By Bonnie Klap.
Mr. Stephan Van der Meulen, General Manager of the Worldhotel Bel Air The Hague, receives us in the newly refurbished Penthouse Suite on the ninth floor, which has a magnificent panoramic view of The Hague, its seaside, harbor, light tower and down town buildings. The Hague has several top-level hotels. What, in his opinion, sets Worldhotel Bel Air apart from the others, I ask Mr.van der Meulen.
“Our focus is very much on personal attention. The guest comes first, so our employees strive to make the stay of every guest warm and welcome. Basically every hotel offers the same things: a bed, meals etc., but ultimately it is the personal touch that makes the difference and given the references and recommendations about our hotel, which can be read on, for example, Tripadvisor, we are fortunately succesfull in our approach.”
The Worldhotel Bel Air has 300 rooms and suites and is located very close to a number of well-known international organizations, such as the OPCW, the ICC, ICJ and others. Does the Worldhotel Bel Air get many guests connected to these organizations?
“Yes, we welcome a great number of guests connected to the international organizations in The Hague and due to our unique location we will be playing a pivotal role during the NSS – the Nuclear Security Summit – which will be held in The Hague on March 24 and 25. As a matter of fact our hotel is right in the middle of the so-called ‘red zone,’ which means that our premises will be totally fenced off. Nobody can come in or out. The people who will be working here are all accredited press-people and will be wearing special press-passes. I myself will be staying in the hotel for three days and nights, so I will be available immediately should an unexpected problem arise. For our hotel it is a huge honor and a huge challenge to be part of this event.
Our Food and Beverage Department will be dealing with 11.000 meals during those three days and two tents will be set up on the parking lot, which will be converted into a press conference hall. A total of 2000 people of the writing Press will be working in our hotel, but an additional 1000 people of the Television and Radio will also be present. Our hotel is ideally suited for high security events, as we were audited by a Security Company and declared a safe location. We regularly have guests from International Trade Missions who stay here. At other times we have a very top-level guest who prefers to enter the hotel unseen, which we are able to provide. Another big, international event that is coming up is the World Championship Field hockey, which starts in May. Our hotel has been chosen to be the Tournament-hotel for the players. We are very used to catering our services to an international clientèle. For example, if we have a Chinese guest we arrange for a Chinese Chef to prepare his meals and also provide a Chinese interpreter. We do the same for a guest from India for example. We will make sure the guest is served Indian food and we strive to solve any language problems. As I said, it is about the ‘Personal Touch’ and we, at the Worldhotel Bel Air, try to go the extra mile.