There are magical places that, like Lisbon, exude peace and welcome visitors with a special light that remains engraved in the memory.
Lisbon saw the launch of an exciting new project, a multifunctional space that skillfully and classily welcomes guests to offer them an innovative experience.
Salomé Gorgildaze is Business Development Director and Executive Board Member of SANA Group Hotels. Closely involved with SUD Lisboa project, talks about her career and love for Portugal.
SUD Lisboa is the first project that SANA Group Hotels has developed outside hospitality. How did the idea of creating SUD Lisboa come about?
SUD Lisboa is a SANA Group concept and project. We invested about 16 million euros in order to create one of the most unique places in Portugal. The know-how SANA acquired during the 20 years of experience in hotel business and rich history of hosting luxury high-end events in our hotels made us want to innovate and bring our experience and know-how outside of the hotels. This is how Sud Lisboa is born, with a will to innovate, create an extraordinary space and surprise all the customers.
In a short period of time since the opening of SUD Lisboa, this space became a reference on the national and international level. The brand equity is very strong already, in tandem with the SANA brand.
Lisbon is one of the most charismatic and vibrant cities of Europe. What are the reasons that made you choose this city?
I think, I am quite lucky to have lived in very interesting places and each place, definitely, leaves an important and interesting trace on a person.
I was born and grew up in Georgia and hold very special and warm childhood memories from those years in my native country. It is a small country but with very rich and ancient history, very special character, traditions, values and strong identity. It is very famous in the region for its extraordinary hospitality, food and the most ancient varieties of wine grapes and big concentration of world heritage sites.
My next move was to Switzerland and I started my university years in Geneva. Having the high concentration of world’s most important international organizations and financial institutions, it was a perfect place to receive the education and work experience.
I moved to Portugal because of my family and ended up falling in love with this beautiful country. I love living in Portugal. It is an extraordinary country that makes foreigners feel at home, even if I already feel as being a local here. I believe that places are made by people and people in Portugal are indeed, very warm and friendly. I often drive parallel between Georgian traditions and Portuguese, for instance, family unity and very close ties among friends. Very important that throughout the past decade, our Group implemented significant projects for the city of Lisbon and for the whole country. International level, sophisticated restaurants, hotels and innovative concepts help to position Portugal on the map of the desired destinations for many tourists. And it’s an honor to be part and contributor for this positive and exciting development.
SUD Lisboa concept, despite its unique and charming characteristics that were conceived to take advantage of the Tagus riverscape, is a very international and millenial project. What target does the hotspot frequent?
SUD Lisboa is a place for any age or segment, for whoever wants to spend a wonderful time while enjoying one of the most beautiful views of Lisbon. The project is divided in two concepts Sud Lisboa Terrazza and Sud Lisboa Hall.At Sud Lisboa Terrazza, exactly because the concept is so polyvalent, our clients have a special offer for every moment of a day.
It is a perfect place for a delicious breakfast with a view, business lunch, ladies gathering for an afternoon tea with desserts, after work cocktail or glass of wine by the pool or in the restaurant area, a romantic dinner for two accompanied by live music during the whole evening or a big group of friends that want to enjoy our sharing concept for dinner, or after dinner cocktails or glass of champagne in our pool lounge, all this with pure excellence of service and attention to detail. Every moment of a day has a unique and special offer for our clients.
And of course, SUD Lisboa Hall is a blank canvas with 1600 m2 that can serve any type of event – whether a wedding, a corporate event, a fashion show, launch of a new car., or private birthday party. Equipped with high tech multimedia, the space can be completely transformed according to the desires and expectations of our clients and adapt to any kind of event to make a dream come true.
Do you consider yourself a successful woman?
I think success is a very subjective notion and for each person being successful can have a different meaning. At any stage of our lives, we need to continue being ambitious and driven and continue to set new goals and challenges for ourselves. We can never be completely successful as there is always more strive for. Neither I can say that I am unsuccessful, as there many achievements that I am very proud of.
I imagine that professionalism and concreteness are needed to manage a complex business. What’s your secret?
Professionalism, concreteness and dedication is needed to manage anything in life. The secret of managing of a complex business is first of all, not to forget that we are managing human beings, human relations and expectations whether of our colleagues or of our clients. It’s important for the whole team to be aligned with the strategic vision and work hard together to reach the target. I personally realize that work is no more work for me but more a lifestyle that brings fulfillment and pleasure.
I may affirm as Business Development Director/Executive Board Member that the secret to long-term success is to improvise solutions to problems as they appear. Nowadays world is very versatile and we need to have capacity to adapt fast and even more, be able to be ahead of times.
It is a must to understand not only the increasingly complex world with unpredictable events and shifting political, economic, environmental and social conditions but also the impact of the changes and strategies we are promoting within the organization we lead. And in fact, in our group, we tend to work as a big SANA family, as the secret of success, is always in this key word: Unity !!!
What are your plans for the future?
SUD Lisboa concept, despite its unique and charming characteristics that were thought and created for the beautiful Tejo riverside, is a very international and millennial project. It is of great success and can be easily replicated whether in Portugal or outside. It is written in SANA Group’s DNA to continue innovating and creating extraordinary concepts, expanding its offer and business. Our clients can be confident that we will still surprise them many times.