Atlantis, The Palm Dubai won three trophies at the recent Hotelier Middle East Awards, including F&B Manager of the Year, Spa/Fitness Person of the Year and HR Person of the Year.
The gongs went to Monika Muschkiet, director, special events; Neil Hewardine, vice president, spa & fitness; and Kristina Vaneva, manager, employee marketing, respectively.
Held at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, the world’s tallest hotel, on October 30, the Hotelier Middle East Awards also recognised Sascha Triemer, VP culinary as the Highly Commended nominee in the Executive Chef of the Year category. Monika Muschkiet, named F&B Manager of the Year, was recognised for being the driving force behind the multi-million dirham Sandance music festival. The judges were blown away by the scale of her work and the revenues involved; and said Muschkiet is one of the most accomplished nightlife experts in the region today.
Upon hearing her name, Muschkiet said: “I wasn’t expecting it. Obviously I knew my competitors, and know that my field might be slightly different to the others. Everyone knows Sandance – it’s a massive operation. But if you really compare it from an F&B side, it might be slightly different, so I didn’t really think I would have a chance. So now, I’m blown away!”
Neil Hewerdine was named Spa / Fitness Person of the Year, sponsored by Intercoil/Simmons, in what was a very hotly contended category. Hewerdine wowed the judges with his recent innovations, including the introduction of the Gentleman’s Tonic male grooming salon, and his dedication to securing the first medi-spa certification for a hotel spa in the Middle East. His commitment to his staff gave him the edge in this category, with team spirit at the ShuiQi spa at an all-time high.
On receiving the Award, Hewerdine commented: “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved, but it was really a team effort. I can be quite a hard taskmaster so I’m very grateful for the people who work with me to make this happy. So I have to share this award with them. “Atlantis is such a unique property, and we are always trying to move with the moment and innovate. As a team we are always sitting down and brainstorming ideas, and really trying to re-think what is possible. By listening to our colleagues, we can take those ideas, evolve them and apply it, and that’s how we strive to stay ahead… without being arrogant of course.”
To complete the hat trick, Kristena Vaneva, was named HR Person of the Year. Over the past year, her focus has been on facilitating employee communication, achieved through new digital display walls back of house, an official Atlantis Colleague face book page and the launch of Aquarius, the Atlantis intranet site. The judges said the results were clear: under Kristina’s watch, turnover is down and engagement is up, and she received countless testimonials from colleagues indebted to her efforts.
“I think the most important quality to have in any role is loving your job. You need to understand the importance of your role in the organisation and the business. You need to love people, you need to be selfless, you need to be innovative, and business-minded while at the same time realising how an action will affect colleagues in the hotel,” said Vaneva at the ceremony.