Interview with The Westin and Le Meridien’s Senior Leadership Team

Sammy Gani – Complex General Manager

Tell us something personal – how would you describe yourself in one word?


If you can change one thing about hospitality in general, what would it be?

Back to the basic principle of always viewing things from the customers’ perspective

Can you shed light on your vision for the hotel this 2020?

Working on taking two great brands, The Westin and Le Meridien City Centre Bahrain and making it a little better, by offering guests even more unique experiences. All scheduled before the end of Q2 Salero Spanish Tapas and Bar, Westin Room Refurbishment and Nasmat Sports Lounge with Shisha.

What have been the biggest challenges and successes of the past year?

The Westin and Le Meridien City Centre Bahrain continues to be the sought after leisure and shopping destination, which lends us an edge over our competitors especially in an unpredictable market.

What makes The Westin/Le Meridien stand out from the rest?

It is all about our people who create memorable experiences for our guests every single day. I am very proud to be a part an amazing team since the first day I arrived as General Manager of these two hotels in Bahrain.

Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?

“100% responsibility and 0 excuses”.

Senior Leadership Team

Zee Bassila – Complex Executive Assistant Manager

What attracts you to working for luxury hotels?

Luxury brands open doors to business opportunities in the local community and beyond. The ladies and gentlemen approach to satisfy guests is visible and rewarding. It makes me proud. The calibrator client base is also an eye opener. Once the above is part of the experience and the numbers are good, it gives me the energy to go the office every single morning

At work, what puts a smile on your face?

Satisfied guests with positive scores put a smile on my face. Guests comments highlighting our ladies and gentlemen put a smile on my face. Reading our arrivals list and seeing our repeated guests put a smile on my face.

Cristalyn Pastrana – Cluster Director of Marketing

What advice would you offer to those who aspire to become successful in the hotel industry someday?

Success is full of hard work and set of goals. At a young age, I have practiced setting goals whether it’s professional or personal. I write them down with a set of target dates, read it daily and work hard daily to achieve it. I think everyone should do it and of course, choose a work that you love doing.  

What makes you excited about going to work?

My work is never boring since it involves a lot of activities, updates and new things daily. I am always excited to go to work and do what I love doing the most – promoting our hotel on social media, meeting media and partners, writing press releases, brainstorming with the team on new offers and marketing strategies. The list is endless.

Jane Fernandes – Cluster Director of Human Resources

What is the single best quality your employees can possess?

PASSION – passion to excel, learn, grow, collaborate, innovate and create rewarding experiences every day. Passion is the fuel that keeps us all going.

What do find most exciting about this career choice?

I find it both exciting and gratifying that as an HR professional, I have the power to groom, develop, and mentor associates. Every single day at work, I have the chance to build opportunity and purpose in the workplace for my associates and help them succeed in their career.

Mahmoud ElSheikh – Cluster Director of Finance

What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your career?

You will only be successful if you have good and happy team. As a leader, you should always support your team, give them credit and take responsibility.

Is there a quote/motto that you live by?

Do the right thing.

Armelle Retmia – Complex Director of Revenue Management

What is your philosophy when it comes to work?

My philosophy in life, and in work, is to treat others with respect at all times. I approach my colleagues with kindness; I deliver my work when I say that I will, and I am an active listener. Also I like to let my team dream, feel involved, and approach me with their (new) ideas.

What would you say is the hardest part of your job?

One of my biggest challenges within Revenue Management in this part of the world is the last minute demand and finding the right strategy to optimize revenues. You never know what tomorrow will bring – but this keeps me awake and never bored!