Reviving a grand experience


Under the management of Le Meridien with Francesco Borrello at its helm, the Abu Dhabi Grand has begun a renaissance.

A second tower, lobby, and banqueting and conference centre are under construction, as well as a dedicated entertainment centre with eight new food and beverage outlets, and a new pool and leisure complex, while the existing tower will be renovated as part of the project.

Allocated a nine-month span to introduce a new service ethic and raise both rate and occupancy levels to Le Royal Meridien standards, Borrello is confident that the hotel can exceed expectations, becoming the business executive's choice in Abu Dhabi.

"We have a magnificent raw product in terms of the 31-storey tower located on a fabulous location facing the corniche and Arabian Gulf, while being in the heart of the business district of the UAE capital," he said.

"Unfortunately, the hotel had not been performing to expectations, but our new team is rising to the challenge to revive its reputation at the heart of the community."

On his third stint in Abu Dhabi, Borrello is well acquainted with the city and its business environment, and has also arrived in the city from Bahrain, where he performed a similar turnaround at sister property, Le Royal Meridien Bahrain.

In Bahrain, in just nine months, he implemented systems that improved operational processes and efficiency leading to better customer service as well as higher financial returns for the stakeholders.

"At the Bahrain resort, we operated as a pilot for Le Meridien's Metrics & Measures, a measurement methodology to stimulate best practices for all staff and this is now being rolled out worldwide," he said.

Meanwhile Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, complete with 310 rooms, eight new food and beverage outlets, and new banqueting and conference centre, is expected to be delivered on time, scheduled for June 2003.