INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA GLAVAN, General Manager at Hotel Bellevue
Q: Hotel Bellevue has a long and varied history, but which historical turning points of the hotel would you choose to highlight?
Hotel Bellevue is the first five star Hotel on the Island of Lošinj. Located in Čikat, Lošinj’s most elegant bay and with a long tradition of Austro- Hungarian elite holidays, Hotel Bellevue has been known since 1966 as a true place of hedonism.
What is certainly historical is this year’s investment of EUR 50 million in refurbishment, renovation and luxurious amenities. Andrija Rusan was the architect who drafted the design of the new Hotel Bellevue. The creative team lead by him has paid attention to every single detail, showing us that details do matter in the creation of impeccable comfort. We will upgrade our bay to 5 star and restore it to her former glory. By doing so, we will pull the entire destination upwards and then no one can ignore that something is happening in the Jadranka Group – now we move forward. Celebrities are becoming ambassadors for the new hotel. The new hotel opened in July 2014.
Q: Lošinj is known for its beautiful nature and the well-developed tourist facilities. How did the local scene take the renovation?
The local scene took us very positively. We are the predecessors of what is happening on the island. We stepped out and now all of our partners are investing in facilities; together we are raising the quality at every level, from service to gastronomy.
Q: In Lošinj everything started out with winter tourism. Is there a possibility that winter tourism might return to Lošinj?
Of course. We are going in that direction and we are going to revitalise this segment that has for many years been neglected. Lošinj was declared as the official healing climate destination. The island is its own SPA with a long tradition in the field of respiratory problems. Nowadays, we have added to the natural powers by introducing a new generation of SPA experiences at our elegant SPA clinic.
Q: What is the profile of your guests and which groups of guests are you most interested in?
The profile of our guests has not significantly changed – Slovenian guests are still in the first place, and then come guests from Austria, Germany and Italy. We look forward and we would like to open our doors to the US, UK and Scandinavian markets. I believe that this facility will now attract other segments and types of guests.
Q: Can you tell us about the range of options that the hotel offers for pampering (wellness, gastronomy)?
Lošinj Island is actually not a typical island, such as Brač Island, because everything is close and you can be at another destination in a very short time. Our destination is not far away, but at the same time you are away from all the stress and work. Nowadays the concept of luxury has a different meaning. I think luxury is having time to be able to devote to yourself. Here you can just lie under the pine trees and let us take care of everything else.
Q: Does the Island offer enough for congress organisers? What do you think could be improved?
The potential is still untapped and we would like to improve and do a lot more in this segment. We all say that Dubrovnik jumped out and is a world unto itself, but I think there is already too much of everything going on at that destination. We look at ourselves in the area from Venice to Dubrovnik – we are the ones who offer everything between these two destinations.
Q: In the media we’ve been following the stories about new company owners and the expansion of the airport. How do you consider the arrival of fresh capital to the island will change things?
Without the expansion of the airport there is still one piece missing in the puzzle, and as soon as we resolve it we won’t have any obstacles. It is hard to say when everything will be finished. We have the will and the desire, the capital is ready, we are just waiting for the approval of documentation and some paperwork. As soon as this is resolved, we are going for implementation.
Q: How can Lošinj attract more congress guests? How can the visibility of the island be improved?
It is all about the story. We would like to connect every segment of the Hotel in one beautiful story. We do the whole package and combine gastronomy, nature and the SPA. We would like to show everything we have, and we have a lot to offer. As a destination Lošinj has excellent cooperation with the local government and tourist board – we act as one. One individual will not achieve much, but if we work together I believe we will achieve much more.
Q: Why should a congress organiser select your hotel?
The entire MICE segment in this region and conditions is still under development.
Hotel Bellevue is a new pearl and a beautiful facility, which we just have to show to the world. Everyone is looking for a new product that can provide a superior service, accommodation and conference halls with full equipment, and in addition to everything else hotels have to offer some kind of leisure to fill the day. The Jadranka Group also owns Jadranka Yachting, which offers complete and good-quality nautical services. We have our own skippers and we can organise different sailing programmes. Accessibility is no longer a problem; we can even start sailing from Pula. We have an excellent product that the market will recognise very quickly. With a couple of good fam trips we will bring key clients who we can show the hotel to. We have done a lot already, but we have also announced several more projects that have already been approved by the auto industry, pharmaceutical industry and a number of others.
Q: Has anything changed with the arrival of the new owners?
Absolutely not. We really need to emphasise that the new owner decided on this group because we are very strong. Jadranka Hotels has over 60 years of tradition – we are not beginners in this business and we really know our business. The new owner has seen the great potential and this encouraged him to invest his money here and not anywhere else. The way our campaign functions has also not changed. To us it is very important to get new products that our employees develop, and to do something that will leave a mark in this industry.
Q: What has been your career path and how long have you been on Lošinj?
What I would like to point out is that my only job has in fact been with Jadranka Hotels – I have been working here for 21 years. I began at the reception and slowly grew to Head of Reception at the Hotel Punta. Last year I took over the manager position at Bellevue Hotel.
Q: What qualities does a good hotel manager need to have?
A hotel manager has to be a leader. He or she must be able to recognise the moment for action and to push their team forward, but at the same time be able to stop them on time. On the other hand a manager has to be smart enough to let his people do the jobs that they are responsible for and work in full steam.
Q: If you weren’t a hotel manager, what would you do?
Nothing, haha . I have absolutely no idea what would I do. However, for sure I know I would work in tourism industry.
[pullquote] A hotel manager has to be a leader. He or she must be able to recognise the moment for action and to push their team forward, but at the same time be able to stop them on time.[/pullquote]
Q: What’s the important thing for you when choosing a holiday destination? Where do you like to go?
I like to go somewhere where I can be active, but just for a short time. Just to let go of everyday stress, let loose and then return to my home.