Dubai’s Top Hotel Concierge Provides an Insider’s Glimpse to the Glitzy City
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Dubai’s Top Hotel Concierge Provides an Insider’s Glimpse to the Glitzy City

By JAKE EMEN
Mon, Jul 8, 2024 8:36amGrey Clock 6 min

Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel is regarded as one of the most extravagant properties in the world, and its sail-shaped architectural design has become an icon of the city and the region. One of the people making the magic happen behind the scenes for such an over-the-top luxurious outpost is its chief concierge, Roger Geadah.

Any hotel concierge must be prepared to cater to and meet the needs of their guests, fostering long-term relationships and turning first-time visitors into repeat clients by delivering memorable moments. But at Burj Al Arab, the bar is perhaps even more difficult to clear than it is elsewhere.

“Delivering on the expectations of our guests at the Burj Al Arab is not just about meeting their high standards—it’s about consistently exceeding them,” Geadah says. “To achieve this, I place myself on the same level as our guests, seeing the world through their eyes. This involves a great deal of emotional intelligence, storytelling, and fun.”

At a hotel regarded as one of the world’s most opulent, Geadah’s tasks are different from those of a concierge at a more typical city hotel. Guests make use of around the clock butler service and stay in gilded two-story suites bedecked in enough marble and gold as to border on the palatial, after entering the property through a world-record, almost 600-foot high atrium. Expectations are even higher.

Geadah, who’s been in Dubai for a decade and with the Jumeirah Burj Al Arab team for the past three years, strives to connect with his guests, think outside the box, and stay up to date with a city amid constant evolution. There may be no better person to offer his handpicked recommendations for what to experience in and around the city.

Geadah, 48, spoke with Penta about his top tips and insider recommendations for a memorable visit to Dubai. undefined

Stay

Beyond the swanky confines of his offices at the Burj Al Arab, Geadah’s top choice elsewhere in town is the XVA Art Hotel in Bur Dubai.

One of the people making the magic happen behind the scenes for such an over-the-top luxurious outpost is its chief concierge, Roger Geadah.
Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

“It’s a true hidden gem that beautifully combines heritage, art, and tranquility,” he says. The property is set within a traditional Emirati house in the heart of the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood, and guests enjoy the area’s charming traditional architecture, heritage sites, and history, along with the artistic touches of its 15 individually designed rooms.

“What I love most about XVA is how it fosters conversations around art, culture, heritage, and creativity,” Geadah says. For those looking to escape the city for a night or two, head to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort.

“It’s a luxurious oasis hidden away in the Arabian desert, just about an hour’s drive from the lively city,” Geadah says. “Bab Al Shams offers breathtaking desert views that make for a truly unique getaway, and the resort beautifully combines traditional Arabian design with modern comforts, and also offers unique activities like camel rides, adding a touch of adventure to your stay.”

Adjacent to the Burj Al Arab is the Madinat Jumeirah, the largest resort in Dubai at about 100 acres in size. It’s a destination to itself featuring a handful of different hotels and hideaways sharing an expansive property interconnected with walkways and boat canals, including a huge lagoon-style resort pool, a lengthy stretch of private beach, and a staggering lineup of about 50 dining and drinking venues.

Shop

Dubai is home to every luxury brand and retailer on the planet, including at Dubai Mall, one of the largest in the world. Finding smaller, local purveyors for a more authentic shopping experience may be more rewarding. “When it comes to immersing yourself in the vibrant culture and sensory delights of Dubai, the city’s souks [marketplaces] are an absolute must-visit,” Geadah says.

Different souks are focused on different types of goods, and Geadah recommends a few in particular. “First up is the Dubai Spice Souk, nestled in the heritage area; this colorful market is a sensory feast, brimming with aromatic herbs and spices that fill the air with their tantalising scents,” he says.

From there, the Gold Souk is close by, as well as the Perfume Souk, another of his top picks. “It is a fragrant paradise in its own right, and here you will encounter some of the most authentic and enticing scents Dubai has to offer: Oud, a signature fragrance derived from resin is beloved by both Emirati men and women for its earthy allure.”

Explore

The most difficult ticket in Dubai right now is the Museum of the Future.

“Delivering on the expectations of our guests at the Burj Al Arab is not just about meeting their high standards-it’s about consistently exceeding them,” Roger Geadah, chief voncierge, said.
Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

“It’s quickly become a must-visit destination and it’s easy to see why, as the building itself is an architectural marvel, featuring a stunning torus-shaped structure adorned with Arabic calligraphy across 1,024 stainless steel panels,” Geadah says. Visitors enter an experiential space that transports them to the year 2071. “It is a captivating experience for anyone interested in what the future might hold.”

A more off-the-beaten-path pick is the Al Shindagha Museum in the historical neighbourhood of the same name, which takes people on a journey through time in the other direction. “Visitors explore the meticulously restored heritage houses along the serene Dubai Creek, houses which aren’t just structures, but living museums, each telling its own story of traditional crafts and bustling commercial activities from bygone eras,” he says.

Another choice is the Coffee Museum. “Lose yourself in a treasure trove of antique items that trace the rich history of coffee, from its humble beginnings to its global significance,” Geadah says. “For a dose of authentic culture, head to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding where locals offer hands-on explorations of traditional ways of life while showcasing hospitality and serving a traditional meal. The arts district at Alserkal Avenue, meanwhile, features contemporary galleries, studios, and exhibition spaces.

Visit the Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque for a glimpse at a splendorous structure inspired by Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. “Beyond its architectural marvel, the mosque embodies a deeper purpose — to foster understanding, harmony, and unity,” Geadah says. “Within its walls, words like moderation, peace, and tolerance reverberate, echoing local values and serving as a bridge between Arabic civilisation and the world beyond. Non-Muslims are welcome to visit the mosque outside of praying times.”

The most popular choice for an excursion outside the city is a desert safari to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Ride in a heritage vehicle across the dunes and enjoy activities such as falconry, wildlife viewing, and a Bedouin-style barbecue feast. For a different take, Geadah recommends starting the adventure with a sunrise hot air balloon ride.

The terraforming marvels of Palm Jumeirah should be seen and explored by every visitor. There are several viewpoints to consider, and Geadah also suggests taking to the water with a yacht trip or jet ski tour to gain an additional perspective. And of course, the iconic Burj Khalifa remains one of Dubai’s signature sights. The best way to soak it all in is via the At The Top experience, sending visitors to the 152nd floor along with a series of viewing points and lounges on different floors.

“To achieve this, I place myself on the same level as our guests, seeing the world through their eyes. This involves a great deal of emotional intelligence, storytelling, and fun,” Geadah says. Courtesy of Burj Al Arab

Eat & Drink

“Dubai’s culinary scene is incredibly diverse, offering everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to authentic street food,” Geadah says. Many of the world’s most well known culinary fixtures have locations in the city, from Massimo Bottura and Gordon Ramsay to Daniel Boulud , Nobu Matsuhisa, Jamie Oliver, and scores of others. When possible, though, Geadah prefers arranging for a more unique experience, once putting together a secret culinary tour for a food-loving family with the help of a local historian and guide.

“The older part of town boasts a rich culinary heritage, with influences from India, Persia, and the Arab world, and it’s home to some of the most unique and charming eateries,” Geadah says.

Geadah has no shortage of restaurant recommendations, though, many of which come with particular vantage points. He suggests Shimmers for an on-the-beach taste of Greek fare with a view of the Burj Al Arab; Coucou offers “festive French” from atop Palm Tower, offering a 360 degree view of Palm Jumeirah; and in downtown Dubai, Urla offers Aegean dining with a view of The Dubai Fountain Show and Burj Khalifa.

At Burj Al Arab, consider L’Olivo at al Mahara, an outpost of Capri’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant. The restaurant is immersed within an enormous coral reef aquarium providing a captivating scene.

Always one to look for a local touch, Geadah also suggests Orfali Bros. “Three brothers, Mohammad, Wassim, and Omar Orfali, bring culinary magic to life, blending tradition and innovation inspired by their cultural roots and adventurous spirit,” he says. “Their small bistro offers a sensory experience where flavours dance and ingredients shine, reflecting their culinary journey.”



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Sparkling wine flows as Australian winemaker takes out top international award

The Tasmanian-based winemaker was among a number of Australian producers to be honoured at the event in London this week

By Robyn Willis
Thu, Jul 11, 2024 2 min

An Australian winemaker has taken out the top prize for sparkling wine at the International Wine Challenge, the first time a local winemaker has done so. It marks just the second time in the competition’s 40-year history that the award has gone to a winemaker outside France’s Champagne region.

Tasmanian-based House of Arras’ chief winemaker, Ed Carr, was presented with the award for Sparkling Winemaker of the Year at a special ceremony in London earlier this week.

“I’m incredibly honoured to be named this year’s Sparkling Winemaker of the Year. It’s a challenge to describe the feeling, but I’m proud to be recognised amongst my peers for such a significant international award,” Mr Carr said.

The IWC is considered one of the world’s most rigorous and impartial wine competitions. This year, France topped the medal tally with 72 gold, 394 silver and 455 bronze medals – extending their haul by 84 more wins than last year.  

The 40-year-old competition is considered one of the most influential events in the winemaking calendar.

Australian winemakers took out second place, with 54 gold, 250 silver and 154 bronze medals. Australia also won 19 trophies, 10 of which went to South Australia.

House of Arras also received the Australian Sparkling Trophy for its 2014 House of Arras Blanc de Blancs, as well as two gold and six silver medals.

Tasmania’s cool climate and soil make it ideal for producing world-class sparkling wine says Ed Carr (pictured).

Mr Carr said Tasmania’s cool climate and terroir were equal to the world’s best sparkling wine regions. The wins follow a strong showing this year at Australia’s National Wine Show and the Decanter World Wine Awards, where House of Arras also collected awards.

“2024 has been an outstanding year on the awards front, and I’m honoured to add this recent recognition from the International Wine Challenge to the mantle,” he said. 

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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