New chief at Le Royal Meridien


Francesco Borrello has been appointed as the new general manager of Le Royal Meridien Hotel in Bahrain.

He comes to Bahrain after more than two years as area manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts. He also previously served as general manager of Le Bristol Beirut and the 325-room Sheraton Damascus in Syria.

The Italian-born hotelier, aged 42, has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 26 years from Egypt, the UAE and Yemen to Indonesia, Singapore, Britain, Italy and Switzerland.

Borrello told local media the world leisure travel market will return to sustainable levels early next year.

"We're already seeing some recovery signs in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US," he said.

However, Borrello says world-wide tourism will still have a long way to go to climb back to the lucrative levels it enjoyed nearly a year ago.

"The global economy began to slump long before the terrorist attacks," he noted.

"The leisure travel industry was particularly affected, and the incidents in the US have created an even bigger problem."

Borrello expressed confidence that Le Royal Meridien will weather the storm, adding that the property was already gearing up for promotions next year.

He sees his mission as one of enhancing the hotel amenities, concentrating on drawing in the elite leisure tourist.

Borrello believes Bahrain has great potential to further expand its leisure travel market, and that it provides a cosy, intimate and intriguing ambience not found elsewhere in the Middle East.

Seven years ago, he was named general manager of the Sheraton in Sanaa, Yemen; after serving as interim GM of the Sheraton Management Corporation in Cairo and later heading the Sheraton Hotel, Resort and Towers in Abu Dhabi.

Two years ago, Borrello took over as business manager of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in Abu Dhabi before taking on the group's area manager post in Beirut and Damascus.

Starting out his career in Britain and Italy, Borrello has a strong grounding in food and beverage where he was in charge of F&B at the Mercantile Club and Hotel Sari Pacific, both in Jakarta, Indonesia; Le Meridien Hotel, Singapore.

After completing studies in Italy in economics, commerce, marketing and hotel management, Borrello went on to the prestigious Ecole Hotelire in Switzerland where he studied F&B management.

He has a diploma in business administration from the Oxford Brookes University School of Business in Oxford, England, and a master's in business administration from the Washington International University of South Dakota, USA.

He speaks English, French and Italian. He is joined in Bahrain by his Lebanese wife and children Bianca, aged 11; Yara, 7, and Belinda, 3.

Borrello succeeds Laurent A. Voivenel who was general manager for nearly two years.