In Conversation with… Orhun Denizoglu

The General Manager of JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha tells us about his passion for hospitality and one very hair-raising experience.

What first drew you to the hospitality industry and was it something you always intended to make a life-long career?
With deliberate and heartfelt intent, I chose to commit myself to this dynamic field, I was inspired by my brother who started studying hospitality. I was drawn towards hospitality and found it so vibrant which made me join this world.
I intended to make it a life-long career. It enables me to combine my love for service, my aspiration to be part of an everprogressing field, my enjoyment of diverse interactions and utilisation of a wide-ranging skill set and my capacity to generate positive transformations in people’s lives.
It is a career that fulfils me, allowing me to thrive in the art of hospitality, I can’t see myself working in another industry.

With more than 26 years in hotels, you must have had some unusual/interesting experiences. Are they any funny or strange incidents you can share with us?
Certainly, numerous scenarios flood my memory. On a particular occasion, I was working in the Maldives when a coup happened. Quite literally, pirates arrived at the neighboring properties. They would approach at night using boats, forcibly enter the villas and abscond with any valuables they could lay their hands on. We had security teams to safeguard our premises. Each night, we would patrol the grounds armed with flashlights and sticks, prepared for any encounter with the pirates. Fortunately, our vigilance proved effective and thankfully no incidents occurred.

You have been in your role at JW Marriott Marquis for over six months now, what have been the highlights in that time?
Whether it’s guests or my team, I’m honoured to foster connections and create a supportive work environment. Collaborating with individuals from various backgrounds enriches my personal and professional growth.
There have been noteworthy moments that personally resonate with me. Among them is the heartwarming welcome I received from my team. This warmth has reflected in the results of our Associate Engagement Survey, which indicated a remarkable 10% increase compared to the previous year. Additionally, we have seen a substantial improvement in our Guest Satisfaction scores.
It all lies with our associates – they are the starting point and the culmination of our efforts. This embodies the essence of the Marriott Culture that we strive to uphold.

JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha General Manager

Are there any future plans – developments/offers/upgrades etc. to tell our readers about?
My foremost objective is to deliver extraordinary service and memorable moments for our guests. It brings me immense satisfaction to ensure that each guest feels embraced and departs with a smile as a token of their experience.
In line with this commitment, we made a strategic decision to rejuvenate the Shanghai Club, instilling it with a contemporary ambience and altering its culinary focus from Pan Asian to Cantonese gastronomy. Simultaneously, we are in the process of enhancing the pool area and elevating the fitness facilities. These projects are on track for completion by the year’s end.
Furthermore, a completely fresh concept for a Cigar Lounge is in the works, promising a breathtaking view of the West Bay skyline. This endeavor is designed to provide an unparalleled experience. Anticipate more exciting projects unfolding in 2024, as we continue to evolve and innovate.

What three things would you say are must dos or sees for people visiting Qatar?
Qatar stands as a captivating nation seamlessly fusing historical depth, contemporary innovation and inherent natural beauty. Narrowing down the list is a challenge, if I were to highlight three, they would undoubtedly be to begin your journey with a stroll through Souq Waqif. This bustling traditional market stands as a vibrant testament to Qatar’s heritage. Winding alleyways, redolent spice stalls and vibrant artisan crafts create an immersive sensory experience. Here, one can savour the richness of traditional Qatari cuisine and truly absorb the authentic essence of the nation.
The National Museum is an essential stop, an architectural marvel that pays homage to Qatar’s historical roots while embracing its contemporary aspirations. Within this cultural enclave, visitors can deeply engage with the nation’s history, artistic expression and cherished traditions. Lastly, a day spent at the West Bay beaches offers a serene haven of tranquility and rejuvenation. ✤