INTERVIEW: General manager, Studio M Arabian Plaza, Ursula Chidiac

Studio M Arabian Plaza

The soon-to-open Studio M Arabian Plaza is set to revolutionise the midscale hospitality industry in Dubai. Its newly appointed general manager, Ursula Chidiac, speaks to Aleksandra Wood about the affordable yet innovative concept and sheds some light on what guests can anticipate from this forward-thinking brand

TTG: Talk to us about some key values that Studio M Arabian Plaza brings to the UAE market. What is the hotel’s ethos?
Studio M Arabian Plaza can be best described in three words: smart, fun and stylish. From the dynamic, smart and vibrant colleagues we have and the technology we integrate into our facilities, to our hotel services – all aspects of the hotel are indeed smart, fun and stylish. And when we start our operations this December, this key value will translate to the service we will provide. We want guests to feel the upbeat and positive energy that we exude.

TTG: What are some of the hotel’s target markets? How will the unique budget-friendly concept work to entice these markets?
Feeder market-wise, we are targeting the GCC market, the Far East, India, Australasia and part of Europe. Potential guests from these markets usually come and visit Dubai for a variety of reasons, mainly leisure and business or transit. We are ideal for leisure travellers because our hotel is located right beside Al Qiyadah Metro Station, which offers easy access to Dubai’s key destinations. As for the guests coming over for business trips, they can benefit from a combination of cutting-edge technology and fuss-free comfort at a comparatively economical cost. Why spend a fortune when you can get the same – or even better – service for a great deal, right?
For potential guests who are staying in Dubai, we offer our fully furnished hotel apartments, equipped with Smart TVs, kitchenettes and laundry rooms. Our hotel apartments are ideal for families and career-oriented individuals who are always on the go.

TTG: As the newly appointed general manager of the hotel, talk to us about some of the most exciting challenges you look forward to.
It gives me great excitement and pleasure to spearhead the introduction of the newest sub-brand of Millennium Hotels & Resorts. Studio M Arabian Plaza is the first upper midscale property of the brand in the region (the premier Studio M property is located in Singapore). I personally love the concept of the hotel, which utilises technology to make our guests’ stay very convenient.
I’m also excited to lead the team we have, as the majority of our team members are millennials who offer so much energy and trendy insights, all while cultivating their talents. I am learning a lot from them as well.


TTG: What is your action plan for the next five years? Where do you wish to take the hotel?
With the growing demand for midscale hotels in Dubai, being among the global brands to revolutionise the term ‘midscale’ gives us the hope that in five years, we will be one of the forerunners in the industry in our scale level. We would like to be recognised as a property that has the capability to provide exemplary service at a very reasonable cost.
We plan on achieving all this by designing and subscribing to a continuous improvement process that fits our hotel. Since we are a trendy hotel, we will make sure to stay updated with the current trends that stir the interests of our guests. This applies to our services and facilities as well. We will also bank on the strengths of the hotel, such as our location, our affordability, the standard of service we provide and the presence of our hotel apartments for long-term stays.

TTG: Are there any plans to expand the Studio M brand further in the pipeline?There are actually several Studio M hotels already in the pipeline in the Middle East. Stakeholders are really keen on investing in such hotel concepts, as they understand that this is where the hospitality trend is leading.