A week in the life of... Ian Palmer, GM of the Capital Club DIFC - Gulf Business
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A week in the life of… Ian Palmer, GM of the Capital Club DIFC

A week in the life of… Ian Palmer, GM of the Capital Club DIFC

Palmer is focussed on improving services for the club’s members


I start the week with a swim in the outdoor pool at my apartment. It’s got such a great view of the skyline and helps me clear my head before the busy week. I live a stone’s throw away from the Capital Club in DIFC, so I’m one of the lucky few in Dubai that can walk to work every morning. We start with a meeting with all heads of department to review the week ahead – events taking place, external activities and review the progress made across departments from the previous week. Mid-morning we have an all-team briefing to review the VIPs in the club that day, the lunch bookings and evening events planned for that day. Knowing all our members and having that personal touch is extremely important. As the new general manager of the Capital Club, I’m keen to refresh the fabric of the building and improve the service for members from the menus to the décor, offerings and events.


My daughter lives in the UK, so every morning we Skype before she starts school. Being so far away from her, it’s important for me to keep regular contact until her next trip to Dubai. Today, I have my weekly meeting with the board of governors and shareholders where we update them on the club’s activities and business plans. We are currently upgrading the club, so following this I meet with our new interior designers to review refurbishment plans. We’re also bringing in a new concept to the third floor of the building, so I meet with the facilities head to review the proposed works followed by a meeting with Saleh Al Akarbi, CEO of DIFC to update him on the progress.


It’s an early start on Tuesday as I have breakfast with a potential partner who will provide club members with privileges. We partner with over 250 clubs internationally and numerous brands in order to offer our members something extra. This is followed by a catch up with Bollinger to discuss the upcoming Bollinger Garden at the club, a new outdoor space we will be launching soon. My lunch today is a tasting with our head chef Enrico Paiola, designed by our executive chef, Andrew Blas. The afternoon is spent with the membership committee, where we review recent applications and make decisions on who we are able to offer memberships to. We have a wonderful mix of business leaders and government officials who use the club for meetings and social use such as lunch, dinners and parties. Working in the hospitality industry, I often find myself at the opening of a new restaurant or hotel in the city. Tonight I’m at opening of Peyote – a new Peruvian restaurant. It’s a good opportunity to catch up with colleagues in the industry and scout out the new venue offering.


After a late night, it’s still an early start at the club. Today I have to review the marketing materials from the members’ newsletter to the video edit from our recent anniversary party. This is followed by my weekly meeting with our PR agency to go over the communications strategy, interviews and photo-shoots we have pending. Wednesday lunchtimes are my favourite as we host lunch on the Club Table, where members join us to give us feedback. The rule is to always sit next to someone new – and it’s a great way for our members to network. In the evening we host a cocktail hour with a luxury travel brand and my role is to introduce the event to the audience.


I’m very passionate about art and in DIFC we are spoilt for choice. I meet with Gallery One to review our current art series and plan for the next exhibition. Later in the morning I swing by a photo-shoot taking place in the club for a luxury men’s magazine. On Thursday we always host the end of week social on our terrace, and then it’s the weekend so I dash to Dubai Opera for the gala night of Mary Poppins.


Having recently moved to Dubai, I can’t get enough of the beach, so today I head to Nikki Beach Hotel with my wife to laze by the pool. I immediately feel like I’m on holiday and it’s nice to be looked after. As I’m out most evenings, I’m happy to catch up on old box sets tonight – my favourite being Fawlty Towers. It’s a classic British comedy and being in the hospitality industry makes me laugh even harder. I also love Black Adder and you can’t beat a rerun of Arthur with Dudley Moore.


Being a newbie, I’m still exploring the city, so on Saturday I try to find a new attraction and be a tourist. Today I visit the galleries at Alserkal Avenue before heading over to City Walk for a spot of shopping and a relaxing afternoon before I start all over again.


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