The Maestro of the Secret Garden

The hospitality scene in Bahrain recently acquired a new member: Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain. OHLALA spoke to its General Manager, Marie Berengere Chapoton, to get to know more about the property and her leadership.

“Understanding local culture is crucial for a property’s success. It shapes guest expectations and behaviours, allowing leaders to tailor offerings and services.”

– Marie Berengere Chapoton

OHLALA – How did hospitality enter your life? What made you choose this career path?
Marie Berengere Chapoton – Hospitality entered my life at an early stage, and it quickly became my passion. I was captivated by the idea of creating exceptional experiences for others and providing outstanding service. From a young age, I found joy in curating moments that left a lasting impression on people. My passion, cultural connections and the industry’s dynamics made it a natural and fulfilling choice for me.

OHLALA – You’ve worked with different hotel brands and in many different countries. What, in your opinion, makes a good leader in this sector?
Marie – A good leader in the hospitality sector combines strong leadership skills, adaptability, customer focus, cultural intelligence, problem-solving abilities and an exemplary work ethic to create a positive and successful environment for both employees and guests.

OHLALA – As mentioned previously, you worked in different countries. How important is it to understand the culture that you are inserted in for the success of the property?
Marie –
Understanding local culture is crucial for a property’s success. It shapes guest expectations and behaviours, allowing leaders to tailor offerings and services. It builds trust, fosters relationships and helps navigate regulations and business practices. Cultural understanding enhances guest satisfaction and drives long-term success.

OHLALA – As the General Manager, what do you see as your primary role?
Marie –
As the General Manager, my primary role is to provide strategic leadership and oversee the overall operations of the property. Setting the vision, goals and direction of the hotel, ensuring its financial success and delivering exceptional guest experiences. A significant part of my role involves leading and inspiring a high-performing team. I establish a positive work culture, provide guidance and empower employees to excel in their roles. I ensure that the property consistently delivers outstanding service, meets or exceeds guest expectations and maintains high standards of quality. I actively engage with guests, listen to their feedback and implement improvements to enhance their experience. Financial management is another key aspect of my role. I oversee budgeting, financial planning and cost control to optimise revenue and profitability. As the General Manager, I act as the ambassador of the property, building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders, including owners, investors, local authorities and the community.

OHLALA – Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain is relatively new in Bahrain. What are the essential aspects to take into consideration when introducing a new concept, and what are the most exciting challenges?
Marie –
When introducing a new concept like Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain, important considerations include market analysis, developing a compelling concept, effective marketing, comprehensive training and adapting based on guest feedback. Exciting challenges include creating brand awareness, acquiring and retaining guests, delivering on promises and adapting to market dynamics. It’s an opportunity to make a lasting impact by offering something unique and memorable to guests.

OHLALA – What makes Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain such a unique property? What are its main highlights for you? Is there any special space that you like most?
Marie –
So many aspects make Raffles Bahrain unique. The property offers luxurious private villas, each with its own swimming pool and outdoor area, providing guests with the utmost privacy and tranquillity. Another aspect is the renowned Signature Raffles Service, a legendary service in the hospitality universe. Spa and wellness are essential, and Raffles Spa offers a range of indulgent treatments and wellness programmes. It is a sanctuary providing a serene space for relaxation, rejuvenation and holistic well-being. And, of course, we offer culinary excellence with exceptional dining options showcasing a variety of cuisines and experiences. As for a special space for me, one of the highlights would be the private outdoor areas of the villas. These spaces provide a serene oasis where guests can relax, unwind and enjoy their own personal sanctuary. Whether it’s lounging by the private pool, indulging in al fresco dining, or simply taking in the beautiful surroundings, these private outdoor areas offer an extraordinary and immersive experience.

OHLALA – Can you share with us what more can be expected at Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain?
Marie –
At Raffles Al Areen Palace Bahrain, guests have a personalised and bespoke experience unlike any other. Our dedicated Raffles butlers are trained to anticipate every need and desire of our guests, ensuring that their stay is tailored to perfection. From arranging exclusive experiences to curating unique rituals that cater to their preferences, our butlers are committed to delivering a level of service that exceeds expectations. Guests are immersed in a world of luxury and sophistication, where every moment is crafted with care and attention to detail.

OHLALA – How long have you been in Bahrain and what do you like most about the country?
Marie –
Since 2019, my time in Bahrain has been truly remarkable, and what stands out most to me is the genuine hospitality and kindness of the Bahraini people. Their warmth and welcoming nature have left a lasting impression on me, making me feel right at home in this beautiful country.


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