A national of two countries, Australia and the UK, Francisco Giles was raised in southern England. He studied in the UK and attended the hotel management school “Les Roches” in Switzerland. Giles has worked on five continents for five international hospitality brands, and lived in the UAE for 27 years, in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
His first job in hospitality was as a bellboy at the Grosvenor House in London UK. Meet Radisson Blu Ajman’s general manager:
Tell us more about your career milestones as a hotelier and why you have chosen to come to the UAE.
Before joining Radisson Hotel Group, I held numerous positions as general manager in the UAE and led the Renaissance Dubai Hotel, Park Rotana Complex Abu Dhabi, Hilton Abu Dhabi and most recently, the Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh.
I was awarded “General Manager of the Year” for Renaissance Hotels Worldwide, in 2007 and also was named “General Manager of the Year” in Hotelier Middle East Magazine that the same year.
I chose Radisson Hotel Group in the UAE because they are one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups, with fantastic brands.
What’s unique about the Ajman property and how does the emirate differ in its hospitality offerings?
Radisson Blu Ajman is the only 5-star hotel in Ajman. Located in the heart of the city in close proximity to all famous attractions, landmarks, sporting activities, the port and all major business functions, the hotel offers an oasis of calm and tranquility in the city centre with 148 rooms and suites, six restaurants, and modern recreational facilities.
Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates of the UAE, combines a deep-rooted heritage in the past, and has a present that strives to achieve a progressive and modern environment.
The culture of hospitality is given high importance as being a noble established quality leveraging the magnificent landmarks that attract tourists and visitors. Ajman offers a pristine coastline, mangroves, luxurious hotels, marinas, shopping malls and other sporting activities like a golf course and water-sport activities along the creek.
Why do guests return to Radisson Blu Ajman?
The one basic rule of thumb that we make sure we follow is ‘to stick to the basics and be consistent’. In this ever-changing environment and time, we make it a point to provide for a genuine ‘Yes I Can!’ service to all our guests.
For this to be accomplished, we invest a lot in our team members who are at the frontline, creating memorable moments for our guests. As much as we would all like to go digital, we emphasise human interactions in a safe way.
Another reason for our guests to return is the constant communication that we share with them prior to arriving to the hotel and post departure, taking notes of their preferences and picking up any points of action which we have been appreciated for.
Your world-class F&B offering is primarily health-focused; please tell us more about that.
The growing consciousness for health and wellness among guests has been driving rapid changes in the food and beverage sector, but it’s also key to understand that healthy eating is not only about being in good physical condition, it is a lifestyle choice and an expression of their individual identity.
With that in mind, we ensure that most of our menus are health focused. At Larder, our all-day dining venue, we’re offering a healthy breakfast option as well as a healthy menu for lunch and dinner. Plus, several solid options in our room service menu.
It’s not just adding a few soups and salads in our menus, it’s a process of research and strategizing to get it right.
How do you ensure the highest service standards for room food orders, and housekeeping?
Housekeeping and hygiene in current times have become one of the most important factors for guests when booking their accommodation.
Once again, I would pin it down to team member awareness and training. We have successfully followed the Ajman Tourism and Radisson Hotel Group practices, in addition to being certified by external organisations such as SGS Plus, Bureau Veritas, Safehotels and HACCP for hygiene in the property after conducting various on-site inspections and audits.
Moreover, following that with our constant in-house Housekeeping and Rooms Division leadership.
We believe in giving the best quality food to our guests – making sure the whole process is carefully planned and followed, from gathering the highest quality fresh ingredients to the moment we serve the final dish to the guest.
Our well-trained team make sure all that the standards for quality, safety and hygiene are followed in preparing and delivering food to guests’ rooms.
What are some upcoming developments?
We’re constantly coming up with innovative ways and ideas to make sure we create an unforgettable visit for our guests, so there’s always something exciting on the horizon.
This year, we will be working on upgrading the unique experience at our rooftop shisha lounge, Mazaj Bar and shisha lounge, utilising its location overlooking the pool. We will also refurbish the private dining room at Filini Restaurant, Our Italian eatery, with more greens, wooden shelves, and pictures and paintings to enhance the Italian atmosphere.