The newest hotel in Albania is The Plaza Tirana which has opened its doors since last April. It cannot be missed even for its nice architecture which has the name of the Belgian company, “51N4E” in Brussels, managed by the architect Johan Anrys.
This Hotel is a 100% Albanian investment highlighting two big companies – TID (Tirana International Development sh.p.k.) and Agna Group.
But its management is Italian and Albanian. Carmelo Franco Lentini, the General Manager of this hotel, alongside with his Team is constantly working in the management of The Plaza Tirana in the best way possible. Using his 30 years in the hotels’market, Mr. Lentini explains in the following exclusive interview with Tirana Times why clients should choose The Plaza Tirana which comprises 190 rooms, 3 restaurants, 3 Bars, a 24-hour Gym, Wellness SPA, meeting rooms and many more.
– What is the story about The Plaza Tirana Hotel?
– I arrived in Albania in April 2015. But the construction of this hotel started some 5-6 years ago. Only two years ago, the owners of this building decided to go for a 5-star hotel. Then, I was asked alongside with my team to come over for the opening of this hotel.
– How does the beginning look like?
– Last year, the building was polished off. We are giving our experience to organize all the management aspects of the hotel and its positioning in the market. We started to take care of the process since last year. My experience is directly linked with the hotels. For 30 years, I have worked with big names in this field such as Hilton, Intercontinental, and others. This is the seventh time in my career when I deal with the operation of a new hotel.
– How is the feedback of the clients so far?
– We are open for one month and a half. So, it is a short time. However, the clients are happy. Most of our clients are from the other countries. If you read their comments on TripAdvisor or Booking.com, the big satisfaction for us is to know that they appreciate the quality of the building, the quality of rooms and the quality of service. I think the owner has done a very good job with the project.
– Can you tell us some interesting facts about the people who stay behind the architecture and the design?
– The architecture of our building bears the authorship of a Belgian company, “51N4E” in Brussels, managed by the architect Johan Anrys. The Venice Architecture Biennale 2016 is currently being held. And The Plaza Hotel is being displayed in this prestigious international project for its fine architecture. We are proud of that. Even last year, the project received awards by MoMa (Museum of Modern Arts) in New York, US. So, the Hotel has been highly appreciated architecturally. We also have a group of Italian architects and interior designers who work for all the rooms, the restaurants, the SPA and the furniture. Mauro Margheri company, which is based in Albania, is the coordinator of this group of architects and interior designers: Alessandro Dolci is the architect from Trento, of every room in this Hotel. Two other architects and interior designers from Florence, Camilla Lapucci and Lapo Bianchi Luci have made all the projects about the restaurants: Panevino, Convivium and Savor. All these experts cooperate together to take care of the rest in this Hotel.
– I have heard that The Plaza Hotel comprises the best Spa in Albania.
– (Laughing) I don’t know whether it is the best SPA in Albania… But even the Spa is a work from the hands of Alessandro Dolci in cooperation with an Italian company, called Starpool. The latter is the number one in Europe for the construction of spa areas.
– How about the beds?
– The group of architects and I have chosen “Simmons”, the number one bedding company in the world for hotels. For example, Starwood, Hilton, Four Seasons and others buy beds from Simmons.
There is also a Greek supplier, “Coco-Mat”, which produces beds made of natural products only to avoid allergic reactions.
– And the chef?
– We have an Italian Executive Chef, Marco Pinelli, with a long international experience in the most prestigious hotel chains. We have even a great cooperation with Italian food suppliers to meet all the requirements and the tastes of all our clients. Obviously we also use the best food suppliers that exist in Albania.
– In your view, what makes a good hotel?
– A good hotel is a place where we can combine together the hardware with the software parts, such as the building, the comfort of the rooms and the public space, the SPA, the restaurants, and a high level of services. But the target is not only to provide good rooms and good services only. If you want to win the competition on the market, you have to offer excellent experiences to all the visitors and guests of the hotel. This is the actual challenge of all the 5-star hotels all over the world: to create experience that people must remember, and feel like high value. And this is the only way to go away from a competition based only on prices. And this is the real strong challenge, because it is a combination of comfort with service. The first part is easier to be achieved but the second part is far more difficult. You need to train very well all the staff. We have a lot of people working here. Everyone needs to be conscious that he/she is part of the process. So, all of them share a part of their contribution to guarantee a great experience to the guest. So, this is like a clock which needs to work precisely.
– What is your invitation to the clients?
What we are doing now is that we are offering a nice combination between comfort, service and price as well as a full service hotel to the guest. We make avail to them a variety of food proposals and services.
– Among the several hotel services, which ones would you choose as the strongest points?
– I would choose Food and Beverage proposals and the SPA. We have Panevino, where we offer homemade pasta and homemade desserts, but even Convivium restaurant, which is open for dinner and offers to our guests a real food experience. So from breakfast, room service to bar, we are trying to offer the highest standard we can. For example, “Nespresso”, the most famous coffee in Europe, was missing in Albania. We, along with Agna Group, brought it here.
About the SPA, we chose as our partner ELEMIS, one of the best producers of cosmetics in Europe.
Small things together make a big difference.
July 1, 2016