Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
- 1 Four Seasons Boulevard, P.O. Box 203, Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2004
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Outlet Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza
- Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence; Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza; Kempinski Hotel Ajman, UAE; Conrad Cairo, Egypt; Le Méridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa, Cairo; The Mena House Oberoi, Cairo
- Hospitality Administration/Management, Cornell University; Hotel Management, Egyptian Institute of Tourism & Hotels
- Cairo, Egypt
- Arabic, English
“We’re on the right track, and quite a track it is,” says Waleed Sobhy of the brisk business and property-wide expansion that are his focus as Resort Manager of Four Seasons Resort Sharm El Sheikh. Everything related to day-to-day operations falls under his watch. With the Resort now ranking as one of Four Seasons largest properties and a team of 600 employees including 100 managers onsite, his is a pretty full sandwich, indeed.
Beyond coordinating with division heads from Rooms to Administration, Food and Beverage to Spa and Fitness, Sobhy spends much of his time and attention on the ground, to better communicate directly with “VIP guests” – which, of course, means everyone. “We're in front of the guests all the time,” he says, noting that he likes to meet as many people as possible upon arrival and see them off when they depart. “And if there is ever a call for a hotel manager in between, it’ll be for me. I make sure that all of their needs are attended to, and every aspect of their stay exceeds their expectations.”
Among the ways he does that is by staying on top of guest survey cards, answering questions and comments and tracking responses to build a better client experience. “I always thank guests for their replies,” he says, calling the information gleaned through the surveys “invaluable. It helps us with how things are going and how we can improve.”
Taken together, Sobhy estimates he prioritizes 50% of his time on guests and 30% on the team. The remainder goes to various administrative and corporate duties, not least monitoring the constant influx of new equipment and amenities to ensure that the Resort runs like clockwork and delivers for guests.
Meanwhile, Sobhy believes strongly in empowering talent to do their best, noting the importance of giving people a free hand to innovate and be creative in their roles. He likes to mentor, but also to encourage people be themselves and let their personalities shine on the job. “When you do that, people do more than expected,” he says. “I believe in creating a healthy environment for productivity, leading by example, and building trust that inspires people to work together and go above and beyond.”
The son of an accountant and “a great mom,” Sobhy was inspired to work hard by his parents. While his brothers went on to success in information technology, he knew early that he wanted to be in hospitality. “My dream in high school was to one day be a general manager.” He started work in restaurants at age 18, which led him into food and beverage, always with an eye on growing his skills and passion, whatever the role.
While on a break from a luxury beachfront resort in Dubai back in the early ’00s, Sobhy returned home for a visit and noticed a beautiful property under development on the banks of the Nile. It was Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, the company’s second address in the city. “I thought, this is the time for me to join the leading hospitality brand.” Join he did, impressed with Four Seasons vision of luxury and “filled with passion” at being part of its plan for growth in the region. “It was really a dream come true for me.”
He stayed at Nile Plaza until 2011, moving up in management until venturing across the river to become Director of Food and Beverage at Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence. When plans began taking shape to expand the Resort at Sharm El Sheikh, Sobhy was considered the right person for the job, and he was interested. He arrived in 2015, and took over as acting Resort Manager the following year. Two years later, after earning a certificate in Financial Management from Cornell University, the role was Sobhy’s to keep.
He has made it his own. “My days are long and back-to-back, but I admire my job,” he says, adding that he keeps faith that “tomorrow will be an even better day, and together we’ll achieve our goal for a better life. That’s what we’re working for.”