Thursday 7 July 2016

INTERVIEW | Rufat Babayev: Rendering Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki into an Art Oasis

Thursday, July 7th, 2016 - Rufat Babayev was born and raised in Azerbaijan.  For more than 10 years he has lived and worked in Europe, United States and Asia.  He has been based in Thessaloniki since December 2014, and holds the position of General Manager at Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki. Soon he perceived arts could conglomerate the vision of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Greece, and broaden the offer of distinct hospitality it provides. His vision converted the Hotel in an Art and aesthetics oasis.

Interview in Paris Kapralos

What motivated you to go into the hotel industry?
All of us in the hospitality industry meet and interact with people every day, continuously.  People from all over the world, from different cultures, with different notions, different points of view.
It is really remarkable that all people can instantly sense authentic hospitality.  There is no manual or rules that one can follow in order to provide authentic hospitality.  I have the belief that it is something so simple and yet so unique.  It is the way that someone will look at us, the way of their smile and mostly the way their requests will be met.  It is body language and unspoken reactions rather than any words we may hear. This is, I think, the main reason that motivated me to go into the hotel industry and I have to admit that I have not regretted it for even one second.

You have worked for Hyatt for more than 20 years, and in many different countries.  What would you hold as a distinctive feature of your experience as General Manager of Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki in Greece?
I am honoured to hold this post at Greece’s only Hyatt Regency hotel.  I have now been in Thessaloniki for more than one-and-a-half years and I feel more than at home; the people, the places, the history and the gastronomy are just some of the things that make this city so unique!

What inspired you to adopt and embed art to such an extent in the lavish spaces of Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki?  How did it work out?
On the one hand, art and decoration are things that fascinate me.  On the other hand, one of my primary plans as General Manager of Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki is to support Thessaloniki’s endeavours to focus outward.  Our synergy with the Myro Antiques House was created by the common belief in drawing a path and making Thessaloniki (and the hotel) known to  international guests interested in art, antiques and marble items.  Slowly, steadily and without fanfare, we wanted to create one more reason for guests from around the world to visit our city and our hotel.

Bottom line could be..?
We want our guests to receive our smiles and realize that Greece offers quality and transmits culture.

[The interview is published in the 50th Auction Anniversary of Myro Antiques House printed catalogue  published in view of the 20th of July 2016 Auction to be held in Hyatt Regency Thessaloniki]

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