Always interested in an outsider’s perspective, we take five minutes to ask Kirti Anchan – the recently appointed General Manager of Jumeirah Royal Saray Bahrain – five questions about first impressions, the future of hospitality, and more.
Welcome to Bahrain! Tell us about your first impressions. So far, what’s the single biggest difference you’ve observed between the island and your previous hometown of Dubai?
Bahrain is a very family-friendly destination. You immediately feel welcome and part of a community. The local culture is very present, it makes you want to meet and mingle with Bahraini people and discover their traditions. We were told that people either really love Bahrain or do not like it – well, we love it already.
What spots have you discovered that you’d recommend to tourists?
Well, everything is still closed, but I’m very much looking forward to visiting Qal’at al- Bahrain when it opens as well as Adliya by night. I would also definitely recommend the old souk of Manama. We spotted a public beach due to reopen near Al Areen Wildlife Park, which is also next on our to-do list. We will also soon explore the ocean with pearl diving, fishing trips, and – of course – the famous Jarada Island. I’ve heard a lot about the annual Spring of Culture festival as well, and I’m definitely very excited to attend events in different venues around Bahrain.
The theme of our October issue is being outdoors in Bahrain. One glance at your Instagram account reveals you’re a runner. Have you discovered any running trails or areas in Bahrain yet? What other outdoor activities do you enjoy?
I have yet to find my favourite running spot, but I’m currently running around Seef. I have heard a lot about the Bahrain Road Runners group and will be connecting with them to explore more. I see many people running and exercising outside, which is amazing in this country. I am certain I will enjoy exploring the outdoor activities Bahrain that has to offer.
It’s been a tough year for most, but hotels have been hit especially hard. How do you envision the future of the hospitality industry?
This year has been unique and a lesson for us all. For us hoteliers, we are mentally strong, and we tend to train ourselves to maintain a positive mindset. To move forward, we need to think outside the box and come up with creative strategies to enhance the guest experience while respecting all the mandatory safety guidelines. We believe that everything has an end, and we shall recover soon to come back stronger than ever.
What lessons – both personal and professional – will you take into the new year as a result of the past few months?
I believe that nothing should be taken for granted – starting with our health. We have understood that our world may change any time, and things may get out of our hands. The situation has allowed me to spend more time with my family and some close friends in the last few months. I have learned to value each day and appreciate every moment as it comes since things can change very quickly. Despite the circumstances, I’m very grateful for what we have. ✤