Beachroad Magazine meet up with Simon Casson GM at Four Seasons Resort on Jumeirah Beach Road and answers our Beachroad Magazine Q&A over a coffee at the Hendricks Bar. Simon Casson was born in Carlise, England and has worked for Four Seasons for close to 30 years, working in Doha, London and Washington DC.
Now in Dubai, the old adage of location, location, location comes to mind. “To lead at the top end with 700 hotels, you need a beachfront site. We now have 14 acres and a 270 metre beach at the pre-eminent location in the most desirable district in Dubai, on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Besides striking architecture and interior design, three restaurants and two pools, a spa and a private beach club, the Dubai resort dazzles with service standards that are unmatched in the market – or in the Middle East, for that matter. The transition from being good to great at the 5-star level “is experiential,” says Casson. “That’s how Four Seasons differentiates itself.
I have been visiting Dubai for a decade and at no other hotel have I experienced consistent service excellence from an intuitive sense comparable with what we provide.”
Where do you eat, shop and socialize in and around our community?//
On days off, its either high-end dining or rustic healthy. I live in Jumeirah 1 and so for the latter I enjoy Comptoir 102, Omnia Gourmet, Life 'N One & Tasha's at Galleria Mall.
Comptoir 102, 102 Beach Rd Jumeirah 1, Dubai
Omnia Gourmet, Jumeirah Fish Harbour 1 Shop n1-15 , Jumeirah, Dubai.
Life 'N One, 27b Street, Community 332, Villa 5/1b Jumeirah, Dubai.
Tasha's, Unit 24, Galleria, Al Wasl Road, Jumeira, Dubai.
What is your take on Dubai as a city and its evolution?
Dubai as a city is an unparalleled success story that continues to run, confounding its critics and creating a wonderful model diversified both in people and economic base.
I have always, always been impressed by how welcoming the region is and how many similarities there are between the culture I grew up in and the one that surrounds me here.
People are very family-centric here, kind of like Western society was generations ago.
It is so dynamic and positive in its outlook, a great place to innovate. There is also great schooling and it is virtually crime free.
Simon answers the Beachroad Magazine Q&A //
NAME? // Simon Casson.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // I was a dishwasher, aged 13, local village restaurant in the UK.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Regional Vice President & General Manager, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Humanity and all its limitless potential.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // That harm, illness or injustice should come to those I love most.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // Being taken to the park by my mother in a push chair and seeing trees and falling leaves.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL? // Issy Sharp, founder of Four Seasons for his singular vision that created a company I have spent nearly 30 years working for.
WHAT WAS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // My Mother a Christmas hamper.
IF YOU WERE 80 YEARS OLD WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR CHILDREN? // To know ones self & grow to the point where you are at ease with you, understanding and fully accepting who you are and why you are here. Give yourself that gift and everything else falls into place.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I can be overly sensitive and dwell too deeply on letting stuff go.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Bullying and an arrogant disregard for others.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOUR ROLE IN A MOVIE? // Ed Norton.
FAVOURITE MUSIC? // Van Morrison, John Legend, Lennon, Queen, Simon & Garfunkel and The Cheeksters.
LAST RECORD YOU BOUGHT? // An old vinyl version of 'Out of our Heads' by the Rolling Stones for my brother Mark.
YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK? // Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
THE LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU? // My partner Danijela who taught me to love again and Josh, Lottie & Abbie…the 3 shining stars I am proud to be the Daddy of.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // A couple of years ago I had some medical issues that at one point seemed rather serious & that was the first time I sensed my potential mortality. It was a very calm and peaceful moment actually, as I felt so grateful for all I have done and seen and for the love in my life, but I am happier still to be continuing my journey!
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Home.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // I never tire of travel and always find something of interest and merit in every place I have been.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // With difficulty honestly, but I'm working on that! I just bought a white Steinway Baby Grand Piano and tinkling away on that is a great disconnect from the daily travails.
WHY DUBAI? // For the green fields, mountains and lakes !!!
Seriously though, it is one of the world's leading cities for the hotel business which buzzes me and at the same time it's an easy and fun place to live, to travel in and out of and a very service oriented, multicultural hub.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // Yes and no .. in my mind and heart I still feel 18 but the body keeps disagreeing! I enjoy tennis, paddle boarding, swimming & a bit of gym.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // I enjoy the beauty in both.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs-Weimaraner.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Moroccan mint tea.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Life, in all its ridiculous splendour.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // Witnessing profound injustice to people.
YOUR MESSAGE? // The greatest thing you will ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.