60 SECONDS WITH THE REGIONAL VICE PRESIDENT OF FOUR SEASONS HOTELS AND RESORTS
HN speaks to Rami Sayess, regional VP and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Beirut, to learn more about the chain's latest developments
Four Seasons Hotel Beirut has been working on developing its F&B offering, increasing its operations from two to four outlets. The hotel is currently operating Arabesque, the seasonal restaurant on the third floor, serving Lebanese food with a Greek touch, The Grill on the second floor, The Roof, in addition to an extended lobby terrace. “We are becoming a true destination, helped especially by our expanded banqueting facilities,” Sayess said. The property is also fine-tuning its soft refurbishment plans. “We are rejuvenating our 230 rooms without closing down the property. The timing is right to do it as the hotel has been operating now for seven years,” he said. The project, which is expected to kick off this September, will be finalized within 18 months. Sayess told HN that the hotel has witnessed healthy growth, with year-round occupancy hovering around 70 percent and exceeding 90 percent in some months. “We have been accommodating many leisure European visitors, mainly from Holland, Germany, Italy, the UK and France in the past two months, which echoes a positive trend,” he explained. The hotel has also been hosting corporate guests, mainly from Egypt and Syria. Sayess added, “The Gulf business is coming back, even if not at the same previous pace. However, this seems to be promising.”
The Four Seasons Hotel Beirut was one of only a few properties to stick to its regular price range during the difficult conditions that hotels in Lebanon faced. On the subject of catering to millennials, Sayess believes that even with growing interest in reaching this important market, management chains should avoid compromising on quality. “There is a misconception about millennials and about what they seek,” he said. “It is not always the case that millennials only seek budget hotels. From our perspective, we want to cater to millennials by offering the finest service.”
The Gulf business is coming back, even if not at the same previous pace
In a separate development, Four Seasons Hotels have been running an innovative program called the MIT (Managers in Training), where sees chain leaders travel to top hotel schools in Switzerland, mainly Glion, Lausanne and Les Roches, to source potential talent. Within an 18-month program, successfully-selected candidates will be eligible for assistant manager positions throughout Four Seasons properties. “Since I represent Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA), I am looking to meet fresh grads and talents who would be suitable for the 33 properties across our region,” he explained. When it comes to openings, the hotel chain is preparing for the grand opening of its Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, a 284room property with seven restaurants, slated for November. The chain will also be opening a new property in Tunisia this September.