Al-Ahram Weekly Online   6 - 12 August 2009
Issue No. 959
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Debating Dokkan

SHERATON Cairo Hotel marked its second quarterly gathering of 2009 for members of the StarChoice Programme by hosting a seminar on the controversial film Dokkan Shehata (Shehata's Store). The event, co-sponsored by the Rotary Cairo Royal Club, was attended by director Khaled Youssef and actors Amr Saad, Amr Abdel-Galil and Mohamed Karim.

The cast and participants of the seminar discussed all aspects of the movie, its theme and the debate it stirred before and after its release.

Celebrities' choice

RENOWNED actress and ballerina Nelly Karim recently spent a family vacation at Sheraton Miramar. With husband Hany Abul-Naga, they enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the resort and the warm and friendly hospitality. The family also admired the hotel's spectacular natural setting which is reflected in its synthesis architecture, designed by world famous architect Michael Graves.

The Sheraton's plans for expansion in 2009 include adding 54 hotels and 20,000 guestrooms around the world.

BBQ under the stars

FOR THOSE willing to try new flavours, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza has introduced a BBQ set menu at Pool Grill restaurant. Situated on the fifth floor of the hotel, Pool Grill offers a casual, high-quality dining experience in a stunning setting overlooking the shimmering swimming pool.

Opening at 7pm, it is an ideal location during the summer, where guests can relax and enjoy the fresh evening breeze. The new set menu includes an impressive variety of dishes, especially prepared by Chef Christophe Gillino and his culinary team for all appetites. For starters, guests will be tempted by a selection of international mezzeh, including Lebanese, Moroccan, Indian, Greek and Italian salads, followed by a choice selection of grilled beef, veal, lamb, chicken and a seafood assortment offered on individual BBQs.

To finish the evening, desserts are on hand for those with a sweet tooth, while relaxing with a variety of flavoured shishas and listening to oriental music played by the resident DJ.

In the lead

DIRECTOR of Public Relations at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, Sara Ibrahim, has scooped recognition as Manager of the Quarter. "It is our privilege to present her with the Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza's highest achievement certificate in recognition of her valuable contributions and dedication to the public relations department and to our hotel," announced Olivier Masson, regional vice-president of Four Seasons Hotels Egypt.

Ibrahim has been instrumental in positioning the award winning property as the leading property in both Egypt and the Middle East. She transferred to Nile Plaza in June, 2008, after two successful openings with the Four Seasons company in Alexandria and Sharm El-Sheikh.

Old, new and Sheraton

THE OPENING of the Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel is the latest addition to the Czech Republic's vital tourism market. A joint initiative of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Ochid Investment, located between the old town and the new, the Charles Square introduces the Sheraton brand to the stately city, with 160 rooms and suites, spa and state-of-the-art fitness centre (the latter developed in collaboration with the organisation that trains Olympics athletes, Core Performance). The hotel also boasts the Brasserie Délice, which faces Zitna Street and offers excellent French cuisine under the directorship of the well-known chef, Jan Pipal, as well as Sweet Coffee Cup.

The Charles Square took 21 months to restore and rebuild. According to Roeland Vos, the president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts for Europe, Africa & Middle East, "Prague is one of the most exciting cities in the region for Starwood and we are thrilled to be entering the market with Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, one of the world's most global and recognised hotel brands." For Erhard Noreisch, the same company's senior vice-president and director of operations for Central and Eastern Europe, "the Czech Republic is one of Europe's most vibrant economies and we are delighted to bring the iconic Sheraton brand into Prague, further expanding Starwood's footprint in Eastern Europe. The warm and welcoming positioning of the brand will provide a memorable experience to the guests of the Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel."

Dedication awarded

IN LINE with Hyatt's recognition programmes, Hyatt Regency Sharm El-Sheikh celebrated Hystars 2009, an annual award to recognise employees with exceptional performance. Staff members celebrated at a party with non-stop dancing and the tunes of singer Saad El-Soghayar, as well as a light- hearted entertainment programme.

Abdel-Maqsoud Mohamed from Housekeeping and Sameh Mohamed from Maintenance were recognised as Hystars of 2009. During the party, General Manager Stefan Gaessler thanked all employees for their outstanding performance and dedication.

United with American

ETIHAD Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and American Airlines have announced details of a proposed new codeshare agreement which, if it receives regulatory approval from the US government, will pave the way for closer commercial cooperation between the two airlines.

The codeshare agreement will further extend the two airlines' global networks by providing easy transportation between Abu Dhabi and key cities in the United States, including Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston -- which have previously been unavailable to Etihad travellers.

Etihad Airways will place its "EY" code on a number of transatlantic services operated by the US carrier between Europe and the United States, as well as selected domestic services operated by American Airlines beyond New York and Chicago. In turn, American Airlines will place its own "AA" code on services operated by Etihad Airways between Abu Dhabi and New York (JFK), Chicago (ORD), Paris (CDG), Dublin, Frankfurt, Manchester and Milan (MXP).

"The United States represents a key market for Etihad and one in which we are keen to grow further, both through the addition of new routes of our own, such as Chicago, and through close cooperation with other well-established airlines such as American Airlines," stated Etihad Airways' Chief Executive James Hogan. "American Airlines is one of world's largest and most respected airlines, and we see this codeshare agreement very much as the start of a deepening strategic relationship which both airlines are committed to developing further in the future."

Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of American Airlines, agreed. "We're very pleased to be working with Etihad who, in a relatively short period of time, have established themselves as one of the world's leading airlines and a major force in the Middle East," noted Arpey. "Our new codeshare agreement will give customers of Etihad and American Airlines increased choice, convenience and flexibility in their travels between the Americas, the Middle East and beyond."

Staying connected

THE MANAGEMENT of Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort, Villas & Spa recently completed its "Service Culture" training session. The programme focussed on teaching associates how to apply the brand's logo "Warm -- Comforting & Connection" in their daily activities and interactions with guests and associates.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts offers a wide range of training for the development and betterment of its team. One of the most important is "Service Culture" which is given to all Starwood associates all over the world, from top executives to junior staff.

Flying in style

HOLIDAYS are precious, therefore British Airways is offering its Club World Cabin (Business Class) to travellers starting at the price of LE6,896 between July, 2009, and March 2010. This will allow more passengers the opportunity to discover the benefits of Club World, which give passengers the flexibility to work, relax, eat and sleep whenever they choose.

"Club World is more than a cabin in the aircraft," explained BA's Country Commercial Manager for Egypt Mervat Alfy. "It is an entire experience from the moment a customer decides to fly with British Airways to the moment they arrive at their destination." At this price, clients will enjoy lounge access, the world's first fully flat bed, and a menu inspired by some of the world's top chefs, to ensure they arrive refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

The airline's flat bed is now wider, more comfortable, and for the first time has a Z bed position which supports the knees and the back. It is ideal for lounging, working or watching in-flight entertainment. The bed will be longer from six feet to six feet and six inches when in the Z position.

As for the cabin, passengers can now choose whether to have the full meal service or help themselves to the new Club Kitchen snacks in between, should they want to work, sleep, relax or watch the in-flight entertainment.

The airline has invested significant resources in making the passenger travel process much easier by embracing the benefits of technology and automating the many processes involved in planning, booking, flying and interfacing with the airline.

Non-stop celebrations

GRAND Hyatt Cairo recently held its annual Celebrating Our People event. In a joyful atmosphere, the staff enjoyed a variety of activities along with Frederic Boulin, general manager of the Grand Hyatt Cairo. This took place over a three-day period, including a number of competitive games and trips to Ain Al-Sokhna, Maadi Island club and the Pyramids for a Bedouin Night.

Even more enjoyment was found in the cooking competition between the staff of different departments, and watching the latest movie releases.

Conrad's busy agenda

THE CONRAD Cairo recently hosted the African Travel Association (ATA) on their visit to Egypt. Founded in 1975, ATA is an industry trade organisation promoting travel to and within Africa -- endorsing economic development, peace, stability and understanding while they are at it. The 20-strong delegation expressed satisfaction with the hospitality they were offered at the Conrad during their week-long stay.

The Conrad also hosted the Deyafa Extra promo, catering to six journalists from key publications in the Gulf Cooperation Council states, during which a range of options for families and couples were reviewed alongside the 617-room establishment's facilities and the innumerable attractions of Cairo.

Recent highlights at the hotel also included the Jordanian Independence Day celebration, to which high-ranking officials, diplomats and media figures flocked.

The Latin Ramses

TO MAINTAIN and strengthen relations between the Ramses Hilton and Latin American embassies in Cairo, Haitham Nassar, the hotel's general manager, recently held a diplomatic lunch at the Hilton's roof-top restaurant, Windows on the World, which offers stunning, 36th-floor views of Cairo. Latin American ambassadors were said to enjoy both meal and view.

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