workshops where they can learn the ancient art of extracting and using Frankincense, immersing themselves in the rich Omani traditions and customs, or appreciate the history and culture though photography, paintings and other art pieces adorning the resort’s walls. By blending luxury with authentic local experiences, we provide a distinctive opportunity to deeply connect with the region’s heritage,” Hauvespre said.

Nicolas Hauvespre, VP of Commercial for Shangri-La Group, MEIA
Nicolas Hauvespre, VP of Commercial for Shangri-La Group, MEIA

Local partnerships remain key to Shangri La. “Collaborating with local businesses, artisans, and communities enables us to infuse authentic elements of the destination into our offerings. Whether it’s sourcing locally produced ingredients for our restaurants or showcasing indigenous artwork in our hotels, these collaborations not only bolster the local economy but also enrich the guest experience with genuine cultural immersion. A great example is Shangri-La’s collaboration with local artists. At Shangri-La Jeddah, our newest hotel in the region’s portfolio, hosts over 200 art pieces in the hotel, showcasing the talent of Saudi painters, sculpturers, photographers, and many more reflecting the vibrant spirit and rich heritage of the kingdom,” Hauvespre said.

Building upon the group’sglobal brand campaign launched year, this year’s ‘behind the scenes’ initiative seeks to inspire guests ‘to find their own Shangri-La’. “Through collaborative efforts with our hotels, we’ve curated unique signature experiences, both at the hotel and nearby locations,” Hauvespre said. For instance, guests traveling to Istanbul can anticipate a unique hands-on workshop that will deepen their appreciation for the finesse and craftsmanship of Baklava making at the original baklava factory, Karaköy Güllüoğlu, located less than 30 minutes away from Shangri-La Bosphorus. At Shangri-La Al Husn and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah in Oman, guests can delve into the wonders of one of the country’s top 5 turtle nesting sites.

In London, the hotel chain celebrating ten years of hospitality in the tallest hotel in Western Europe. At Shangri-La The Shard, guests can embark on luxurious cruises on Thames aboard the Illuminate Yacht. In Paris, guests at the Shangri-La Paris will have front-row seats for the Opening Ceremony from their room or suite balconies.

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