By Mudassir Raja
If you are tired after a busy day and just want a place to relax and simmer down with friends and colleagues, The Lounge is the perfect place for you. It is a place where you can shake hands with the elite while savouring flavours that will definitely suite your palate.
These were the words used by Alican Sunal, director food and beverage at Kempinski Residences and Suites, while introducing the new facility on its opening day on Tuesday evening.
A good number of people from different communities, social groups, and media persons were present at The Lounge on the occasion. They were seen enjoying a variety of food and beverages as the chef prepared delectable hors d’oeuvres and the staff members were vigilant and on their toes.
“The Lounge is a unique place to relax. The set-up reminds one of classic, luxurious, and an ideal place to sit together. It will provide live entertaining music from well-known musicians from Brazil, UK, and Ireland. The musicians from Doha will also be playing their music at The Lounge,” Sunal said.
He said, “We are having a changed approach here. We are offering a variety of foods with healthy options. We care for calorie count. The Lounge will not only provide you a variety of tastes but also healthier options. We are also bringing in more options when it comes to having coffee at our Gourmet House. We have special facilities for business lunch, offering multiple options for different cultures and regions.”
Sunal added, “Providing true and excellent European heritage at Kempinski, the ultimate party is at our 61st floor. We are the highest building in West Bay. The view of Doha from the top floor is awesome. At the Z Lounge, we have a vocal house band that offers excellent music. Our DJ from the US plays some good music for the ultimate party at the top.”
As the guests were enjoying their food and beverages, Community got a chance to catch up with the new resident manager of Kempinski Residence and Suites.
Originally from Switzerland, 40-year-old Christoph M Strahm – who joined two months ago – exudes energy.
Sharing his views on The Lounge opening, Strahm said the place will be exceptional, with the traditional uniqueness of Kempinski.
He said, “Food and beverages are in our genes at Kempinski. It is our heart. Kempinski celebrates its 120th birthday this year. It started as a bar initially, got into the food and beverage business, and then became a full-fledged hotel. At The Lounge, we will try to revitalise the heart of food and beverages for our customers. It is a place where people can meet after their daily work. We offer a variety of foods according to different cultures and tastes here.”
When asked how Kempinski in Doha differentiates itself, Strahm said, “Kempinski maintains its traditions and tastes across the world. However it also adds elements according to different cultures and tastes, keeping the [base] intact. We, unlike other hotels, do not follow on an SOP for all countries and cultures. We do not copy and paste. We learn new things at new places and introduce innovations accordingly. We also maintain our European brand with a unique quality. Kempinski in Qatar is our unique brand. We offer high quality services with a variety of food and beverages. Our guests at the residence do not stay for a short period. They will stay for say 10 months or 12 months.”
When asked how he will describe his experience of working with Kempinski, he said, “It has been 15 years since I joined Kempinski in Switzerland. I have worked with the hotel in Switzerland, Italy, China, and in Rwanda. Working with the brand has been a wonderful experience. I have learnt a lot of new things, worked in different environments, with different people and in different cultures. It has been an amazing journey.
“I am looking forward to our 2018 plan. Qatar is a fast growing country and economy. The drive of self-reliance has been bringing in new projects and companies.”
When asked how he decided to get into the industry, Strahm said, “I an MBA but joined the food business out of my passion for it. I do not want to serve a plate but an experience. I do not want to provide just a comfortable room to a guest but a feel-like-home feeling.”
About his family and life in Qatar, he noted, “I am married to a woman from Vietnam and have two kids. I am living here with my family. Qatar is a beautiful country. I like the corniche, Souq Waqif and big malls. But what I love is outside Doha. I love the sea, sand, and silence, with the sun setting in the west. Living in Qatar, you can see how the future of the world is going to be. Three continents meet here. People from different cultures, creeds, and countries live together here.”
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