Travel briefs: Four Seasons Nile Plaza Hotel wins laurels

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Compiled by Ramkumar I Arab News

Published — Wednesday 10 February 2010

Last Update 10 February 2010 3:00 am

RIYADH: The Nile Plaza Hotel in Cairo, owned by Kingdom Hotel Investments (KHI) in which Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) chaired by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal holds a 56 percent stake, recently received the ‘Best Hotel in Quality and Service’ award on World Tourism Day. The hotel is managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in which KHC, holds a 47.5 percent stake. Prince Alwaleed said: “We are proud of the achievement of the Four Seasons Nile Plaza, another prominent landmark in the region. This is another achievement for Kingdom Holding.” The hotel is located at the Nile Plaza Residential and Commercial complex. The development is one of the most prestigious in the city of Cairo. The hotel lies on the eastern bank of the river Nile in the Garden City district and houses 365 rooms with a breathtaking view of the river. Its architectural facade is a 1920s Art Deco design combined with Belle Epoque. The Nile Plaza caters to the business community, tourists and patrons looking to benefit from the hotel’s banqueting facilities such as the expansive Plaza Ballroom. In 2004, Prince Alwaleed inaugurated the Four Seasons Nile Plaza hotel in Cairo with Egypt Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is co-owned by Bill Gates’ Cascade in which the company also holds a 47.5 percent stake, and Isadore Sharp owns five percent of the Four Seasons. In 2009, Four Seasons Hotel Damascus was awarded The Number One Hotel in Syria 2009 during the “The World Travel Awards 2009,” Paris’s Four Seasons Hotel George V was ranked Best City Hotel Worldwide in the 2008/09 Gallivanter’s Guide for 6 consecutive years. George V topped the list of world hotels in that category and was described as “hotel perfection” of hotels. Moreover Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh was ranked “The Best Hotel in Riyadh 2009” according to Business Traveller Magazine at “The Business Traveller Awards 2009” ceremony during Arabian Travel Market Conference in Dubai.

Gulf Air honors Bahraini graduates

BAHRAIN: Gulf Air, the national carrier of Bahrain, has honored several Bahrainis including pilots, engineers and various other airline employees who graduated from the Tamkeen-sponsored Career Progression Programme (CPP), which looks to develop local talent. The graduate trainees were offered significant hands-on experience in intensive and important project work of the airline. The CPP in specific also provided training and development courses to enhance the employees’ skills in an aviation organization. At the graduation ceremony held at the Gulf Air Club, Gulf Air CEO Samer Majali and Abdul Monem Al-Shaikh, Tamkeen’s human capital development manager and account manager for the CPP, congratulated the candidates for successfully completing their on-the-job training and presented them with a certificate as a record of their achievement. “Gulf Air has always been a key employer in Bahrain throughout its 60-year history and as the Kingdom’s national carrier we want to ensure that the next generation of Bahrainis have even more and even better opportunities within not only the airline but in the exciting global aviation industry. Young Bahrainis today have a wealth of talent and enthusiasm, which we at Gulf Air are keen to bring on board and benefit from as we move into a new and exciting era in the history of the airline. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tamkeen for their continuous support, and for investing into the skills of these graduates by supporting our initiatives, and building up the future of our hardworking and highly skilled employees” said Majali.

Movenpick Makkah occupancy levels peak

MAKKAH: Over 40 percent of the people who check in at the Movenpick Hotel & Residence Hajar Tower Makkah are from the GCC, with the biggest contingent coming in from across Saudi Arabia, followed by visitors from Kuwait and the UAE. The hotel also receives a large number of guests from Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia. Tourism contributed SR47 billion — 2.7 percent of GDP — to the Saudi economy in 2008 driven by religious and business travel. “Recent studies predict that international tourism expenditure will grow to $10.74 billion by 2013. We are therefore looking at targeting pilgrims from countries like the United States. The UK, Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, Senegal and Nigeria. As a Swiss hospitality brand we enjoy a strong reputation for service excellence and a loyal following in these markets,” said Omar Boujlid, GM, Movenpick Hotel & Residence Hajar Tower, Makkah. These on going efforts of the Saudi Arabian government to expand tourism infrastructure in the holy cities have received a major fillip with the opening of the five-star property in Makkah, where demand for high-end hospitality is in a state of continual growth. Saudi Arabia’s religious tourism sector is set to generate upward of $7 billion in annual revenues in 2009, and visitor traffic is expected to grow by 6.5 percent annually from over 12 million in 2009 to over 15 million in 20131. The first phase of the 41-story hotel, which was opened in 2009, has 283 rooms boasting a full set of amenities from wireless Internet to 24-hour concierge services. The hotel’s location within the Abraj Al Bait Tower also gives guests access to a wide range of lifestyle facilities. Five world-class restaurants offering varied dining options, a six-storey shopping mall, health club and a prayer hall that can accommodate 3,000 worshippers are also part of the hotel and residences complex.

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