(MENAFN - Arab News) A multimillion dollar project to expand and renovate the luxury Four Seasons Hotel located in the Kingdom Tower is under way with a plan to create an exclusive floor for women travelers, a female-only gym and, above all, extra 45 rooms besides the existing facilities. The expansion also includes a new multi-buffet concept restaurant "Elements," described as the first of its kind in the capital city offering three signature nights, which is now open.
Greg A. Pirkle, Four Seasons Hotel's newly appointed general manager, gave these details in an interview with Arab News. He also made a special reference to the hotel's new dining facilities and offers for guests. Tarek Bekhiet, the hotel's marketing director, also spoke about the growing popularity of the hotel among frequent travelers.
A veteran of hospitality industry Pirkle, who started his career with Four Seasons Hotel, Boston, way back in 1989, said the hotel industry was booming in Saudi Arabia despite the political unrest witnessed by some countries in the Middle East. "Saudi Arabia is a very safe place...a large number of hotels are either under construction here or have announced plans to open," said Pirkle, who has spent over 20 years in operational leadership roles in eight different Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts around the world.
Pirkle said: "The 48th and 50th floors, where we used to have private apartments, have been converted into two premium accommodation floors." Right now, the hotel has a total of 249 rooms for guests including the 50th floor dedicated for female travelers. A new 90 square meter gym exclusively for women is planned to open during the third quarter of this year, he noted.
He said that the revamp will also create the Kingdom Suite, which will be the "signature suite" of the hotel situated on both floors covering an area of 330 sqm. "We have opened our new Elements Restaurant, which has three signature nights - Seafood night, Middle Eastern night and Asian night," Pirkle added. This is in addition to Rosso Italian Restaurant, opened only a few weeks back. Another hot spot for cuisine lovers - The Grill Restaurant - is set to reopen before the ensuing Ramadan, after its six-month renovation.
Moreover, the Lobby Lounge of the hotel offers a "vibrant meeting place" for light meals, afternoon tea and fine homemade French pastries and cakes, said Pirkle, who worked as general manager for Four Seasons Resort Langkawi, Malaysia, before his appointment at the Riyadh hotel. The hotel offers a complimentary third night with every two consecutive paid nights to its guests when staying at the Four Seasons Executive Suite or Superior Suite. This offer is called "Stay Longer."
The hotel also has a special "Experience More" package, under which the guests receive a 100 credit for use at the hotel when staying at the Four Seasons Executive Suite or Superior Suite for a minimum of two nights. On the other hand, the hotel's honeymoon or special wedding anniversary package is increasingly becoming popular. This package, he said, includes personalized wedding card, heart-shaped chocolate cake, fine selection of chocolates, 25 percent discount on any massage treatment for men and 20 percent discount in "Scented" Spa & Beauty Centre, for ladies.
The romantic getaway package includes a lot of other complimentary services like valet parking. This is in addition to standard hotel amenities like distinct work area, wireless high-speed Internet access, dual-line phones, international satellite television channels, an iPod docking station, DVD player, a private bar and new relaxing chaise lounges for reading and enjoying the magnificent views of Riyadh.
"The hotel has also prepared fancy packages for kids," said Bekhiet. The hotel, he said, offers 50 percent discounts for kids room and provides a range of gifts like coloring books, free trip to the sky bridge of The Kingdom Center and free access to "Sparky's" entertainment centre at The Kingdom Mall. The 184 feet long skybridge, sitting atop the skyscraper at a height of 953 feet, has a public observation deck from where one can take a view of entire Riyadh.
The hotel has a large number of talented Saudi employees. "We are under the green target, a goal set by the Ministry of Labor," said Pirkle, adding that the hotel has a number of Saudi female workers. On the involvement of the hotel in community welfare projects, he said: "The hotel is involved in some community projects including its ongoing support for cancer patients."