In Conversation with … Zaher Mohammed Al-Ajjawi

The CEO of National Hotel Company (NHC), owners of The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence & Spa, talks abouts his achievements, future projects and what impresses him most about hotels.

You’ve been the CEO of NHC for more than five years now. What achievements are you most proud of during your tenure?
One of the more important achievements that I am particularly proud of is growing NHC’s financial strength and stability, while executing the corporate strategy developed and approved by the board. The company is now more visible within the Kingdom and is truly a key player in the hospitality and tourism sector. Strengthening NHC’s relationship and further aligning strategic interests with our stakeholders, relevant local authorities and key players within the Kingdom has been a catalyst to NHC’s achievements.
In my opinion, COVID has left an everlasting impact on the rules of engagement across the whole world and NHC wasn’t immune to this. Accommodating and dealing with the sudden changes imposed upon us and yet surviving the financial strain and obstacles that this pandemic imposed, is another achievement that I am particularly proud of.
I would add that celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel was a remarkable achievement.

As the owning company of The Diplomat Radisson Blu, how does the NHC contribute towards its growth and the Kingdom’s hospitality industry?
Let’s not forget that the success of the Diplomat Radisson Blu reflects that of its owning company. And the journey to this stems from the selection of a renowned and professional operator, coupled with the ongoing strategic monitoring, investing and realignment of interests and objectives along the way. NHC allocates generous resources to upgrade and enhance the hotel’s infrastructure, facilities and amenities. These investments help maintain the hotel’s modernity, enabling it to meet the evolving needs and expectations of its guests and visitors. By consistently upgrading and investing in the property, NHC ensures that the hotel remains competitive and attracts a diverse range of visitors. The Diplomat Radisson Blu supports various tourism-related industries, such as transportation and entertainment, creating a multiplier effect that benefits the overall economy. NHC’s role in driving the hotel’s success translates into economic growth, job creation and increased business opportunities within the hospitality sector, further strengthening Bahrain’s position as a thriving tourism destination.

Are there any upcoming projects or expansions planned for the hotel?
Yes, we are excited to announce that The Diplomat Radisson Blu has several upcoming projects and expansions in the pipeline. Currently, we are undergoing a comprehensive renovation of our serviced apartments. This aims to provide our guests with fresh, modern and completely renovated one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and penthouses. We are committed to creating a comfortable and luxurious living experience for our residents and these renovated units will reflect our dedication to excellence.
We are also thrilled to unveil our new outlet, SOL Lounge. This pool lounge will offer a unique Mediterranean-inspired style and ambience, providing guests with a refreshing and relaxing atmosphere to unwind and enjoy. We believe that this new addition will enhance the overall guest experience and further elevate our hotel’s offerings.
We have several other projects in the pipeline that will be revealed in due course.

What is your favourite travel destination and why?
Since Bahrain is an island, I am obviously more comfortable with sea destinations. In my opinion, travelling is all about admiring the destination’s beauty and charm, learning and experiencing the culture and history and interacting with the people.
One of my favourites would have to be Scandinavia. The rich scenery, culture and vast areas offer a lot to see and experience. It is like living in an adventure or a dream. De-stressing and relaxing comes naturally over there and the people are very nice and pleasant to deal with.

What’s the one thing that impresses you most when you check into a hotel?
It would have to be the hotel’s elegance! The first thing that strikes my attention and leaves a lasting impression upon check-in is the hotel’s ambience and general appearance; its façade, lobby and ultimately the rooms.
It doesn’t need to be a particular design theme but it needs to be tasteful and give me a feeling of comfort, welcome and happiness. ✤