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A week in the life of…Peter Skudutis

A week in the life of…Peter Skudutis

General manager of Zero Gravity Peter Skudutis reveals the day-to-day demands of leading the popular beach club, bar and restaurant



Our weekends are jam-packed so Sunday is about taking stock. The beach operation, bar, restaurant and nightlife events all rolling simultaneously, mean we host an average of 10,000 people each weekend. I will not move into another week without reviewing the last. This means sitting with our finance, security, events and outlet managers at length to make sure we are all up to speed on every element of the venue. I actually meet with all departments every single day. I finish in time for an evening run along Kite Beach.


Most of the day is taken by back-to-back meetings with our long list of suppliers including food and beverage, technical, public relations and marketing companies. I also meet the team behind the most exciting part of the venue right now – our new 39-metre infinity pool. We are working around the clock to ensure a 2,000sqm expansion is ready to reveal in the fourth quarter of this year. It will really make us a unique entity on the regional – and global – lifestyle and entertainment map.


I start with a few staff performance evaluations before declaring who has been made our high flyer of the month – an employee award that comes with a cash or gift voucher prize attached. No Tuesday in Dubai is complete without ladies’ night. We pull out all the stops when it comes to preparing for ours. We have tried to be a little different with our concept, which allows ladies to eat and drink to their heart’s content for two hours (man free) before we let the boys in from 10pm. Our culinary team really go to town and create the most beautiful bite-sized canapés and desserts. I make sure I am always available for sampling.


I am up early to hit the gym over at Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah. As part of the Jumeirah family, I am lucky enough to be able make use of their very impressive facilities. Nothing beats a head- clearing swim, workout or game of tennis before the day kicks in. I am at my desk – with a smoothie – by 8.30am. Head chef Bhatt Dwarika is constantly evolving our menu, which means I am constantly trying it, but I make a point of eating lunch in our staff cafeteria each day. It is a great chance to catch up with the 122-strong team, working so hard around me, on a more personal level.


My day starts with sifting through lots and lots of material samples. I need to scale down and select them to form part of the new pool before the weekly management meeting. A few of our disk jockeys pass by for sound checks, which is absolutely crucial ahead of our club nights. We make sure rider requirements are in place for the international artists playing over the weekend. I find it very entertaining to see what the big names have on their riders. I will always remember the running around we had to do when British DJ Beardyman asked for an expletive to be embroidered across a banner and hung in the green room when he played for us earlier this year. Thursdays are a long day for me. However, I make a point to catch up with my brother and wife for dinner before heading back in to work.


I do not like to spend the whole weekend working, although it is important that I pass by on Friday – the venue’s busiest day. I have a much-needed lie in, run a few errands and spend some time listening to music. Our music festivals are returning for two events in October and November and I try to make sure I am aware of which artists are really making waves around the world. I touch base regularly with our booking agents to brainstorm what could work. I am at work just in time for brunch, which begins at the glorious hour of 3pm, and watch the party really take hold as night creeps in. I love watching people spend the day on the beach with us before heading up to the garden for a ‘quick’ sundowner. Some are still there when the DJ takes to the stage at midnight.


Saturday is for me. My wife of three years, Sitora, is used to the all- consuming nature of my job and knows that my working hours are often unsociable. But Saturdays can usually be left in the capable hands of my team. Today we have a long breakfast at Waterfront, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, where Sitora tells me about the latest developments from her newly launched Uzbekistan-inspired fashion line, Shadi. We spend the afternoon reading by the pool at Al Qasr. I believe that it is very important to continually try and improve one’s self through reading. I put aside at least an hour a day to catch up on my collection of books. Later, I check in with my mum for our weekly hour-long Skype call and talk about my next trip home to our property in Victoria, Australia. I make it back for at least two weeks a year – and that time is completely devoted to my family.


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