(Manama, Bahrain, July 2002): While many hotels in the Middle East traditionally use the quieter sum-mer periods for renovation, often closing sections of the property, there can be few that have to juggle their refurbishments with occupancy levels of at least 75 per cent. The challenge for the engineers and house-keeping staff at the Kingdoms only luxury beachfront resort, Le Royal Meridien Bahrain, is to complete their tasks in a
matter of days without disrupting the other guests.
The process of refurbishment is essential for the luxury hotel and resort even though it is only eight years old and the 264 rooms and 22 suites are regularly stripped down and completely overhauled to keep them in Royal condition. Meanwhile, plans are far
advanced for the new developments scheduled for the forthcoming months, including for new cabanas by the sea, extension of the beach, and a new outlet.
Mohammad Naeem Hussain, the chief engineer, and his five-man crew can refurbish two rooms a day, even though it requires detailed work. When the crew moves in, a mason, for instance, refreshes the silicon around the bathtubs while the carpenter examines the wallpaper for possible replacement and looks at the woodwork of the wardrobe, bed and doors as well as hinges and door handles. Meanwhile, a painter spray paints the ceiling, air-conditioning ducting or grids and ensures the fittings and fixtures are polished or painted as required at the workshop at the hotels premises.
Naeem explains: We look at both the temperature and the freshness of air in each room. When the heaters arent in use, for example, dust accumulates in the ducting and would blow out into the room when first used in cooler days. Naturally, we want the fan-coil unit to be absolutely dust-free to keep our rooms pris-tine.
An all-rounder, jack-of-all-trades, is the ken-fix man, who handles the electronics of room maintenance, as well as the television, hi-fi, and electrical outlets, checking for any loose connections. The safety of the guest is paramount so the electrical wiring and grounding must be done properly, stresses the chief engi-neer. The ken-fix also checks the water quality and looks for possible pipe rusting by bleeding the plumb-ing system.
As far as the hotel infrastructure is concerned, said Naeem, the rooms represent the most expensive element of a hotel as they are constantly in use and take a lot of wear and tear. Quite apart from conforming to ISO standards, we have a 40-man engineering department at the hotel that must do daily preventive-maintenance tasks to ensure the smooth functioning of all hotel systems. Were capable of handling virtually every technical task ourselves.
Le Royal Meridien covers more than 50 acres with grounds that include a geyser, lagoon and pond, a 22-berth marina, a health club, in- and outdoor swimming pools, a womens spa, a beach, a private islet and 10 restaurants and lounges. As part of the infrastructure, Le Royal Meridien has its own reverse-osmosis, wa-ter-filtration plant to supply water for guests and the kitchens as well as for twice daily watering of the plants on the hotels very lush grounds.
Besides hosting three summit meetings of the Gulf Co-operation Council, Le Royal
Meridien hosts a continual flow of prime ministers, kings, presidents of state and internationally renowned personalities. International events, conferences and diplomatic receptions may add to the demands made on the hotel with the presence of well-trained but discreet security corps but it is all in every days work for Naeem and his team.