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Family-run Bel Air Hotel celebrates golden anniversary |18 February 2023

Family-run Bel Air Hotel celebrates golden anniversary

Cutting the commemorative cake

Bel Air Hotel, the small tourism establishment which proudly stands at the Bel Eau junction, celebrated its golden anniversary yesterday.

The family-owned business which officially opened its doors in 1973 is one of the oldest Seychellois-owned hotels and has remained in the hands of the Rassool family since its opening five decades ago.

During a ceremony held yesterday evening in celebration of the milestone anniversary, owner Roland Rassool explained that the business started from very humble beginnings as their bungalow-style family home, before his parents took the brave decision to convert it into a seven-room hotel.

At the time, the Seychelles International Airport had recently opened, and the local tourism industry was kicking off.

Mr Rassool recalled that his father marketed the hotel through flyers and brochures, and guests, the majority of whom were from the United Kingdom and Europe during those days, would usually spend the evenings savouring delectable Creole food and dishes such as job mayonnaise, grilled red snapper and bat curry, cooked by his mum.

“After mum and dad’s passing, my family and I kept Hotel Bel Air’s legacy going. Natasha (Mr Rassool’s wife) had a good insight of what was needed to diversify, and promoted business lunches on a weekly basis, while I accompanied guests. I must also mention my children who assisted after school hours to ensure the comfort of each and every guest,” Mr Rassool stated.

In 2012, work started to refurbish the hotel and give it a complete facelift. It officially reopened its doors in August 2013 with eight rooms.

Mr Rassool thanked some of the hotel’s returning guests who were present for yesterday’s event, including Professor Anthony Angelo from New Zealand, one of the guests who has returned to the hotel the most times over the last 13 years.

Recognising the efforts of the employees who have also contributed towards the establishment’s success over the years, he also thanked Therese Dogley and Florence Morel who have served at the establishment for 34 years and 17 years respectively.

“This is a great milestone and it is my wish that our small hotel remains in the family tradition, and I hope it will celebrate another 50 years in due course,” Mr Rassool added.

For his part, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism Sylvestre Radegonde extended his congratulations to the Rassool family and his team, for having “one of the best-run Seychellois-owned establishments”.

"Tourism remains a very important industry for this country. The Bel Air Hotel is up there in terms of customer satisfaction,” Minister Radegonde stated.

He commended the staff and management of the hotel for their dedication over the years, reaffirming the ministry’s commitment towards supporting the establishment.

Family friend and former Minister for Tourism, Alain St Ange, also congratulated the Rassool family on delivering on their promise to customers and clients, the warm welcoming Seychellois hospitality, offered by Seychellois, for Seychelles.

Mr Rassool was joined by Minister Radegonde and Mr St Ange in cutting the cake.

Among those present for the ceremony yesterday were Minister for Local Government and Community Affairs Rose Marie Hoareau, principal secretary for Tourism Sherin Francis, director general for destination marketing within the department of tourism Bernadette Willemin and director general for destination planning and development Paul Lebon.

Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Port Victoria Alain Harel was also present to bless the establishment, as were family and friends of the Rassool family.


Laura Pillay

Photos by Louis Toussaint

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