Delivering Excellence: An Interview with Hospitality Leader, Michelle Reynolds

Bahrain Confidential speaks with the Spa Director The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

What does it take to be a Hospitality Leader? In an industry that never slows down, it takes utmost dedication and a mindset for excellence to deliver quality guest experiences day in and out. Each year, Bahrain Confidential highlights leaders across the hospitality industry on the island to understand what’s new, what’s next, and what makes them the best.

What was the best-ever lesson in leadership that you learned, and from whom?

To lead with kindness, humanity & sincerity, and to always remember that it is a privilege to be a leader with the ability to influence others in a positive way. I have observed this from our General Manager; Bernard de Villèle who is a mentor to me and who is a bit of a legend in the industry and it inspired me. I found these useful in both the professional and personal aspects of my life.

Do you have any major plans for the property?

The hotel is in an ongoing process of elevating our guests’ experience. We are currently refreshing our spa boutique, in partnership with local business owners and we will be officially launching the new collection in the next few weeks. We are also very excited to soon be offering the first Medical Manicure and Pedicure Studios in the kingdom, led by the world-famous Bastian Gonzales.

Since we met last year, have there been any major changes for you or the property?

Working in an ever-evolving industry, change is the only constant thing. At The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain, we always change for the better, ensuring a relaxing and energized experience for our guests at all times. In fact, aside from our signature ESPA products, we have recently added Valmont products and services to our Spa menu. We are extremely proud to work exclusively with this Swiss Brand and to give our guests and members the ultimate in Facial treatments, with the world’s most celebrated skin care provider.

What have been your biggest challenges (and successes) over the past few years?

The pandemic was a challenge for all of us and whilst I don’t wish to mention it too much, we were all badly impacted, as many experts in the field chose to leave the industry. Therefore, the training and retention of our ladies & gentlemen is an absolute must to ensure our high standards are met.

On a personal note, I was extremely proud that we had a 100% engagement score on the latest employee engagement survey which is a true testament that our Ladies and Gentlemen’s wellbeing is our priority.

I was also added to our company’s Advisory Board for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and was able to be part of the Spa Taskforce to assist a new sister property opening in Saudi Arabia. This experience was extremely valuable for me as I was able to offer my advice and experience to this newly formed team helping them open the property on the right path.

As a team, we are also incredibly proud as we were awarded the General Managers Award of Excellence for exceptional service and financial performance. 

Other than a great team, is there one unique quality that makes your hotel stand out in Bahrain?

I am very proud to work at The Ritz-Carlton Bahrain as we have a wonderful culture and the most respected luxury brand in the industry. Our General Manager leads from the front, he believes in continuously adding value and is laser-focused on excellence in everything we do. You will find this focus and mentality throughout our property, from the service we provide to the Ladies and Gentlemen who deliver it.

What challenges and opportunities do you see for Bahrain’s hospitality industry in the coming years?

I believe that the greatest challenge facing our industry will be the hiring and retention of hospitality-minded talent. Long gone are the days when you enter the business at the bottom and work your way up to senior leadership, as many graduates are looking to enter management level straight out of school. However, despite it being the greatest challenge, there is still hope for this incredible industry, and I believe that if we share our professional passion with the younger generation, and provide them with room to grow, they will see that a career in hospitality is an excellent and rewarding career path to follow.  

Is there a particular saying or motto that guides you?

My favourite personal quote is: Nothing happens until you decide.
The other quote I love is: Our attitude determines our approach to life.