Features, Hospitality Leaders - August 4, 2022

#HospitalityLeaders: Mehdi Hanayen, Cluster General Manager, Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa

What is your vision for Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa?

We aspire to maintain our status as the preferred destination in Bahrain, creating a unique luxurious getaway with a touch of local heritage and French “Art de Vivre” (Art of Living), for our guests.

We are expanding our offering with the addition of four new villas to our room inventory next year. Being a leading hotel in this region, we deeply focus on sustainability with initiatives like the removal of all single-use plastic at the hotel.

Sofitel Bahrain is an ideal place for friends and family gatherings and we aim to build life-long relationships with them by delivering quality services driven by our passion as leaders in Bahrain’s hospitality industry.

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

The pandemic posed several new challenges to the hospitality industry. We quickly had to implement drastic responses to reduce the impact of the virus and the loss to the business. Forecasting was nearly impossible with the multiple lockdowns and restrictions. The hotel teams were left paralyzed while planning for the reopening.

At Sofitel Bahrain, we understood that business would mainly come from within the country. Staycation offers gained popularity as long-distance travel was restricted. We invested all our efforts in attracting this segment during the lockdowns.

The pandemic certainly transformed the way the industry operates; it changed the guests’ preferences and what they care about. Travellers demand additional health and safety measures and we have had to adapt to satisfy new trends.

As part of Sofitel Bahrain’s mission to continue providing its guests with the top-of-the-line services it is known for during these challenging times, we also integrated Accor’s ALL SAFE cleanliness and preventions label processes into all of our procedures to ensure our guests’ safety during their stay.

Other than a great team, what qualities does your hotel have that make it stand out in Bahrain?

The secluded location of the hotel offers a luxurious and idyllic escape far from the bustling city. French elegance infused with traditional Arab architecture highlights this five-star hotel’s dedication to creating an exceptional haven for its guests. The spectacular beach-front setting and five-star amenities make for a memorable getaway, whether it is for a weekend or a complete 6-day spa package.

The hotel boasts 21 Prestige Suites, 6 rooftop thematic Opera suites, and 1 Royal Suite, all furnished. We have thirteen dining and nightlife options that are award-winning seafood, Italian, Southeast Asian or Lebanese restaurants. Our bars and lobby lounge are perfect for a nightcap, a business meeting or a rendezvous with friends.

Our Thalassa Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, the only one in the GCC, offers a vast array of seawater-based treatments, including hydrotherapy, massage, wellness and rehabilitation.

What does hospitality leadership mean to you?

A hospitality leader needs to have an innovative mind to improve their organization and find opportunities where others don’t. An open-minded manager is eager to think out of the box and explore new things to elevate guests’ experiences.

Mutual respect in the work environment with a sense of direction and motivation in their staff are important qualities of any hospitality leader. We must be able to make them feel valued and that they have opportunities for growth and development within the hotel.

Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?

Hard work, passion, discipline and sacrifices will guide you to success.

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