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In conversation with Yas Viceroy’s regional vice president

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LuxuryMena talks with Andrew Humphries, regional vice-president and general manager at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi about gearing up for today’s Grand Prix.

How does Yas Viceroy plan on preparing for the Grand Prix this weekend?

Planning for the 2014 Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix started before the 2013 race finished. Being organised is the key to running a successful event of this size and scale. Each department has their own role to play from guest relations to housekeeping, and we make sure that all members of staff work together to deliver a seamless guest experience.

How does Yas Viceroy plan on ensuring all of its guests are catered for and are provided with the best experience possible?

We are fortunate to have a great in-house team, many of whom have been on board since the hotel opened and have built up many years of experience with the event and we also bring in additional staff from other properties and ensure an excellent customer experience.

How much business does the F1 weekend bring to the Yas Viceroy?

The hotel is sold out and it’s our biggest weekend of the year, we get lots of repeat guests. In addition, it is a great platform to showcase our capabilities and facilities, so it generates group bookings outside of Formula One weekend.

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What have been the operational challenges in planning for the F1 weekend?

As this is our sixth year, we have managed to streamline our processes and ensure that all departments are adequately prepared both in terms of accommodation and our restaurants and have learned lessons from our past experiences. Of course, there are operational challenges that come with serving such a large number of guests during this period, for example Amici serves 300kg of lobster during the event alone, however, with proper planning and resources, we can ensure that we deliver a fantastic experience to all of our guests.

How is the hotel’s business during this weekend compared to the rest of the year?

Race weekend represents the busiest weekend of the year for the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel and contributes to a significant percentage of the hotel’s revenue. However, the hotel is far more than just race weekend, with a typical average occupancy of 75 per cent during weekends, a busy food and beverage portfolio and thriving MICE and group booking business, the hotel is an attractive year round destination.

As the only hotel located on the actual F1 track, how has the venue branded itself for the F1?

It is really an asset to hold this unique title and the hotel’s distinctive design has made it an iconic building here in the UAE. Many people stop to get a picture with it now. However, the hotel is far more than just race weekend, and has experienced tremendous growth in recent years from the local and international markets across leisure, MICE and other sectors. The race weekend showcases the Viceroy’s exceptional ability to host large-scale events and functions and we receive numerous group bookings and corporate events throughout the year based on our reputation and experience with this during the race weekend.

Additionally, Yas Island is fast becoming a unique multifaceted island offering a plethora of recreation and entertainment experiences, many of which are showcased during the weekend.  Many of our guests are choosing to stay on the island and take advantage of all that it has to offer. From the newly opened Yas Mall, to Yas Waterworld and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Links Golf Course and Yas Marina there really is a huge amount to do and our average weekend occupancy rate of 75 per cent confirms this.

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What is the profile of the majority of the guests staying at the hotel? Are they mostly residents or tourists?

We have a lot of European guests staying with us, people who are big Formula One fans. We also have guests coming in from other GCC countries and of course those connected with the race itself. Many residents come for the day to dine at our F&B outlets, some of which, such as Origins, have racetrack views.

What is the best spot in the hotel to catch all of the action this weekend? 

As the only hotel located within a Formula One racetrack, the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi offers a truly unique experience. Guests staying at the hotel will have a dedicated spot on our terrace to watch the race, which has a fantastic view of the track. There is a wide variety of food and beverage options available throughout the race weekend both day and night, with both indoor and outdoor seating options available.

Origins restaurant offers avid race fans the perfect location to soak up all the action with trackside views from the terrace or air-conditioned restaurant. For a more relaxed option without a view but with the entire F1 atmosphere, Amici will be offering classic Italian cuisine while Angar will be serving the authentic taste of India and Noodle Box will be offering contemporary South East Asian dishes.

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Revellers wanting to celebrate into the night can do so in A-list style with the return of The Podium Lounge at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi every night of the race weekend, where for the first time, ROKU will offer an exquisite restaurant option. The hotel’s rooftop bar Skylite will also be in action so guests can enjoy a post-race drink or party the night away under the iconic light-filled canopy. Other options include Rich List in Rush bar and Burlesque in the Marina wing.

And of course, our lobby is the best place for celeb spotting.

 

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