Ramadan 2024: Hotels braced for a boost in F&B bookings amid cooler weather and school breaks

Industry leaders share how they are catering to this demand while focusing on community and sustainability this Ramadan

As Ramadan approaches, the UAE’s hotel sector is strategically positioning itself to capitalise on an expected surge in demand for iftar and suhoor services. With this year’s Ramadan coinciding with cooler weather and overlapping with global holidays such as Easter and school vacations, hotels foresee strong demand and steady business growth in terms of bookings in Ramadan.

Industry leaders tell about how they catering to this demand while focusing on community and sustainability this Ramadan.

Carmine DeRiso, F&B Director, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah

This year, Holy Month will fall during the same period as other international holidays, such as Easter or school breaks, which presents an opportunity for cultural understanding, and what a better opportunity to try some of the local culinary delights.

For us at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah, it will be the first time that our iftar and suhoor buffet will be hosted in the Majestic Peacock Alley, which will become a showcase of the Ramadan culinary and cultural tradition in the most iconic space in the all-northern emirate.

Guests are more conscious of sustainability, waste reduction, and community impact. The consumers expect the hospitality industry as a whole to drive commitment to the local communities or focus on sustainability with concrete actions rather than mere tokenism. In addition, international travellers are becoming more and more interested in the Holy Month, and they expect to see more and more traditional offerings, including local food and produce. We foresee a strong demand for the month, driven by the local community and supported by international travellers, which will pick up in the last two weeks.

Edward Mair, Executive Chef, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort

Yes, I anticipate this year will witness a noticeable shift. There’s a growing awareness among venues regarding the imperative of reducing food waste, especially considering that the food industry itself contributes a staggering 30 percent to global carbon emissions. As sustainability becomes more ingrained in our collective consciousness, I believe we’ll see a concerted effort to address this issue with greater mindfulness and determination.

This year, we are joining Hilton’s groundbreaking initiative called the Green Ramadan campaign. We’re resolutely focused on halving our food waste output and our overarching goal is to achieve a remarkable 50 percent reduction in the volume of food destined for landfills. As part of this endeavour, we’re revolutionising our culinary offerings by embracing sustainable gastronomy practices.

Our talented chefs will adhere to a zero-waste best practice guide, partnering with local food bank HACCAP and prioritising composting to divert food waste from landfills. Notably, our iftar buffet will undergo a significant transformation, with a conscious reduction in size and food replenished only when necessary. Moreover, we take immense pride in showcasing a diverse selection of locally sourced produce from within a 50-mile radius, further bolstering our dedication to supporting regional economies and reducing carbon footprints.

Nikolaos Tsimidakis, Executive Chef at Shangri-La Dubai

We are thrilled to collaborate with our esteemed sister hotel Shangri-La Istanbul, bringing the rich culinary heritage of Türkiye to our Iftar offerings. Our renowned Iftar at Dunes continues to elevate, featuring an extensive array of cuisines from around the globe, including Indian, Turkish, Asian, Western, and Arabic options.

Whether fasting or not, Iftar embodies the spirit of gathering and sharing, fostering memorable moments and cultural connections. Guests can enjoy a diverse buffet experience showcasing timeless classics such as Hünkar Beğendi, Imam Bayildi, and authentic Turkish baklava crafted by our Turkish chefs. Additionally, they can savour Middle Eastern favourites with a Syrian twist, including Lamb Ouzi. Our focus remains on quality and authenticity, echoing the traditional recipes passed down through generations.

While our primary guests are UAE residents, we also expect tourists and visitors to partake in the Ramadan experience this year. With Ramadan falling in winter for the first time in 24 years, and thereby coinciding with the high season, we expect steady business growth as people embrace the festive spirit and participate in the outgoing trend of celebration.

Rami Nasser, Executive Chef at Four Seasons Hotel DIFC

As we embark on the journey of Ramadan this year, we acknowledge the essence of Ramadan remains steadfast in Dubai, understanding the necessity to adapt and innovate to fulfil our guests’ expectations and deliver an unforgettable dining affair that emphasises the idea of sharing and coming together.

At MINA Brasserie, our commitment lies in honouring tradition while integrating innovative elements paired with expert techniques. We are delving into novel culinary concepts and menu selections that mirror the diverse tastes and dietary preferences of our guests.

This Ramadan, we are introducing new dishes such as the Seared Foie Gras with Hummus nand Veal Meatball with Crispy Potato. The inspiration behind these creations stems from the nostalgia of my mother’s cooking back in Lebanon, particularly of a dish she used to prepare called Kafta with Potato. This a traditional dish made with seasoned ground meat formed into small patties called kafta and served alongside tenderly cooked potatoes. I have reimagined and refined these recipes to align with our vision for this special occasion, and I am excited to invite our guests to experience the joy of iftar at MINA Brasserie.

Ali Fouad, Head Chef, Al Nafoorah, Jumeirah Al Qasr

At Jumeirah, Ramadan isn’t just about dining, it’s about crafting an unforgettable cultural journey for our guests through our food. As we prepare for this sacred month, our aim remains to evoke the warmth of home and the essence of Ramadan in every bite we offer. While there may be subtle tweaks in our menu, the heart of our offerings remains rooted in tradition – from refreshing Ramadan drinks to soul-nourishing soups and iconic dishes like our popular lamb ouzi.

These culinary delights are more than just food; they’re cherished traditions that our guests eagerly anticipate year after year, particularly our Ramadan sweets. With demand constant, we anticipate yet another bustling season as guests flock to experience the magic of Ramadan at Al Nafoorah, Jumeirah Al Qasr.

Trevor Macleod, Head of Culinary at Raffles The Palm Dubai

Celebrating Ramadan this year will be a unique and diverse experience, where we tailored our dining offers to capture the essence of the holy month. We are crafting a Ramadan Emporium at Le Jardin with an iftar buffet that comprises a rich selection of Arabic delicacies, a true feast indeed.

While we are celebrating and paying respect to the traditions of this soulful month, we also embrace the spirit of Women’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Easter catering to our growing international audience. Over the past months, we have seen a rise in their interest in discovering new traditions and local cuisines, and anticipate a heightened demand for our offerings.

Rene Johari the Executive Chef at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai-Business Bay

As the demand for diverse culinary experiences and the increasing demographic diversity in Dubai continue to grow, we, at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai-Business Bay, have curated a special Ramadan Special: Arabian Malaysian Nusantara iftar series. This series of our Malaysian Nusantara night pop-up, hosted by myself every Saturday throughout the Ramadan period, aims to take diners on a culinary journey blending Malaysian Nusantara Straits offerings with Arabian local produce and favourites at My Square Restaurant.

Diners will have the opportunity to experience the food and cultural heritage commonly celebrated during Ramadan in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei. The buffet spread will feature favourite Straits and hawker foods. The buffet menu will showcase dishes from the straits of Malaysia and Nusantara, featuring unique specialty dishes known to states from the North, East coast, West coast, and South of the countries. The offerings will vary every week.

As industry leaders adapt to Ramadan’s demand, focusing on community and sustainability, BM Events elevates the experience by integrating local culinary delights with cultural understanding, enhancing iftar and suhoor gatherings. This approach showcases Ramadan’s culinary and cultural traditions, meeting consumer expectations for sustainability and traditional offerings, thereby attracting both local and international guests.

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Brilliant Minds Events
BM Events is owned and operated by an experienced team of German professionals with various backgrounds in management, events and hospitality. By combining efforts, the BM Events consolidates organizational and efficient processes, in order to pay special attention to the client’s needs, requirements and schedules.

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  1. Thank you for creating such valuable content. Your hard work and dedication are appreciated by so many.

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