Client: Corinthia Hotel Lisbon
Corinthia Hotel Lisboa
Lisbon has an amazing potential for growth in tourism and business
With a plethora of international tourism awards, excellent attractions and museums and fine food, wines and hospitality, Lisbon’s tourism and hotel sector has so much more room to grow in the coming years says the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon’s new Managing Director, Reuben Mifsud. Chris Graeme finds out more.
How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
I have been in the hospitality business with Corinthia for the past 14 years and I’m looking forward to enjoying more successful years with this hotel group. I started off with Corinthia in Malta, at the Corinthia Hotel in St. George’s Bay, and after a short time there I moved on to Libya.
Were you in Libya during the crisis?
It was just before the crisis and before the sanctions started in 2002. We opened a beautiful luxurious hotel in Tripoli but I was there until one month before the crisis blew up.
Immediately I moved back to Malta where I took over another Corinthia Hotel which was the 200-room Marina Corinthia Hotel Beach Resort where I was the Managing Director for the past two-and-a-half years and succeeded with my team in increasing room occupancy and revenues.
Then three weeks ago I came to Lisbon, to this beautiful hotel and city.
Are you going to be learning Portuguese?
I’ve already started. I’ve picked up a few words and with my Maltese culture and the Italian language and the fact that Maltese has some Portuguese words, I think I’ll be able to learn the language as my predecessor did.
What is your biggest challenge going to be here?
This is a large hotel, it has 518 bedrooms, the owners are investing a lot of money in refurbishing the new lobby and lounge areas as well as extending the conference and business facilities, and the challenge is to push the average room rate up and I can only do this with our team which is excellent.
The entire city needs to be looking at increasing room occupancy rates and raising the benchmark to a new and higher level. There’s a lot of competition here and we want to ensure that the competition is a healthy one. We don’t want competition to end up being a price war; instead we want the hotel business to work together for the success of Portugal since we want more tourists to come here and for Lisbon to be more successful.
What do you think of Lisbon?
It has a lot to offer: history, culture and authenticity, great restaurants, great people and is winning a lot of awards, including our own hotel which scooped an award in September for the Best Energy Efficient Hotel in the World. We accepted the award in Washington. This is a big property, but when you see the energy consumption per occupied room, it has one of the lowest energy consumption rates possible.
We have installed energy efficient machinery and equipment when it comes to power generation: air conditioning, lighting – all our bulbs are LED in this hotel – we have a solar panel system to generate heat, and we give preference to energy efficient and environmentally friendly suppliers as a green hotel.
How far are events important to you?
They are very important, as much as leisure is important. This hotel has 3,000m2 of conference and banqueting facilities which are a key to Lisbon’s success because Lisbon has a lot of conference and events business and a great deal of leisure business too.
This hotel has 3,000m2 of SPA facilities managed by Longevity which has a great and innovative approach. Not many European city centre hotels have such a large SPA. It offers a lot of medicinal and treatment facilities which visitors can enjoy at our hotel. Normally such large SPA facilities are usually found in resorts and out-of-town facilities, so that makes it a unique selling point for this property.
Do you serve traditional Maltese dishes in your restaurants?
We do have some Maltese dishes as well as offering Portuguese and international cuisine. We have theme nights every night in our buffet restaurant since we have diverse clients from all around the world – from France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States as well as Angola and Brazil who stay here an average of two to three days; of course we have the one-day corporate clients but also guests who stay for a week.
The Corinthia is also proud to host celebrity chefs including Michelin star chefs like Garry Hollihead who works at the Corinthia in London.
All text and photos kindly supplied by BPCC Member: