Ramada eyes another boom year

The poolside at Ramada is getting a massive facelift and will be open this month.

The Ramada Bahrain enjoyed one its best years in 2000, with an average growth of five per cent in business levels.

"Last year was very good, not just for us, but for the industry in general," says general manager Rohan Karunaratne.

"And this year we expect to maintain the same level of growth."

The 123-room four-star hotel, which prides itself for its 'five-star' personalised service, focuses mainly on corporate customers, who account for around 75 per cent of its guests, with leisure travellers accounting for the rest.

The corporate traveller, says Karunaratne, will continue to be the focus of Ramada's business drive.

"The family market has all but dried up, with the proliferation of serviced apartments," he said.

Corporate clients are very demanding, and keep the hotel "on its toes" as they expect the high standards of service that the worldwide Ramada brand is known for, he says.

"Brand loyalty holds the key," says Karunaratne.

"Most of our guests come here because of the reputation that the Ramada enjoys. And we have grown in stature since the Marriott took us over."

"Also, a very high level of personal service sets us in a class above our competitors.

"We are a small hotel, but we make this work to our advantage. Managers, waiters, houseboys and security guards are trained to know each and every one of our guests, how to make them feel at home, and this has paid us well."

The hotel also prides itself on matching five-star standards of quality and quantity on even small but significant items such as linen and bath towels.

Ramada's food and catering services continue to show tremendous growth averaging "an increase of 20 per cent" over the last two years, according to him.

As part of a drive to upgrade facilities, the hotel is currently giving its swimming pool a massive facelift.

"All areas are being worked on, including the bar, and the pool will be open by May," he says.

Other upgrades are scheduled for 2002.

"We plan to renovate our rooms, the lobby and restaurant. We are also looking at setting up a dedicated speciality restaurant in addition to Le Jardin, which currently doubles as a coffee shop and fine dining outlet," he says.

"We also plan to build a new conference room, capable of handling up to 150 people."

Looking ahead, Karun-aratne says that the future for Bahrain's tourism industry is bright, given the focus on promoting its golfing and meeting and incentive facilities and developing its marinas.

"All this will have spin-offs for everyone," he says.

The Ramada Bahrain has a total of 123 well-furnished rooms, a mini-gymnasium, a conference and banqueting hall, an Arabic night club and bar. For the summer, the hotel will be offering a special promotion on its rooms, at BD20 ($53) plus taxes, running from June 15 to August 31.