WORK will start shortly on extensive renovations at an award-winning hotel close to the airport over a 10-month phased operation, in the latest major investment in the kingdom’s tourism sector.
With Bahrain International Airport itself currently undergoing a massive modernisation programme, the neighbouring Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain aims to shine as brightly with travellers and its regular visitors across the island who flock to its restaurants and spa facilities.
General manager Pasquale Baiguera is determined it will be business as usual at the popular destination that proudly picked up prestigious travel industry awards for the third time in a row after being voted Best Airport Hotel in the Middle East by international travellers.
“These are very exciting yet challenging times and we’re up to the task,” the 53-year-old Italian said. “The aim is to be ready in one year with a new hotel and product so that we can continue to provide a luxury experience and service to guests and visitors.
“We have always provided an outstanding service in a luxurious and friendly environment but the upcoming renovation will, for sure, be an enhancement of what we have today.
“We are planning to go through a full renovation of the hotel - rooms, food and beverage outlets, public areas and, last but not least, all the infrastructure, which means that we will have a brand new product with state-of-the-art facilities throughout.”
The renovation work, he added, will be carried out in a well-coordinated phased manner to ensure the utmost ‘comfort’ of all guests as the hotel undergoes its ‘significant transformation’. “I can ensure our guests that the hotel will have a totally new, fresh and luxurious look and feel that’s worth waiting for,” he added.
Pasquale has settled in well in Bahrain since his arrival last May and lives in Amwaj Islands with his Dutch wife, Claire. They met in Milan while working at the same hotel. “It was love at the first sight and she is my soul mate,” he said. “We have found Bahrain a very welcoming country with friendly, open-minded and supportive people. The locals and expats live and work together in such harmony. It has taken us very little time to feel at home!
“I am very glad to be here and I’m very proud, and consider myself privileged, to have the opportunity to manage the Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain and lead such a great team like ours.”
His other great passion is the hospitality industry. With more than three decades in the sector, Pasquale will be able to call on a wealth of knowledge for the task at hand.
The Bahrain challenge was his fourth appointment in the Middle East and he joined from the 292-room Mövenpick Hotel Beirut, which he had successfully led for three years.
Apart from his Middle East experience, he has had roles in Italy, Finland, Czech Republic, Denmark and Turkey with other five-star brands.
The Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain, the first hotel to mark the skyline of the historic town of Muharraq, had its soft opening back in 2004 and boasts 106 guestrooms, including 10 suites, a health club, an infinity-edge swimming pool and European-style Rimal spa, as well as a business centre and private car park with shaded spaces. The hotel offers four dining outlets - a gallery lobby, Silk’s restaurant, Flamingo bar plus the Palms poolside and outdoor terrace.
Over the years it has built up legendary status, particularly with its packed-out Friday Brunch, Monday Seafood Night and Thursday Night Out. But Pasquale is well aware that just because you’re packing them in and winning awards it doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels, hence the renovations.
“The hospitality scene in Bahrain is, for sure, very competitive and of a very high standard,” he said. “Competition is good because it makes everyone strive for the best, as well as to be creative and innovative. And, the people who benefit as a result are the end-users of our services … our guests.”
Stanley Louis Szecowka
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