AHEAD MEA announces its winners

AHEAD, the Awards for Hospitality Experience and Design, has revealed its winners in a glittering ceremony at W Al Habtoor City, Dubai.

Celebrating the most ambitious and innovative hotels across the Middle East and Africa, winners include a luxury urban resort in Dubai and a secluded lodge retreat in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Following a welcome reception at the Wet Deck, The Great Room at W Al Habtoor City was transformed with light, sound and live performance to create a spectacular backdrop for the 300 hospitality professionals in attendance.

The night was hosted by Sleeper’s Editor-at-Large Guy Dittrich, with Awards Director Matt Turner opening proceedings. “It is not just a celebration of design for design’s sake but the collaborative efforts of designers, architects, developers and operators, and the amazing guest experiences they create in hotels around the world,” he commented.

“We were overwhelmed with the quality of entries for our inaugural AHEAD MEA awards. The judges had a tough job on their hands selecting winners as the standard was exceptionally high across the board.”

The triumphant projects were subject to a rigorous judging process by a panel chaired by Marc Dardenne, Group Chief Operating Officer of Jumeirah Group. Each entry was assessed on its aesthetic excellence, guest experience and commercial viability.

The winners are:

Bar, Club or Lounge – Cubano Lito at Ibis One Central Hotel, Dubai, UAE

Event Spaces – Rove Downtown, Dubai, UAE

Guestrooms – Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai, UAE

Hotel Renovation & Restoration – Kempinski Summerland Hotel & Resort, Beirut, Lebanon

Landscape & Outdoor Spaces – Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles

Lobby & Public Spaces – Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai, UAE

Lodges & Tented Camps – Belmond Eagle Island Lodge, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Resort Hotel – Jumeirah Al Naseem, Dubai, UAE

Restaurant – Rüya at Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai, UAE

Spa & Wellness – Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, Nizwa, Oman

Suite – Villa Suites at Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles

Urban Hotel – Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE

Visual Identity of the Year – Room Mate Emir, Istanbul, Turkey

New Concept of the Year – Rove Downtown, Dubai, UAE

The AHEAD MEA Hotel of the Year – Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, UAE

Winners took home bespoke trophies in hand-blown glass, designed and manufactured by Lasvit, while headline sponsor Grohe – along with a host of other supporters – helped winners celebrate into the evening.

These regional heats will culminate in a Global Biennale in 2019, which will see the winners compete head-to-head to decide a worldwide winner in each category.