Summer 2005 (13.2)
10 Years in Baku - Major Milestone in the Service Industry
Left: Arif Hashmi, General Manager Hyatt.
On May 19th
this year, Hyatt Regency Baku celebrated its 10th Anniversary.
It's not just a milestone for them; it represents a milestone
in the service industry in Baku as well. It has grown from one
renovated building to a huge complex, which is being successfully
run by over 600 professionals.
The opening of Hyatt Regency Baku in May 1995 was one of the
remarkable events in the business development of Azerbaijan.
Hyatt was the first international five-star hotel in Baku. Their
presence stimulated extensive development in world-class hospitality
infrastructure to cater to the large flow of business travelers
The original historic 40-year-old building which now houses the
Regency underwent an impressive renovation in order to provide
all the services and facilities demanded by modern business travelers.
The remodeling of the old building was a considerable challenge
for the project team. Construction took two years before the
Hotel opened its doors on May 19, 1995, in time for the 2nd annual
Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition. President Heydar Aliyev personally
attended the opening of Hyatt Regency Baku to give his 'blessing'
and to be the first VIP to visit the Hotel.
Left: The Park Hyatt complex opened in August
1999. President Heydar Aliyev (right) attended the opening as
honored guest of co-owner Paolo Parviz.
The hotel opened
with 160 rooms, two restaurants (Beluga Bar and Delicias Restaurant)
three meeting rooms (Caspian Rooms). Many of the original features
of the building were retained, highlighted by rich fabrics and
stunning art work by Azerbaijani artists.
Geared towards business travellers, each room had comfortable
working areas, direct international digital phone lines and modem
Hyatt Regency Baku was also the first hotel to provide executives
with an array of communications and secretarial services, including
translation, interpreting and computer workstations.
A few months later, Hyatt's extended their dining facilities
by opening a Gourmet Shop, which became widely known for its
homemade French pastries and freshly brewed coffees and teas.
Britannia Pub became a traditional sports pub with a fine selection
of draft beers and English comfort food. As the meeting and banquet
market expanded, Hyatt Regency Baku found itself at the forefront
of the corporate meeting and banquet event circuit.
One year later Hyatt began the construction of the Meeting &
Conference Center (780 sq.m.). This included the Guba Ballroom
and three additional Conference rooms. Since then the Center
has been the host to some of Baku's most memorable events.
Hyatt's Catering and Event Planning has become so popular that
it no longer functions on the hotel premises. Hyatt was the first
company in town to provide outside catering for both large and
small conferences as well as banquets. Whether it was a working
lunch in the office, a government conference or gala dinner at
the Gulistan Palace, or picnic gathering, Hyatt soon had the
ability to take care of everything - food, tables and chairs,
set-up and clean-up, enabling the organizer the chance to relax
and be a guest at his own event.
In mid-1999 Hyatt International opened a multi-million dollar,
mixed-use development known as the Hyatt International Centre.
The complex included the boutique Park Hyatt Hotel, 47 apartments,
8 villas, 14,000 m2 of office space, a 3-storey high-tech Club
Oasis Health Club, as well as a 5,000 m2 Entertainment Center,
which included the Night Club known as 1033@Izmir Street.
Above: 1. Former Bus terminal
where Hyatt Park now stands. 2. The Part Hyatt pool under construction.
In the background is the Meeting and Conference which includes
Guba Ball Room.
3. View towards International Center Tower 3.
Park Hyatt Baku includes 159 deluxe guestrooms, including two
floors with exclusive club accommodation. The hotel with its
large and comfortable 40 m2 rooms and oversized en-suite bathrooms
permeates an aura of luxury and quality, with a setting that
is designed to resemble an elegant residence.
However, the construction of a multi-million five-star hotel
complex is really not the ultimate success factor of Hyatt Hotels
Baku. The most fascinating and, at the same time, the greatest
challenge has been to build a strong team of trained staff who
can run such a complex operation without compromising the standards
of Hyatt's reputation worldwide. Undoubtedly, Hyatt's success
in Baku would not have been possible without its people.
Left: Club 1033 at Izmir. One of the busiest
night clubs in town.
management team consisted entirely of expatriate personnel. However,
two months before the hotel opened, Hyatt succeeded in forming
its first team of 150 staff. Human Resources Department was faced
with the gigantic task of training local personnel to become
Hyatt Service Professionals.
During the last two weeks prior to the opening of the Hotel,
training sessions were conducted all day long. As Hyatt Regency
Baku was still under renovation, training had to be arranged
either in unfinished rooms or in a secondary school nearby. A
three-day familiarization session was conducted for all employees.
After that, employees were divided into smaller groups for service
skills training, which included a lot of role-playing and on-the-job
The majority of employees did not have any previous hospitality
service experience. However, the most important criteria for
their success was their ability to capture the spirit and culture
of Hyatt and to work hard to learn and develop themselves. They
wanted to become service professionals and within a short period
of time, Hyatt managed to create what they call the Hyatt family,
working together to make Hyatt Hotels Baku what they are today.
The success of the Hyatt Regency Baku team was recognized within
Hyatt International Corporation. Hyatt Regency Baku was honored
with the "Human Resources Excellence Award 1995" -
a great achievement for such a new team.
Left: May 1995. Azerbaijan Staff at opening.
the local staff of Hyatt Hotels Baku has expanded to 600 people
while the number of expatriate staff has decreased dramatically.
It is amazing to see how many people, who started with Hyatt
Regency Baku have developed careers within and beyond Hyatt Regency
Baku. In the last few years, Azeri nationals have assumed most
of the key managerial positions.
Azeri professionals are also invited to join Hyatt support teams,
which are usually formed to help other new Hyatt properties in
setting up hotel operation and training employees. Already Azerbaijanis
have provided support at the following locations: Hamburg and
Mainz (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), Dubai (UAE), Muscat (Oman),
Almati (Kazakhstan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Seoul (South Korea),
Sharm-Al Sheikh (Saudi Arabia), and Hyatt Taba (Egypt),and Mendoza
In the year 2003, Hyatt Hotels Baku was the third runner up among
around 70 Hyatt International Hotels for the 'HYAchiever Excellence
Award". This award is based on three key factors: customer
focus, employee satisfaction, and financial performance.
Due to rapid business growth, Hyatt continues to employ new personnel.
The company works closely with Western University and the Culinary
School of Azerbaijan in providing opportunities for professional
practice in hotel operation in order to hire the best qualified
Together, the Park Hyatt, Hyatt International Centre, Hyatt Regency
Hotel and Hyatt Meeting & Conference Centre, all form a large,
centrally located complex that has become a hub in Baku for social
and business activities. Hyatt Hotels Baku is grateful to its
employees, customers, the local community of Azerbaijan and the
hotel owners for their tremendous support during these eventful
Back to Index AI 13.2 (Summer
| Search | Magazine
| AI Store | Contact us
Other Web sites
created by Azerbaijan International
AZgallery.org | AZERI.org | HAJIBEYOV.com