The new Gateway Hotel is destined to open on the 1 June 2011. Adjoined to the Gateway Theatre of Shopping and overlooking the Wave House and beautiful Umhlanga hills, this new hotel is set to cause a stir in the hospitality market. Of special mentions are the Hotel’s “greening” aspects (signified by an iconic “leafy” facade fronting the building) and the beautiful roof top pool and bar (definitely destined to become new Durban hot-spot). We spoke to a very excited Keith Bentley, the General Manager of the Gateway Hotel about his career history and thoughts on the new property.
1. Please describe what your job entails – what are your main responsibilities?
The job mainly entails planning, directing, organising and control (from service to finance). I am responsible for making sure the hotel runs successfully; making sure that all of our guests’ needs and expectations are met and that the budgeted revenues are achieved for our owners.
2. Where you working before joining the Three Cities Group?
Originally I spent 13 years at Three Cities Group. I then was the GM of Shaka Tours & Safaris for 6 years, after which I spent 9 months at Signature Life Hospitality. Working for Three Cities again feels like coming home!
3. What have you found that you like about the Gateway Hotel?
The Gateway Hotel is a fantastic product with a homely feel to it. The “greening” aspect of the hotel is also a huge plus point as is the location (it adjoins one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes in SA).
4. What will the Gateway Hotel add to the Three Cities portfolio?
It is a first-class hotel that is geared to the corporate, conference and leisure market and offers exceptional and personalised service to our guests. I believe it is a wonderful addition to the Three Cities portfolio.
5. What makes this hotel stand out – to consumers and business men and women alike?
It is “green” and its FABULOUS location! The Gateway Hotel will be a roaring success; the location, combined with great service, means that guests will feel as if they are “home” (a much better version thereof!).
6. What one outstanding feature would you rave about?
The hotel is “green” and energy-efficient. Contractors have done all they can in ensuring the environmental impact of the building is minimal. We are very proud of this.
7. What has been your worst experience in managing a Hotel?
My worst experience was when an international traveller checked into the hotel with his wife. Twenty minutes later he passed away from a massive heart attack in his room.
8. What has been your best experience?
There are so many! One that stands out the most was when I met Mr Nelson Mandela soon after his release. What a gentleman he is.
9. What criteria are necessary to make a successful GM?
I would say you have to be passionate, committed, understanding, fair, service-orientated, and customer-focused
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
A successful hotel is not about the GM but about all the staff working towards a common goal. We strive to ensure guests’ needs are met and then surpassed. The hotel industry is about people not bricks and mortar!