twelve o’clock, April 3, 2021 – 08:29 am
Disembark in the Emirates. The ascent starts from the “Capri Palace”
Neapolitan, soon 51 years old, married with three children. Ermanno Zanini was a prophet at home as manager of the “Capri Palace” in Anacapri and vice president for Southern Europe of the Jumeirah hotel group. A few days ago he was called to manage the flagship of the Emirati hotel chain: the “Burj Al Arab”, the super-luxury hotel in the shape of a sail, designed by the British architect Tom Wright, which has become the symbol of Dubai. An unstoppable rise.
How does it feel to run one of the most prestigious hotels in the world?
«Well, the Capri Palace is also a very high level structure. But the Burj Al Arab is an iconic hotel that represents the innovative image of Dubai, a symbol of the city, like the Opera House for Sydney and, allow me the chance, the Eiffel Tower for Paris ».
Let’s start from the origins. Your first approach to the world of work?
“I started from the lower steps. At the Four Season as a waiter. From New York to Rome, then to Milan. Within the group I searched, step by step, to work in all departments to have a 360-degree experience: both in catering, which remains my great passion, and in other sectors, front office, reception, hospitality, administration. The hotel industry is complex and fascinating, it involves many skills, even engineering ones because in hotels you have to face problems concerning plant engineering, safety and well-being. Then there are aspects related to sales and marketing. The role of general manager requires a know how very broad “.
“Three: Italian, English and French”.
How did you manage to make the leap in quality?
«Well, the recipe is always the same: commitment, passion, love for what you do. I made the leap in quality from Milan to the Capri Palace, from an organization corporate, from a large chain, to a family member who has allowed me to express myself more creatively. In Anacapri the goal was to transform a four-star hotel into a luxury hotel. And this required commitment in all fields: organizational, operational, financial. A work that started from the base, something that does not happen in large organizations ».
What differences do you find between Capri and Dubai customers?
“It’s a fairly similar community, large international clientele. In Capri there is a strong presence of Americans, English, South Americans. In Dubai there are many British, Middle Eastern guests, and more and more Europeans and Americans. But expectations are different. Capri is alone leisure, only vacation, Dubai is a mix of business and vacation “.
Have you already received the vaccine in Dubai?
“A few days ago, after obtaining a work visa. The staff, about 1,500 people, is also completing the vaccination plan, like most of the citizens ».
What do you think of the governor De Luca’s goal of making the islands of the Gulf of Naples free from Covid?
“Well, surely the hotel hospitality sector, tourism in general, should also be promoted in some way through a dedicated vaccination program that can guarantee the safety of guests and employees themselves”.
How much does it cost to stay in one of the two mythical Royal suites of the Burj Al Arab?
“Around 30 thousand euros per night”.
What do they offer to justify this rate?
“First of all, they are very large, about 700 square meters on two levels. They are furnished with luxury finishes, precious marble and equipped with very advanced technologies, very advanced home automation. Then they foresee the butler service, the personal butler service that takes care of any guest request. Clients have access to the private beach club as well as to all other exclusive services. Finally, there is the possibility of arriving by helicopter, considering that the Burj is the only hotel in Dubai to have a landing platform on the roof ».
“It is a difficult definition, it often implies a personal interpretation. It does not mean the same for everyone. For me, luxury is an opportunity to know and learn more and more: to be able to travel and observe the world by becoming, even if these days it is not the happiest term, to “infect” by experiences, without being conditioned. Luxury is also the tool to appreciate beautiful and rare things, for quality rather than price ».
Can a historic destination like Capri fear anything from a new destination like Dubai?
“Capri has nothing to fear, they are two very different realities. Capri will remain one of the most popular destinations in the world. It is not only an island of extraordinary beauty, it was in fact the capital of the Roman Empire at the time of Tiberius, it has a tradition of welcoming and extraordinary hospitality which is in its DNA ».
You will keep the supervision of the Capri Palace. Where will he spend the most time?
«In Dubai because we are planning a hotel transformation project. The ambition is to make an already iconic hotel a true legend of hospitality. One of the components on which I will focus will be culture and, in particular, contemporary art. It will become an experiential place ».
Any advice for an ambitious young man?
«To face this job with love. You have to love your guests, love the people you work with, want the best for them. And then fully commit to the work. By questioning themselves, by agreeing to go out of their own comfort zone even if the new adventures can be frightening ».
April 3, 2021 | 08:29