Focus on Innovation: An Interview with Hospitality Leader, Alban Dutemple

Bahrain Confidential speaks with the Cluster General Manager of Swiss-Belsuites Admiral Juffair

What does it take to be a Hospitality Leader? In an industry that never slows down, it takes utmost dedication and a mindset for excellence to deliver quality guest experiences day in and out. Each year, Bahrain Confidential highlights leaders across the hospitality industry on the island to understand what’s new, what’s next, and what makes them the best.

Do you have any major plans for the property?

One of our notable upcoming projects involves implementing a heating system for our penthouse swimming pool. We have a Planned Preventative Maintenance program scheduled each year during Ramadan which ensures that our property remains in optimal condition.

Considering that our hotel is still new, we focus on maintaining our existing facilities and services at the highest standards which is vital in delivering an exceptional guest experience.

What have been the significant changes for you or the property over the last year?

We have introduced an F&B program where we revamp our Weekend Theme Night every trimester, ensuring a dynamic and evolving dining experience. It currently features concepts such as Ribs and Wings; Thursday Fiesta, a delectable spread of Mexican and Latino delicacies; and Indonesian Indulge with a Japanese Twist, offering authentic Indonesian dishes and different kinds of sushi.

Another distinctive feature is our Never Late Breakfast and the extended breakfast concept, available over the weekend. We’ve also introduced promotions in our bar and lounge, Mysteria along with live music featuring Latino and international beats, along with a saxophone player.

What have been your biggest challenges (and successes) over the past few years?

A major challenge was launching the hotel amidst the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. This demanded intricate planning and adaptability to ensure the safety and comfort of guests and staff. On the flip side, our accomplishments have been rewarding. We have achieved commendable ratings on platforms such as Booking.com (8.9) and TripAdvisor (99.3).

Receiving consistently high reviews has resulted in the prestigious recognition of being a top-ranked hotel in Manama and achieving the esteemed ‘Traveler’s Choice Award 2023’.

Other than a great team, is there one unique quality that makes your hotel stand out in Bahrain?

Besides our exceptional team, a defining feature that sets our hotel apart in Bahrain is the presence of three exquisite penthouses. Crafted with attention to detail, each penthouse spans over 142 sq.m. with its private pool and terrace. The terrace has a panoramic view of the Arabian Sea.

These penthouses have been designed to cater not only to families seeking comfort and indulgence but also to those looking to host intimate gatherings in an elegant setting.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Bahrain’s hospitality industry in the coming years?

From a hotelier’s perspective, an additional development plan is required for hosting more international exhibitions to increase the influx of business travellers and tourists. The absence of a tour series, where visitors explore multiple countries, including Bahrain, alongside neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Dubai, limits potential visitors’ staying in Bahrain, thereby reducing potential hospitality earnings.

The high number of new hotel openings also poses a challenge as the guests might be spread thinly across all new and existing hotels. This situation can be concerning if MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) doesn’t experience a corresponding increase.

Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?

Yes, according to my long experience, one of my favourite sayings is:

The past brings you where you are, it won’t take you where you want to go.

As a Cluster General Manager in the hospitality industry, I believe that, while the past provides valuable insights, my focus will always remain on innovation, adaptability, and forward-thinking strategies that will position our Admiral Suites for growth and excellence.

Every step forward is driven by a vision for the future rather than relying on and dwelling on historical achievements.

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