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Xpat Interview: Mazen Al Ramahi

Xpat Interview: Mazen Al Ramahi

Mazen Al Ramahi, a Jordanian businessman, has lived in Budapest for over 20 years. He is the owner and CEO of Zara Hotels, which set out with the aim of creating hotels with individual style in the centre of the Hungarian capital. His Boutique Hotel Zara**** opened in August 2006, with 74 rooms in the proximity of Budapest’s famous shopping street Váci utca. This four-star hotel is designed in keeping with the "modern and yet elegant style" of other world-class boutique hotels.

Following the opening and successful market launch of that property, Mazen Al Ramahi founded Z❖ra Hotels Management & Consulting Kft. with a local business partner Miklós Kovács. Then in 2008 Mazen Al Ramahi purchased the buildings of the former Hungária Spa and Continental Hotel, regarded as the iconic buildings of Budapest’s traditional Jewish quarter. There in Dohány utca he launched his second hotel investment. Continental Hotel Z❖ra****Superior, which opened in 2010, blends its rich past with the future, traditional hospitality and modern expectations. He regards it as a symbol of a truely guest-focused approach, nestled neatly between Budapest's Grand Boulvard and Rákóczi út.

He is married with 2 children. Alongside his family and hotel and consultancy businesses Mazen Al Ramahi is also active in other fields, for example he maintains and runs an office building; and is also involved in the retail industry.

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
12th September 1989, aged 17. I came to study at the Technical University in Budapest, as part of the English language program

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
No as I have lived in Hungary ever since arriving all those years ago

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
How cold it can be – I first arrived from Kuwait and the temperature difference between there and Budapest was 25 degrees. I've never forgotten that feeling!

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend - what must they absolutely see and do?
Err, a visit to the Zara Continental Hotel :) Then have a walk along Váci utca, cross over the river via Lánc híd and then explore the Buda Castle District.

5. What is your favourite Hungarian food?
Goulash

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Kit-Kat chocolate

7. What is your favourite Hungarian word?
I like many (practically fluent by now) so I’ll tell you what my least favourite word is, Adó (tax)

8. What do you miss most from home?
Family and old friendships from school.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
Politician - maybe.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Policeman

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Aqaba, Jordan in December 2010.

12. Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
Far-East – either Thailand, Malaysia, China perhaps.

13. What was your favourite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Classical music. Godfather (part 1). Playing football.

14. What can't you resist?
A good business opportunity.

15. Red wine or white?
Neither.

16. Book or movie?
Book – preferably ones about politics.

17. Morning person or night person?
Definitely morning.

18. Which social issue do you feel most strongly about?
All the problems in the Middle East – especially the suffering on both sides.

19. Buda or Pest side?
Buda

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
If you think, then think big.


14.04.2011

 




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