THE hospitality sector in Bahrain put on its glad rags for the annual ceremony of the Bahrain Tourism Food & Travel Awards.
Familiar names picked up the major prizes this time around although the title of Hotel of the Year went to the Swiss-Belhotel Seef … taking the coveted crown despite competition from the many illustrious five star properties on the island.
Having retained its crown once again as Best 4-Star Hotel, general manager Herve Peyre was delighted to pick up the overall accolade too.
“We are delighted to be recognised as ‘Best 4-Star’ for the third consecutive year and to receive the coveted ‘Hotel of the Year’ trophy at the Bahrain 2018 Food & Travel Awards,” he told GulfWeekly. “It’s a wonderful testament to the high level of service we aim to provide to our guests every single day. I take this opportunity to congratulate all my team whose passion and hard work has contributed to this success.”
Salah Alhaiki, publisher of Food & Travel Arabia and organiser of the competition, claimed more than 200,000 votes had been cast, adding: “Hosting these awards is a testament of Bahrain’s position as a ‘destination of choice’ for the best hotels, restaurants and cafes in the region. The discerning members of the public have made their voices heard.”
He believes the Bahrain awards ‘genuinely reflect not only public opinion but expert judgement too’ and was ‘a testament to the depth and quality of the nation’s flourishing hospitality industry, confirming Bahrain’s place on the culinary and tourism map’.
“Hotel of the Year is not about how many stars the hotel may have, but quality of service, value for money and, above all, consistency across the board, day in and day out,” he added. “The management and staff at Swiss-Belhotel have definitively demonstrated that strong leadership from the top and genuine commitment wins over the hearts and minds of every stakeholder - be they a guest, diner, supplier or member of staff, making Swiss-Belhotel stand out as a beacon of success on Bahrain’s burgeoning tourism landscape, able to punch above its weight.”
The decision has delighted the hotel group’s senior executives. Congratulating the team, Laurent A. Voivenel, senior vice president, operations and development for the Middle East, Africa and India, Swiss-Belhotel International, said: “Swiss-Belhotel Seef is one of our flagship hotels in the region that has established a fabulous reputation in Bahrain in terms of its distinctive service standards and high quality of product.
“We are thrilled to receive these awards that are considered a benchmark of excellence. There is nothing more gratifying than to see guests appreciate our product and service. I take this opportunity to congratulate all our team whose passion and hard work has contributed to this exceptional success.”
Food and Travel’s panel of hotel and restaurant inspectors have been ‘tirelessly working’ for the last 12 months reviewing, researching and revisiting the finalists in an ‘exhaustive and unbiased’ search for perfection, added Anisa Al Hawaj, editorial director at Travel Arabia.
The other big winners this year came from the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay and the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain.
Restaurant of the Year went to the Four Season’s CUT by Wolfgang Puck and Brian Becher, executive chef of re Asian Cuisine and CUT, again took the Chef of the Year title. “I’m delighted,” said Chef Brian, “especially as it’s the second time I’ve picked up the trophy which means we are consistently working hard as a team to keep our standards high.”
The Executive Chef of the Year prize went to Christian Knerr of the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain and The Carême Award for outstanding contribution to the industry was presented to two Michelin star Chef Oliver Glowig.
The celebrity star of Italian cuisine was in Bahrain for the occasion after working on the hotel’s Primavera restaurant’s new menu before flying home over the weekend. He’ll be back again in November.
“2017 has been an exceptional year for The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain. First with the winning of the Catering & Conference Services for the 2017 Elite Award for ‘Team of the Year’ to now with the signature win of our culinary teams,” said Soufiane Elallam, EAM-sales & marketing.
The third-edition of the ceremony staged at the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa appeared to be a much lower key affair with many members of the local media not invited to cover the event, including this newspaper. Despite that, we are happy to acknowledge this year’s winners, although some of the award designations appear strikingly similar. Congratulations!
• Hotel of the Year - Swiss-Belhotel Seef
• Restaurant of the Year - CUT by Wolfgang Puck Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay
• Chef of the Year - Brian Becher, CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay
• Executive Chef of the Year - Christian Knerr, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• The Carême Award for outstanding contribution to the industry - Oliver Glowig, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Best 5 Star Hotel - Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
• Best 5 Star Resort Hotel - Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Best Weekend Destination Hotel - Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
• Best Business Hotel - InterContinental Regency Bahrain
• Best City Hotel - Westin City Centre Bahrain
• Best Family Resort - ART Rotana
• Best 4 Star Resort - Elite Resort & Spa
• Best 4 Star Hotel - Swiss-Belhotel Seef
• Best Residence - The Diplomat Radisson BLU Hotel, Residence & Spa
• Fine Dining Award – Primavera, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Asian Fusion Cuisine - re Asian Cuisine | Wolfgang Puck, Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay
• Contemporary Indian Cuisine - Rasoi by Vineet, The Gulf Hotel
• Japanese Cuisine - Mirai
• Chinese Cuisine - David’s Stir Fry Crazy
• Thai Cuisine - Royal Thai, The Gulf Hotel
• Indian Classic Cuisine - Nirvana, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Mediterranean Cuisine - Masso, The Palace Boutique Hotel
• Middle Eastern Cuisine - Golestan Iranian Restaurant, Sheraton Bahrain
• Contemporary Classic Cuisine - La Vinoteca Barcelona
• International Cuisine - Cantina Khalo, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Steakhouse & Grill - CUT by Wolfgang Puck, Four Seasons Hotel, Bahrain Bay
• Casual Chic - La Mer, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
• On the town - Bushido
• All Day Casual - Nomad Eatery
• Healthy Dining - Baker & Spice
• Rising Star - Asia de Cuba
• Family Restaurant - Café Lilou
• Beach Chic - La Plage, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain
• Best Brunch - Bahrain Bay Kitchen, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
• Best Ramadan Tent - Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa
• Best Afternoon Tea - The Orangery Tearoom & Pâtisserie, Palace Boutique Hotel
• Best Breakfast - Gallery Café
• Specialist Retailer - Maya La Chocolaterie
• Best Spa - Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay
• Best Banqueting - ART Rotana
• Local Produce Champion - Alosra Supermarket
• Artisan Food - Maya La Chocolaterie
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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