CONTINUING to elevate Bahrain as a top luxury destination with new culinary offerings and a focus on regional tourism will be amongst the key priorities of the newly-promoted hospitality hotshot at one of the kingdom’s leading five-star properties.
The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay’s new general manager Jason Rodgers is building on five years of successful leadership as the property’s hotel manager and a quarter century of having seen the global luxury hospitality brand through all its seasons.
“Having taken on this role just before Ramadan, which was a very busy and successful period for us, it was great to be back to the ‘normal’ holy month experience after the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr Rodgers told the GDN.
“And, this year, we were able to make it even bigger and better, while also finding ways for our guests to enjoy the nice weather at this time – something we are hoping to expand in coming years, as Ramadan moves earlier in the year.”
The promotion was perfect for the experienced Sydney-born hospitality perfectionist, the property, its owners and the global giant operator.
Mr Rodgers, married to fellow Australian Rebecca, loves Bahrain and their children, Daniel, 17, Amelia, 15, and Oliver, 13, are thriving and settled in Saar.
“We’ve enjoyed five years in Bahrain – the Bahraini people are so warm, welcoming and friendly and make you feel part of the community instantly,” he said.
“I am fortunate to work with so many wonderful and talented Bahraini colleagues at all levels within the hotel that love creating memorable experiences for our guests.
“I still love that no day is ever the same and you get the chance to meet so many diverse and interesting people on a daily basis and create connections over the years where guests become friends.”
His enthusiasm for the sector is infectious and appears to be rubbing off with young members of the team and potential talent testing the water as student interns.
“The hotel industry is diverse in the team we have, the guests we have and the service and product offering we have,” he added.
“It creates lots of opportunities for our staff to develop and grow with the brand both here in Bahrain and also internationally and, like me, if you are willing to travel, you are able to explore the world like I have for the past 25 years living in seven countries and visiting countless numbers more with Four Seasons.”
Despite having led some capital expansions at the hotel, Mr Rodgers still sees its people as its key assets and hopes to continue in the footsteps of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts founder Isadore Sharp.
“He said that if management treats employees well, they will treat the guests well,” Mr Rodgers added.
It makes sense, excellence is everything in a competitive field where the customer experience can make or break a property.
The hotel has been seeing a surge in demand as travel restrictions have lifted in recent months – a global phenomenon economists are calling ‘revenge spending’ where consumers spend more to make up for ‘time lost’ during the pandemic.
The Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay is seeing a large number of guests flooding in from across the region, especially Saudi Arabia, and is already stepping up efforts to market its offerings to visitors from Qatar.
The GDN recently reported that flights between Qatar and Bahrain are set to resume on Thursday, with three daily Gulf Air flights from Bahrain International Airport to Hamad International Airport in Doha.
“We have had a number of Qatari guests, but they were only able to drive here,” Mr Rodgers added.
“With the resumption of flights, it will be much easier for them to travel and reconnect with friends and family in the kingdom, and we are looking forward to welcoming them.”
The property has also proven to be a hugely popular Arab bridal destination, with a ‘wedding every weekend,’ according to Mr Rodgers.
In addition to high-end Indian destination weddings, of which three have ‘bought out’ the entire hotel in the last six years, the hotel will continue to focus on the growing base of Arab and regional visitors.
And, to appeal to their taste buds, Mr Rodgers also teased the arrival of a new restaurant by the beach, adding to the opening of the hotel’s private beach, waterpark and beach club in the last five years under his visionary stewardship.
Last year, the hotel, for example, showcased its Arabic cuisine pop-up restaurant, under the tutelage of Specialty Chef Tony El Khoury ... and its phenomenal popularity has ensured it will be a taste of things to come too.
“After the summer, we will be launching the new restaurant, which will offer a perfect year-round setting with 180-degree views of the city over water along the lines of the Arabic and Lebanese cuisine we had previously featured,” Mr Rodgers added.
The new restaurant will complement the expanding range of culinary options on Bahrain Bay, which is set to see a number of new developments including the 112 bespoke homes which are part of the Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay.
The GDN has previously reported that work on the multi-million-dollar luxury housing project is set to finish by the middle of this year and residents will enjoy access to the hotel’s amenities and culinary offerings.
To provide the signature Four Seasons service to the residents and guests, Mr Rodgers will rely on his 25 years of experience with the luxury brand, which includes 10 years in the Middle East.
Mr Rodgers began his career at Four Seasons in 1998 as a management trainee in Kuala Lumpur shortly after graduating with a degree in hotel management from Canberra, Australia.
After stints in Dublin (Ireland), Hampshire (UK) and Mauritius, he spent five years in Doha (Qatar) before arriving on the sandy shores of Bahrain.
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