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PIECE OF HEAVEN

If you dreamt of visiting heaven on Earth, diving into the Mediterranean Sea and experiencing its crystal clear and turquoise water, then the Al Alamein Hotel is the perfect place for you. The hotel is located at the heart of the North Coast in Egypt, inside the prestigious neighborhood, Marassi. Filled with lush greenery, luxurious villas and apartments, Marassi is home to many Arab celebrities and well-known figures. Entertainment options are endless at Marassi. The neighborhood has a variety of dining venues and cafès, shopping outlets, night-out areas, and more!

How was the perfection built…

The hotel was built in 1964 when former President Gamal Abdel Nasser gave an order to the Minister of Tourism, Abdel Kader Hatem to establish The Egyptian Holding Company for Tourism and Hotels, to build the Sidi Abdel Rahman Hotel in the bay with the same name. Two villas were built next to the hotel, one of which was owned by the former President. The other villa belonged to the Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer. Today these two luxury villas are available for rent. The villas are beautifully furnished, with antique accessories that belonged to the original owners as well as a collection of books that belonged to President Abdel Nasser. The villas include a spacious garden and a private beach access. Moreover, the two villas used to be a honeymoon destination for the former President’s daughters. Till this day, Al Alamein Hotel is a preferred destination for many well-known figures as well as actors from the Golden Age. When you step inside the hotel’s lobby, you can’t help but notice the heart-warming framed images of actors and actresses from the Golden Age, as Al Alamein Hotel was a popular location for several famous Egyptian movies. 

However, let’s get back to reality and present the man behind the scenes for all the beauty this place has to offer today- Mr. Tamer Khedr, Cluster General Manager at Emaar Hospitality Group Address Marassi Golf Resort & Al Alamein Hotel. This place would not be where it is without his management, perseverance, sense of business and endless charisma. His experience in the industry justify every success of Al Alamein Hotel. He talks to us about his success story and shares some of his insights with us.

The traveling gives you new, wider dimensions of view…

I used to travel when I was in college. I was in the United States and working different jobs in order to improve my English and to see some other places. I liked this interaction with guests and with people in general. I loved the traveling part and I found that serving people makes me happy. So, I enrolled into tourism hotel management school. I graduated and I worked a little bit as a French tour guide. I liked to show Egypt to the people and tell them about the monuments, the Egyptian people, about the culture and about the little things that they cannot know from the media or from books. I loved my job very much. My main goal was to make those people happy and to make them really enjoy the experience. That’s the beauty of travel. You don’t go back as the same person you were. So, I think one of the best things in life is to travel, to expose yourself to new experiences and to challenge your thinking, that’s the beauty. So, that was how I started. After a few years working as a guide, I wanted a more stable life. So, I moved to hotel management. I went to the US and I studied hotel management in Providence, Rhode Island. I worked in Hilton for a few years and then I moved to San Antonio. After that, I came to Egypt and worked at the Four Seasons Hotel during the pre-opening period. I then started working for Shangri-La, a Singaporean chain, where I stayed for nine years. Working with Shangri-La Muscat, Hong Kong and Shangri-La Dubai was an incredible experience. Then, life brought me to the EMAAR, and I ended up here.

The weight of the profession doesn’t change things because the power is in the balance…

My blessing and gift is that I don’t feel like I’m working at all, but I enjoy my profession. I don’t leave anything to chance, I follow every detail vigilantly. Checking if everything is running smoothly, tasting the food, talking to the customers, solving problems, checking the uniform of the staff, cafeteria for dinner, going to the accommodations to check every detail. I find all of this very interesting and very exciting. I enjoy thinking about tomorrow and how to improve all things to be better. So, I think I’m very lucky to do something that I really love.

Harmony in private life firmly maintains the pillar of success…

We all must have balance in life. No matter how much I work, I never forget my private responsibility. I’m happily married, I have three beautiful children, I just enjoy life. I use my free days to visit my mother and family, and I believe that one person, no matter how busy he is, must never forget his roots and those closest to him.

The way a team works as a whole, determines its success…

Аctually, you put on so many hats, metaphorically speaking. Of course, I cannot say you have to always be friendly. You have to lead them as well as to have authority. It’s a mixture of so many things. Sometimes I have to be very firm, sometimes maybe they don’t like me, sometimes we joke and we go play soccer together, sometimes we have a conversation and I ask them about their opinion on something and involve them in the decision, it all depends on the situation. It also depends on the team member, is the team member experienced or fresh in the industry? This is because every member has a different level of motivation and set of skills. You have to deal with each individual accordingly. It’s important to understand the mind set, part of the job is being a psychologist. You also need to be mentor, you need to be a motivator, you need to be a teacher, you need to be father and also a dictator sometimes.

Talent is a gift of life, and the ability of person is in his improvement and advancement…

People can have talent, but talent is not enough. Along the way in your life you will meet other managers and other people you can learn from. First you need to have the knowledge, you need to know how things should be done. The second part is to see people working, to see the productivity and to see their attitude with the guests. So, there are things that you learn in life by your experience and travel. There are things that you learned from school. And there are things that you learn because it’s a people business, you learn how to deal with people, you need to read the facial expression and to have social and emotional intelligence.

The greatest success is reflected in the satisfied eye of the guests…

Once you step inside a movie theater, you need to forget about the other world, right? So, the music, the actors, the landscape, everything should take you from your world into another world and in that time you need to forget about outside. Same applies for the hotel business, once you step inside the hotel, it needs to take you into another world, you need to feel it, it needs to move your emotions, it needs to touch your senses. From the essence, from the decor, from what you see as colors, from the food that you taste, from the engagement from the different staff. So, it’s the whole combination that create a synergy. Just like the orchestra, they play music but they all need to play together.

Everything is in the details…

Everything to me is a detail, from the tables that need to be cleaned and with no cracks, the lights, the curtains, the art work on the walls, the uniform of the staff, the flowers at the entrance, the guest arrival, everything has to be perfect, everything. All those movie stars that you see on the walls used to come here. It used to be the former president’s summer house and now because of all the rich houses around, Al Alamein Hotel has become even more exclusive. Every detail makes this place even more unique.

Every business philosophy have two sides…

If I were not working in the hotel business, I would be in the teaching hospitality business, teaching people how to succeed in life, how to be determined. When I left Egypt, I believe that one of the most important things that happened to me and changed my life was traveling. Traveling fascinated me and fueled my success. I always wanted to study and learn how successful people achieved many milestones and got to where they are. And that encouraged me to follow my passion and to be extremely consistent and hard-work as there is no short cut for success. I learned a lot about determination, about focus, about having moral authority. This means that you don’t need a boss, you are your own boss, you don’t need somebody to tell you what to do… you will not do anything wrong because you respect yourself and you are your own self-audit.

The biggest life lesson…

I learn from everyone, everyone has something to offer. I learned that everything is possible but you need to just start. I think the most important thing is to always be ready, to be adaptable and to learn from everything and everyone around you. It’s important to constantly be open to learning about empathy, about the business and about life.

Best leadership style…

There is no best leadership style. Leadership means to be able to influence people. In order to influence people, you need to enter their hearts, you need to enter their mind. For example, when talking about Mother Teresa, we know that she was not a dictator, she did not yell, she did not scream, rather she was a servant- leader, right? She impacted people by making them look at her as their role model, and people were so impressed by her sincerity. That is leadership. How can you influence people? First, you have to be very sincere, you are not doing it for any hidden agenda nor for a gain. If you want people to follow, you need to have a mission or something tangible, you need to have the case that you defend.

Ideal business concept for satisfied guests…

The concept remains the same with hotel management. It needs to always be fresh and you need to always feel as if you are the first person entering it. It’s super important to constantly and consistently maintain the furniture and interior, as well as the mechanical and electrical aspects. The hotel must not look old and worn out.

Life motto…

I don’t have a life motto, but I have many life principles. I like to be fair to others, I like to treat people in a fair manner, I like to be generous with my feelings. I hate to see somebody down and I always want to help. If somebody is going through tough times and they need moral support, I will give them the support needed, I cannot stand seeing people in misery.

And all this goes to show why this place is so special. Al Alamein Hotel cannot be described in words, it has to be experienced. Both a luxurious and beautiful place. You are sure to fall in love with this place as soon as you set for in the lobby. The hotel is a design masterpiece and has 189 luxurious and stylishly decorated rooms and villas, each of which has its own magic. Mouth-watering food, impeccably kind staff and service at the highest level. That harmony is the work of General Manager, Mr. Tamer Khedr. With his skill, knowledge and experience, he placed the Al Alamein Hotel on a pedestal for three years in a row as a hotel that is best ranked by satisfied guests. As part of the EMAAR hospitality group, it was ranked first in the world for 2021

There are people you will only meet once in your life and they will stay in your heart forever. And there are places that, if only visited once- will be your home forever. Those people are there… That place is Al Alamein hotel.

Nadica Pushkoska

https://www.alalameinhotel.com/en/