In focus: Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort
3 years ago by Usman Ghani
In an exclusive interview with CustomerService.ae, Ashraf Helmy, General Manager & Area Development Manager at Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort in Fujairah, UAE speaks about the services they offer to make the guest trip memorable and how the customer journey starts even before the guest steps in the resort. He also talks about the importance of staff training and their future plans to provide a more luxurious experience to all their guests.
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“We do our best to enchant all our guests during their stay.”
Q: Tell us a bit about your resort and what sets you apart from your competitors in the hospitality sector?
Ashraf: Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is a 321 Luxury beach resort nestled between the foothills of the Hajar Mountains and the glistering Indian Ocean, the Resort transports guests into a surreal realm of the eclectic flavors and extraordinary entertainment, palaces of pampering and exotic adventures.
Reflecting the mosaic of cultures that rested up here long ago, the interplay of Arabic, Moroccan and Eastern design themes infuse the entire resort. Soft lanterns, Moorish balconies and a Mediterranean open air amphitheater add unique character to a sprawling boutique-hotel ambience.
Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is located on the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Emirate of Fujairah, this peaceful sanctuary is guaranteed to redefine elegance and graceful atmosphere. Whether it’s exploring the historical attractions of the Emirate or just lounging on the beach, Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is the perfect place to soak it all in. Along with a unique blend of traditional Arabian hospitality, luxurious accommodations and unrivalled service, guests are guaranteed to have a vacation like nowhere else.
Q: What facilities and amenities are provided at your resort to ensure customer happiness?
Ashraf: Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort is a luxury resort that offers a wide range of facilities, designed to provide relaxation and entertainment to its different types of guests and family members.
The resort is championed by the standard of the rooms, they are truly luxuriously appointed and the vast majority face the Indian Ocean. Outstanding gourmet standard food is served in four excellent restaurants and three bars provide a chic and sophisticated ambience.
A selection of shops, a health club and gym, temperature controlled outdoor and indoor pools are also readily available. Free shuttle buses are provided twice a week to malls in Dubai and Fujairah City and guests can indulge in a variety of water sports including windsurfing, diving, snorkeling and kayaking. The on-site 5-Star PADI scuba dive center “Divers Down” provides diving courses from try-dives to instructor as well as 3 daily dives for certified divers.
Q: Please highlight the customer journey at your hotel from the moment a guest enters till they check-out?
Ashraf: The journey starts with us before the guest’s arrival. We send them a detailed preferences questionnaire that allows us to tailor their stay to experience a better stay.
Your unforgettable staycation starts the moment you arrive into our award winning lobby, warmly greeted by our team, assisting you with luggage and accompanying you to the reception for an efficient and fast check-in process.
Your afternoon becomes a paradise at our Bahari Restaurant & Bar, offering magical sunset views overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Indulge in a lavish breakfast buffet the next day, spread across our all-day dining restaurant Al Majlis and then prepare for a relaxing spa treatment at the Avitane Spa.
There’s no better place to capture moments and memories than by our pristine beach, followed by a peaceful swim in our freestyle pool. Before heading for a check-out, our guest services team will always be pleased to assist our guests with their luggage, and to ensure that their car is already waiting in the driveway.
Q: What is your philosophy when it comes to ensuring comfort for your guests?
Ashraf: We do our best to enchant all our guests during their stay. Managers in operational departments communicate on issues or requests that are later on sent to the designated department to take action. This solution helps us to fulfill the guest’s requests immediately and gives managers an overview of the pending and completed requests.
Q: Do you offer any online customer support? Is this support 24/7?
Ashraf: We are always there for our guests 24/7. Since social media and technology is pivotal in the new era, guests use their personal phones/tablets to browse, compare, read reviews before finally making their decision. Throughout this process, we offer 24-hour support to enquiries related to the resort facilities and rates.
Q: What mechanisms do you have in place to gather feedback from guests and how do you utilize this feedback to make your services better?
Ashraf: Our guests’ feedback is considered our top priority and we are taking it very seriously regardless which channel was used, such as online review, social media channels or received via email; via happometer survey, or verbally from guests.
Timing is really essential when it comes to online reviews; living in a social era means that guests are more connected via social media and review platforms than ever before and responding to guest feedback in a timely manner is vital from a five-star luxury property.
The only way we can guarantee that we are on the right path, is by receiving feedback. While feedback can be challenging, it helps us to define our areas for improvement, in order to guarantee that the highest service standards are delivered at all times.
Q: In light of the ongoing pandemic, what are some of the changes and safety measures in place at your hotel?
Ashraf: The COVID-19 pandemic has made us increase our hygiene, health and safety, and overall service standards to an even higher level with new guidelines and in line with the directives from the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA).
Since reopening, Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort has implemented all measures dictated by the authority; some of these include, but are not limited to: all individuals entering the hotel are temperature checked before allowed to enter the resort and that is applied to everyone including: guests, employees and suppliers. The resort is regularly sanitized. We are also applying social distancing across all public areas.
The precautions we’re taking on cleanliness and new hospitality standards are as much about the health and safety of our team as they are about our guests.
Q: Do you have any employee and staff training programs in place?
Ashraf: All employees undergo an in-depth orientation session before joining us, which introduces them to the property, standards and values. After the orientation, we implement a number of trainings, in addition to the hotel-and departmental-specific trainings, which are being conducted for all colleagues.
Becoming a hotelier isn’t exclusively dependent on having a hotel management degree, therefore often when hiring entry-level employees, we recruit for attitude and train for skills.
Q: How do you plan to enhance your customer service in the future?
Ashraf: We will keep personalizing stays while delivering outstanding service and provide memorable moments to our guests, while complementing them with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and latest technology. At the same time we ensure that technology doesn’t invade our personalized approach.
About Ashraf Helmy
Ashraf Helmy graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management and is currently at the position of General Manager and Area Business Development Manager at Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort, Fujairah UAE. He has worked in Egypt, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Maldives and served in the hospitality industry for 36 years in most of the international management companies.