The global meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) industry is poised for vigorous growth in the coming years and the Gulf Hotels Group in Bahrain is vying for a major piece of the pie with the opening of its tastefully renovated Convention Centre.
"Business in Bahrain has definitely evolved over the years. When we first opened in Bahrain, the Gulf Convention Centre was regarded as one of the leading Mice venues on the island. Since then, a number of hotels and new Mice products have entered the market. So we felt it was necessary to up our game and reassert our product in the market," Garfield Jones, CEO of Gulf Hotels Group, tells TTN.
The BD5 million ($13.2 million) renovation project, completed over a span of four months, has transformed the Convention Centre into a luxurious and elegant conference venue, offering a seating capacity of up to 2,500 people and decorated with calming hues of blue, white and brown – much like the colours of the sea.
New additions in the hall include the installation of five video wall screens, which will run high definition videos with high resolution images together with spectacular surround sounds, and artfully inspired interiors and pre-function foyers complete with wood and marble finishes.
One of the standout additions in the hall are the new crystal chandeliers. The gigantic flower-shaped chandeliers, which appear to be floating above, feature state-of-the-art technology. Incorporating dynamic lighting, the chandeliers can be programmed to reflect any colour of the spectrum using an app.
"I believe these new chandeliers will be a big hit with business events and, of course, weddings. Clients can request for the chandeliers to change to any colour of the rainbow or even have the chandeliers constantly changing different colours," Jones says.
The new refurbishments have already been well received by a number of the hotel’s clients, with the hall almost fully booked for the month of November.
The unveiling of the revamped Convention Centre comes ahead of the upcoming WTM London, which is set to take place in the UK next month. With a new look and state-of-the-art technology equipment in place, the group hopes to lure more business to the island.
“The newly renovated centre should certainly help to regain business in the Mice market,” Jones adds. Apart from the onsite centre, Gulf Hotel Bahrain offers 29 meeting venues.
Commenting on prospects for Bahrain’s hospitality industry, Jones says the kingdom is indeed witnessing continuous growth, with new hotels having opened and still more in the pipeline. “At the moment, Bahrain is experiencing a significant oversupply, in terms of hotel rooms. While this may cause hospitality businesses to strain, we believe that the Gulf Hotel Bahrain is well placed to position itself as a destination of choice.”
The home-grown hospitality provider is also on a mission to diversify and expand its portfolio with the opening of its first property in the UAE and the addition of a new luxury serviced apartments project in Bahrain, due for handover mid-November, the Group’s CEO highlighted.
The new hotel, which opened in August, will take centre stage at WTM London as the group works to build up business at its new property.
“Business from London, Russia and Ukraine into Dubai is very strong at the moment. At WTM London, we hope to meet with a number of UK and European tour operators who can help drive visitor numbers to the emirate and to our property,” Jones says.
Jones expects the new hotel in Dubai to do good business and is confident of a 'healthy performance' in 2018.
The group’s property in Tanzania will also be participating at the travel trade event, as it does every year, to drive more leisure business to its hotel in Zanzibar, particularly from Germany and UK – its strongest visitor markets.
Looking ahead, Jones says the group will continue to look for more investment opportunities, most likely outside of Bahrain.
GROUP DEBUTS IN DUBAI
Gulf Hotels Group (GHG), Bahrain’s leading home-grown hospitality provider, has announced the soft opening of the Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay in Dubai, which is affiliated with WorldHotels Collection under its Elite Collection. The new hotel is the first part of GHG’s regional expansion plan which will include Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.
The 270-room, four-star, deluxe hotel is ideally situated within one of Dubai’s grandest projects, the Dubai Water Canal and just 15 minutes away from the Dubai International Airport. The Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay offers a variety of room categories and suites all with views of the canal and boasts a number of restaurants and lounges, a banquet hall and meeting rooms, health and recreational facilities including a swimming pool, kid’s pool and fitness centre, a spa, nightclub, karaoke rooms and ample car parking.
The hotel will cater to both business and leisure travellers, being in close proximity to the central commercial district, as well as having easy access to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, both of which are just five minutes away.
Garfield Jones, Gulf Hotels Group CEO, said, “It is another landmark day in the history of the Group. We aim to deliver the same standards of hospitality, food and service that has made the Gulf Hotel such an iconic property in the region and for all visitors to Dubai from Bahrain, we aim to provide a little taste of home away from home.”
“This is our initial investment outside of Bahrain and we are very happy with the property. At Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay, we aim to deliver the same standard of hospitality that has made Gulf Hotel an iconic property brand,” Jones notes.
* Meet Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay on stand number ME300
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.