When in Port Moresby there are few better places to sit and relax with a drink than the pool-side Alfresco bar & grill at the Airways Hotel and Apartments. This unique setting, high on a hill overlooking the runways at Jacksons Airport, offers a splendid panorama of the green foothills of the Astrolabe escarpment where they run down into the blue seas of Bootless Bay south east of the capital.
Putting this vista on one side, however, the hotel itself is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious venues in the country – the sort of place where the Prime Minister might choose to make a speech, or a prominent couple to hold a wedding reception. Yet its glowing reputation makes it in no way elitist – the Alfresco’s 20 metre pool and its eating and drinking facilities are open to everyone.
However there’s much more to the Airways than a commanding location. The hotel has over 140 beautifully furnished bedrooms catering for individuals, couples or family groups. The fact that these rooms have a ninety per cent occupancy rate throughout the year only serves to confirm the Airways popularity.
The hotel has three function rooms for business events or private parties plus three restaurants, including the award-winning Bacchus, one of the most sophisticated eateries in Port Moresby. Guests who want to keep fit have the use of a multifunctional gym, two tennis courts and a spacious sauna. Squash courts are currently on the drawing board.“I think part of the Airways’ success is that it’s always looking at new ways of improving,” says General Manager, George Constantinou. “When the hotel was set up in 1986 it had only 38 bedrooms, but by next year we should have over 200 and be able to host functions for up to 400 people. We will also be expanding the sporting facilities, and all of this shows the progressive and positive approach of the hotel.”
The Airways employs a total of 160 staff of whom only four are expatriates. The management puts great emphasis on in-house training for employees and any who show particular promise or need specific knowledge of new equipment or systems are sent on courses overseas.
The Airways also includes 75 long-stay, serviced apartments which emphasises the need for tight security. So the extensive grounds are unobtrusively but effectively fenced and patrolled, and guests can be confident that their privacy is being scrupulously guarded.“The Airways is one of the most forwardthinking enterprises I have managed,” says George. “The fact that the hotel trade has such unfulfilled potential in Papua New Guinea makes the job that much more exciting and challenging. I am sure the Airways has a very promising future.”