By Margaret Sheard
Video by Chris Elliott
Serhat Akpinar – The Vision Realised at Le Chateau Lambousa
Some 12 months ago, we were privileged to have an opportunity of a meeting with Serhat Akpinar, Founder and Chancellor of Girne American University, as a result of which I wrote an article entitled Serhat Akpinar – A Man of Vision.
To see this article click here. At this time we were made aware of the plans for the refurbishment of Chateau Lambousa Hotel in Lapta and the arrangement made between GAU and John Aziz Kent, another man with vision, who originally built the hotel.
Having followed the progress of the re-birth of Chateau Lambousa to the new 5-star luxury hotel Le Chateau Lambousa, it seemed fitting to again talk with Serhat bey to have an insight into his reflections on this massive project.
We met Serhat bey at the now magnificently completed hotel, which is considered to be the flagship for the TRNC, together with his team of Ismet Esenyel, the Project Manager and Aybike Alev Yanar, the General Manager of the hotel. We sat and talked very informally about the project and the successful completion which was celebrated with the GAU 30th year anniversary on 30th May, and the official opening of the hotel on 14th June. We asked Serhat bey to say a few words about how he felt about the hotel project from inception to completion and this can be seen on the video recording below, together with the reflections of John Aziz Kent. To read all of our articles about Le Chateau Lambousa click on our Portfolio section to the right of this page or in the top menu bar.
Two men with vision and a love for their country, one who built the hotel and one who restored it to its former glory.
John Aziz Kent had the vision of tourism being the way forward for North Cyprus back in the 1960’s. He founded the Hoteliers Association in North Cyprus and is now Honorary President. Serhat Akpinar had the vision of higher education in North Cyprus in the 1980’s. Of course, through GAU’s extensive curriculum, hotel management and tourism have been at the forefront and to progress to the actual running of an hotel would be an inevitable step which is exactly what happened.
The hotel is a credit to all who had a part in its refurbishment and indeed the additional features such as the beautiful pool and terraced area and the English style North Shield bar, which is a step back in time. Everywhere in the hotel the furnishings are of the highest quality and the whole effect of the historical past can be seen and felt wherever you go. The paintings on the walls are beautifully done and in keeping with the theme of Cyprus heritage and there are so many other lovely touches which are not always seen at first glance but as you gaze around you will suddenly notice a floral arrangement, a suit of armour, a sculpture which all blend in with the surroundings.
There are still some finishing touches to be made to Le Chateau, the Spa and Health Centre which will be situated under the pool area which will also have an indoor swimming pool. Completion of this facility is scheduled for October 2014 and will be an additional asset to the hotel for its winter guests.
Serhat bey had previously mentioned a drive-in cinema and I asked him whether this was still planned, the answer was yes it is. This facility will be situated on the open land between the hotel pool area and the bungalows and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Le Chateau Lambousa is a success story for Serhat Akpinar and his team and a definite plus for North Cyprus.
So what next for this man of vision, another hotel? I posed the question that the West side of North Cyprus is now definitely a place to visit, but what of the East? It seems that this is already in hand and Ismet Esenyel told us that there are plans for another hotel near to the GAU Karpasia Life Campus and this project will take the form of an eco-friendly environment, another of Serhat bey’s passions for the protection of the environment and specifically the natural beauty of the area of the Karpaz. The whole project will be one of eco-tourism and it will bring prosperity to the area without spoiling its natural beauty. The people of the area will benefit and be able to continue their traditional way of life, at the same time enjoying a better way of life with the many cottage industries they will be able to establish or contribute to.
It is envisaged that this project will be completed in 2016.
We had talked about the East and West of North Cyprus and this then led to the already planned Hospital which will be located in the area of Karaoğlanoğlu on a site of 10,000 m2. The project has already been commissioned and work is continuing for the planned completion in 2016.
This is to be a Research and Teaching Hospital, there will be 32 clinics and a patient capacity of 60-beds, all single rooms, which will mainly be for the benefit of children and the elderly. The GAU project Flying Angels, which already cares for some of the elderly in the Lapta area, will be based at the new Hospital.
We cannot thank Serhat bey and his team enough for the time they made available to us and for discussing the plans GAU has for making North Cyprus a place to be recognised and admired worldwide for its achievements in the modern progressive world.