As part of our obligation to offer great quality customer services, we decided to spot different hotels of Iran and evaluate their services in order to make people be acquainted with them, their goals and services, and help improve the hotel industry of Iran as a whole.
Novotel hotel in Tehran, the only international hotel in Iran, is the first one we picked for this article. Accor Hotels started in 1967 and today it operates a group of 240,000 hoteliers in 92 countries around the world with brands covering all segments, from luxury to midscale and economy. Accor Hotels group opened Novotel and Ibis hotels in Tehran in 2015.
Before the Islamic revolution some international hotel groups such as Hilton, Hyatt, Sheraton, and etc. used to operate in Iran; but after the 1979 revolution, they did not continue their work and those hotels are operating under different Iranian names. So the opening of a brand new international hotel was definitely great news for Iran tourism industry and the entire country.
The project started with Accor Hotels signing a management agreement with Aria Ziggurat, a private company established and registered in 2010 under the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) strategy to attract 20 million tourists a year by the year 2025, the government is offering up to 13 years of tax holidays to hoteliers.
Novotel and Ibis, with about 500 rooms, are located right across Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) of Tehran, so they are perfect for the business travelers. In fact, they fill in two of the very large gaps of Iran’s hotel industry; one is a hotel mainly focused on business travelers, the other is the lack of having a hotel next to IKIA that would be crew-friendly and provides lounges for airline staff too. Novotel’s mission is to create an atmosphere and provide services suitable both for families and business travelers with world class standards and a touch of Persian hospitality.
Mr. Zarei, the manager of Novotel’s sales department, gave us a complete tour to different parts of the hotel with a comprehensive and detailed explanation of the design, functionality, and all services of the hotel. We were honored to be accompanied by Mr. De Bondt, the manager of Novotel, and Mr. Afshari during our visit.
The whole structure has been designed based on the idea of being more thoughtful about our surroundings. Caring about our environment and paying more attention to the world around us is one of the main ideas of the hotel designer.
Novotel and Ibis are the only hotels of Iran that received the A’ Design Award and Competition in 2015. Shiva Aghababaei, the designer of both hotels, received the award for the interior space and exhibition design of Novotel and Vadi Authentic Iranian Restaurant. She has used a creative and well balanced combination of modern architecture and Iranian motifs in the structure. The colors used in the interior design and layout of autumn leaves used on the ground resembles scattering of leaves by the wind and ascending to the sky or heaven which has been one of the main elements of design in Iranian architecture, throughout the history.
The separation of different spaces of the hotel is done without using doors or solid walls which gave us the feeling of a smooth transition and communication between through different parts and in the entire structure.
Right next to the Vadi restaurant there is the other restaurant of the hotel named Galaxy that was designed based on the idea of creating a simple surrounding area, so the guests’ attention will be attracted to the moment they are spending with other people. Instead of putting the focus on the design or decoration, they deliver services that are so satisfactory, much more pleasant than any other beautiful design.
Novotel has one main seminar room that is 350 square meter with the capacity for 350 people, comfort monitors, LCDs, and the possibility to put sound proved dividers to divide the big salon into two different spaces for different meetings.
The last but not least, the hotel has a very nice spa center, sauna, and two separate gyms for ladies and gentlemen and we strongly recommend you to spend a couple of warm and comfortable hours there and get a relaxing massage treatment to refresh yourself for the rest of your trip.
Locating next to IKIA, having seven seminar halls, standard space for exhibitions, rooms with dedicated spaces for small business talks, a number of different entrance accesses, airline lounges, and a meeting organizer are the great services that Novotel offers to its Iranian and international guests.
We decided to do some research on customer’s experiences at Novotel and we saw some guests unsatisfied with room temperatures, internet speed, and slow reception services especially for check out process which is a very fast and easy process in a hotel. We think it must be taken into consideration that operating an international hotel is new to Iranian crew and managers. Even though they have received proper training for their job, sometimes real life experiences can be more challenging and need skills that will be gained by actually working in the environment. Maybe all the staff at Ibis and Novotel need to be given more time in order to be examined on their customer service qualities. Also the hotel crew must have this in mind that they need to grow to the same level as other Novotel branches worldwide as soon as possible and give first class services to their dear guests.