Sparkling South Coast Tranquility
Spread across three and a half acres, the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa in Barbados is not your typical island paradise. A prime beach front location oozing Caribbean charm, the central location offers a tropical oasis that’s guaranteed to reinvigorate and reenergize your soul and senses.
On Rockley Beach, 20 minutes away from the Grantley Adams International Airport and 15 minutes away from the capital city of Bridgetown, sits Accra Beach Hotel Resort & Spa. Owned by the Trinidad-based Charles family, who acquired the property in 1968 from IvyBrooks, the property is named to honor the original owner’s home city of Accra, Ghana. Since retaining the name, the family has dedicated itself to constant improvement and refurbishment. In 1996, for example, 128 rooms were added. In 2003, 18 suites were added to 78 rooms, as well as a spa and new restaurants – enhancing the property from year to year.
A mid-size hotel, the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa offers 224 rooms, one of the most famous spas on the island – the Chakra Spa – with a membership of 1,500 people, a gym, meeting facilities, outdoor spaces, three restaurants, and two bars. Offering a diverse service as an accommodation provider, Accra organizes many vacations and staycations. Leading the way is general manager Suresh Monickoraja.
“Last October , we embarked on the refurbishment of the hotel,” Monickoraja said. “We started with the entire look and feel of the lobby. We’re almost towards the end of the refurbishment project, the two areas that are still pending is the water feature and the back drop.”
“From there we’re going to continue the refurbishment into our public areas – enhance our garden area, the look and feel of our artisanal buildings and followed by that, we’re working into the ballroom, the meeting areas and then the corridors and the guest rooms,” he continued. “That is the project for this year that’s in the pipeline,”
Surrounded by lush gardens, the property is a picturesque setting and the accommodations are ideal for relaxation.
“We have 11 categories of rooms here,” Monickoraja said. “Most of rooms are ocean facing. Apart from that, we have a fantastic grand ocean front suite that is considered very high end. We also have ocean facing, double storey suites. For dignitaries, ministers and other high-end individuals, we have a State Room that’s ideal for business or pleasure, ensuring that privacy is of utmost importance.”
Dining and experiencing the true essence of Bajan culture. With four restaurants to choose from, guests’ palates will be easily pleased, as the Accra Beach Hotel & Spa offers the true essence of Bajan culture by catering to both exotic and domestic tastes. From the Coco Patch Restaurant which is predominately a breakfast spot, to the European restaurants serving authentic European cuisine with a twist of Caribbean touches, Accra encapsulates the vibrancy and diversity unique to the Bahamas. Another vital aspect of the beaming hospitality on display at Accra is their openness and transparency, exemplified by their General Managers’ Cocktail Night, where guests are invited to mingle with the managers and get to know the property.
“We consider ourselves one of the most prominent resorts in the south coast, because of the location and the history of the hotel, plus the staff,” Monickoraja said. “We have staff who have been working with us since day one.”
AN EVOLUTION IN CUSTOMER SERVICE
In the hospitality industry, you survive and succeed based on customer service. At Accra, their approach begins and ends with their staff.
“This is always the goal of any property here,” Monickoraja said. “We embark on that by consistently training and grooming our staff and being very vigilant with all the activities and offerings. Our ultimate goal is that each guest that stays and dines with us, they walk out happy and satisfied.”
“Should there be any issues; the staff are told to take immediate action,” he continued. “We always listen to our guests. The advice and voice of the customer is very important. We tailored our product and offering to evolve around guest feedback.”
Delivering value-based incentives and exceptional service has its advantages – especially during off-peak season.
“Year after year we have seasons that have been very fruitful for us,” Monickoraja said. “During the winter period, we do have approximately 65% of our guests returning. This is a testament to our philosophy as an operator – what are we doing right to engage the guests in order for them to come back to Accra again and again.”
LEAN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
For Monickoraja, maintaining the prominence of the hotel goes beyond just the visual aesthetics. While important, nurturing the human capital means a greater return on investment – both for the property and the customers visiting.
“We believe in fairness and treating people the way we want to be treated,” he said. “We’re very fair and we believe in a lean management system. A part of that, we have two important statements during the interview process that we share with our new associates: we would never want to waste your time and on the other hand we don’t want them to waste our time.”
“Accra Beach Hotel and Spa is one of the most prominent hotels in the south coast,” Monickoraja continued. “It is important to hire the right talent, groom the right talent and whenever the opportunity arises, give the right talent a chance to progress.”
A critical component in hiring the right people, Accra ensures that no hierarchical structure gets in the way when providing exceptional service to the guests.
“Another thing that we always mention to our staff: it doesn’t matter what position the person is entrusted with, he is equally important with any of the senior members of the organization,” Monickoraja said. “We treat people with respect, integrity and we mould and groom them constantly with training, new initiatives and re-empower them to participate and present the ideas and offerings of the hotel to the guests.”
The pursuit of knowledge and education is a deep lying trait embodied at Accra. Humble and honest, Monickoraja values the skill and mind sets of all employees – whether they’re still at the Hotel & Spa or have since moved on.
“We are not a global company,” he said. “We are an independent, free-standing organization. Hence why it’s very important that we continuously try to groom our staff so our philosophy is implanted in them saying that when you walk away from Accra you’re ready to serve the market or able to work in any other organization be it branded property or a non-branded property.”
Going forward, Accra Beach Hotel & Spa will be looking to establish and encourage relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure that guests receive the highest quality produce and product available. But the prospective future at Accra goes beyond just supporting the local economy; it’s about growing the roots that have already been planted.
“Barbados in general is very popular with the Brits, Canadians and Americans,” Monickoraja said. “We want to go from away from that – we want to look at other markets – the Brazilians are coming and into the South American and Eastern European markets.”
“We want to be a market leader in accommodation, food offerings, spas and keeping our product in line with technology, innovation and global trends,” he continued. “As a future leader of the organization, I’m constantly recruiting and grooming talents. We have good offerings, but I believe we’re able to do better.”
Ready to serve your needs, Accra Beach Hotel & Spa will capture your imagination. The future at Accra is defined by worldwide flair and fashion sense.
“We’ve engaged a lot of designers from the USA and Trinidad,” Monickoraja said. ”The accents are coming in from all over the place – the tiles are coming from Brazil and some of the features are coming from the States. The river stones on the wall are coming from Indonesia. So a lot of engagement, involvement, commitment and time, but the end product will be amazing.”