Al-Ahram Weekly Online   5 - 11 November 2009
Issue No. 971
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Heaven at Sahl Hasheesh

PREMIER Le Rêve, a member of Tropicana Hotels and Resorts, held the soft opening of Premier Le Rêve Hotel and Spa in October. It is a five-star hotel and spa located at the splendid Sahl Hasheesh by the Red Sea. The hotel is conveniently located 22km from the Hurghada Airport and 25km from the downtown area. The luxury resort consists of 288 standard and superior deluxe rooms and 10 luxurious suites. Each room is equipped with full amenities with scenic views of the Red Sea, pool and gardens.

"We chose Sahl Hasheesh for its spectacular surroundings overlooking the Red Sea," explained Mokbel Al-Badrawi, chairman of Premier Le Rêve Hotel and Spa. "Guests from all around the world will enjoy their stay at our hotel where their expectations are always met and exceeded, and there's always something for everyone."

The hotel has a variety of services, including in-suite personal Jacuzzi, steam and massage rooms, seven international cuisine restaurants, lounges and bars. Moreover, the hotel has six world-class swimming pools -- two heated sweet water and one salted water, two sweet water pools for kids and one indoor pool. The 1,700 square-metre spa features internationally- trained Thai masseuses and various luxurious services such as a large gym, Turkish bath, foot massage, beauty centre and 20 treatment rooms.

Tropicana Hotels and Resorts has been operating in Egypt since 1992 and offers guests great value deals on hotels in the Red Sea Riviera, making it one of Egypt's top 10 hotel chains.

New destination for leisure and business

SOL Y MAR Sharks Bay will open its doors on 11 November as a new addition to Jaz Hotels, Resorts and Cruises portfolio. The 4-star hotel is located on the famous diving area of Shark's Bay in Sharm El-Sheikh, and marks the company's 10th hotel property in the area. It also ideal for business travelers since it is only 10 minutes away from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, and close to the largest conference venues.

The hotel comprises 130 comfortable and pleasantly furnished guest rooms and eight studio rooms, which contain one living room with a kitchenette and one bedroom, equipped with the latest facilities and services for guest satisfaction. The hotel offers a variety of restaurants, a lobby bar and terrace, an internet cafe, a shopping centre, billiard room, large swimming pool, children's club, tennis court, 24-hour reception, medical services and a shuttle bus to the beach.

Nestled in the heart of Sharm El Sheikh, Sol Y Mar Sharks Bay is the perfect destination for business and leisure travelers.

The feast in style

GET TOGETHER with your family and friends during Eid Al-Adha on the nine islands of Sheraton Miramar Resorts, which is known for its exceptional and unique character, magical mix of Arabian and Nubian architectural styles, with facilities which include five swimming pools, an aqua centre. Also, all rooms feature a spacious and secluded terrace or balcony with stunning views of the lagoons, pools and private beaches.

Enjoy an unrivalled dining experience which will take you through an authentic Eid Al-Adha oriental experience at the 1001 Restaurant, located on a separate island. It offers authentic Arabic mezza, charcoal grilled specialties, oriental desserts, wood fired Arabic bread oven, and oriental entertainment as you dine.

Sheraton Sharm wins 'The Race'

'TRANSLATE try into win' was the slogan of the Starwood Global Sales Blitz week for EAME hotels. During 'The Race', the team at Sheraton Sharm pounded the pavement for the most aggressive sales blitz in 2009.

The blitz was conducted successfully by the sales and marketing team of Sheraton Sharm Hotel, Resort, Villas & Spa, to cover 50 travel and corporate accounts in five days. The team engaged with their customers to pursue every possible lead, exploring new opportunities, solidifying existing relationships, and identifying new potential business for Starwood Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

Starwood's sales blitz is one of the company's key sales initiatives to drive business to its hotels and resorts worldwide. Taking an all-hands-on-deck approach, this year's blitz was run not only by the sales team but also by key personnel from each hotel including senior management, revenue managers, chefs and outlet managers. They called on all segments of business, from retail travel agents to meeting professionals to corporate travel planners, with the goal of generating revenue, cross-selling all the hotel brands under Starwood, and enrolling more customers through Starwood loyalty programmes: SPP, SPG, StarChoice and Team Hot.

Invented by a hotelier

A PLUMBER at Sheraton Montazah Hotel Alexandria, has invented a tool that enables lifting mattresses and shifting them from one guest room to the other, which saves time and effort while maintaining cleanliness and safety. Said Mohamed, whose original job is plumbing work, is highly dedicated and greatly appreciated by his colleagues and superiors for his enthusiasm and diverse talents which are positively impacting hotel operations.

Sheraton Cairo's staff party

TO CELEBRATE the achievements of the first half of 2009, and honour the outstanding performance of associates in maintaining the hotel's high standard, Sheraton Cairo's Human Resources Department organised the annual associates get-together by the swimming pool Le Mirage. The event was attended by Ibrahim Fahmi, managing director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Egypt; the hotel's General Manager Sameh Abdel-Wahab; as well as the executive committee and department heads.

Celebrations began with dinner, followed by a speech by Fahmi honouring the outstanding associates for 2009, followed by tombola, distribution of prizes, and DJ performance which made it a lively night.

From Chiang Mai to Lai Thai

FOUR SEASONS Hotel Cairo at The First Residence has always lavished its guests with exemplary culinary experiences, whether they nudge the boundaries of modern fusion or respectfully pay homage to age-old traditions. When it comes to Thai cuisine, striking the right balance to create a delicate interplay of exquisite flavours is a precision art form. To maintain this equilibrium while constantly challenging and exciting the palates of the most sophisticated diners, Lai Thai restaurant has always been under the expert care of a native Thai chef. This time it is the renowned Chef Pitchaphat Duangkham, who has recently joined Fours Seasons at the First Residence after spending many years as leading Thai chef at Four Seasons Hotel in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

An exclusive dinner showcased the new chef's innovative menu, and guests experienced an immaculate selection of her most famous dishes. The exclusive guest list included Cairo's leading diplomats, corporate and travel businessmen and socialites who all couldn't get enough of the fresh, healthy and traditional Thai ingredients, which are shipped directly from Thailand to make Lai Thai the most authentic Thai restaurant in Cairo.

The evening was made even more memorable by the chef's attention to detail, and her talents transcend from the kitchen to provide guests with an overall authentic experience of Thailand. Combined with the visual appeal of the restaurant, with its Thai artefacts, silk wall hangings, and panoramic view of the River Nile, this venue is an exquisite experience.

Marriott busy calendar

THE CAIRO Marriott Hotel held an authentic German festival, Oktoberfest, which took place at the Patio between 1-8 October. The festival was sponsored by several companies and was a great success among the German community in Egypt. Guests admired the quality of the food and excellent performance by the Tiramisu band, flown in from Munich especially for the occasion.

Also on 1 October, the hotel celebrated the International Day of Elders by donating 10 hospital beds necessary for seniors at Dar Al-Hanaa. The Cairo Marriott Hotel has always given a helping hand to the local community. "This is what we aspire for," stated the hotel's General Manager Ulrich Huth, "to transform the communities where we work and live to better places because of our presence."

Meanwhile, on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2009 "Tourism Celebrating Diversity", the hotel received the Award of Excellence from the Ministry of Tourism in appreciation of its efforts in promoting tourism in Egypt. Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garana said the award was given to hotels which were able to positively contribute to Egyptian tourism by bringing in large numbers of tourists, in addition to the most renowned tourist organisations.

Best hotel award

ON THE OCCASION of World Tourism Day, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza received the award of Best Hotel in quality and service. "We are delighted to have been recognised for this prestigious award," said Cesare Rouchdy, regional director of marketing of Four Seasons Hotels Egypt. "It is a wonderful endorsement by travel industry professionals who are highly critical in their judgement. Equally, it is testament to the outstanding service we provide our guests and the continued dedication of our staff," he added.

A literary journey

AN EVENING of intellectual indulgence took place at the Semiramis InterContinental recently, at the hotel's first private Cultural Salon. The salon is a literary journey giving guests an opportunity to meet and greet prominent writers and artists, in an exclusive environment of Cairo's foremost restaurant, The Grill.

Greeting guests at the event organised in cooperation with the AUC Press, was renowned author Galal Amin and the hotel's General Manager Jurgen Baumhoff. Amin is a professor of economics at the American University in Cairo and author of the 2000 hit Whatever Happened to the Egyptians? and its sequel in 2004 Whatever Else Happened to the Egyptians? Based on both academic research and his own personal experiences and impressions, Amin discussed excerpts from his books examining the underlying causes of some of the more disturbing social, political, economic and cultural phenomena that characterise Egyptian society in the 1990s. The discussion was followed by a book signing session.

Happening at Ramses Hilton

CHEF Dimitrios, executive chef at Ramses Hilton, recently held a Greek culinary demonstration session at Windows on the World rooftop restaurant. Dimitrios was happy to share his passion with a select group of ladies, who closely observed how to prepare and cook a complete Greek meal. A gastronomic lunch followed the demonstration, where everyone enjoyed the delectable food.

After a tour of the hotel, participants were impressed with the variety of hotel restaurants, the high standard of hygiene, the proper handling of food, and the state- of-the-art kitchen.

Meanwhile, the hotel's General Manager Haitham Nassar recently announced the appointment of Mark Allaf to the position of director of operations. Allaf, an American of Jordanian origin, joins the Ramses Hilton with more than 17 years of experience in international hotel chains. He has held several key management positions in a number of countries, including India, Russia, and the US.

Prior to joining the Ramses Hilton, Mark held the position of dual properties general manager of the Hilton Garden Melville, and Hampton by Hilton Hotels in Detroit, USA. "I am very excited about joining the Ramses Hilton, which is considered a landmark hotel in Hilton International's portfolio, in terms of the number of rooms and the generated revenue, catering for both business and leisure travellers," stated Allaf. "I am looking forward to achieving more success in the near future with Hilton Hotels."

Hilton president in town

THE RAMSES Hilton Hotel recently hosted the President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide Christopher Nassetta during a business trip to Cairo. During his stay, Nassetta met with senior Ramses Hilton team members and was the guest of honour at a cocktail reception held at the hotel's Windows on the World. The event was attended by Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garana, President of Middle East & Africa for Hilton Worldwide Jean-Paul Herzog, Country Manager Egypt-Hotel Operations Mahmoud Mokhtar, Ramses Hilton General Manager Haitham Nassar, as well as many other business figures.

New appointment at Sabre

SABRE Travel Network Middle East (STNME), operator of the world's leading global distribution system (GDS), has announced the appointment of Medhat Sabri as corporate segment manager, Egypt. Sabri will evaluate and manage key strategic business opportunities for corporate travel segments, engage with his counterparts across the STNME and Sabre worldwide network, and ensure the Egypt office is kept updated on Sabre's developments in the corporate front. In his new position, Sabri will report directly to Mohamed Khalafallah, country manager for STNME, Egypt.

The Sabre Travel Network provides over 50,000 travel agencies, travel suppliers, corporations and government agencies worldwide with instant access to content from airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines and others, offering an uncomplicated, cost-effective means for travel agents to research, shop for and buy airline seats and secure hotel room reservations, rental cars and cruises.

A veteran of the Egyptian travel market, Sabri comes to the company with over 12 years of corporate travel industry experience. His two stints with American Express, Egypt, saw him develop the business for some of the largest multinational and regional corporate accounts, and oversee business travel for all American Express offices in Egypt. Immediately prior to joining Sabre, he worked with Austrian Airlines as senior sales executive, where he managed the commercial relationship with travel management companies and engaged in delivering quality revenue and premium market share consistently exceeding plan.

"As Egypt's businesses are starting to reach larger international audiences, there has been an increase in corporate travel traffic in recent years, and Sabre is committed to addressing this essential market need," stated Khalafallah. "We are delighted to welcome Medhat to the Egypt office at this critical time."

Sabri explained that worldwide corporate travel represents more than $3.5 billion in air volume alone, and is essential to fostering international business. "In the current economic environment, multinational companies are trying to cut costs by saving on their travel," he continued. "So I will be keen to keep our corporate clients informed and updated on Sabre's high saving products."

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