Ramadan on Rodeo Drive: How Beverly Hills Is Cashing In
Hotels and restaurants stand to benefit from the unique timing of this year's Islamic holy month.
This is the second full day of Ramadan, the Muslim period of religious observance, which began early this year on June 17. Usually, Ramadan falls in July or August, according to the Islamic calendar, but hotels, restaurants and other luxury purveyors of Los Angeles aren't complaining about the timing.
When the commemorative month is in the middle of summer, the hospitality and retail industries decline while Muslim tourists return home to observe with their families. "You definitely see a pause in the booking during Ramadan," Offer Nissenbaum, managing director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills, tells The Hollywood Reporter.
But with Ramadan landing before the big travel months this year, the deep-pocketed tourists, often hailing from the Middle East, will get more uninterrupted opportunities to spend time in their ritzy neighborhoods of choice, like Beverly Hills. "It extends the period of time they can travel before their children have to go back to school," says Nissenbaum. "The earlier it falls, the better it is for the city of Beverly Hills."
Greg Velasquez, marketing director of the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills agrees: "'I'm expecting a bigger summer than last year. August is already looking to be fully sold out, which is amazing."
Restaurateurs expect a similar upswing. "The regulars who've been coming for years and years, who have homes here and take over entire floors of hotels, they haven’t shown up yet," says Peter Garland, owner of Beverly Hills' Porta Via Bistro. "They’ll come back after Ramadan, but this year, I think it’ll probably be more beneficial to tourism that the calendar is earlier."
As in previous years in response to the influx of Muslim tourists around Ramadan, big luxury retailers and department stores such as Barneys New York are making sure to include Arabic speaking associates on staff and are quick to ensure that they are willing to fulfill any special requests for a private space to pray during shopping forays.