Mondrian Doha, which opened on the outer edges of Doha’s bustling West Lagoon neighbourhood overlooking the man-made The Pearl Qatar island almost five years ago, has emerged as one of the best luxury boutique hotels in Qatar in a short span of time. Mondrian Doha General Manager Mikel Ibrahim has successfully introduced the hotel to the market and led the implementation of Mondrian’s creative marketing strategy, attracting a diverse, cultured, and trendy public with engaging campaigns and an unrivalled visual identity. In an exclusive interview with the Qatar Tribune, Mikel spoke about various issues, his vision for the hotel and outlook for the hospitality industry. Excerpts:
Q: Mondrian Doha has emerged as one of the best luxury boutique hotels in Qatar in a short span of time. How has the journey been so far in Qatar?
Over the past five years, Mondrian Doha has become an integral part of Qatar’s hospitality landscape evolving as one of the major and must-visit luxury destinations in the region. Qatar’s community has embraced Mondrian’s eccentric, fashionable and contemporary identity. That was our biggest achievement and milestone!
Innovation is what defines our brand. From the luxurious stay, through to our fine dining and eclectic nightlife offering, we always strive to remain bold in our approach to guests’ experiences. We take pride in our innovative approach that enabled us to develop creative initiatives to offer our guests an extraordinary experience with each visit.
Q: Tell us about your role as general manager for Mondrian Doha.
As General Manager for Mondrian Doha, every business day is new and different. In my role, I am responsible for instilling the unique culture and ethos across the hotel, while collaborating with curators, designers, and masters of branding, working to deliver a unique and eccentric identity.
I am responsible for overseeing all the hotel’s operations, leading the planning and execution of the long-term strategies across all departments focused on diversifying Mondrian’s offers and clientele, engaging with the leadership team and reaffirming the property’s positioning as one of the leading luxurious destinations in Qatar and the region. My key responsibility is to make sure all guests walk out of the hotel with an exquisite memorable experience that will make them come back to explore more of our exclusive offerings.
Q: What is your vision for the future of the hotel?
My vision is to continue evolving and innovating to provide the most unique and exceptional personalized experience to our guests. We always want to be a step ahead – setting the trends and breaking the mould, showcasing the essence of Mondrian’s bold personality. COVID-19 has taught us to be resilient, adaptive, and bold. As one team, we will continue to always be creative; think outside the box especially when it comes to overcoming current challenges and satisfying our guests’ needs, especially during such extraordinary times.
Q: What new initiatives are you taking to attract visitors in the run-up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar?
Qatar has promised an immersive experience for all football aficionados that will connect people and build intercultural understanding while leveraging Qatar’s welcoming culture. As an experience-based hotel, we are preparing to offer a true culinary immersing experience at Mondrian’s world-renowned restaurants, offering fans a sense of our dining and gastronomy culture in an entertaining and unique setting while enjoying watching the matches and cheering on their favourite teams.
Q: What role does food and beverage play and how is it integrated into Mondrian Doha?
Food and beverage is a key pillar of our brand. Mondrian brings several world-renowned restaurants for the first time to Doha including Morimoto by Japanese celebrity chef Masahuru Morimoto and CUT by Wolfgang Puck offering an exceptional gastronomic experience spanning different cultures and cuisines from across the globe. Mondrian also pays tribute to the Middle Eastern and Qatari heritage with Walima, with its recently opened outdoor terrace while Hudson Tavern features the finest New York-style burgers, in addition to EllaMia, a coffee brand that transcends the ordinary with its exclusive blends.
We have recently opened 12 Chairs, our latest addition to our F&B culinary emporium. At 12 Chairs, we offer an intimate and lavish caviar experience, raising the bar on fine dining through extraordinary dishes and world-class quality products to enjoy the finest caviar in Doha. Reserved for only 12 guests, all our creations are prepared right in front of them, inviting them to explore our complex gastronomy experience within a luxe environment, while being introduced to the culture of caviar and sophisticated drinks.
Q: What makes Mondrian Doha stand out from other hotels in Qatar?
Mondrian Doha is more than just a hotel; it is a journey through a wonderland of fairy tale designs, and experiences, offering guests a world of imagination, where everything is possible. We strive to offer our guests an extraordinary experience, combined with world-class service, and a personalised approach that engages all five senses and leaves our guests with unforgettable memories. Art and design are central to Mondrian. Our identity is directed by Marcel Wanders’ ingenious, sophisticated, and original architecture and design.
Q: Starting with industry trends, how is the lifestyle hospitality segment contributing to the growth of the global hospitality industry?
Lifestyle hospitality represents one of the fastest-growing segments of the global hospitality industry. Being at the heart of the most captivating cultural scenes in the world and serving innovation and creativity for everyone, the Mondrian brand’s promise is to create an exclusive lifestyle and up-scale luxury experiences. The Mondrian brand is witnessing strategic expansions with an anticipated footprint in one of the fastest-growing economic capitals of Asia and two of Europe’s most captivating destinations.
The first Mondrian in China is set to open in 2022 and will be located in the bustling Mong Kok district in Hong Kong’s vibrant Kowloon. Singapore’s first Mondrian hotel will be built in the heart of the city’s prominent Duxton Hill neighbourhood and is set to open in early 2023. Mondrian Singapore, a luxury lifestyle hotel comprised of 300 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant, a lounge and a rooftop bar will combine historic architecture from Singapore’s centuries-old shophouses with a new build of modern and contemporary influences.
Furthermore, Mondrian will launch in France with two properties in Cannes and Bordeaux being refurbished to receive the Mondrian brand. Mondrian Cannes is set to be a quiet oasis in the heart of Cannes on the Croisette. This gorgeous property boasting 75 spacious guestrooms on 11 elegantly-decorated floors is just steps from the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The second property in Bordeaux is a 19th-century building with 97 elegant guest rooms spread over three floors, a full spa, a restaurant with a beautiful bar lounge, and an open-air terrace spanning over 200 square meters. Bordeaux is renowned for its rich heritage and culture; with the Mondrian Bordeaux setting being the ultimate luxury gateway.
Q: Where else do you see the luxury hospitality sector venturing into in the near future?
There is no doubt that technology will be at the core of the hotel experience. Hotels are now shifting to become “smart hotels” with new innovative technology delivering excellent customer experiences tailored to their needs and preferences. Just with one click, our guests can tune in and enjoy Black Orchid’s music from their rooms at Mondrian Doha.
Q: What are the key challenges that lie ahead for you in the near future?
As mentioned earlier, a critical challenge for me is to ensure clientele satisfaction through addressing their needs and preferences and creating a valuable personalised experience. As a team, we are striving to build a resilient model that will continue to exploit the opportunities and cope with the challenges. Our guest’s health and safety are our top priority so we are committed to continuing to further abide by the safety protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
Q: Do you feel hotel properties have a responsibility to adopt more sustainable practices? Have you implemented any sustainable initiatives at your hotel?
To be honest, a hospitality trend that is both current and a hallmark of recent years is “sustainability”. Nowadays, consumers are actively prioritizing eco-friendly hotel concepts. It all starts with very simple holistic decisions to incorporate sustainable practices that will reduce the costs increase efficiency and contribute to a better green community. Sustainability has been at the heart of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. There are ongoing initiatives to promote green practices in the local hotel sector. At Mondrian Doha, we are committed to implementing sustainable practices to support the national sustainability goals and satisfy our guests’ demand for a more sustainable experience.
We introduced procedures to limit the use of disposables, and waste-management policies through minimising food packaging in an effective environmental-friendly way.