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Noor Darra’s favourite childhood game was ‘hotels’. Whilst most little girls her age were playing with dolls, she was already cutting her (milk) teeth in the industry that was to become both a great passion and the scene for an exciting career.
Currently the manager of the female-oriented floor at the Four Seasons, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Noor has the opportunity to put into practice everything she learnt at Les Roches and everything she dreamed of as a child.
The Pearl Floor at the Four Seasons came about in recognition of the fact that the female traveller market has increased by 135% since 2003, and that when women travel, they like to feel at home. It is a new market, a burgeoning market all over the world, and one in which someone with Les Roches entrepreneurism and creativity can stretch their wings.
Having worked as an intern at Four Seasons and completed her management training program within the Human Resources department, Noor was delighted when the director of Four Seasons, Riyadh, headhunted her to form part of this project. One of her roles was selecting amenities for the Pearl Suite Floor, choosing products and testing them.
Now, to the uninitiated, amenities might seem slightly dull – functional almost. Nothing could be further from the truth for amenities at the Pearl Floor. It is all about pampering, serious pampering, and raises the bar for the all those goodies that you inspect as soon as you get the keys to your room. The bathrooms don’t just have shampoo and conditioner, but a full facial set: face scrub, make-up remover, moisturizing creams. There are bath sets also, which include bath pillows, loofers, back rubs, massage mittens. The hairdryers are the real deal, the 2000-watt deal that is actually useful, as opposed to the industry standard 1500.
Noor added the idea of a ‘bath menu’. You choose a treatment, e.g. detox, jet-lag. The tray of items is delivered to your room and you have your own spa, in your own bathroom.
Her starting point for developing the amenities list was the female traveller and her needs. The list is long, every attention to detail is paid. Even the mini bar is designed for the needs of the female traveller. There are low-carb and low-calorie options, all calorie counted.
This is the second pre-opening team that Noor has been part of. Her first was in Damascus, Syria, where she opened Syria’s first 5-star boutique hotel, overcoming the challenge of creating something that married the beauty of tradition with modern functionality.
You need to be creative and innovative because it’s a really big market out there. And my training at Les Roches taught me these things.
As Manager of the Pearl Floor, Noor has multiple responsibilities. ‘Les Roches prepared me for this experience. It made me work through the different departments and understand them. I have an overview of them all: the kitchen, the restaurant – creating a menu, the front desk – checking in guests. Working through them practically like that, makes my work now a piece of cake.’
Les Roches emphasises that true hospitality always goes above and beyond the customer’s expectations. And this is just what Noor is doing, in creating a bespoke experience for the female executive traveller. Noor hopes to open more female-oriented floors around the world, and go on to become a general manager.
Her big dream, though, is to open her own hotel.
We look forward to seeing this dream come to fruition, and (especially the women amongst us) look forward to staying there, too.
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