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Postcard from…Bill Walshe

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
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Dear AVENUE,


Bill Walshe, the man behind Viceroy Hotel Group, shares his Middle East preferences


As the CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group, Bill Walshe is hardly at a loss for swanky places to stay. So when we asked him to tell us the ins and outs of a place that is particularly special to him, our ears perked up to hear his response. On the heels of the recently opened Viceroy New York and as the man behind some of our favorite haunts, including Viceroy Miami and Viceroy Anguilla, we had some predictions of where he might choose, but the Irish native managed to surprise and enlighten us with tales from the United Arab Emirates. 

 

Far, far away

The United Arab Emirates. I lived in Dubai for seven years, and I love the energy, creativity and culture of the UAE. I get to Abu Dhabi and Dubai every couple of months—it’s a long trip but luckily both Emirates and Etihad are among my favorite airlines in the world.

 

Keep it Viceroy

I stay at Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi, one of the most visually stunning hotels in the world. Its location on the Formula 1 Race Track is truly unique. If I am in Dubai visiting the site of what will soon be Viceroy Dubai, I will stay with my former colleagues at one of Jumeirah
Group’s hotels. I love the Arabian Souk at
Madinat Jumeirah Dubai.

 

We could buy into this

A “desert safari” in an SUV is a remarkable experience, and the beaches of the UAE are among the finest in the world. Taking a run down Dubai’s real-snow indoor ski slope is a surreal experience. Mostly my activities are work related, but happily the selection of restaurants for entertaining is world class.

 

Rap-city

Dubai and Abu Dhabi attract many celebrities, many of whom stay at Yas Viceroy, particularly at Formula 1 race time in November. Discretion precludes me from naming them, but last year I did get to see Jay-Z, Muse and Depeche Mode in concert in Abu Dhabi on three consecutive F1 nights, which was awesome.

 

UAE Bucketlist

In Abu Dhabi, I would recommend a visit to the Grand Mosque, the world’s largest, and if the timing is right, attendance at the F1 Grand Prix. In Dubai, a visit to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, is a must, and a trip to the Spice Souk bazaar offers a real taste of Dubai as it used to be.

 

 

 

Locally flavor infused

Traveling as frequently as I do, I have come to truly appreciate the uniqueness of different destinations and cultures, and this translates into my obsession with creating a distinct “sense of place” with every Viceroy hotel we open. The world is not cookie cutter, and
hotels should not be either. Φ

 

 
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