Hotel set to 'ride the wind'


The Radisson SAS Diplomat is not really affected by the new entertainment laws put in place by Bahrain because all our entertainment already conforms to the regulations," says Christopher Pike, director of sales and marketing for the hotel.

Pike added that there was a new wind blowing through Bahrain, and adaptation was the key to the continued success of any hotel.

"Bahrain," he says, "Is on its way to becoming a big tourist destination. And the success of the Bahrain Summer festival is proof of that."

The Diplomat has begun a complete refurbishment of its rooms, a plan that has come to fruition after two years of planning.

"Not only are the rooms being refurbished, but we will also have a news all-day-dining restaurant, a Mediterranean restaurant and one more restaurant. But that theme is a secret, you'll just have to wait and see," says Pike.

The events of September 11 did affect the occupancy rates of the Diplomat, but a strong first quarter in 2002 saw rates bounce back.

"We are doing well," says Pike. "Last year was a record year for us. And 2002 looks likes it's going to be a good one too."

Pike believes that Bahrain does indeed have a bright future: "I think with Formula 1 coming to Bahrain in 2004, the continued growth of the tourism infrastructure and promotion of the Summer festivals, the tourists will flock to Bahrain."

He pegs Bahrain's popularity on the Kingdom's perfect balance between the traditional and the modern. Pike, however, does feel that there are still some areas, which need major improvement and must be looked in to. "Taxis," he says, "are an area that must be regulated. Most of the complaints I have heard from hotel guests is that the Taxi services in Bahrain leave a lot to be desired. Also there is a distinct lack of beaches. And I think the government should look into creating more beaches for tourists and nationals alike."

Pike does, however, say that he feels considerably safer walking in Manama than he would walking in downtown London.

Pike is a strong believer in 'Zoning', a policy followed my many of the world's major cities. "I don't believe in banning certain acts, rather strict controls should be exerted. I believe that every city should have zones - zones for the lower category of hotels and zones for the higher category."

Although the hospitality industry is dong well in Bahrain, Pike feels that the industry needs more young blood. "We must start training the youth. Letting them know more about the industry, and guiding them through it."

"There's a new wind blowing," Pike repeats.

"It's time to catch that wind and move with it."