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The Alanda hotel has been granted recognition from the Islamic Board because its services and products comply with the rules of the Koran
03.10.14 - 11:29 -
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A Marbella hotel has become the first in Spain to obtain the 'Halal' certification
The Alanda Hotel is close to King Fahd’s mosque in Marbella. :: SUR
‘Halal’ is a term which appears in the Koran and means ‘permitted, healthy and beneficial’, referring to food as well as behaviour. When a Muslim tourist chooses a holiday destination, most of the time he or she will be looking for a place where the establishments will offer services that comply with their way of life and Islamic law. ‘Halal tourism’, which is something new in Spain, has become a challange for hotel owners all over the country, as was explained at the first International Conference on Halal Tourism, a pioneer forum in Europe, which took place a few days ago in Granada.
Marbella, as at so many other times in its history, is already at the forefront of this race and was represented at the conference by the Alanda Hotel, the first in the country to have been granted official Halal certification.
The Halal Institute is the organisation that manages the Halal Guarantee Brand which has been created by the Islamic Board of Spain, which is based in Cordoba. It applies to food, products and services which businesses offer Islamic clients, not only in Spain but all over the EU and with regard to exports to Islamic countries.
The Alanda Hotel Marbella - formerly the NHAlanda - is on the Golden Mile, barely 60 metres from the Mosque of King Fahd. Since it was bought a year ago by the Saudi business corporation Fawaz Al Hokair, the management has been working on obtaining a certificate which fulfills one of its primary objectives: making the hotel a benchmark for Muslim tourists. Since it opened, it has strictly enforced certain rules: no alcoholic drinks are served in any of its restaurants, nor pork or its derivatives. This, as the manager of Alanda, Fernando Portal, explains, has not discouraged a large number of British and Spanish guests from staying there. In fact, many of its clients are from these countries.
The entrance to the hotel now has a plaque which confirms its status to Muslim tourists. Obtaining the certification involved intensive effort. Checks were made not only on the kitchen and restaurant service but on every department, one by one. “We have had to provide technical specifications from all our suppliers for every one of the products that we use in our kitchens”, explains Fernando Portal, who says he is sure that this new concept is a welcome addition to the range of hotels available on the Costa del Sol.
Areas for prayer
Creating more areas for prayer, having rooms that face Mecca or with signs showing its direction and reserving separate times for men and women to use the swimming pool are just some of the points that hotels need to work on if they want to obtain certification from the Halal Institute of Spain. At present, the Alanda Hotel has not dedicated different times for men and women to use the pool, but it has put signs pointing to Mecca in the rooms and has produced a pack containing a prayer mat, which is given to guests. The television programmes and films are also restricted: none with a violent, erotic or pornographic content will be shown. The restaurants also have menus which are adapted for the strict Muslim diet. The hotel’s ‘Healthy’ philosophy has become one of its signs of identity and its special natural fruit juice drinks proved extremely popular with guests during the summer.
Statistics from the Halal Institute show that Islamic tourism generates more than 300 million euros a year in Andalucía. The search for new markets to ensure that tourism in the region continues to grow will undoubtedly mean that more resorts will be following the example of Marbella.


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