Buro 24/7 Middle East Exclusive: Fortnum & Mason launches in Dubai
The iconic London store expands its global reach
Since its establishment in 1707 by William Fortnum, a footman at the court of Queen Anne, and his landlord Hugh Mason, London's iconic Fortnum & Mason brand has become famed all across the world for supplying the finest goods and services.
Now, for the first time in its 305-year history, Fortnum & Mason has expanded its global reach with a brand new store in Dubai. Directly facing the Burj Khalifa, the ground floor of the new store features an edit of signature food offerings including tea, biscuits, jams and chocolates.
Customers will be able to experience in-store tastings of tea and jam on a daily basis, as well as avail of its Bespoke Hamper Service. Meanwhile, on the first floor, customers can experience The Tea Salon, which is inspired by the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly London – sampling English afternoon tea and all-day dining.
Fortnum & Mason CEO Ewan Venters, a dedicated foodie who is considered influential on the British cuisine scene, tells us what to expect from the new store...
Why Dubai as the first location outside of London?
Dubai is – after London – the second most important retail destination in the world, and is not only one of the most exciting international retail centres but also is a city that seeks specialty and premium quality products – and all the world's major luxury brands are represented there. By bringing Fortnum & Mason to Dubai, we are able to offer its citizens as well as its visitors the exceptional experience of Fortnum & Mason products.
Tell us about the design...
The design for Fortnum & Mason in Dubai is modelled on both our oldest and newest stores. The Tea Salon takes its inspiration from the famous The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Piccadilly. The Parlour is a contemporary reinterpretation of our restaurant in London. But the shopping experience mixes both the grandeur of Piccadilly with the contemporary elegance of our latest UK store at St Pancras International.
What is your favourite part of the store?
Having tea, looking out at the wonder that is Burj Khalifa in the knowledge that we're bringing to Dubai for the first time a tea-tasting experience which we believe is second to none.
What was the biggest challenge?
How to convert sympathetically the sense of history from F&M in Piccadilly, where we have been trading since 1707, into the modern and vibrant city of Dubai.
What's your favourite story from the Fortnum and Mason archives?
There are so many! Our association with great figures from history is a great source of pride, and in November 1945 we threw a party for Winston Churchill's 71st birthday. We have had many royal visits down the years, and in Diamond Jubilee year, we had the pleasure of hosting The Queen, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge, representing three generations of the Royal Family. But we like to think we treat each and every one of customers with care and attention it's a thrill that we will now be bringing our sense of pleasure to Dubai.
Tell us something we don't know about Fortnum and Mason.
A little-known fact is that the first product Fortnum and Mason ever sold was a candle, when Mr Fortnum was working for Queen Anne at the Palace of St James. So when deciding on the range for Dubai, we thought it important to include a Candle Room – a fundamental part of our heritage.
If you could only buy one Fortnum and Mason item for the rest of time what would it be and why?
There's no greater sense of pleasure then a cup of freshly brewed cup of tea and the Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend makes a perfect cup of tea.
What's next for the company?
The Christmas season is such an important time in our trading year, and our attention now focuses on delivering a fabulous customer experience for our customers – in store and online – this year. From London to Dubai, we have plenty of activity planned to make the Fortnum's experience truly unique, so watch this space!
Fortnum & Mason Dubai is located in Downtown Dubai close to the Address Downtown.