INTERVIEW WITH MR. MAGED GUBR, GENERAL MANAGER MÖVENPICK JEDDAH HOTEL
"JEDDAH, A CITY WITH AN ATTITUDE"
Jeddah is an extremely prosperous city with incredible growth rates and astonishing numbers of new developments in the way. “There are a lot of happenings now in Jeddah. There is the recently inaugurated King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and King Abdullah Economic City and there is the ongoing works on the pilgrimage railway that will link Mecca to Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh and in the future will go to Dubai, Bahrain and the other Gulf countries. It is a major infrastructure development that will definitely enhance the traffic in Jeddah, especially during the hajj season and will even increase the attraction of the city. Or as Gubr puts it: “Jeddah has a spirit, it attracts people
For someone that has travelled the world and live in vibrant cities as diverse as Dubai or Vancouver, coming to Jeddah was maybe not his first choice but after years running the five stars Mövenpick Hotel in Jeddah he says he can define the experience as “a very beautiful chapter of his life”.
Without skimping on superlatives, Mr Maged Gubr, the general manager of the hotel, qualifies Jeddah as a city that “does not look like a brand new city like Dubai but it is a city with a culture and a history. It does not look old or new but it is a city with an attitude, a place with character”.
Anyone hearing his speech will immediately be wanting to spend some days in Jeddah and see it with his or her own eyes. Not surprisingly, as Mr. Gubr very well says, “there is a slogan in Saudi that goes, Jeddah is Different. More like a little Cairo, if you wish, but definitely very different to the rules and discipline of Riyadh.”
A Beautiful City full of Beautiful People
“Jeddah is the city that never sleeps. It is a vibrant business destination all year round and a holiday destination for the summer months, especially July and August and only when Ramadan does not fall in those months. It is also the gate of the two Holly Cities of Mecca and Medina where pilgrims that have maybe been saving all their lives come for their umrah or hajj trips and it is also a giant shopping mall. It is on the pristine Red Sea coast and also has access to all the Middle East and European countries in no time. You can go to Dubai in two hours, to Cairo in one hour or to London in only four and a half hours.”
But it is not only the city and its location that impress Gubr. He also has good words for the city inhabitants. “People in Jeddah are very friendly, hospitable, accommodating and understanding. Very modest and nice people who you can have business with, have a job with or simply go out with”.
He arrived in Jeddah around five years ago as the brand new manager of one of the busiest hotels in town with an occupancy rate of over 80 percent well above the 65 percent average of the rest “because we are a small hotel,” says Gubr modestly. However, he has also managed to grow the year on year numbers of the hotel by an also “modest” 20 percent. “We have grown tremendously”, he finally admits.
Mövenpick Hotel Jeddah is a five star establishment that offers 140 fully equipped rooms in the heart of the city. “We are a business hotel very conveniently located at the heart of downtown Jeddah and only 25 minutes drive away from the International airport without any traffic lights”, explains smiling the general manager.
A one-of-a-kind hotel
“We are basically between the old city and the new city, in the Middle of the Medina Road that makes us accessible to the old city and also close to the Northern side of Jeddah, where the city is expanding to nowadays. If you have business in the old city and also businesses in the industrial area or the new developments this is your best location with a good value for money”.
The hotel also features as a perfect venue for business meetings and conferences with seven meeting rooms fully-equipped with the latest technologies and a banquet hall with a total space of over 900 sqm for up to 250 guests.
A little United Nation’s sort of staff runs Mövenpick Jeddah with over 140 employees “from all kind of nationalities, including a big chunk of Saudi people. A mosaic of employees that brings us a lot of culture to the table and an advantage to really be in contact with our guests, understanding different cultures, adding value to our services and bringing in different hospitality initiatives”, explains Gubr proudly.
Mövenpick, at the end, is one of the global brand names of the internationally admired Swiss Hospitality. And titles like this are only given for good reasons.