Learning Beyond the Classroom | CUD’s Students Gain Invaluable Real-World Skills from Touring Prestigious Dubai Hotels

Canadian University Dubai's (CUD) Faculty of Management recently organized two student educational tours.  These exclusive and informative tours took CUD’s students to two prestigious and well-renowned hotels in Dubai, namely the La Ville Hotel and Suites located in City Walk, and the Palazzo Versace.   Through these tours, CUD’s students were given a unique opportunity to explore the practical side of the business world and apply the theories they learned during class.  

This hands-on experience allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of the business operations, and management of these two high-end hotels.  The educational tours were an enriching experience for the students, as they were able to establish valuable connections with industry experts and professionals.  The students’ exposure to real-world business scenarios enabled the students to broaden their knowledge and develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for their future careers. 

La Ville Hotel and Suites, City Walk, Dubai 

CUD's Events and Tourism Management students participated in the educational tour to the La Ville Hotel and Suites located in City Walk, Dubai.  Ms. Anke Glassing, the General Manager of the hotel, warmly welcomed the students and provided an introduction to the hotel's management structure.  She also informed them about the hotel's parent company, Marriott International and its brand line, the Autograph Collection, before taking the students on a comprehensive tour of the hotel’s front-of-house and back-of-house.  

The commencement of the student tour was initiated in the front-of-house, the initial point of contact between the hotel staff and guests.  The students were informed that the front-of-house team holds significant responsibility for creating a favourable first impression and ensuring that guests feel appreciated and welcomed – establishing the tone for the guest's entire stay and impacting the guest’s perception of the hotel's quality and comprehensive services.  

As part of the tour, the students were taken to the infinity pool area, which offers stunning views of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.  The tour provided insights to the students into how the conference facilities and the pool area are utilized for hosting diverse and dynamic events.   Moreover, the students were granted access to unoccupied suites in the hotel, where they gained knowledge on various aspects such as room design, sustainability features, room categories, in-room amenities, room key issuance, and activation procedures, along with other services.  

Subsequently, the students toured the hotel's back-of-house, where they gained first-hand insights into several departments that form the foundation of the hotel's operations and were educated on employee systems and internal reporting procedures.  The students proceeded to visit the housekeeping department, where they were introduced to the housekeeping operational framework, mechanisms, and interdepartmental collaborations.  

Next, the students toured the Engineering Office, where the Chief Engineer provided an enlightening lecture on the hotel's foremost safety measures, maintenance software, and sustainability practices.  The students were informed that the hotel's engineering office holds the responsibility of guaranteeing the hotel's physical infrastructure and systems to operate efficiently, dependably, and safely, and they are also in charge of handling energy consumption, waste management, and environmental compliance regulations. 

The La Ville Hotel & Suites has been awarded the 'Green Key Sustainability Certification' due to its sustainability initiatives.  To sustain the certificate, the Engineering Department explained to CUD’s students that it maintains detailed records of the hotel's consumption and emissions.  Although the hotel operates mostly paper-free, it has plans to incorporate solar panels.  The students learned that the Engineering Department plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the hotel's operations continue to run smoothly, without unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions which are essential in maintaining the safety and comfort of guests, staff, and the property. 

Following this, the students visited the Human Resources (HR) Department, where they learned in more detail how HR is responsible for overseeing the hotel's workforce, from recruitment and training to performance evaluation and remuneration.  The students engaged in conversation with the hotel's HR Department to better understand Marriott's employment program, internships, employee incentives, motivation programs, and advancement opportunities.  Thereafter, CUD’s students toured the hotel’s Food and Beverage (F&B) outlets GRAZE, Chival, Grapeskin, and Lobby Café, where they gained insights into how F&B is responsible for managing all aspects of the hotel's food and beverage operations, ensuring that guests have access to high-quality dining options that meet their needs and preferences.  

Following an enlightening tour of the hotel's premises, students were given the opportunity to engage with the expert teams of the hotel’s marketing, engineering, food and beverage, and event departments in a ‘question-and-answer’ session.  The hotel’s team provided valuable insights into the inner workings of the hotel, including how the various departments work together to deliver a seamless guest experience.  This interactive session allowed the students to seek clarification on any aspects of the tour, particularly helpful for students interested in pursuing careers in the hospitality industry.  The tour provided valuable knowledge and perspectives from experienced professionals and helped students to apply academic knowledge to real-world applications.  

Palazzo Versace, Dubai

CUD's Luxury Marketing students embarked on the educational tour to the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, a culmination of the striking ‘Pietra di Fiume’ design of the iconic Medusa and Greek décor.  The students were warmly welcomed by Ms. Ionela Savescu, the Director of Marketing and Public Relations.  During the tour, Ms. Savescu provided the students with a detailed introduction to the hotel, its seven-year journey, and the Versace brand.  The hotel's Creative Interior Designer, Ms. Donatella Versace, was also introduced to the students.

Reminiscent of a 16th Italian Palace, Palazzo Versace Dubai is a Neoclassical masterpiece with subtle traces of Arabian architecture.  Featuring a striking entrance, high ceilings, landscaped gardens, and a range of well-crafted Italian furnishings, the hotel is truly symbolic of the Versace lifestyle.  A walk through the 5-star hotel’s spaces reveals several exclusive designs and fabrics from Versace, while the lagoon pools and reflection ponds complement the serenity of the lush gardens that surround the hotel – a true luxury retreat for leisure travellers.

The tour provided the students with a comprehensive understanding of the luxury brand, its construction, and the high-quality materials used in its creation, which are exclusively sourced from Italy.  Every single piece of furniture and fabric that adorns the hotel rooms, suites, and residences, is designed and tailor-made by Versace exclusively for the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai.

The students were also given insights into the artwork displayed throughout the hotel, including a distinguished 1.5-million-piece hand-cut mosaic, which is prominently placed in the hotel lobby.  The educational tour was an exceptional learning opportunity for CUD's Luxury Marketing students, as it enabled them to gain practical knowledge and insights into the strategies and workings of a world-renowned luxury brand.  By examining the materials and design elements used in the creation of the Palazzo Versace Dubai, the students were able to deepen their understanding of the luxury industry and its unique marketing strategies. 

Each of the hotel’s 9 restaurants and bars is designed to have an al fresco terrace to reflect the heritage of Palazzos.  The tour led the students to the lobby terrace where they could view the hotel configuration including the buildings and residence wings.  Next, they visited Vanitas, the signature restaurant of all Versace Hotels & Resorts, where they had the chance to meet the chef.  The chef spoke to the students about Italian cuisine and the restaurant's decor, which includes hand-painted images depicting the Calabria region of Italy, the hometown of Gianni Versace. After that, the students visited Giardino restaurant, which features marble "terrazzo" flooring, columns, and a wallcovering with a jungle motif inspired by the Versace wallpaper collection.  The students proceeded to Q's Bar and Lounge, the inaugural bar of music icon Quincy Jones. The establishment has been recognized as Dubai's top live music venue, featuring performances by artists personally selected by Jones.   It was mentioned that some tourists make a special trip to Dubai just to experience an evening at Q's Bar and Lounge. 

Following that, the students were taken to the swimming pool area that had a design resembling the same found in Versace's Miami residence. The three outdoor pools are decorated with mosaic tiles and surrounded by palm trees and flowers.  Subsequently, the students were given a tour of the event spaces, where Ms. Savescu discussed these spaces and catering to consumer preferences.  Ms. Savescu also highlighted the importance of educating clients, building trust in the brand, and fostering brand loyalty which are essential tasks for Versace's marketing team.  

Ms. Savescu emphasized the distinctive features of Palazzo Versace Dubai that set it apart, including its luxurious design elements.  Moreover, unlike most other luxury hotels that are managed by hospitality companies, Versace is managed by a team directly hired by the brand.  In addition, the students were taken to the boutique spa which is known for its evolving and innovative range of products and treatments.  The spa's design, created by Versace, is one of the hotel’s key features.   Its exquisite white walls are adorned with mother-of-pearl details and dark rooms with grey mosaics and Granito Nero flooring. 

The tour concluded with a question-and-answer discussion in which CUD’s students learned more about the hotel’s market segment, clientele demands and expectations, the evolving tasks of a luxury marketer, the sense of belonging to a brand, and other significant marketing topics in luxury services.  Upon departing Palazzo Versace Dubai, CUD’s students gained a comprehensive understanding of marketing luxury goods and services, the interconnection between luxury and art, and the process of localizing luxury services, while maintaining the brand's core identity.  The insights the students acquired from the industry experts allowed them to connect learned academic knowledge to practical business scenarios.   As a result, the students have a more distinct perception of their career aspirations.