A Hidden Gem: Tunisia

Shereen Shabnam

I recently went driving around Tunisia in the new Hyundai Venue and visited some of the nicest places around the Tunis city. Naturally those who venture off the beaten path in Tunisia see many more beautiful places, but I am lucky I was able to visit beautiful places like Sidi Bou Said reminiscent of Santorini, drive by the intense desert landscapes and the historic areas full of bustling markets and street food.

Tunisia has rich diverse history and natural beauty that goes beyond the beaches and traditional souk type stores. The city is vibrant and yet has coastal roads that are a pleasure to drive on, mountainous greenery, and sparkling coasts. It truly is a hidden gem that offers one of the coolest travel experiences.

The suburb of the city is overflowing with natural beauty, architecture, culture, and welcoming locals who took great pleasure in introducing us to the local cuisine. I loved the maze of ancient streets and alleyways, especially as we wandered in the medieval Medina which has many shops and stalls selling crafts, clothes, souvenirs and artisans at work.

The Carthage area in Tunis is a must visit. The UNESCO World Heritage site is steeped in history and the Byrsa Hill ruins are fairly well-preserved. The Bardo Museum houses the world’s most renowned Roman mosaic collection as well as a collection of marble statues located in an opulent Tunis palace. It is full of treasured displays of mosaic art excavated from Tunisia’s ancient sites.

The Islamic Department contains, in addition to famous works such as the Blue Qur’an of Kairouan, a collection of ceramics from the Maghreb and Anatolia which is fascinating.

For food, I enjoyed the exquisite dinner at le Golf which has the best entertainment and had terraces facing the water. Visitors must try the pastry called Bambaloni and dishes that feature tuna which are special to Tunisia. The Residence Golf Course is another place that is great to spend an afternoon and have some snacks by the water.

For retail therapy, I highly recommend the Zephyr Mall. It was ideal for Ramadan clothes shopping with rich velvet abayas and had outfits for people of all sizes.

Overall, Tunis ticked all the boxes as a tourist destination by offering the best of resorts, shopping, food, cultural excursions and beautiful architecture. It is definitely a place to visit with family and friends.

Celebrate Sakura with Sumo Sushi & Bento

Enjoy the Cherry blossom festival at Sumo Sushi & Bento with delectable dishes

Dubai, UAE: Sumo Sushi & Bento, the originator of family friendly sushi dining in the region is celebrating Japan’s famous cherry blossom festival season with delicious dishes and will emulate the tradition of Sakura viewers celebrating the season by eating, drinking and coming together to welcome the beginning of Spring.

To mark the Sakura cherry blossom festival, Sumo Sushi & Bento is launching a new sumo signature item ‘Gozen Samurai’ (lady Samurai) inspired by Gozen, also known as the female warrior samurai. The dish is promoted on Women’s Day on 8th March and 21st March on Mother’s Day as an exclusive Sumo Mobile app campaign.

Sumo Sushi & Bento diners can also enjoy similar dishes that are popular in the Sakura season right here in the UAE. The dishes include Sakura Roll, Inari Sushi, Futo Maki, Mochi, Wagyu Steak Roll, Chirashi Bento and a drink called Pink.

Additionally, female mobile app members can save by getting a classic bento at 25% off when they buy the Gozen Samurai dish from March 8th to the 21st for Dine-in, takeaway and delivery orders.

Jerome Mortel, COO, Sumo International Inc. LLC,said,We are delighted to present dishes inspired by the Japanese custom of flower viewing known as hanami  just in time for Cherry Blossom season and we are excited to introduce a new dish to celebrate the ladies and mothers since the season coincides with Women’s Day and Mother’s Day We hope to keep  our diners engaged by tempting them with new innovative dishes to celebrate the different festivals and milestones in their life.”

For regular patrons,Sumo Mobile App is a most simple and convenient way to earn loyalty points. Collect Kenji Coins for every order and redeem them for FREE food and drinks (1 AED= 1 Kenji Coin). You can redeem the rewards without any minimum spend. Enjoy!

The special offers are available from 11am to 11pm at all Sumo Sushi & Bento outlets. For Booking, visit https://sumosushibento.com, download the Sumo Sushi App or call 800-7866(SUMO)

RAK Mall reveals International Women’s Day Activations

Pop up market, art display, free nail services offered along with discounts, special offers and activities

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Iconic shopping destination, RAK Mall is all geared up to celebrate International Women’s Day with special discounts, offers and activities.

RAK Mall will have a pop-up market with Free Nail Services from Nail Touch Spa and various fashion, beauty, jewelry, wellness, and lifestyle pop up stores and will run on March 8th, 3pm to 9pm. It complements the mall’s existing shopping, entertainment, and female friendly experiences.

Shoppers can also learn from the Emirates Cancer Society and get to know the inspirational and talented women from various walks of life as they honor and support each other as one community.

In addition, Artist, Ms. Hamama Youssef Saleh will display paintings and her skills on Sand Art about UAE history.

Exceptional Experiences

Celebrate the season of togetherness this Holy Month of Ramadan at Shangri-La Dubai

Shereen Shabnam

This March, Shangri-La Dubai has a host of exciting promotions for residents and visitors, in particular for the Ramadan season. The hotel offers a glimpse of the iconic skyline of Sheikh Zayed Road and has spectacular rooms, from one-bedroom suites with spacious living areas to two- or three-bedroom apartments for larger families, equipped with a relaxing living space that suits everyone’s needs.

Each room at the hotel provides guests with the best views of the city from the Burj Khalifa to the Arabian Sea, allowing guests to really view Dubai for what it is, a blend of history and modernity. The hotel has one of the best rooftop pools in the city with the best views of the Burj Khalifa, which is beautifully framed by palm trees creating the ultimate photo opportunity.

During Ramadan, Shangri-La Dubai invites guests to experience the holy month of Ramadan in the relaxed, family-friendly setting of Dunes Café or enjoy Suhoor under the stars at ikandy ultralounge.

At Dunes Café, savour an array of Turkish highlights prepared by guest chefs from Shangri-la Bosphorus, Istanbul as the culinary team take you on a gastronomic journey to the Heart of Bosphorus. Try authentic dishes originated from different regions of Turkey, an exciting assortment of mezzeh, mains and irresistible desserts will be served in Dunes Café’s Iftar buffet. From sunset onwards, guests may enjoy an array of Turkish delicacies with a hint of Arabic favorites including traditional Ramadan beverages, as well as a delectable variety of sweets and desserts for AED 250 per person.

For those who choose to come later in the evening, ikandy ultralounge offers a beautiful setting around the poolside, with spectacular views of the Burj Khalifa. Guests can delight in a bespoke suhoor set menu with a selection of delicious bites, traditional beverages and an option to add shisha until 2:00 am.

The hotel also offers some of the finest Asian cuisine with traditional Chinese food at Shang Palace, the signature restaurant of Shangri-La Hotels worldwide and authentic Vietnamese food at Hoi An. Both venues have a welcoming and relaxing dining ambience.

CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai embraces the principles of vitality, fitness and beauty as the key to achieving inner balance and well-being. It draws inspiration from the legendary Shangri-La, a place of personal peace, enchantment and well-being. Catering to both ladies and gents, CHI, The Spa is the perfect place to unwind with relaxing and rejuvenating treatments to benefit whatever the guest desires.

During Ramadan, it is the perfect place for balancing your inner chi and restoring equilibrium throughout your entire body as guests can indulge in CHI’s ancient healing philosophies and rituals, to relax and rejuvenate both body and mind.  

Shangri-La Hotel Dubai is in close proximity to the Dubai Mall which features the largest indoor aquarium, as well as KidZania, an expansive indoor playground. Just five minutes from the hotel, City Walk is a prime destination for dining, shopping and leisure.

For more information on Shangri-La Dubai’s Iftar and Suhoor offers or to make a reservation, please contact restaurant reservations at +971 4 405 2703 or email fbreservations.sldb@shangri-la.com

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Managing Service Quality in Luxury Organizations

Hakan Ozel

Service is intangible, inseparable, variable, and perishable. Considering these, all great service providing companies have great customer service and employee cultures and focus their undivided attention on both customers and employees.

They understand the service-profit chain, which links the service firm’s profits with employee and customer satisfaction. Service quality model calls not only for external, but internal initiatives to motivate the employees for superior performance and interactive tactics to create luxury service delivery skills in luxury organizations. To succeed, especially against the fierce competition of today, executives must create competitive differentiation, find ways to increase service productivity, but more importantly, offer highest possible service quality.  

One of the major ways that a luxury firm can differentiate itself is delivering consistently a higher quality of everything than its competitors do. Many service industries have joined the total quality movement over the years. Customer retention is perhaps the best measure of quality – a service firm’s ability to hang onto its customers is based on how consistently it delivers the value to them.

Target Customers and Quality Models

Luxury service providers and operators need to identify the expectations of target customers concerning the service quality. In this way, they should design their service quality models. Service quality is harder to define and judge than product quality. It is harder to get agreement on the quality of a haircut than on the quality of a hair dryer. Moreover, although greater service quality results in greater customer satisfaction, it also results in higher cost. Still, investments in service usually pay off through increased customer retention and sales.

Recovery to gain Loyalty

Many luxury service companies have been investing heavily to develop streamlined and efficient service-delivery systems. They want to ensure that customers will receive consistently high-quality service in every service they encounter. However, unlike product manufacturers who can adjust their machinery and input until everything is perfect, service quality will always vary, and depend on the interactions and engagements between employees and customers. Problems will inevitably occur. As hard as they try, even the best companies occasionally have a late delivery, medium steak instead medium well, or grumpy employee at the entrance of the shop.

Although the company cannot always prevent service problems, they can learn to recover from them. And good service recovery can turn unhappy customers into loyal ones. In fact, good recovery can win more customers purchasing and loyalty than if things had gone well in the first place. Therefore, companies should take steps not only to provide good service every time, but also to recover from service mistakes when they do occur.


Well-trained employees should be given authority to delight the customer at the impact point when the customers are frustrated for any reason and that it is an opportunity for the employees to recover their trust and loyalty. When the firms empower the front-line service employees while giving them the authority, responsibility, and incentives that they need to recognize, care about, and delivery customer needs, employees keep guests happy.

Common Virtues

Well-managed luxury companies have common virtues regarding service quality. First and foremost, they are customer obsessed. They have a distinctive strategy for delighting and exciting the customers that wins enduring loyalty. They have a top management commitment to quality. These companies look not only to financial performance, but also at service quality. The best service providing companies set high service quality standards. They do not settle merely for good service but aim for 100 percent defect-free service. A 98 percent performance standard may sound good, but using this standard, thousands of dissatisfied guests move from one mid-size company to competitor, or 10 words are spelt wrongly in each page of a book.

Top service companies watch service performance closely, both their own and that of competitors. They use methods such as comparison shopping, customer surveys, and suggestions and complaints platforms. Finally, best service companies communicate their concerns about service quality to employees and provide performance feedback as well as tools to improve themselves.


Luxury service is a pleasure to receive when you are a customer, and an art to provide when you are an employee of a luxury servicing company. Service quality is the most significant differentiating factor that distinguishes the best companies from their peers in competition.    

Mediterranean inspired ‘THE DECK’, second restaurant of the virgin radio star Big Rossi opens in the new voco Dubai The Palm hotel

The Idyllic beachfront picturesque dining venue on the scenic shores of Palm Jumeirah offers a chilled vibe and an experiential culinary journey

With a history of two Michelin stars restaurant and a 7-star hotel, team Opxe Investment LLC come to share their experience with radio star Big Rossi and a team of passionate people in Dubai by adding The Deck, a vibrant environment friendly beachfront dining restaurant to its diverse dining portfolio.  The Deck has now opened doors at the voco Dubai The Palm on West Beach, Palm Jumeirah.

The Deck is a design driven kitchen set in a space that perfectly unites the soul of Dubai through a combination premium food, music, good vibes and vibrant colors and materials. Social dining is at the heart of the experience at The Deck for people looking for a place to unwind and have fun.

After birthing two Michelin stars in Milan and Monforte d’Alba, an Italian Architect, Designer and Tourism Entrepreneur has partnered with an English Radio Presenter, Big Rossi, an Emirati Entrepreneur, a Fijian Magazine Editor, an Egyptian Restaurateur, and a Greek banker to bring this new concept restaurant in an eco-sustainable urban design setup.

The partners are advocates of style and comfort, bringing woody deck craftsmanship and practicality to the space. As you enter The Deck, you are welcomed by scenic views of the sea of West Beach of Palm Jumeirah similar to Venice and is home to a vibrant bar on the left and a huge mural by Kenyan painter, Castro, depicting groups of lazing bathers which immediately brings you into a state of relaxation – the foremost goal of this venue.

The Deck uses recycled furniture and natural elements like simple green grass that can grow their roots freely within the space from the floor without any cage or vase, giving it a unique visual flair and real nature personality.

A key design feature is the imaginary sand bridge that forms the outlines of the floors and takes you directly to the beach view beyond. All these little touches transport guests to their happy memories, creates memorable experiences and delights them within a warm and friendly space.

As an eco-friendly hub, The Deck’s bar counter is also constructed with props that has been testimonial of the growth of Dubai’s best skyscrapers – after being abandoned, they are now rescued and given a new lease of life at The, Deck, recreating the city vibes of Dubai.

The rustic deck board floors are expertly crafted by wood craftsmen of shipbuilders and reflects the work found on dhows that came to trade in Old Dubai with rustic wood. The recycled chairs and tables with the natural beauty of wood offers an abundance of charm and brings the furniture to life with the reclaimed furniture adds character to the restaurant.

Veteran Chef, Ganesh Raja, with over 20 years of F&B experience has curated a fine dining menu that will please food lovers of Dubai. A clever understanding of the Asian palate and his ability to infuse Italian flavours into each dish skilfully crafted over two decades makes him a perfect addition to The Deck. He is well versed in exotic food preparation but equally comfortable with simple, straight forward cooking with passion and respect for quality, wholesome ingredients.

The picturesque beachfront dining venue has an eclectic menu. It is the perfect place where patrons can be themselves in a laid back, chilled environment with friends and family. The Deck serves delicious dishes for dinner, and as the sun sets over the horizon, guests can enjoy a selection of gluttonous entrees, gourmand meals and decadent desserts to pair with a host of refreshing beverages. Treat yourself to The Deck’s exquisite vibe any day of the week while listening to tunes curated by Music Saga and music expert Big Rossi with a variety, of resident DJs and live musical performers to keep you entertained on different days of the week.

Enjoy Valentine’s Day offers at Sumo Sushi & Bento

Rekindle your romance with a wholesome exquisite meal

Dubai, UAE: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Sumo Sushi & Bento by spending AED 150/- and getting a kokoro sushi for free in the shape of a heart.  This offer is available from until the 15th of February 2023 for dine-in, takeaway and delivery. 

For regular patrons,Sumo Mobile App is a most simple and convenient way to earn loyalty points. Collect Kenji Coins for every order and redeem them for FREE food and drinks (1 AED= 1 Kenji Coin). You can redeem the rewards without any minimum spend. Enjoy!

The special offers are available from 11am to 11pm at all Sumo Sushi & Bento outlets. For Booking, visit https://sumosushibento.com, download the Sumo Sushi App or call 800-7866(SUMO)

Travel is changing: will you be an Excited Experientialist or a Travel Tech-fluencer in 2033?

  • Report commissioned by travel technology company Amadeus and administered by global research firm Northstar Research Partners defines the four new traveler profiles – Traveler Tribes – that will emerge in the next decade
  • Traveler profiles of the future revealed by a global survey of over 10,000 travelers across 15 markets, expert interviews, 5.8 million data points and the application of psychographic segmentation techniques

As an estimated 474 million tourists traveled internationally between January and July 2022 compared to 175 million in 2021, international tourism continues to bounce back.

But how will we travel in 2033? A global research study – Traveler Tribes 2033 – the third in a series that launched in 2007, identifies four Traveler Tribes that will develop in the next 10 years. It does so by examining the future forces of change transforming travel, alongside emerging traveler traits, behaviors and preferences, to understand exactly what it is that travelers will want a decade from now.

It suggests many travelers will be open to new and emerging technologies and will want to travel in more sustainable ways. But with some travelers concerned about the proliferation of technology and the increasing need for cyber-security and data privacy, the industry must work together to ensure all travelers benefit from technological advances.

Moving beyond the limitations of traditional segmentation, this psychographic approach identifies four key Traveler Tribes likely to be dominant in 2033:

  • Excited Experientialists – this group has a ‘try it and see’ approach to life and travel. 44% are without children and have a mid- to high-income job with flexible working options, which enables them to readily explore the world. They have a you only live once (YOLO) approach. They are more likely than other travelers to act on instinct, making them 2033s ‘anti-planners’, favoring less predictable and more exciting accommodation experiences. They are also open to technology that helps them ‘speed up’ certain aspects of their journey, with many expecting to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the airport environment.
  • Memory Makers – this group takes a more simplified approach to travel: to make memories and visit places. 44% are aged 42 and over and are habitual in their travel behaviors. The future can be a daunting prospect for them. They put people first and place less value on technology and sustainability, reassured by existing methods. However, despite their skepticism about technology, they are excited about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) preview tours with the majority expected to use VR tours before purchasing a trip.
  • Travel Tech-fluencers – this group includes today’s young business travelers with a forward-looking perspective on life. 48% of the group are under the age of 32 and their perspective is symbolized by how much technology they own. However, there is a discord when it comes to what excites and concerns them around the future of technology and travel. While many want to travel sustainably, it seems they are more conscious about sustainability options around their method of travel, rather than where they’ll be staying.
  • Pioneering Pathfinders – individuals inthis group live a fast-paced life, always looking for their next adventure. Their life is in full swing with 82% between the ages of 23 and 41. They like to plan but are not afraid of risk and are open to new experiences. This group is more willing than others to let sustainability influence their decisions. They will also be very comfortable using all forms of alternative payment methods in 2033, whether via cryptocurrency or within a virtual reality environment.

Decius Valmorbida, President, Travel, Amadeus: “As an industry we want to build travel experiences that are both inspiring and inspired. And we can only do that by understanding what travelers want now and into the future. As we look ahead, it is clear that what the Excited Experientialist will require will be different from that of the Memory Maker.  As technology advances through AI, biometrics and the Metaverse, we are able to deliver more tailored journeys that meet the needs of different types of travelers – whether it is the desire for speed, comfort, reassurance or excitement.

Paco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, President, Hospitality, Amadeus: “Travel is about the places we stay, the destinations we visit, the experiences we have. It’s important for many of us that when we travel we have a positive impact on the places we visit, and that is likely to increase. Our preferences as travelers continue to evolve, and this study gives us a glimpse into the future. We have different needs depending on the trip, who we’re traveling with and what we are looking for. The challenge for the industry is to adapt to people’s changing preferences, ensuring that destinations and places deliver what travelers want.”

This is the third in Amadeus’ Traveler Tribes research initiative, the first launched in 2007, the second in 2015. It is part of Amadeus’ commitment to driving innovation at scale and making travel better for travelers and travel companies everywhere.

Jack Miles, Lead Researcher and Senior Director, Northstar: “Future predictions are difficult, especially in travel. This is because travel is about humans and how they think and behave – all of which are complex as people aren’t always rational. However, using extensive traveler research based on behavioral science and consumer psychology, expert insight from diverse fields like forecasting, technology and academia, and data-analytics, this study has uncovered many insights to help understand travelers and predict their future behavior. From the importance and challenge of sustainability to the need to reassure travelers about the changing role of technology, one thing is clear, travel will continue to play a vital role in enriching our lives as we head towards 2033.”

To read more about the research and identified Traveler Tribes, please visit amadeus.com/traveler-tribes.

TAKE OUR QUIZ to find out which Traveler Tribe you are part of.


Sumo Sushi & Bento reveals The Blazing Fire Rolls

Spiciest sushi launched for the first time in the UAE with three levels of spiciness

UAE: Sumo Sushi & Bento, the originator of family friendly sushi dining in the region is revealing the ‘Blazing Fire’ sushi rolls for the first time in the UAE at three levels of spiciness – mild, spicy and extreme.

Diners can savour the flaming hot ‘Blazing Fire’ rolls for AED 52/- and the chef will prepare the dish according to the taste and spice level of the customer. The dish caters to clients who prefer a variety of options and have a taste for spicy food.

Sumo’s Blazing Fire Roll packs in the flavour and heat. Stuffed with avocado, crabsticks, and cucumber, dressed with fresh salmon and drizzled with the Sumo Sushi & Bento signature spicy sauce and spring onions.

Jerome Mortel, COO, Sumo International Inc. LLC,said,New food item development is a core part of our business, and we are delighted by the new dishes our chefs have revealed to start the new year with. We are particularly excited about the Blazing Fire Rolls as there was a gap in the market for sushi lovers who like a bit of spice in their meal. The Blazing Fire dishes are available both for dine in, take-out and delivery orders so it can be enjoyed with friends and family.”

The Blazing fire dishes were revealed to food connoisseurs and sushi lovers at the Town Centre Jumeirah outlet of Sumo Sushi & Bento and guests were treated to exquisite sushi rolls from the catering menu after the reveal.

Featuring the finest Japanese cuisine and fun activities that caters to all age groups and suits different taste buds, Japanese food connoisseurs at Sumo Sushi & Bento can also indulge in customized sushi sandwiches, poke bowls, Bento boxes and other Japanese specialty rolls.

For regular patrons,Sumo Mobile App is a most simple and convenient way to earn loyalty points. Collect Kenji Coins for every order and redeem them for FREE food and drinks (1 AED= 1 Kenji Coin). You can redeem the rewards without any minimum spend. Enjoy!

The special offers are available from 11am to 11pm at all Sumo Sushi & Bento outlets. For Booking, visit https://sumosushibento.com, download the Sumo Sushi App or call 800-7866(SUMO)

January offers at Sumo Sushi & Bento

Matsuri Box, Ramen Festival and Weekly specials to be enjoyed


Dubai, UAE: Start the New Year by treating your friends and family to some amazing offers from Sumo Sushi & Bento. Enjoy the cooler season with delicious and wholesome dishes curated for the Ramen Festival, spice up your day with some Kimchee Ramen or treat the staff, friends and family with the Matsuri box that is becoming popular for parties and office gatherings.

January Weekly offer of Kimchee Ramen

Check out the Kimchee Ramen at Sumo Sushi & Bento. The Korean inspired Ramen is a perfect combination of spicy, tangy, and salty flavour. Made in a clear chicken broth, protein packed with beef Bacon, half fried egg and tofu. Topped off with Kimchee, bean sprouts, Enoki Mushroom, Wakame and Bamboo Shoot. Price is AED 50/-.

Matsuri Box 

Revel in the festive spirit with Samurai, Super California, Crunchy Crazy, Dynamite, Sweet Potato Crunch, and fresh slices of Tuna & Salmon in one box! Enjoy 50 pcs of sushi and sashimi for only AED 289/-available for takeaway & delivery or for Dine-in without the Box. Valid at all Sumo Branches, the Matsuri box is only available until February 28th 2023.

Ramen Festival

The annual Sumo Sushi & Bento’s Ramen Festival returns from now until the 28th of February 2023 in all outlets and will have twelve flavours, including two surprising ramen dishes that will be revealed in the new year. The festival will highlight twelve vegetarian and non-vegetarian ramen dishes including ones that are old favourites, best-selling ramens and dishes perfect for the winter with a perfect blend of sumptuous flavours.

For regular patrons,Sumo Mobile App is a most simple and convenient way to earn loyalty points. Collect Kenji Coins for every order and redeem them for FREE food and drinks (1 AED= 1 Kenji Coin). You can redeem the rewards without any minimum spend. Enjoy!

The special offers are available from 11am to 11pm at all Sumo Sushi & Bento outlets. For Booking, visit https://sumosushibento.com, download the Sumo Sushi App or call 800-7866(SUMO)