George Miu: Sofia's Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Guarantees Top Quality Experience
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world's largest and most dynamic hotel companies. It has an expanding portfolio of more than 1,370 hotels in operation and under development, a global footprint covering over 110 countries and territories, and a powerful set of global brands: Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu®, Radisson®, Radisson Red, Park Plaza®, Park Inn® by Radisson and Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM.
In Bulgaria the Group is represented by Radisson Blu Grand Hotel, Sofia and Park in by Radisson. We have the pleasure to present you an interview with the General Manager of Radisson Blu Grand Hotel, Sofia – Mr. George Miu, here below.
The Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Sofia has become something of a landmark for the capital over the past years. What is it that makes the hotel so distinctive?
What I know about the building’s history is that ever since it’s opening back in the late 60’s, it was considered THE SPOT in Sofia. I have met a lot of people who are telling me that our hotel is connected to them with dear memories, as they celebrated important events in their life here (prom balls, graduations, baptizing or weddings) not to mention the tens of years of tradition to meet with friends in the lobby bar or at the restaurants. An interesting part is that many of our Wedding couples even had their fists date with us, overlooking the remarkable view of Alexander Nevski Cathedral’s golden domes and keep the tradition to come celebrate their anniversaries.
Carlson RezidorGroup’s history began in the same period. The year 1960 marks the opening of what is considered as the first design hotel - Royal Copenhagen.
In that respect, I think that managing this landmark property under the brand of Radisson Blu is a perfect combination to guarantee top quality hospitality experience. This tendency keeps increasing especially during the last years after the latest renovation of the building adding an arty and design look.
To round it up, I sincerely believe that what makes us distinct is a combination of history, contemporary design product, our company values and most of all our Yes I Can! service attitude.
What exactly is Yes I Can! attitude?
This is the heart and foundation of our company culture towards guests every day, everywhere and all the time.
The philosophy behind Yes I Can! is based on a positive service attitude towards our guests, meeting them with a positive response or solution on any request.
A hotel or a service company is the sum total of its people. I am convinced that the success of our hotel and company relies on the knowledge, skills, abilities, motivation and dedication of each of our employees.
As a result, the people staying with us appreciate the positive atmosphere, service levels (we see this constantly in our guest’s reviews) and feeling special thus becoming our loyal returning guests.
The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Groupis proud to have received an impressive variety of awards and accolades in recognition of our unique Yes I Can!values. Tree simple words in combination, describing our mission and constant efforts for improvement, creativity and tailor made solution services.
Why do many business travelers pick Radisson Blu Grand Hotelas their preferred place to stay?
The typical Business traveler is a person whose stay is short with tight agenda and appreciates the right location, a variety of services that helps him have a productive stay and at the same time enjoy genuine hospitality (being himself a real connoisseur, from the constant traveling). Radisson Blu Grand Hotel Sofiaprovides all that.
Starting with the location, in the very heart of the capital where in approximate vicinity one can find all kinds of transport connections, in only 10 minutes’ drive from the airport, having most of the cultural attractions, restaurants and clubs in a walking distance. At our hotel only, one can choose from whether to enjoy the Bulgarian cuisine or Mediterranean classic menu at Studio restaurant, have a juicy burger, a quick snack paired with a good drink at the Lounge bar enjoying live performance of the classic guitarists, or try the Asian delights down at SASA restaurant (under different operator). For a late night experience the choices are - the classic on the night life scene in Sofia for years now – Tequila club or a game at the fully renovated casino (both being under different operators in the same building).
Our business class rooms’ guests can always benefit of our cozy Business Class Lounge and enjoy a quiet ARTmosphere to work, meet or watch television at on the 75” LCD TV while enjoying our canap?s, snacks and drinks.
Last but not least a variety of service concepts, created to guarantee high service levels and consistency. I will just highlight some of the truly distinctive ones, beside Yes I Can!
- Free WiFi, which was initiated by us back in 2006 and is currently turning into a standard guest expectation despite the fact that some companies still do not offer it;
- Late Check-out, which gives the opportunity to guests to check-out without additional cost as late as 6:00 PM upon availability.
- Our ONE Touch App - Our guests and especially Business travelers benefit a lot from the easy and user friendly way Radisson Blu offers to book a room - through a mobile App in only few short steps. The ONE Touch Appmakes the process of booking a room or asking for any other hotel related services, a simple game.
- For Fitness Enthusiasts Radisson Blu offers #Bluroutes – a selected cycling and jogging routes which start and finish at the hotel. We offer our guests bicycles free of charge, thus the guests have the possibility to maintain their daily sport routines during their stay.
- Press Reader App is a mobile application basically offering access to 3000 Newspapers and Magazines from 101 countries in 60 languages absolutely for FREE on the territory of the hotel, by simply installing it on your device.
- 100% Service Guarantee, we will always strive to provide the best service, in case we drop the ball we will try to fix it and make it right. In case we can’t than you don’t pay.
The hotel has been hosting events ranging from international conferences to small-scale meetings. What extra services do you offer for those who choose to hold their event at Radisson Blu Grand Hotel?
Yes, we are doing all kinds of events in our fully renovated conference facilities. The biggest Hall – our Ballroom, was enlarged during the last renovation and is attracting people for both Business events and Personal celebrations, especially for Weddings and cocktails, with its new stylish finishing. The Ballroom is 290 square meters with a capacity of 240 delegates in theatre style and 160 for Gala dinner.
There are 3 other break-out rooms with a capacity of up to 50 seats each elegantly combining cozy ARTmosphere and business style with natural lighting. All our meeting facilities have lighting control system and modern audio-visual equipment. We constantly innovate the Meetings & Events experience by positioning the brand in the important MICE arena and differentiate the brand offerings from those of our competitors. Here comes our eXperience Meetings concept – that harmonises the meeting essentials: breakout rooms, food and connectivity with service, satisfaction and sustainability. I want to touch a bit on one of the most important core factor – Brain Food.
Brain Food is an exciting new nutritional formula - specially designed for meetings and conferences. The formula helps ensure that all those attending a meeting remain energized and alert throughout. Our chefs prepare dishes designed to keep blood sugar levels stable and to provide optimal cerebral nutrition, ensuring that participants enjoy a high degree of brain activity and reactivity. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are the most effective. They also taste fantastic and are best for the environment. So naturally, they form the basis of our delicious Brain Food menu! Brain Food for smart thinking!
Last but not least, in line with our Responsible Business philosophy - by booking an event with us, all carbon emissions associated with your meetings will now be offset through our Club Carlson for Planners program.
Hotels have always been careful to offer their guests a good meal; but with fine eateries starting to sprawl in Sofia, what are the special features that would make your Studio Restaurant a preferred option?
The Yes I Can! service, The ARTmosphere (a term we use for the new ambience in the hotel with art pieces from word’s top contemporary artists), the sophisticated interior and furniture pieces designed by Francis Sultana, the Food concept - are only few things to list as start. Not to forget of course: Location, location, location…
Studio restaurant is a New York kind of place with separate spaces for private dinners, small events and of course bigger ones. We have a saying that there, we feed all senses of our guests from purely esthetic that your eyes can see (example: original photography from the last photo session of Marilyn Monroe), then touching the soul with the constant Yes I Can! smile accompanied with service, to end up with the delight of the body that we deliver with our meals. Similar to the brain food concept, in Studio restaurant we have a special selection of products to work with and make a great base for the future preparation. The needs of our clients show that many of them would like to taste typical Bulgarian dishes during their stay in the country, therefore we have a section in the menu offering a great selection. I remember once a guest from USA shared for the Bulgarian lamb receipt of our chef: The best one I’ve ever tested! Full Stop!
At the same time, we also offer international and Mediterranean meals, from classics to original versions of our Chef.
Our food is refined, but not fine, dining, but definitely fresh, seasonal and sustainable. We specialize in being different with the food and drinks we serve and we are forever looking for new ideas and ways to serve it. Food & Drink at Studio restaurant reflects the brand pillars:
You have to taste Studio! It is an experience from the very entering.
In an age when climate change and sustainability dominate the agenda of governments and businesses alike, what measures have you adopted to encourage eco-friendliness?
The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group has long been demonstrating leadership with its environmental programme, dating back from the mid-nineties, which in 2001 expanded to become the comprehensive company-wide Responsible Business programme comprising three main pillars: health & safety of guests and employees, social & ethical issues within the company and the community, and a reduced negative impact on the environment.
Just recently this year in April Radisson Blu has signed a partnership agreement with Just a Drop, the international water aid charity that will ensure the hotel brand provides a lifetime’s supply of fresh drinking water to 12,000 children per year.
The partnership marks the launch of the Radisson Blu’s Blu Planet towel re-use programme, whereby hotel guests will be asked to consider re-using their towels during their stay in exchange for a donation to Just a Drop. It is anticipated that nearly three million towels will be re-used annually across Radisson Blu hotels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Beside our participation in our company Responsible Business programme, Radisson Blu Grand Hotel, Sofiais constantly pro-active locally organizing environmental and social activities.
We were the first hotel to be awarded the Green Key certification in 2012. The international recognition was awarded on the basis of 370 criteria set by the prestigious Green Key NGO. Our goal as company is to conduct our business in a responsible manner, minimizing the negative impact of the environment without affecting the comfort of our guests and the Green Key Certification is reflection of that focus. Moreover, it is a great support in educating our staff, creating the snowball effect in our society and shape a win-win approach for both our hotel and the society.