Ramada sees a good year

The Ramada Hotel ... Ôfive-starÕ comfort in newly renovated rooms.

The Ramada Bahrain Hotel expects a good 2001 overall despite the setbacks to the world hospitality and travel industry following the terror attacks in the US in September and its aftermath.

And general manager Rohan Karunaratne is looking to the future with confidence, forecasting growing business from other GCC countries in the hotel's silver jubilee year next year.

"We had a very good first eight and half months," said Karunaratne, adding the hotel has had a 70 per cent occupancy so far this year.

He said the hotel's performance until September had equalled its full-year performance in 2000 which had already been a "very good year".

Ramada was on track to improve on that result this year despite the problems caused by the September 11 events in the US.

He admitted the hotel had suffered following the attacks with cancellations of upto 25 per cent of bookings during October, a busy month for group tours to Bahrain.

The US events had resulted in the cancellations of several major events that had been scheduled in Bahrain, affecting most hotels on the island adversely.

But looking longer term, Karunaratne expressed confidence in the future of Bahrain and its hospitality industry.

"There is more confidence and hope in Bahrain ... and this creates its own momentum," he said.

He praised government efforts to boost tourism to Bahrain by attracting big events like Formula One to the island.

The proposed Bahrain-Qatar causeway would also be a major boost for Bahrain in attracting more visitors from other GCC states.

"These are positive signs," said Karunaratne.

He said more such events needed to be attracted to the island to further boost tourism. He also said there needed to be more cooperation between the various sectors of the industry including clubs, tour operators to sell Bahrain as an attractive business and leisure destination.

The four-star hotel located in Manama's Adliya district, has a total of 123 newly-renovated, well-furnished rooms, a mini-gymnasium, a conference and banqueting hall, an Arabic night club and bar.

The 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.

It offers guests a full range of facilities and dining and entertainment outlets which include the award-winning Le Jardin Restaurant, Atlantis Night Club and Rendezvous bar.

For the forthcoming Holy Month of Ramadan, the hotel will set up a small tent like last year. It has also lined up a Yuletide package offering Christmas and New Year breaks.

The Christmas break package on December 24 and 25 offers a single room for BD58 ($153) and a double twin room for BD48 per person and includes special Christmas pastry, Christmas eve candlelight dinner, Christmas breakfast and lunch and service charges and local tax.

The New Year break package for December 31 and New Year's Day offers a single room at BD49 and a double/twin room at DB38 per person and includes special New Year Eve's Dinner and breakfast the next day plus service charges and tax.

The packages also include other value benefits like complimentary airport transfer, late check-out, welcome drink and fruit basket on arrival, free stay for two children under 12 in their parents' room and 50 per cent discount on children's meals besides children's giveaways.