Leaders in Bahrain Hospitality: The Westin & Le Meridien CGM Anna Marie Dowling

Tell us something personal, what are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Greatest strengths would probably be my resilience and determination to overcome whatever obstacle that is put in my way to ensure our teams and hotels are constantly improving. Weakness side – As I personally have to work at quite a fast pace to fulfill so many expectations from so many stakeholders and keep the hotels running on track, sometimes when I am very busy, my patience in the time it can take to get things done could be improved!!


In a fiercely competitive market, how do you plan on remaining at the forefront of the hospitality game?

I think you always have to open to a constant climate of change – you cannot rely on staying at the forefront by doing things the way you have always done them. Customers’ expectations change, as do our associates, and Marriott as well as our owners, Majid Al Futtaim expectations. It is fundamentally important you study the trends that occur in your business and take the relevant steps to ensure you are being as nimble as possible to react to them. You constantly have to learn, adapt and evolve and bring your team with you.


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

Managing the major integration process of transitioning two hotels from the Starwood infrastructure to the Marriott infrastructure, whilst also operating in a very tough and competitive market and still improving our results in some key performance areas was a major challenge and success for our two hotels last year. One of our key successes for 2018 as well is being nominated for many hospitality awards and actually winning 9 of them that include restaurant awards, spa awards and hotel awards.


What are your future plans for the Westin & Le Meridien?

There a lot of happenings for both brands this year and we will be having a lot of brand activation starting from Le Meridien Avec Amour and focusing on our art, culture and discovery brand pillars. For Westin we will be having more events and activation to live our feel well, sleep well and eat well brand promise so stay tuned on those events on our social media pages.


Which part of Bahrain is your favourite and why?

I live on Reef Island and love it there – it is peaceful and tranquil after a busy day in the hotels but there are still things to do on the island – even after being in Bahrain for over three years there is not a day that goes by that I do not appreciate my short commute to work after working in London for so many years and having at least one if not one and half hours added on the beginning and end of every day to travel backwards and forwards to work.