Meet the GM: Grand Rotana Resort & Spa Sharm El Sheikh’s Azmi Sami

by Dina Maaty | Published 2 months ago

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Grand Rotana Resort & Spa – Sharm El Sheikh is located in the heart of the Red Sea, overlooking Tiran Island.

The resort boasts a range of services and activities, including watersports, an open-air infinite Jacuzzi, a health club and Zen the Spa. In addition, the hotel’s main restaurant is Ramses, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets; specialties range from Mediterranean cuisine to Far Eastern, as well local delicacies in a casual dining atmosphere with views of the Red Sea.

For Italian cuisine lovers, Mezzaluna includes both indoor and al fresco dining on an adjoining terrace with a diverse range of specialties and wines.

For a virtual visit to China, India and Thailand, Silk Road is the signature Far Eastern restaurant. Plus, located on the beach, Palms Bar & Grill offers BBQ, seafood catch of the day, mixed grills, crispy salads and exotic cocktails throughout the day.

We interview Grand Rotana Resort & Spa – Sharm El Sheikh General Manager Azmi Shalaby for a look into the resort.

Tell us a bit more about your journey as a hotelier.  
I have started my career in hospitality in 1992 at the Front Office department, and was then promoted to Director of Rooms, after which I was aiming to work towards a higher position.

So, in 2008, I joined this lovely resort, Grand Rotana Resort & Spa Sharm El Sheikh, as an Executive Assistant Manager for one year, and I was then promoted to a Resident Manager. Of course, this role is not easy at all, as I was responsible for and involved in every single detail during both the absence and in the presence of the general manager.

What makes this hotel different from others in Egypt and the region? 
Grand Rotana is so special in many aspects, considering the prime location overlooking the Red Sea and Tiran Island, in addition to the property’s size and number of rooms, which give us the chance to offer a wide variety of room categories and services.

What major challenges have you faced in the wake of Covid-19? 
The reopening and how to follow government measures to get the certificate were among the challenges. We have thankfully succeeded in doing this and got the highest reopening percentage, which is 50% occupancy.

What’s the importance of reviews and social media feedback, and how much of it do you take on board?
We’re attentive to social media, especially now following the pandemic, as a lot of other mediums were halted or replaced with virtual ones. We’re open to all ideas and collaborations, including inviting bloggers, paid ads and barter agreements. 

How do you keep your team motivated?
We have very friendly environment, in addition to consistent meetings, and – above all – working as one team, with one goal.

What systems do you have in place for resolving guest complaints?
We always do our best to satisfy our guests and, when we receive any complaints, we try to solve the problem on the spot and offer a complimentary service, depending on the concern.

What would you like to tell visitors about the hotel’s restaurants, cafés and bars?
Grand Rotana has a wide variety of dining outlets, covering all international cuisines, including Italian, Far Eastern and Middle Eastern. They all boast the highest safety and health measures, including social distancing, temperature checks for each guest and QR codes for menus (no more paper). 

How has your strategy shifted over the past few years?
Of course, especially in the wake of the struggles we’re facing in hospitality and other challenges we’re facing as a destination; so, I’m always open to new strategies and managerial updates.

My concept is to set high performance standards and pursue aggressive goals, persist when faced with obstacles, continually search for improvements, and seek new challenges and additional responsibilities. These were all part of my daily duties and philosophy with my colleagues.

What are some of the toughest situations you have faced during the past few months, and how did you manage them?
Sharm El Sheikh has been facing difficulties and hard times from the beginning of 2011 and until now; we have settled this and tried our best to get ourselves back on track.

The difficulty we’re facing now is the new Covid-19 virus and how the world is changing, especially the travel and hospitality sectors. We’re trying our best to follow the highest measures of safety and health, whether they are for the guest or employees.

I’m working hand in hand with my colleagues, monitoring this situation and we’re doing our best to get through it. We have high hopes that the situation will get better with the vaccine. 

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