“The Arabian Gulf has established a luxury brand identity for the region that is as powerful as Bulgari, Ferragamo, and Mont Blanc,” Jeffrey Ornstein, CEO of J/Brice Design International www.jbricedesign.com told hotel investors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia recently.
Ornstein is at the vanguard of contemporary hotel design in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates where he is redefining the luxury hotel experience for travelers.
Delivering the keynote address during a recent NESEBA hospitality industry world summit in Riyadh, KSA he said: “The Arabian Peninsula used to be dominated by neo-modernist, international-style architecture. With the Arab World’s identity growing stronger, Islamic themes are now being interpreted in the architecture and interior design of the Gulf’s new signature hotels.”
Ornstein noted that while Islamic motifs have strong two-dimensional patterns, contemporary hotel designers have given them more texture and depth. His firm is designing the Khalifa Hotel and Aspire Tower in Doha, Qatar and the US$300 million Al-Kohbar Hotel and Towers in The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He told delegates, “The Gulf is a now collective brand – a recognizable idea that invites the consumer to assume ownership. In the hospitality industry, the ‘consumer’ is the guest who takes ownership of the hotel experiences we create.”
In the 19th and 20th centuries, brands like the Ritz, the Savoy, and Raffles resonated with the sophisticated set. Ornstein predicts, “This century’s legendary hotels are being created in the Arab World by designers who can interpret the cultural and social imperatives of the region, while simultaneously creating environments that are relevant to the lifestyles of wealthy international patrons.”
He added: “The center of international luxury hotel standards first moved to the region when the Burj al Arab branded Dubai – just as powerfully as the Eiffel Tower branded Paris and the Golden Gate Bridge branded San Francisco. Most notably, the Burj al Arab’s iconic sail shape marks the first time a hotel, rather than a public structure, has become the symbol of an international city.”