Walking into downtown’s Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is always a pleasure. From the moment the friendly valet escorts you out of your car, the first steps you take into the hotel, to settling into the comfortable yet elegant seating at the Al Soor lounge.
While you take in the hotel’s opulence, you might be in for a tasteful glimpse of behind the scenes action – the hard-to-miss Aynur Mamedova with her vibrant red curls and melodic voice, watching after the hotel and talking to everyone along the way. “It comes with the job,” she laughs, as she finally makes her way over to me to attend our meeting– “on my way down here alone, I had five different conversations!”
The Azerbaijani hotelier was not ungracious with her two-minute tardiness. In fact, it was refreshing to see how flawlessly she handled the pressure that comes along with her job title as Director of Public Relations and Communications at the hotel, embracing each interaction and challenge with pleasure. And though she breaths a huge sigh of relief as she gets to finally perform an unheard-of act in her busy day, sit back and relax, the rewarding gasp is followed by “I’m always so busy, but I love it.”
Aynur’s skill for supporting the spotlight precedes her, and as a result, being busy comes as second nature. Starting off as a TV host in Azerbaijan after completing her post-secondary studies, her resume reaps experience of music and entertainment presentation. “I worked in different sources of media, back to back: TV, radio, and OK! Magazine, where I would present and discuss the latest in music and entertainment. It wasn’t until I was approached to manage the PR for this new (at the time) mall in Azerbaijan that I started working in public relations.”
And so, her first PR job was the inevitable path that led her to her current occupation, the one that she confidently states sums up all of her life experience. “I met a gentleman during an art exhibition I had curated at the Mall I was working for at the time. He liked the way I handled myself and offered me a position at Four Seasons Hotel Baku, which was just about to open.” This gentleman would eventually reveal himself to be her first Four Seasons GM Tarek Mourad, who taught Aynur all that he knew.
Within a whirlwind 7 years of travelling globally, ticking off a significant amount of the 100+ locations of the hotel franchise around the world, Aynur found herself in Kuwait during the summer of 2017, where, she was about to meet and eventually “marry” one of her favorite Four Seasons locations, thanks to the GM Didier Jardin and his incredible team.
“The funny thing about working for Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is that it reminded me of my initial employment with the Four Seasons Hotel Baku,” she says thoughtfully, bemused by the fullcircle her job has taken her to. “Like Baku, I was helping Kuwait with its opening – but somewhere along the line during the time that I spent here, I fell in love with it.”
So much so that after four months back to back, immersed in a courtship with Kuwait’s branch of the hotel, she found herself committed to Kuwait and living here full time. “I love Kuwait. It’s such a hospitable country, and even the other internationals I work with agree that the city has a soul – it attracts you and envelops you, making it easy to call this place home. I miss Kuwait whenever I’m away from it.”
This sentiment, combined with Aynur’s personal favorite touches of the hotel, (the art, the detailing in design, the exquisite indoor and outdoor pools and the breathtaking view of the city on the 21st floor, to name a few) easily makes Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya one of her favorite branches in the world. “I really love them all! But Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait and Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet – those two are special to me.”
But ultimately, what is really special is the sense of home and comfort Aynur finds at Four Seasons in general. “Four Seasons as a company values its employees, and makes moving and relocating easy. Although I’ve never actually lived outside of Azerbaijan (with exception to travels and business trips), I’m able to find a sense of home in each Four Seasons hotel I’ve visited around the world.” That doesn’t come as a surprise to us, as every time we’ve ever stepped into Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, we’ve mutually felt nothing but warmth.
“Kuwait gave me such a warm welcome,” Aynur agrees wholeheartedly at my statement, “and I don’t just mean the weather!” she continues with a laugh. “But in all seriousness – one of my favorite examples regarding the familiar sense this hotel chain offers to its guests and employees is 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. I was in New York during that time, and couldn’t leave the hotel for five days. Though I was halfway across the world from home and people were worried about me, I didn’t even feel scared! The hotel has a way of making people feel at home. It always feels like home to me, no matter where in the world, or which Four Seasons hotel I step foot at.”
And with this July marking Aynur’s 7-year anniversary working for Four Seasons, and approaching one year since her budding relationship with Kuwait, she feels more at home than ever. “What can I say – I just love this place. I love Four Seasons! From the dining, the service, the guests and the employees – I love it all!” I can’t help but beam back at her as she gushes – and looking around at the warm, serene and friendly atmosphere, I have to agree with her – I love it too.
Photos by bazaar staff.