Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, is a hospitality company located in Sharq Village and Spa Building, Qatar, Doha. Sharq Village & Spa offers unique dining experiences, offering guests a variety in terms of regional Arabic as well as international cuisines like Persian and Latin, from amongst a choice of restaurants and lounges. The spacious Ritz-Carlton Spa housed within the resort is another design marvel and takes visitors through a journey along winding old-world style alleys and traditional spa therapy rooms and treatments, which its patrons absolutely love.
The company states, “We see a healthy mix of ‘staycationers’ as well as local business clientele booking stays with us, for reasons like privacy, personalised attention from our Ladies & Gentlemen and our exemplary service standards.”
In terms of market differentiators, Sharq Village enjoys close proximity to Hamad International Airport, which pre-pandemic was a huge factor for travellers when booking their stays. Sharq Village also enjoys an unmatched stretch of private beach, overlooking the Doha skyline, which is a big attraction for guests looking to unwind. Aside from that, its main attraction and pride is The Royal Villa, which is similar to a Presidential Suite but much larger in size and fit for royalty.
Built to reflect local Qatari design and architectural inspiration of a traditional home, the Royal Villa spans over two buildings, and the residential wing and the annex span over two storeys. With its private pool and waterfall, spa room, steam room, sauna, and chef’s pantry, this suite is truly extraordinary and one of its kind in Doha.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between World’s Leaders and Mr. Yazan Latif, General Manager at Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.
Kindly brief us about the most satisfactory experience with a client. What kind of game changing services have you provided to them?
Our Service Strategy is strictly focused on enlivening our Core Values of the RitzCarlton brand in each division. Guest Engagement is a continuous target with goals for constant reflection and improvement by taking extreme care in presenting our product, facilities, and service consistently.We treat each guest experience with utmost care and this is something that has benefitted the hotel reputation over the years.
How well does your organisation strategically differentiate from the competition in terms of the capabilities of its services? How clear is your organization’s strategy for this?
Sharq Village is a 14 year-old hotel designed to reflect the rich culture of Qatar, and while the product in itself is absolutely awe-inspiring, the real essence of this heritage is brought about by true dedication to service excellence, which is reflective of the hospitable nature of the locals. Our scenography – ‘Experience the Past, Today’ – adds a whole new dimension to the sensory journey our guests can expect when staying with us, and this is undeniably one of the most powerful statements brought to life every day that we welcome our patrons.Our typical customer is one who seeks to disconnect from the hustle & bustle of life and reconnect with themselves in this true oasis of calm. We attract the perfect blend of business and leisure travellers who enjoy the comfort of privacy when they stay with us. These factors have definitely made us stand out amongst other hotels and have played a key role in setting our distinct positioning in the market.
What are the changes the pandemic has brought to the hotel booking and travel industry?
In my opinion, travel should hopefully see a positive recovery, but in the end, with new variants being discovered bit-by-bit, it seems like many countries are soon raising the alarm about having reopened too soon. That being said, Qatar has so far managed to contain the spread of the virus in an amazing capacity, and I do believe the strict measures undertaken have truly been the sole factor allowing life to somewhat resume normalcy since the start of this year. We do look forward to many smaller sporting events leading up to the big games towards the end of 2022, and in this regard alone, travel inbound into the country is anticipated to be high. Across the world, travellers are enjoying resuming safe travel after being home-bound for so long. In my opinion, travel trends will veer towards “mindful staycations’ – where people don’t take these opportunities for granted and truly plan ahead to ensure safe and meaningful experiences. Business travel could pick-up pace, but may not accelerate to the intensity of how it was pre-pandemic.
What are the three things you would like to improve in the organisation or the sector?
Accordingly, I think the hospitality industry as a whole is perhaps suffering from creative fatigue, owing to a largely crisis management function that has been applied since the pandemic, leaving little scope for support avenues and exploring funded innovative techniques. With the economic recovery, we should hopefully be able to refuel that aspect of how our industry is usually viewed as – a luxury commodity in the broad sense. Second, I believe the focus must re-route to ‘hospitality’ rather than solely upon‘revenue generation’, as I believe customer retention and loyalty require genuine effort, especially since we are a people-focused business.
Tell us about your vision for the company. How do you ensure a culture of integrity and innovation in the company?
Last year, we took ‘innovative thinking’ to a whole new level, where we also pioneered a unique outdoor dining concept, first-of-its-kind in Qatar – The ‘Zarb’ Dining experience, which was born out of necessity and restricted indoor dining capacities, per locally-issued guidelines. A traditional form of ‘Bedouin’ cooking, Zarb ovens have been a part of the Middle East regions’ long-standing heritage, which is what we endeavoured to bring back for our customers to experience in these modern times. Our strong scenography came to life in all its authenticity as we dug out this Zarb oven on our very own beach, which provided the natural induction to cook this traditional meal of fragrant rice, meat & local spices. Our Arabic-specialty Chef brought his home-grown recipe to the table, passed down by generations to create this classic ‘family-style’ dinner, enjoyed with breath-taking views of the entire Doha skyline from this perch. This dish, according to me, sings of a true sense of diverse thinking, and I believe innovation and cultural integrity can truly blend together to harness the strength of a company to its full potential.