life as a hotelier: Moustafa Sakr | The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
As one of the youngest and most dynamic General Managers in the UAE at the moment, Moustafa shares with us his thoughts on the industry and plans for 2018 (and beyond).
As one of the founding members of The St. Regis Abu Dhabi. Moustafa Sakr opened the hotel in 2013 as Deputy General Manager, playing an integral role in developing the property before being promoted to General Manager in 2015.
Moustafa has 17 years’ hospitality experience including 15 years in the Middle East, providing him with extensive knowledge of the market as well as a proven ability to deliver record results:
Can you tell us what sets your property apart for your guests?
Located in the heart of the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the hotel is situated at the prominent Arabian address of Nation Towers.
The hotel features extensive event, wedding and business facilities including 4,800 square meters of state-of-the-art meeting and event space, award-winning restaurants and bars, as well as over 3,000 square meters of ultra-modern health club facilities, including the signature, award-winning Remède spa, renowned for its tradition of personalized spa treatments, and the exclusive private Nation Riviera Beach Club.
We pride ourselves on being Abu Dhabi’s finest Urban Resort in the heart of the Corniche, where guests can experience the best of both worlds.
What are some of the other main features of the hotel in general?
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, offers 283 luxuriously-appointed guest rooms, including 55 elegant suites, all with magnificent views of the sparkling Arabian Gulf and capital city skyline. Our hotel features over 3,000 square meters of ultra-modern health club facilities, including the signature, award-winning Remède spa, renowned for its tradition of personalized spa treatments, and the exclusive private Nation Riviera Beach Club.
Setting a new standard of luxury in the emirate, the hotel features the world’s highest suspended suite, The Abu Dhabi Suite, adjoining the buildings two towers on the 48th and 49th floors. The suite is complete with a captivating 360 degree view of the city, private entrance and a dedicated spa and movie theatre.
The hotel also features a myriad distinctive culinary venues and experiences, from the iconic St. Regis Bar – following in the tradition of St. Regis brand’s legendary New York hotel, to the exclusive Helipad Sunset Supper experience, 255 meters up, on the highest active helipad in the Middle East.
What would you describe as your favourite feature or space in the hotel?
My favourite space in the hotel would be our Tea Lounge in the lobby. It’s a great social hub and really the heart of the hotel. There is always a warm welcome and great atmosphere which I always find comforting. The Tea Lounge is home to one of our Murals which is a handmade tapestry made in Afghanistan by a Russian designer. It depicts the area of the water where the hotel stands today overlooking the Al Bateen Marina in the UAE back in the 1960’s before this area was built up. It’s a great reminder of UAE heritage and how far we have come today.
The St Regis Abu Dhabi has won a lot of awards this year, what’s the key reason for your success in such a competitive market?
Yes, we have won over 12 awards this year alone, and the one thing that I am most proud of is how my team has a great drive which brings makes us known for our service culture excellence. They take pride in every task they do, and the guests notice this. This helps us to build our relationships with our guest which in turn drives loyalty.
We have a high number of returning guests because they value our attention to detail and bespoke element of service our butlers and guest service team provide. We are proud to be one of the city’s best luxury hotels in town and our guest like the fact we are a luxury hotel without the pretentiousness with a service that anticipates and never assumes.
You’re one of the city’s youngest and most dynamic General Managers, what inspires you to do what you do, so well?
It’s a privilege to be leading one of the UAE’s best luxury hotels. What drives me is my passion for leading people and influencing them in a positive way. I’m grateful for the journey I have had which isn’t always easy, and I am inspired by my team and those that work hard to achieve their personal and professional goals as well.
I am appreciative of how well we work as a team, and it is something that drives me to do better and ensure our team provides the best guest service and creating lasting memories for them every single day of the week. I would like to continue to maintain doing the best we can. I’m very proud of what my team has achieved, and I truly believe in empowerment at all levels, and this is an important part of being successful as a team.
What keeps you up at night?
Generally, I sleep very well at night, when you have a great team and are well organized there shouldn’t really be anything that keeps you up at night. My advice would be to keep calm and collected and dissolve situations as quickly and easily as possible. Time management is everything, allocating time for work is important, but rest is equally just as important.
Hoteliers work long hours, how do you keep a good work-life balance?
I’m very fortunate to have the best of both worlds. I think when you have positives in both work and personal life these bounce of each other. The positives at work help to be able to spend time at home and the positives at home allow me to focus on my job and my goals at work. They go hand in hand together, and I’m very passionate about both so this creates a positive lifestyle for myself and in turn, drives me to do and be my best.
What are some of the property's key strengths for those in town on business and choosing to stay at the hotel, or for incentives?
The hotel has prime location, directly connected to Nation Galleria Mall and is just minutes from Marina Mall and the sophisticated World Trade Center, it is in the close vicinity of many of the embassies, oil and gas companies and other business institutions in the city ideally convenient for corporate travellers.
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi goes further to provide events catering to all audiences, looking beyond traditional meetings, conferences, weddings and functions, the events team can arrange unique experiences.
The property showcases and events lawn, catering to up to 300 guests cocktail style, an exclusive beach side venue with views overlooking the Arabian Gulf and Nation Riviera Beach Club facilities perfect for team building and family days. Further social gatherings can be explored in the award-winning restaurants and bars, including Villa Toscana and Azura Panoramic Lounge, or even elevated to take place in the world’s highest suspended suite, the Abu Dhabi Suite.
Our signature butler service is a key element of guest satisfaction. Exceptional service and outstanding staff are integral part of the St Regis Abu Dhabi experience and the Butler service personifies this and sets us apart from our competition.
What would you like to achieve for the hotel in 2018?
I still believe our work here is not yet done. There are still so many positive opportunities to capitalize on in the growing market. I’m keen to maintain my team and talent that we have at the hotel. Developing the talent to achieve their aspirations as well as mine are just as important. If the guests see that the staff are happy they are happy as they receive the best quality service.
I’m proud to have a diverse team with all different backgrounds and a number of different nationalities and this is great as we diversify into different markets as the marketplace here in Abu Dhabi changes- which is all very exciting for us as hoteliers.
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