The FINANCIAL -- Rehabilitation of the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel in Tbilisi is one of the top priorities of RAKIA Group in Georgia and it is planned to start in the near future, Andreas Heidingsfelder, General Manager of the Hotel, told The FINANCIAL. The investment portfolio of the project consists of USD 25 to 30 million. “Rooms, restaurants, modern technologies and additional facilities will perfectly representing the Sheraton brand in future,” said Heidingsfelder.
The project is in active phase of architectural and design works and the designers have already presented their first drawings how it may look at the end after a major refurbishment. The interior of the building will be changed dramatically. The idea is to bringing the well-known Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel to the next level and back to its glory.
The size of the lobby will remain. Additional enhancements and modern features will be added. Fitness will be updated and enlarged. Shine SPA for Sheraton – another core value of the Sheraton brand will be the perfect addition with new treatment rooms, steam bath, saunas as well as upgraded indoor and outdoor pools.
A new Signature restaurant will be opened on the 10th floor in combination with bar and lounge. A “All-day-diner” is additionally planned combined with upgraded Banqueting facilities, in order to remain the largest Hotel Conference Center in town.
“People will still recognize the new Sheraton by its signature lobby; other than that, it will be impossible to draw parallels between the actual and future product. All facilities, rooms, accessories and equipment will be redesigned, changed, replaced or upgraded,” he said.
Different scenarios and timeframes how to conduct this major refurbishment are considered and discussed between all involved parties at this stage.
“USD 25 to 30 million is a huge investment with a long-term return” - Mr. Heidingsfelder expects that with enlarged room inventory, increased number and variety of outlets, Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel will become even busier, livelier and certainly more profitable to the stakeholders.
Nowadays, 80% of the guests who stay at the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel are international customers, more than 50% – SPG members (Starwood Preferred Guest). They are loyal consumers who are used to international standards, which despite the old building and conservative facilities they never lack in our Hotel.
“First of all, for our main segment, business traveller, Sheraton is the go-to brand. They know what to expect from us. If it’s your first time in the country or city, you definitely select a trustworthy hotel brand in order to be confident that you will be perfectly looked after. Our guests love Sheraton not only for its quality of the rooms, signature beds, the free internet - just small details that make a huge difference to them; they are linked to us because of our service attitude,” said Heidingsfelder.
“We always care about our guests, find out what they love, what they do not like, what are their favourite things, what irritates them. Sheraton takes into consideration all of these things and creates an atmosphere which makes them satisfied and happy.
That way every subsequent stay of our guests’ is always better and better for them,” he said. Andreas believes that after this grandiose refurbishment, implementation of all Brand standards, building-up all Core Values of Sheraton, brand awareness, guest satisfaction and loyalty will increase even further.
At the Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel not only the guests, but also the employees, are happy. “98% of them are satisfied and moreover, proud to work with us. This is a really phenomenal indicator. Out of 180 employees 98% are happy or very happy. If I see someone not smiling while I am going around the hotel, I always stop and ask them for the reason. If we are attentive and caring, they are the same towards their colleagues and our customers,” said Heidingsfelder.
“We also have Georgian guests who are used to Georgian traditions. They want the feel of a Georgian environment even if they are in an international hotel. We always take into consideration this aspect and arrange a special atmosphere for them. Our company respects and values customs and habits of the country where it operates. Like, for example, if Khachapuri (a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread) is not included in the menu, it is always available in our restaurant and so our guests can try it wherever thy like. We also alter the menu during the fasting period as we know that many people in the country are fasting during certain times of the year,” added Mr. Heidingsfelder.
The Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel hosted Golden Brand, the most influential business awards ceremony in Georgia, in 2014. “I am proud that the Golden Brand Award Ceremony had come back to us. The focus of the event is very important for us, as we are selling the Sheraton brand, or to be more precise the Sheraton brand sells us. Sheraton is a one of the most powerful brand within the portfolio of Starwood Hotels & Resorts ® as well as within the worldwide industry. Exactly this name encourages guests to stay with us. The same happens with other companies and their brand names. Just see Asics and their running shoes or Apple with their Iphone. I believe that it is very important for local companies to find their names among the winning Golden Brands, as this will result in future financial benefits,” Heidingsfelder said.
“The Golden Brand Award event was very well organized. I personally would advise the event organizers to prepare a 30 second video of each winning brand to create additional brand awareness. It should be a company review and not a small advertising video, that allows the audience to understand the philosophy and value of the winning company better,” he added.
Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel – opened in 1991- is the first 5-star international hotel in the whole Caucasus region. Tbilisi’s largest conference hotel, with 140 elegant guest rooms, club rooms on the top 3 floors, spacious suites, fitness centre with outdoor and indoor pools, gymnasium, aerobics studio, whirlpool, sauna, massage service, business centre, various restaurants, 24-hour room service, in-house dry cleaning and laundry, international standard meeting/convention facilities for up to 1100 people, and an outdoor catering service. Acclaimed leader of the international hospitality business in Georgia, the hotel boasts very efficient staff and management expertise, breath-taking panoramic views of the city and mountains, an environmentally clean location, high security, atrium space in the lobby. The Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel is managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the leading American hotel management companies.
About Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with over 1,400 properties in more than 100 countries and actually 171,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, and Element®. The Company boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest(R) (SPG), allowing members to earn and redeem points for room stays, room upgrades and flights, with no blackout dates. Starwood also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., a premier provider of world-class vacation experiences through villa-style resorts and privileged access to Starwood brands. For more information, please visit www.starwoodhotels.com