Feb 20, 2009

Dubai luxury so over for now

Posted by: Marian Salzman In: Dubai| global economy

dubai-towersDubai is not having a good week. The city with a grandiose reputation is not only reeling—like the rest of us—from the economic crisis, it’s become a symbol for all that led us here … the extravagance and indulgence. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour called it out this week as a synonym for excess, saying no one wants to appear “overly flashy, overly glitzy, too Dubai,” anymore. And Dubai’s government is apparently trying to fight back against a crisis of confidence, according to the New York Times, which reports that a new proposed law would make it a crime to damage the country’s reputation or economy. You can sort of understand their panic. After all, Dubai made great strides in the past few years in the realms of tourism and international business. The bottom fell out of the world’s financial markets just as the latest (and perhaps final) round of luxury hotel launches was unveiled there. But sadly, today the place appears to be Ground Zero for the death of bling. It’s certainly a victim of bad timing—with consumers hitting the brakes on big real estate, jet-set tourism and lavish spending. Case in point the $1.5 billion Atlantis hotel on Dubai’s man-made Palm Jumeirah island, which held a celeb-studded opening just months ago, this week reported it is cutting jobs.

Even consumers that can still afford to spend somewhat freely are not looking for over-the-top luxury. It feels tacky and passé. They’re looking for brands, items and experiences they can truly connect with, that have a sense of history, familiarity and staying power.

Viewing 2 Comments

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    Over the last week we’ve had the Barclays Tennis, the censorship at the Book Fair and the ongoing baiting of Dubai’s supposed economic denouement by the world’s media. The world is in hock, we know who is to blame but let’s not focus on that, let’s revel in an orgy of poorly researched schadenfreude. Germaine Greer, I’m talking to you. Please take direct flights in future.

    The world is going through the same financial tsunami with responses to that varying. But the origins of this catastrophe were not in Dubai and we are yet to see the same financial meltdown that is crippling the car industry and financial institutions in Europe and the US. Jobs are being lost and certain projects are being scaled back but this doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and go home. Bling made the headlines and help sell turgid tabloid rags. Over the last 30 years, Dubai has taken its natural resources and looked to build an economic oasis out of nothing. Dubai’s not perfect. Far from it. But where is?

    Sheikh Mohammad was interviewed on 60 minutes a few years ago. It’s an interesting piece constantly sent and resent on emails around the UAE. Dubai’s “fight back” is about getting back to the dream laid out in the piece not just about giving Lindsey Lohan somewhere to kick back. Yes things aren’t perfect here but if Blair or Brown had given me a reason to believe the UK was somewhere one could chase one’s dreams, perhaps more of us might still be trudging to work on the Central Line (well the replacement bus service today). However, this morning’s Sunday Times tells me otherwise. Throwing stones at Dubai’s glass buildings seems to be a salve for those in Europe (especially the UK) suffering from an equally bad economy, poor weather and economic systems moving toward nationalization. Doctor heal thyself.

    We may be suffering a from a bout of sickness but I’m hoping that the reports of Dubai’s death may have been a little exaggerated and so, I’m off to the Atlantis for our client event while one of my colleagues deals with the Tennis. Oh, Roddick’s pulled out now…
    • ^
    • v
    Over the last week we’ve had the Barclays Tennis, the censorship at the Book Fair and the ongoing baiting of Dubai’s supposed economic denouement by the world’s media. The world is in hock, we know who is to blame but let’s not focus on that, let’s revel in an orgy of poorly researched schadenfreude. Germaine Greer, I’m talking to you. Please take direct flights in future.

    The world is going through the same financial tsunami with responses to that varying. But the origins of this catastrophe were not in Dubai and we are yet to see the same financial meltdown that is crippling the car industry and financial institutions in Europe and the US. Jobs are being lost and certain projects are being scaled back but this doesn’t mean it’s time to pack up and go home. Bling made the headlines and help sell turgid tabloid rags. Over the last 30 years, Dubai has taken its natural resources and looked to build an economic oasis out of nothing. Dubai’s not perfect. Far from it. But where is?

    Sheikh Mohammad was interviewed on 60 minutes a few years ago. (Still on youtube). It’s an interesting piece constantly sent and resent on emails around the UAE. Dubai’s “fight back” is about getting back to the dream laid out in the piece not just about giving Lindsey Lohan somewhere to kick back. Yes things aren't perfect here but if Blair or Brown had given me a reason to believe the UK was somewhere one could chase one’s dreams, perhaps more of us might still be trudging to work on the Central Line (well the replacement bus service today). However, this morning’s Sunday Times tells me otherwise. Throwing stones at Dubai’s glass buildings seems to be a salve for those in Europe (especially the UK) suffering from an equally bad economy, poor weather and economic systems moving toward nationalization. Doctor heal thyself.

    We may be suffering a from a bout of sickness but I’m hoping that the reports of Dubai’s death may have been a little exaggerated and so, I’m off to the Atlantis for our client event while one of my colleagues deals with the Tennis. Oh, Roddick’s pulled out now…
 
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