Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feel the F1 Spirit

The world-class motorsports event that has everyone on the edge of their seats is fast
approaching, with the Formula One fever spreading across the kingdom.

The Novotel Al Dana Resort welcomes all participants, and is proud to announce that once again it is to be one of the official hotels for F1 teams such as Renault F1 and BMW Sauber.

Formula One racing is all about speed, shrill levels of engine roar and tight competition, but after a whole day of adrenaline-fuelled driving, where do the drivers escape to? The Novotel Al Dana Resort is the perfect place to rest those weary bones, where everyone can enjoy the luxurious settings of a resort, dine out by the beach or simply relax in the elegant lounge bar.

The resort features an exclusive pristine beach and majestic Arabian-style rooms overlooking a tranquil sea setting. It is a peaceful enclave where F1 participants and spectators can relax and experience Arabian hospitality.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Heikki Kovalainen, and Nelson Piquet of Renault F1, and Robert Kubika of BMW Sauber, are well-known names in F1 racing who have had the pleasure of experiencing this bliss, and have acquired the taste to revisit for more.

You can be assured that the Novotel has the finesse and panache to represent the kingdom for
the biggest event of the year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Accor's GM get Together

Accor’s hotel General Managers across Saudi Arabia and Sudan recently completed a three days meeting at Novotel Al Dana Resort. The 21 hotel’s GM and Accor Directors discussed some critical issues in the field of hospitality industry, particularly on finance management.

The meeting was combined with hotel familiarization and sightseeing in some places in Bahrain, Dammam and Al Khobar, KSA. A special dinner was hosted by the management of Mercure Grand Hotel Seef at Neyran Restaurant and a Gala Dinner was held at Al Yacout Moroccan Restaurant to welcome the participants.

Accor group is an Eropean leader in hotels and tourism, a global leader in corporate services, operates in nearly 100 countries with 160,000 employees. It offers to it's individual and corporate clients nearly 40 years of expertise in its core business. Accor's hotels includes over 4,000 hotels and 475,000 rooms of Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Adagio, Ibis, All Seasons, Etap, Formule 1, Motel 6, Studio 6, and Thalassa brands around the world.

Seen in the picture, KSA & Sudan General Managers pose together at the Novotel Al Dana Resort, Bahrain. Picture was taken before lunch on the second day of the meeting.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter 2008

We celebrate Easter, today. Hotel is fully book as well as Zytoun, the Mediterranean Resto we have. Everyone enjoyed the feast. The parent, kids and staff.
There were games and gifts for Kids, they are so funny and cutes. I coldn't stand watching them, I grabbed one of them, lift and carry her... "get me down, get me down, i want egg more," she yelled.
While the parent were enjoying the brunch, the kids searching Easter eggs. They all had fun.

Belinda (back, third from right), Alesia (back, first from right) with the kids and some parents.

Kids searching eggs

Some guests indulged in sunbathing, the weather just great, love it!

Eat, eat and eat...! tips, bonus, money...!

That is Bobby, he's from the Philippines, busy with one of our guests.

Easter Brunch by the pool.

Friday, March 21, 2008

EDB Photo Shooting

Following their successful film shooting last time, the Economic Development Board of Bahrain, asked me to shoot one more time at our resort. This time was not film but photo shooting, on the beach, four crew and took only 2 hours.

Using a model, a Bahraini good looking young man, this shooting would be materials for their printed destination collaterals. The agency was Saatchi & Saatchi, one of the biggest advertising (and marketing) agency in Bahrain, and of course in several countries, including the US, France countries in the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

When I asked the photographer why they didn’t use female model as well, he said “If I could find a Bahraini lady, I’d love to.”

“It must be?” I wondered.

“Must be Bahraini and you know, it is not easy to find,” he replied.

What is the big deal? As long as a beautiful lady, Arabic or Mediterranean looking face, there are lot out there… They can get Moroccan, Lebanese, Egyptian, Kuwaiti or any other GCC nationals. I even have three agencies who can easily supply the model.

“Gimme a Bahraini, I’ll shoot her,” he smiled at me.

I couldn’t reply. He’s right, I have never met a Bahraini female photo model.

Just imagined, I found one, giving me some vibrant moves in front of camera, on the beach, wearing bikini, and she’s Bahraini.

Wake up..!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Wanna share with you. Two weeks ago, I had film shooting, quite big, I think it was the biggest film shooting I have ever had in Bahrain. I do film or photo shooting at my hotel (a hotel where I work for) at least once a month. Mostly small scale shooting, with 3-4 up to 10 crew. But this time, I handled 30 pax.

The production house (PH) was FilmWorks from Dubai. They were filming in Bahrain on behalf of Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), the very important, strong and rich board of the Kingdom. This board are currently taking care of the country’s commercial film. They have been preparing everything, from the national tourism master plan, empowerment, implementation, and branding.

EDB approached us to be one of the film locations. They chose our La Bellevue lounge bar, because of the view and the ambience. Other sites were the Bahrain shouq (traditional market), mall, Manama city, Exhibition road, etc. According to Gino, the production coordinator of the filmworks, they like our lounge because it is very suitable for business lunch, the mood is calm and relax, the lighting is dimmed, the service is attentive, and what more…? Hmm…representing gulf hospitality.

The commercial itself talks about Bahrain hospitality, tourism, trade, investment, and economic development. With title “smiling Bahrain”.

It’s pretty funny watching the director, i tell you. He was giving instructions to the model only with words… ”come one… action…. smile, serious… smile… serious again, smile…” (I don’t understand what was he doing, he’s directing or playing, haha…).

The clip captures some Bahrainis who are smiling while doing their routines, kind of depicting people as the main asset, but you know, in the real life, everything’s is lack here, including shortage of human capital. But it’s okay, seems the government recognizes their weaknesses and tries to solve the problem through promoting the people as part of tourism and economic development. That’s smart enough!

There were four models working that day, one was a beautiful girl who was smiling all the time with background of a couple having drinks and a young lady passing by the lounge.

I had to scarify my off day because of this shooting. The most possible day to shoot was Friday and we had to work from 6am to 11am. No worry, as far as I enjoy it, and I think I need this experience, you know, learning by witnessing… lol.

I had to prepare the location, the car park, the catering and of course, permission from by boss. The production house is pretty professional, we had 3 four times meeting before we decide to shoot the location. Just to ensure everything is alright. The day before the shooting, I double checked with other departments, especially with F&B, Housekeeping and Engineering.

I had to wake up early morning, because I had to coordinate with the security to park the crew cars. I woke up 4.30am, got shower and already at the resort at 5.45am, hmm… the weather was just great. At 6am, Saddam and Gino came and inspected the location, just to make sure everything’s in the right spot.

At 6.30am, three big trucks came and other vans headed to Muharraq wing (the hotel’s southern area), the main access to La Perle restaurant, Hawar Ballroom and the La Bellevue Lounge. I asked Hamed, to arrange the cars, especially to locate the silent generator as close as possible to the film location.

There were 30 crew, including one director from the UK, some crew from Dubai, local make up artist, fashion artist, gaffer, cameraman, head of production, lighting from Bahrain and some guys that I don’t know, I know them as only film crew. I saw one guy, Arabic, wearing glass, he was an engineer specialized in camera. He prepare the giant came, in which, according to Gino has 500 frames in one shoot, while normal camre has only 24 frames, can you image that?! It means, this huge camera can run very slow motion.

I suddenly wondering if Indonesia or atleast Bali has a very strong body like EDB. It makes me jealous to know EDB, I covet to have this body in my country. Haha… I must be dreaming…

EDB knows how to manage tourism properly, even professionally. They started through research and auditing the whole stakeholders of tourism, after understanding the importance of tourism for the country. They are very serious managing the sector, the people is aware and ready to welcome tourism. And one thing they really understand but we (Bali, Indonesia tourism authority) don’t , is that managing tourism is not only promoting the beauty of natural and cultural resources, it is more than integrated coordination among stakeholders, consolidation, working together to reach the common and agreed goal. Like pressing one button, linking to all systems…

Promoting the island through films, exhibitions, collaterals, events, arts, ambassadors is not only a matter of tourism, but overall development of a nation. This is an investment to attract investment…

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Novotel Names New IT Manager

Novotel Al Dana Resort, the only Bahrain’s premium deluxe resort, has appointed Khaled Ahmed as Information Technology (IT) Manager. Khaled has wide-intensive experiences in IT and chain hotels, having worked in Jordan, Yemen and the UAE.

Born in Jordan and raised in Kuwait, Khaled Ahmed has deep love of technology, learning and working since an early age. Graduated from University of Alabama, USA, Khaled obtained his Bachelor degree in Computer Science. As part of carrier development, he successfully gained Certified Microsoft Engineer in Dubai, 2005.

Prior to working with Novotel Al Dana Resort, Khaled Ahmed had 10 years experience in several four-five star Accor’s hotels, such as Novotel & Ibis WTC Dubai (2003-7007), Sofitel Taiz Yemen, Mercure San’a Yemen (2002) and Sofitel Taybet Zaman, Jordan (1997-2002).

In his new role with Novotel Al Dana Resort, Khaled who loves analysing latest technology development, is in charge of the whole IT operations and management within the resort. His ambition is to carry a synergy between eco-friendly technology and hospitality industry, to provide outstanding services to the resort’s guests as well as to deliver the most efficient assistance to other departments.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Orangutan vs Orangerrorist

Believe me...!
I would prefer my country to be famous as Orangutan rather than "Orangerrorist" (people living with terrorists).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lets Learn from a Weird Tourist Attraction

They are dark, smelly and buried beneath Australia’s biggest city, but Sydney’s historic sewers have become one of the country’s most sought-after tourist destinations.

Demand for the underground tours is so great that people who apply for tickets have been known to offer bribes such as chocolates and flowers to try make sure they are not among the thousands turned away each year, tour organizers said recently as noted by Bahrain Tribune (article on “Sewer Tours a Hot Ticket for Sydney Tourism”).

I’ve had people calling up and offering all kinds if bribes to try and get place on tour”, said Pascale Hastings, form Sydney’s Historic Houses Trust, which runs the sewer tours. “There is a huge appeal in going underground and being in dark, confirmed spaces normally off limits.

The Historic Houses Trust, which manages some of Australia’s oldest heritage buildings, organizes tours of the old Sydney sewers only twice a year, and can take only 180 people though the drains every six months. But more than 4,000 people regularly apply for tickets to tour the drains, built to provide fresh water fir the British settlement in Sydney in about 1790 by convicts sent to Australia.

By the 1980s, the stone drains were being used as sewers. Today, they carry only storm water to Sydney Habour, running beneath Sydney’s tallest buildings and commercial centres. The drains are some of the oldest surviving remnants of Australia’s early European settlement, after the British settlers and convicts arrived to set up a British colony in Sydney in 1788.

The tours operate only two days a year because water authorities have to clear out the drains, treat lingering bacteria, and pump in air to make the tour safe.

* * *

I remember Surabaya has lots of historical buildings, but seems no body takes care of them, the same happens to other big cities in Indonesia such as Jogyakarta, Malang, Jakarta, Medan. We found many classical mansions and river dams have been abandoned. We (you and me, and particularly government) don’t think those buildings are the main asset to boost tourism. They don’t event think simply to take benefit of it. Who care?

What about our museums? It is worse...! We don’t appreciate our culture, apparently. How can we appreciate it, if we charge visitors with only ticket Rp. 2,000 (perhaps around 20 cents). How can we pay the maintenance costs, train employees, upgrade or refurbish facilities, and et cetera. Don’t compare with national museums for example in Germany, you’ll suck to know the ticket cost.

In fact, you can witness big cities such as Paris, Venice, London, Amsterdam maintain their historical heritages. And the government is keen to spend million dollars to preserve their historical sites.

Ok, then you can visit and experience what happens with Museum Subak in Tabanan, Bali. If you really love history, education, culture or anything related to museum, you will cry to know that site.

Eventually, one of my friends whispered me... “First ask our government to feed us properly, then we can think this matter properly.”

Friday, March 7, 2008

No Flirting, please...

Flirting could be a problem in some countries. Read this article, taken from Bahrain Tribune 24th February 2008. You probbaly think it's wierd, but it happens. Some think it's normal, others dont care.

Riyadh - AFP
Saudi Arbia's powerful religious police ordered the arrest of 57 youths this week for flirting with girls in malls in the holy city of Makkah, the Saudi Gazette reported yerterday.

Thr young men were detained on Thursday evening by reggular plice oficers following a request from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. They were accused of wearing "indecent clothing and playing loud music and dancing" to attract the attention of the opposite sex, it added.

Members of the commission, known as the Muttawa, patrol public areas to ensure that the Kingdom's relus and laws are enforced, and this includes strict segregation of the sexes.

So, what is your opinion?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dine Out at the Panoramic Floating Lounge

Novotel Al Dana Resort, Bahrain proudly introduces another exclusive experience at their dining outlets. Following the management’s marketing strategy, the resort has completely upgraded the terrace of La Bellevue Lounge Bar, one of the predominant lounge bars in Bahrain. This refurbished porch will be the only “floating lounge” which overlooks both Muharraq and Manama view.
The bar is just located at the edge of the resort’s private beach, whereas its refurbished terrace is likely attached on the main building and hanged above the sea. To access the bar, every guest pass through the hotel’s La Perle seafood Restaurant, located at the first floor, under the Bar.

At the La Perle, there is a unique-wide stair over a mini fountain and waterfall curtain. This very elegant stair leads you up to the La Bellevue Bar, where there are seating choices of either private sofa setting and the bar seats on the main indoor area, or within the bar's open-air style balcony, that seats up to 40 persons. A pretty cocktail bar display/counter and a mini tavern can be seen from the seating.

The major upgrade is that an extension terrace, an 80 meter square furnished balcony, with wooden floor, glassed ceiling and walls. The new renovated lounge is 90 percent covered by glass, allowing guests to overlook the sea view, and the panorama of Manama & Muharraq city in a very convenient temperature during the summer and the winter alike. The lounge represents touch of modernity and style, resulting exclusive and elegant ambience.

Savour the Flavour
La Bellevue has carried over to its lunch and cocktail menu that features an extensive and elegantly crafted selection of Seafood and International cuisine with a twist concocted by the hotel’s Executive Chef, and served by an expanded, friendly Novotel staff. Start off with Salad on Focaccia Loaf or Bloody Mary Crab Salsa, continue to taste the Sour Seafood Conssome, and then proceed onto a main course of Pan-fried of Roast Turbot Fish with scallops and prawn served with artichoke and fennel cream bisque sauce.

After wrapping up the meal with a portion of Chocolate Dome with Vanilla Ice Cream Raspberry Coulis, peruse the extensive drink menu that has made La Bellevue famous amongst discerning cocktail connoisseurs. As their distinguished concoction, Magnum 40 is the specialty of the house. Some choices that range from the virgin cocktail are provided, such as Virgin Colada, Pinkie Velvet and Dynamite. Selection of Champagne cocktail such as Marie Antoinette and Kir Royal are also available.

Sunday evenings bring in Ladies Night, from 8pm to 11pm. Wide variety of Gin, Whisky, Vodka, Martini, Rum are served with very special offer only for ladies. For your consideration, the La Bellevue Bar stocks hundreds of cocktails, wines and champagnes. All of them are presented at excellent value for the quality.

Happy Hours
Take advantage of Happy Hours from 5pm to 7pm with 30% off drinks. Special offer of champagne + cigar or cognac + cigar are interesting to try. Music starts up nightly from 9pm on, and each evening plays host to something different from Lebanese band, delivering both International and Lebanese songs. The friendly staff really makes the La Bellevue Bar an evening to remember. Try it..!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What is Tourism?

I just suddenly ask my self, what tourism is? This question brought me to my past time, where I studied tourism in the Udayana University, Denpasar Bali, 9 years ago.

Is there any revision on the terminology of tourism? Does the term/definition grow? Check these out...

Tourism is smokeless industry
Tourism is hospitality industry
Tourism is invisible export
Tourism is service industry
Tourism is multi-sector industry
Tourism is multi-S industry (sun, sea, sand, service, and smile...)
Tourism is recreation, leisure and pleasure
Tourism is lodging industry
Tourism is a mass employer
Tourism is everyone's business
Tourism is market friendly business
Tourism is state-income earner
Tourism is the fastest growing industry
Tourism is a beautiful-attractive girl

The meaning above, are based on industry or commerce or business perspective, most of them are with word "industry", so it more to do with business. What if with the meanings, below:

Tourism is peacemaker
Tourism is cultural heritage
Tourism is peace ambassador
Tourism is Museums
Tourism is ecology preservation
Tourism is socio-cultural phenomenon
Tourism is friendship
Tourism is understanding primitive traditions
Tourism is about local genuine

Those meanings are from conservatives who enjoy tourism. But what about the other meanings, such as...

Tourism is cultural exploitation
Tourism is custom and moral degradation
Tourism is about environment destruction
Tourism is a package of modernism, globalism and capitalism
Toursim is legalized prostitution
Tourism is multi-S, (sex, sex, sex and sex...)
Tourism is children sexual exploitation
Tourism is a new kind of mass desctructive weapon
Tourism kills tourism

You might think different. Would you contribute with your own perspective?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Meet the Doctor

Finally, she ended up in a hospital. Got some problems with her stomach and typus, and need surgery. Been more then a week, strugling with some medicines, she eventually gave up to see doctors and nurses in daily basis. God, help her...