Leading at the Helm

by Kristian Harrison

Mon, 03 July 2023

Bahraini general manager Hussain Al Samahiji

The K Hotel is a gem among the 4-star deluxe hotels in the Kingdom, with Bahraini General Manager, Hussain Al Samahiji, at the helm. In an exclusive interview with Kristian Harrison, he shares his philosophy and the hotel's exciting next chapter.

Al Samahiji has expertly guided The K Hotel through its most challenging period after more than four years in the top seat. Having started as a junior staff member in the food and beverage department in 1998, he has an incredible 25-years career in the hospitality industry. He started his hospitality management career in earnest at The K Hotel, where he has remained for the past decade. He worked as the director of sales and marketing for two years before being promoted to executive assistant manager in 2015 after completing the General Managers Programme at Cornell University in New York, USA. In 2017, he was appointed as the general manager of one of the leading four-star hotels in the Kingdom, operated by the Gulf Hotels Group.

When asked about his passion for hospitality, Al Samahiji explained: "I love the luxury and etiquette that industry provides. But more importantly, it allows me to meet anyone at any level. As a sociable person, I enjoy building strong relationships with our guests and associates." His excellent rapport with his staff, who represent on average 20 different nationalities, is emphasised by the fact that The K Hotel was able to successfully navigate the pandemic without laying off its employees. This was made possible by an effective proactive plan. 

Al Samahiji says: "I believe that nothing is impossible if you have a vision and fight for it. You need to think positively and not listen to people who are not prepared to grow. There are always challenges, but you can overcome them. The culture of mutual loyalty that we have nurtured at The K Hotel is one of the main reasons behind our success."

Al Samahiji's proudest improvement in his four-year tenure is the relaunch of the K Lounge as a modern and ambient setting with a chilled vibe, providing guests with the perfect atmosphere to relax and unwind. The K Tracks Lounge, located on the first floor, caters to sports and live entertainment, adding a dash of excitement to the hotel's already vibrant atmosphere. The hotel's extensive food and beverage options are another major draw, with an average of 140,000 food enthusiasts served every year. KOLORS restaurant's weekly theme nights and brunches have been a huge hit with guests, offering a variety of exciting and delicious dining experiences. From seafood nights to steak nights and everything in between, there's something for everyone to enjoy. 

Additionally, The K Hotel's successful launch of its Ramadan Tent this year was another testament to the hotel's commitment to providing exceptional dining experiences. Guests were treated to a lavish spread of traditional and international delicacies, with live cooking stations and entertainment adding to the festive ambience. 

The K Hotel is also known for its innovative approach to lighting design, featuring a digital LED screen on the building that has become a popular landmark in the bustling Juffair area. The successful lighting illumination of the façades of The K Hotel gives a second face that impresses the public, especially at night. Moreover, The K Hotel has received 72 recognition awards from esteemed partners in the past 12 years, a testament to its commitment to excellence. 

Looking ahead, Al Samahiji is dedicated to continuing The K Hotel's legacy of excellence and maintaining its reputation as a premier destination for discerning travelers. He said: “We take pride in our community engagement initiatives and are committed to making a positive impact beyond our doors. With a renewed focus on quality service and guest satisfaction, The K Hotel is poised to provide an exceptional experience to all who visit.”

He is grateful to The K Hotel team, owners, board of directors, and the Gulf Hotels Group for their support, which allows him to operate as he does. He is excited about the challenges that the future will bring and wants to set an example for young locals who want to get into the hospitality industry. He believes that there are big opportunities out there if you are willing to do the work necessary to get the job done, even outside your normal range. 

"The best way to motivate hotel staff members is to be a manager who leads by example," he concludes.