A week in the life of…

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - IAN PALMER

Gen­eral man­ager, The Cap­i­tal Club DIFC


I start the week with a swim in the out­door pool at my apart­ment. It’s got such a great view of the sky­line and helps me clear my head be­fore the busy week. I live a stone’s throw away from the Cap­i­tal Club in DIFC, so I’m one of the lucky few in Dubai that can walk to work every morn­ing. We start with a meeting with all heads of depart­ment to review the week ahead – events tak­ing place, ex­ter­nal ac­tiv­i­ties and review the progress made across de­part­ments from the pre­vi­ous week. Mid­morn­ing we have an all-team brief­ing to review the VIPs in the club that day, the lunch book­ings and evening events planned for that day. Know­ing all our mem­bers and hav­ing that per­sonal touch is ex­tremely im­por­tant. As the new gen­eral man­ager of the Cap­i­tal Club, I’m keen to re­fresh the fab­ric of the build­ing and im­prove the ser­vice for mem­bers from the menus to the dé­cor, of­fer­ings and events.


My daugh­ter lives in the UK, so every morn­ing we Skype be­fore she starts school. Be­ing so far away from her, it’s im­por­tant for me to keep reg­u­lar con­tact un­til her next trip to Dubai. Today, I have my weekly meeting with the board of gover­nors and share­hold­ers where we up­date them on the club’s ac­tiv­i­ties and busi­ness plans. We are cur­rently up­grad­ing the club, so fol­low­ing this I meet with our new in­te­rior de­sign­ers to review re­fur­bish­ment plans. We’re also bring­ing in a new con­cept to the third floor of the build­ing, so I meet with the fa­cil­i­ties head to review the pro­posed works fol­lowed by a meeting with Saleh Al Akarbi, CEO of DIFC to up­date him on the progress.


It’s an early start on Tues­day as I have breakfast with a po­ten­tial part­ner who will pro­vide club mem­bers with priv­i­leges. We part­ner with over 250 clubs in­ter­na­tion­ally and numer­ous brands in or­der to of­fer our mem­bers some­thing ex­tra. This is fol­lowed by a catch up with Bollinger to dis­cuss the up­com­ing Bollinger Gar­den at the club, a new out­door space we will be launch­ing soon. My lunch today is a tast­ing with our head chef En­rico Paiola, de­signed by our ex­ec­u­tive chef, An­drew Blas, for the club’s new If­tar menu. The af­ter­noon is spent with the mem­ber­ship com­mit­tee, where we review re­cent ap­pli­ca­tions and make de­ci­sions on who we are able to of­fer mem­ber­ships to. We have a won­der­ful mix of busi­ness lead­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who use the club for meet­ings and so­cial use such as lunch, din­ners and par­ties. Work­ing in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, I of­ten find my­self at the open­ing of a new restau­rant or ho­tel in the city. Tonight I’m at open­ing of Peyote – a new Peru­vian restau­rant. It’s a good op­por­tu­nity to catch up with col­leagues in the in­dus­try and scout out the new venue of­fer­ing.


Af­ter a late night, it’s still an early start at the club. Today I have to review the marketing ma­te­ri­als from the mem­bers’ news­let­ter to the video edit from our re­cent an­niver­sary party. This is fol­lowed by my weekly meeting with our PR agency to go over the com­mu­ni­ca­tions strat­egy, in­ter­views and photo-shoots we have pend­ing. Wednesday lunchtimes are my favourite as we host lunch on the Club Ta­ble, where mem­bers join us to give us feed­back. The rule is to al­ways sit next to some­one new – and it’s a great way for our mem­bers to net­work. In the evening we host a cock­tail hour with a lux­ury travel brand and my role is to in­tro­duce the event to the au­di­ence.


I’m very pas­sion­ate about art and in DIFC we are spoilt for choice. I meet with Gallery One to review our cur­rent art se­ries and plan for the next ex­hi­bi­tion. Later in the morn­ing I swing by a photo-shoot tak­ing place in the club for a lux­ury men’s mag­a­zine. On Thurs­day we al­ways host the end of week so­cial on our ter­race, and then it’s the week­end so I dash to Dubai Opera for the gala night of Mary Pop­pins.


Hav­ing re­cently moved to Dubai, I can’t get enough of the beach, so today I head to Nikki Beach Ho­tel with my wife to laze by the pool. I im­me­di­ately feel like I’m on holiday and it’s nice to be looked af­ter. As I’m out most evenings, I’m happy to catch up on old box sets tonight – my favourite be­ing Fawlty Tow­ers. It’s a clas­sic Bri­tish com­edy and be­ing in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try makes me laugh even harder. I also love Black Ad­der and you can’t beat a re­run of Arthur with Dud­ley Moore.


Be­ing a newbie, I’m still ex­plor­ing the city, so on Satur­day I try to find a new at­trac­tion and be a tourist. Today I visit the gal­leries at Alserkal Av­enue be­fore head­ing over to City Walk for a spot of shop­ping and a re­lax­ing af­ter­noon be­fore I start all over again.

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