Articles by "Hot Flag Carrier"
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The St. Regis Jakarta Welcomes Marc Handl as General Manager

JAKARTA – October 27th, 2022 – The St. Regis Jakarta is pleased to announce the appointment of Marc Handl as General Manager for the highly anticipated hotel opening in Jakarta. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Marc brings an unparalleled delivery in quality of standards and leadership to The St. Regis Jakarta and The Residences at The St. Regis Jakarta.

A third-generation hospitality leader, Marc’s family lived in a hotel for the first 25 years of his life. This gave him the opportunity to observe and learn from the professionals early on, and he worked as a cook, server, and bellboy during his school breaks. Marc’s passion is inspired by his father and role model, Richard Handl, a well-respected and influential figure in the hospitality industry. Becoming a hotelier came naturally for Marc as he has always been surrounded by many lauded hospitality leaders.

Focused and ambitious, Marc graduated from the leading hospitality management and business schools including Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he obtained his master of business administration degree.

Marc started his career as an assistant restaurant manager, working his way to Director of Food and Beverage, before moving into Sales and Marketing roles. Marc’s experience in luxury hotel brands consists of Park Hyatt, Peninsula, The Ritz-Carlton, and Aman. Recent senior leadership roles were Regional Vice President at Rosewood Hotel Group and Vice President Operations at Pan Pacific Hotel Group. Marc believes in building a “winning team spirit” that he incorporates in his coaching leadership style to develop excellent, energetic, and dedicated teams.

“I am honored and privileged to be a member of The St. Regis Jakarta team, and excited to be working with a wonderful group of passionate professionals,” said Marc. “Together with our team, I am looking forward to bringing the iconic heritage of the St. Regis brand to Jakarta, and to creating a new benchmark of exquisite experiences for our guests at The St. Regis Jakarta.”

Marc will lead the team, elevating the legendary culture of the St. Regis brand and positioning The St. Regis Jakarta as the best destination for discerning travelers and epicureans to experience unparalleled service and gourmet excellence. Located at the best address within the three main business districts, The St. Regis Jakarta is destined to be the cultural soul theatre of the city. A reflection of the warmest Indonesian hospitality, the hotel offers 282 luxurious rooms, a wide array of food and beverage venues, including The St. Regis Bar, two large ballrooms, and The St. Regis Spa. The Residences at The St. Regis Jakarta consist of 164 of Jakarta’s most luxurious apartments and penthouses. Both properties will experience the renowned and signature St. Regis Butler service.

For more information about The St. Regis Jakarta, visit or follow Instagram @stregisjakarta for more stories.

About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts

Combining timeless glamour with a vanguard spirit, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts is committed to delivering exquisite experiences at more than 50 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Beginning with the debut of The St. Regis hotel in New York by John Jacob Astor IV at the dawn of the twentieth century, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by the signature St. Regis Butler Service. For more information and new openings, visit or follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. St. Regis is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy®, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments and unparalleled benefits including complimentary nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit

About Marriott Bonvoy®

Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, gives members access to transformative, eye-opening experiences around the corner and across the globe. Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 extraordinary brands offers renowned hospitality in the most memorable destinations in the world. Members can earn points for stays at hotels and resorts, including all-inclusive resorts and premium home rentals, as well as through everyday purchases with co-branded credit cards. Members can redeem their points for experiences including future stays, Marriott Bonvoy Moments, or through partners for luxurious products from Marriott Bonvoy Boutiques. With the Marriott Bonvoy app, members enjoy a level of personalization and contactless experience that allows them to travel with peace of mind. To enroll for free or for more information about Marriott Bonvoy, visit To download the Marriott app, go here

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Dorchester Collection promotes Philip Morris to vice president, commercial

(London) - Dorchester Collection announces the promotion of Philip Morris to the position of vice president, commercial, effective immediately.

Philip joined Dorchester Collection as corporate director of revenue management in 2013 where he was responsible for aligning brand revenue and online strategy. Four years later, he was promoted to global commercial director, with added responsibility for contact centres, digital transformation, and email marketing.

With the changing landscape of global travel following the covid-19 pandemic, Philip’s new role has evolved in response to a shift in consumer habits. The newly created role will focus on driving Dorchester Collection’s commercial success through a combination of business development, long-term value creation and driving brand equity. Reporting to Helen Smith, chief customer experience officer, this position will also be responsible for strategic business planning, data analytics and performance insights, marketing, revenue management, global sales and distribution.

Helen Smith commented: “Dorchester Collection has an ongoing commitment to enhancing guest experiences. Philip’s dedication to elevating guest centricity has been invaluable to the company. He has played an integral part in helping drive revenue as Dorchester Collection experienced its best quarter at the end of 2021, with the forecast showing an exceptional 2022. His passion never wavers and we are delighted to congratulate him on this promotion.”

Dorchester Collection

Dorchester Collection is a portfolio of the world’s foremost luxury hotels and residences. The unique properties are all legendary in their own right, with rich heritages and worldwide reputations as places offering the most sought-after experiences of good living, charm, elegance and unparalleled standards of service.

The current portfolio includes the following hotels: The Dorchester, London; 45 Park Lane, London; Coworth Park, Ascot, UK; Le Meurice, Paris; Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris; Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan; Hotel Eden, Rome; The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills; Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles and The Lana, Dubai (opening 2022).

Luxury residences include Mayfair Park Residences, London; The Residences, Dorchester Collection, Dubai and One at Palm Jumeirah, Dorchester Collection, Dubai.

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Appointment Signals Strategic Regional Focus

(Hong Kong, May 25, 2022)  Markus Aklin has been appointed Vice President - Development, Asia Pacific, marking Langham Hospitality Group’s plan to accelerate growth in Asia Pacific following the successful opening of The Langham, Jakarta and the imminent opening of The Langham, Gold Coast.

Brett Butcher, Chief Executive Officer of Langham Hospitality Group said: “South East Asia and the Pacific are important regional markets where we can enhance our footprint and build deeper relationships with owners and investors who will benefit from a global owner-operator like Langham Hospitality Group.

“Markus is a highly respected development professional in Asia Pacific with an exceptional track record. He will be an invaluable asset to grow our brands with developers and owners in the region,” he added.

A Swiss national, Markus had led development in Asia Pacific for over 10 years for Onyx Hospitality Group. As Vice President, Development, he successfully executed the market entry strategies into eight regions.

He commenced his career in the region managing operations and pre-opening projects in 2003.

Markus has relocated to Hong Kong from Bangkok and will report directly to the Chief Executive Officer.

Markus is fluent in Thai, German, English and French. He is a graduate of the Swiss Hotel Management School Lucerne in Switzerland and has an EMBA from Sasin School of Management, Bangkok, Thailand / Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University Chicago, USA.
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Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas Announces New General Manager Appointments in Africa, Indian Ocean and the Middle East

Dubai, May 2022: Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas announces four executive appointments in its portfolio of luxury properties in the Middle East and Africa. The brand welcomes new General Managers at resorts in Oman, the Seychelles and Mozambique.

Mathieu Hellec Appointed General Manager of Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas

Mathieu Hellec has taken the helm as General Manager at Anantara Maia Seychelles Villas. Previously Resident Manager, Mathieu joined the team in 2018 prior to the property’s rebranding from Maia Luxury Resort & Spa in 2020. Before joining the resort, Mathieu was General Manager of Tropical Store Limited, a company specialised in providing high quality solutions, brands and expertise to hospitality businesses in the Seychelles.

Hailing from France, Mathieu has a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality & Tourism from Lycée Hôtelier Largentièret, where he graduated with honours. Mathieu started his career in 2002 at L’Aiguiere in Paris as Restaurant Manager, where he went on to attain a Sommelier diploma and was appointed a member of the Sommelier Association in France. In 2010 he joined Constance Hotels and Resorts in Mauritius as Head Sommelier for seven outlets.

Set on a private peninsula on the southwest coast of Mahé, Anantara Maia is one of the country’s most exclusive properties, boasting thirty private pool villas opulently designed by Bill Bensley and its unique ‘Beyond All Inclusive’ service.

Yiannis Kosmas Appointed General Manager at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort

Recently appointed General Manager of Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort, Yiannis Kosmas, is proud to join the team in Mozambique and plans to take the resort to new heights. Anantara Bazaruto Island is located on a tropical island surrounded by towering sand dunes, white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of Indigo Bay, 30km off Mozambique’s coastline.

A Greek national, Yiannis has a passion for fitness and wellbeing and started his hospitality career with several positions in his home country, including as Recreation Manager at Costa Navarino Resort. He then moved to the Middle East in 2012 to take on a similar role at The Ritz Carlton Bahrain.

Yiannis joined Anantara in 2014 as Director of Leisure and Recreation at Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara in Qatar. Two years later he was appointed Executive Assistant Manager at sister property Tivoli Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels in Doha. Moving to Asia in 2017, he then took on two positions as Resort Manager, first at Anantara Rasananda Villas Koh Phangan in Thailand, followed by Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas in Malaysia, before moving to Mozambique to take on his first GM position.

Yiannis holds an MBA in Strategic Management from Kingston University, London, and a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and sports and a Master of Science degree in sport and recreation management from Thrace University in Komotini, Greece.

Maren Kuehl Welcomed as General Manager of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

Maren Kuehl has been appointed General Manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar in Oman and brings with her nearly twenty years of experience in international luxury hotels across Europe and the Middle East. Maren has been part of the Anantara family since 2014 when she joined the brand as Hotel Manager at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort.

Maren’s hospitality experience began in the UK at the Ritz Hotel London where she undertook various roles and demonstrated excellence in Food and Beverage and Front Office Management. Moving to the UAE in 1999 Maren worked with Jumeirah Group for 12 years in a number of their flagship resorts.

Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, located just two hours from Muscat, sits high above the clouds on Oman’s fabled Green Mountain, overlooking rugged lands rich with authentic cultural heritage and experiences. Maren is an ardent advocate of sustainability and has plans to develop a water bottling plant and institute even greater waste reduction measures to ensure zero waste and attainable waste management at the resort.

Andrea Orrú Appointed General Manager at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara

Andrea Orrú has joined the Anantara team in Oman as General Manager at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. Andrea has been part of the team at Minor Hotels, Anantara’s parent company, since 2013 and brings with him over 20 years of experience in hotel operations across food and beverage and hotel management in countries including Thailand, Maldives, China and South Korea. He moved to Oman from his previous position as Task Force General Manager at Niyama Private Islands Maldives and prior to that General Manager at Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Resort in Thailand.

Andrea, who is Italian, started his career in 1999 in F&B with Thistle Hotels in the UK. He then went on to join Starwood Hotels and Resorts working in the UK, Australia and China in various management positions over a period of 13 years.

Located in the stunning coastal location of Salalah in Oman’s southern province of Dhofar, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara sits within easy reach of an abundance of cultural treasures and thrilling escapades offering intrepid travellers a unique destination of breathtaking natural beauty.

Anantara is a luxury hospitality brand for modern travellers, connecting them to genuine places, people and stories through personal experiences, and providing heartfelt hospitality in the world’s most exciting destinations. The collection of distinct, thoughtfully designed luxury hotels and resorts provides a window through which to journey into invigorating new territory, curating personal travel experiences.

From cosmopolitan cities to desert sands to lush islands, Anantara connects travellers to the indigenous, grounds them in authentic luxury, and hosts them with passionate expertise. The portfolio currently boasts over 40 stunning hotels and resorts located in Thailand, Maldives, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mozambique, Zambia, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Italy and The Netherlands, with a pipeline of future properties across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

For more information on Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, please visit

Follow us on Facebook:; Twitter and Instagram: @anantara_hotels

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Ms Sherona Shng - The Langham, Hong Kong



(Hong Kong, 18 May 2022) – Langham Hospitality Group has announced the appointment of Ms. Sherona Shng as Managing Director of The Langham, Hong Kong and Regional Vice President, Operations - Asia, overseeing hotels from Hong Kong to Tokyo and Jakarta.

In addition to her leadership role at The Langham, Hong Kong, Sherona will have expanded operational oversight of all Langham and Cordis properties in Hong Kong and Asia, including properties under development.

The role marks a significant homecoming as Sherona served in her first operational role as Hotel Manager at The Langham, Hong Kong. Prior to her operational leadership roles, Sherona was Vice President - PR and Communications leading Langham Hospitality Group’s global brand advertising, integrated marketing campaigns, corporate and brand public relations.

Sherona, a native Singaporean, returned home in 2017 to join the Four Seasons Singapore and subsequently became the General Manager of the Four Seasons Shenzhen in 2019 before deciding to return to Hong Kong.

Speaking of her new mandate at The Langham, Hong Kong, Sherona is passionate about delivering authentic luxury customer service experiences through empowered passionate teams. She said: “I am delighted to return to The Langham, Hong Kong which is where I first discovered my love for operational excellence and enabling our people to deliver Langham bespoke touches and memories that the guests remember.”

On her new regional responsibilities, she added: “I am committed to ensuring that each property in my portfolio will strive towards delivering enhanced guest experiences that only The Langham or Cordis brands can bring to life, differentiating their service and performance in the cities in which they operate.”

“I also look forward to equipping and mentoring future generations of hoteliers, including female leaders, with the skills and attitudes to be successful in their careers, affording them all opportunities to achieve their career and life goals,” she added.

The Langham, Hong Kong is encompasses 498 suites and rooms, designed to cater to the whims of each guest. It is also home to T’ang Court, a 3-Michelin Star Cantonese fine dining restaurant which is serves as a blueprint for global expansion of the brand and an outpost of Palm Court, which served the world’s first afternoon tea in 1865.

About The Langham, Hong Kong

The Langham, Hong Kong epitomises timeless European elegance and is located in the heart of vibrant Kowloon. Situated next to Canton Road in the Tsimshatsui district, the hotel is surrounded by the luxury flagship stores of the world’s most famous designer labels and mere minutes away from the historic Star Ferry with glittering Victoria Harbour as its backdrop. The hotel features 498 luxurious guest rooms and suites finished with the finest fabrics, hardwood floors, and hand-woven carpets, and fully equipped with Blissful Beds, iHome docking stations and wireless broadband internet connection. Attractions range from the legendary three Michelin-starred T’ang Court Cantonese restaurant, The Langham British Afternoon Tea at the Palm Court lobby lounge and artisanal cocktails at the award-winning bar concept from London called Artesian. Guests can relax at the rooftop swimming pool or retreat to The Langham Club lounge that offers all-day canapés and refreshments. Since 2020, the hotel has been awarded the EarthCheck Platinum Certification in recognition of its strong commitment to environmental and social sustainability. For more information, visit The Langham, Hong Kong.

About Langham Hospitality Group

As the wholly-owned subsidiary of Great Eagle Holdings, Langham Hospitality Group encompasses a family of distinctive hotels under The Langham Hotels and Resorts and Cordis Hotels brands, with more than 30 projects currently either confirmed or in a developed stage of negotiation from Asia, Europe and North America to the Middle East. The Group takes its name from the legendary Langham in London which was widely recognized as Europe's first Grand Hotel. For over 150 years, this flagship hotel has represented sophisticated and gracious hospitality, a philosophy that reflects elegance in design, innovation in hospitality, sincere service and captivation of the senses across all properties. For more information, please access the website at

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Seasoned hotelier Andreas Bergel has been appointed to lead the world’s largest Hotel Indigo as its General Manager

SEMINYAK, BALI, INDONESIA – As Bali reopens to tourism, Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach is delighted to announce that Andreas Bergel has joined the team as the resort’s new General Manager.

Originally from Germany, Andreas is no stranger to the island’s stellar hospitality scene. Prior to taking up the position with Hotel Indigo, he spent seven years helming various teams at W Bali – Seminyak. Starting as Director of Food & Beverage (F&B), he was soon promoted to Hotel Manager, finishing his posting overseeing all aspects of the resort’s operations as Interim General Manager.

A keen diver and lover of motorbikes, Andreas brings more than 20 years of hospitality experience to Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach. His career has taken him from his hometown of Hamburg to some of the finest 5-star hotels in Dubai, including Madinat Jumeirah and The Address Hotels + Resorts, where he worked as Assistant F&B Manager and Director of F&B respectively.

He approaches his new position as GM of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach with great enthusiasm.

“I am honoured and humbled to be appointed as General Manager of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach. These are dynamic but exciting times and I am stoked to work on Bali’s tourism recovery along with this vibrant team at this amazing property. We will be sure to keep improving ourselves in presenting a unique Neighborhood experience to all of our resort guests,” he commented.

With extensive knowledge of luxury and lifestyle brands and a particularly strong background in F&B, Andreas will be a great asset to the resort. Under his leadership, the hotel will continue to provide guests with a unique experience found nowhere else in the world.

About Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach

Opening its doors in June 2017, Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach boasts 289 tropical-feel rooms, suites, and pool villas. Other amenities include an award-winning spa; four outdoor pools; and six distinctive F&B outlets, including SugarSand, a destination bar and restaurant overlooking Seminyak Beach. The largest Hotel Indigo in the world, the Bali beach resort is one of the top hotels in the area, a fitting addition to the vibrant neighbourhood of Seminyak.

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First of all, congratulations on the three new properties acquired by Karma Group. Could you please tell us a little about Karma in Spain, Vietnam and India?

Yes of course, Well, I just come back from Spain actually. I was there over the last couple of weeks putting our plans together; try to get it open for Easter, next year. It’s in a village called Gaucin and Gaucin is one of the Pueblo Blancos, the white villages, which sit in the south of the state of Andalusia. Andalusia is the state at the bottom of Spain, famous for the Costa del Sol, places like Marbella, Malaga, Fuengirola, and these amazing tourist strips. And behind it is a very authentic Spanish countryside. 

The Pueblo Blanco sit on the top of sierras, on top of the hills, looking down on the coast and you can see the rock of Gibraltar from there. It’s magnificent location. It’s about an hour from the airport, or to the airport. You get there from either Malaga or you go in via Gibraltar. The village itself dates back over thousands of years. It was famous as the location of many battles between the Moors and the Catholics in the sort of constant raging wars. 

Eventually the Moors were kicked out of Spain and it became a catholic nation. But for many years it was a Moorish, an Arab nation, hence al Andalus which became Andalusia, and naval towns in the area Malaga, Marbella were all Moorish towns. So it sticked in history, got a beautiful castle, its got amazing churches, its got fantastic buildings. 

We came across it some years ago and been negotiating for some time. And we eventually closed the deal recently. It sits just 2 miles outside the town with magnificent views, of the sierras and the rock of Gibraltar in the distance. It sits on a land large plot of land, 9 hectare, 90.000m2. 

It’s surrounded by state forest. Initially its going to have 25 accommodation units, plus an amazing bar, a restaurant, we got a Bodega there, we are going to have a games room, it has a beautiful pool, with Cabana and terraces around it. And our plans are in the future to develop extra inventory, glamping inventory in the form of tents and yurts, which will sit in the woods. 

I also teach UCLA, University College of Los Angeles and we’ve invited the students there to join us in this project, to help us design these temporary eco-structure, which will sit in the woods, which will be separate but integral to the existing property. And it will be very green, very-very carbon neutral, very eco-structure. So I am quite pleased with that. I had them over a couple of weeks ago and everybody got some great ideas. 

So we think it’s going to be very attractive to all our members and clients. It’s close to the coast. It’s only half an hour from the famous beaches of the Costa del Sol. In itself it’s a great destination. It’s got amazing walks. It’s also very close to the towns of Ronda, Sevilla, and Cadiz, and these famous Andalusian cities, which got a host of culture and attractions to them.

Elsewhere in Vietnam we acquired a new property in Hoi An. Hoi An is the one of the cultural capital of Vietnam. It’s UNESCO heritage listed. We’ve had a resort there for some time. This is a new property in the middle of town. It’s got 50 units. It’s a short walk to the heart of Hoi An, where its all pedestrianized and there are no cars and you can wander around on bicycle or you paddle up the boats, amazing cuisine, amazing culture, it’s a fascinating place. 

It’s also very close to the beaches which are only about 10 min away by bicycle, or 2 min by taxi, and magnificent South China Sea with great beaches, great restaurants, and of course the cuisine is just outstanding in Vietnam. So, we are looking forward to that getting open. Just as soon as restrictions are lifted. I heard that’s quite positive.

And over in India, yes we acquired several resorts in India, we’re very active in India. It’s where it all began in 27, almost 28 years ago. We have a new resort in the Nandi Hills, which is just outside Bangalore, about 1 hour from Bangalore. We have a new property in Udaipur, which is where of course one of the palace sits in the Rajasthan and also in Rajasthan we acquired a property just outside Jaisalmer another famous city. 

This is very interesting; it’s actually a tented camp. So there are some hard construction, but mostly accommodation units and common area is in tents. You got on camel safaris, it’s in the desert, it’s the Thorn desert, which is only 20 km from the center of Jaisalmer, but it’s a true desert with sand dunes. You can get on camels, you can sleep under the stars, and you get very low light pollution, an amazing experience. 

And one thing we are doing is bracketing all our Rajasthani resorts together by providing transport options. And so people can go and spent a few nights in Udaipur, few nights in Jaipur where we have our resort, few nights in Jaisalmer. And we have a fleet of Ambassador cars that would drive you between the various locations and so people get a true Rajasthan experience. Which again we think is going to be very popular to many of our clients and members over the next few years.

You acquired Karma Salak in Puncak (Bogor - West Java). Would you mind to share a background story behind this?

Karma Salak, this was a bit of an accident, to be candid. I mean what happened with the pandemic is that we were really forced to overlook the Indonesian market and say, I don’t think we got enough resorts in Indonesia. We’ve maybe a bit lazy over the years. We’ve developed many resorts in Bali, and that area where that be in the Gili Islands or Bali itself, and our market was a combination of the western market and the Indonesian market. 

And things were very well, our resorts were full and business was good. But clearly with the pandemic in meant all of us sudden that the foreign markets, primarily the Australian market stopped. And so we were forced to look at ourselves and say well, what does a lot more we can do in Indonesia and with the Indonesian market? And so we went out and try to identify and acquire some more resorts. 

And this actually is being quite a common trend all over the world, because the last two years, tourism was really become domestic. So our Indonesian resorts are visited by Indonesians, our English resorts by English or German, our Australian by Australian, and its been quite a chaotic exercise, because it forced us to look at expanding our portfolio so we can increase the attraction to the domestic audience. 

And so we looked around Jakarta and one of the goals with our new acquisitions is to be quite near a major metro, near where we already have owners and members and near where we think we can attract more members in the future so that it is easy for them to go and visit our resorts, and easy to experience the Karma philosophy and lifestyle and jeune se quais, and yet be somewhere that when the world opens up, which thankfully it is at the moment, the international consumer and our international members was also be very keen to go and visit. So it has to be a combination attractive to the local domestic market and but also attractive to the international market. So Karma Salak came up. I went to see it myself and that area blew me away. 

I love nasi goreng, but the mountains and the volcanoes, and the local scenery, the people were wonderfully friendly, and we found this property which seem to tick the boxes which is why we actually went ahead and acquired it. And it has been a great success. Since then we are looking at more in Indonesia. 

We are about to announce, literally this week the acquisition of a new property in Yogyakarta, which again I think is a beautiful area where clearly its a natural, a lot of people live, and a lot of Indonesians like to visit it for the culture, the temples etc. 

And I also believe just like with Karma Salak that when the Brits, the Australians and the Americans, and the Germans can once again visit Indonesia, these are beautiful locations to go and see, and again with the same logic as we have done in India, what we are trying to do is what we call split center destinations and so that the consumer can come from let’s say London or from Sydney. 

They can spent a few days in Bali, few days in Karma Salak, few days in Yogya, and we are looking at other sites all over Indonesia which maybe they wouldn’t have gone to before, but because we can bracket them with Bali they will be able to go there and they’ll discover some amazing places and see that Indonesia has a host of fantastic destination for them to visit.

What is next? Where do you plan to acquire more? Maybe in Indonesia and overseas?

Well absolutely. I mean tomorrow I get on a plane to go to Scotland where we are going to be acquiring a new asset that I think is going to be very exciting. After Scotland we are looking all over Europe, as I said we recently relaunched down in Spain. We are looking at various other places in Italy, and down in Greece. 

In India we have some new assets that we are looking at. And further a field; we’ve got some very interesting projects in the Philippines. We have a resort, which we hope to launch relatively soon on the beautiful island of Palawan, we’re looking at a project down in Fiji. We have a lot to build in east coast of Australia and Kiwis love to go, which is Denaral in the Manuka Islands. 

And most probably most exotic or far away is we are about to close on the acquisition of a piece of land in northern Brazil near the town of Fortaleza. It’s becoming a mecca for windsurfers or kite surfers and all sorts of adventure sports fanatics, and we’ve looked at a piece of land there, which has permit on to build a hotel. And that’ll be our first in Latin America region and so expect to hear more about that soon.

But yes going in on to the pandemics, I said we would come out of it with no fewer resorts then we went in. We kind modify it halfway through, and said that we’ll actually come out with more resorts. And I’ll modify again to make a very bullish call a number months ago that my goal to emerge from the pandemic with 10 new hotels and we hold the moment into it. 

And this is very born out, I mean, we are in a situation where we are fortunate, we got no debt, we have no partners, we got cash in the bank, we are nimble, we can buy things swiftly. Opportunities have come up all over the world, and we are able to capitalize on them.

And so while there has been many problems because the pandemic, there is also been a huge upside for us and its been a little bit of cure to take, but lots of resorts are coming on to line.

Karma Group was sponsoring a once-in-a-lifetime live reading of Dante’s The Divine Comedy. Could you please tell us a little story behind this initiative? How did it first happen?

The Dante Divine. Yes again, it was a bit of an accident really. I mean, I have been involved in the entertainment business all my life, I used to be in the music business and I have many friends still in it, I have friends in the acting world and performance world. And so we heard about that there were two things that which coincide really. One; is we heard about the 700th anniversary of Dante Aligherie’s death, and two; I love Florence, we have a resort called Borgo di Colleoli just outside Florence. 

I think it is my favorite city on the planet, and this is where obviously the celebration going to be of his passing away, because that’s where Dante lived for much of his life and where’s his house he was born in, and where he has been celebrated. And it was a host of actors and actress in it, such as Hellen Mirren, Rupert Everett, Ralph Fines and various other incredible well-known actor and actresses. We were fortunate enough to be involved in it, help sponsor it and help put it on. It was an amazing event, it went over 24 hours and it was both live in Florence and also beamed around the world. We put on in various of our properties of an sort live screening type basis. 

Yes that was one of those accidents of a great pleasure to be involved in. I think one of the things we like in Karma is that we always say we’re much more than being in the lodging business, we are in the entertainment business, and our job is to entertain people. That entertainment maybe the experience that they have when they are with us. It maybe the great bars, restaurants, it maybe the wine that we make, it maybe the olive oil that we produce. 

We run all sorts of cultural events all on our own as we have our olive picking weekends where they go and actually pick the olives themselves and put it in the olive press down at Le Preverger, our chateau down in the south of France, that used to belong to Jean Moreau and Laura Ashley. We are running at the moment a number of events where for they get down for 3 days in all sorts of cultural events and wine tasting and what have you.

We put a lot of events like Dante’s comedy. We got involved in a lot of sports event. We sponsor a number of Rugby teams. We’ve been involved in soccer and all sorts of things over the years. So we are much more than just a hotel, and our members and our clients really enjoy that, the fact we do a lot more.

Any advice you would share to young entrepreneurs, to tackle problems and find solution, to survive and even grow more, especially amidst this pandemic?

Yeah, look, I think the answer is always look to the glass being half full. I am fortunate enough to teach entrepreneurs. I teach at Yale University UCLA. Ironic, because I am a University dropout. So I was the guy who left after 2 terms. I got no formal education, but one thing and I try to teach them often, business school and young entrepreneurs taught to be seriously good business managers, seriously good CEO’s, but maybe not great entrepreneurs. 

They’re taught risk aversion, rather than you should have risk embracement. To be an entrepreneur you got to be embracing risk, you actually got to look sometimes for risk, cause there then lays the opportunity. I also never be frighten of being wrong. So many people are taught business, are taught overanalyzes, like make sure you’ve making the right decision, and run spreadsheets and go through various process to make sure what you’ve doing is the right thing. But we teach them the opposite. It’s not risk aversions, it’s risk embracement.

Yes I was saying risk embracement, I mean look for risk, make decisions quickly. Where an entrepreneur in a smaller new company can beat the more established companies, is making decisions quickly and moving fast. It is a little bit like the difference between a big tanker and a small speedboat. The tanker is bigger and maybe more reliable and can go further distance, but it can’t turn very quickly. 

Where a speedboat is small and can turn in an instant. So as an entrepreneur, move quickly, make a decision and brace risk, don’t be worried about making mistakes, because you learn from your mistakes. And that’s how you can get opportunity and how you can beat the big boys. You have to be swift and you have to be prepared to make decisions on the day. Where’s the big companies tend to have committees and boards and all sorts of things that’s new to them and slows them down.

I think, finally I’d say, actual fact during times of disruption and uncertainty, they often are the biggest opportunities and often it’s the disruptors that succeed. We have found that during the pandemic is being a cure take, there’s been things that haven’t been so good. Of course I wouldn’t say everything is being positive by any means. But there’s been great opportunity, and that’s often the way. It’s the line worn by Warren Buffet said, that you’re in the actually see who’s wearing bathers when the tide goes out. 

And this at the time the companies that got too much debt, or they overleveraged, or they too bloated and they haven’t got enough profit, they have gone out of business. And so opportunity has presented itself, and it will as we come out of the pandemic, there’s going to be a boom we believe very strongly, that there’s going to be a hospitality boom because people have excess savings in their bank accounts, because they haven’t been able to go out, they haven’t had meals or staying in hotels.

They want to reward themselves for being locked down and pat themselves on the back and say, we did it, we survived, they want to get a revenge to be honest on the pandemic, or the government, or whatever, for locking them down. There is also an element of fear because people worry that the pandemic may come back, or the government may tax their money, or something may happen and there is a sense of mortality.

So we think that means that when people can go out, and they can stay and they can go out to lunch and dinner whatever, they will and they’ll spend more and they’ll enjoy themselves more. And we’ve certainly seen that. Because when our resorts have been opened and people can get to us, then they are spending more, they are staying longer, and they are having a better time, and as a certain sense of carpe diem, seize the day.

So the boom is coming for young entrepreneurs. You have the opportunity of a lifetime to capitalize on it. Just go and do it!

Interview by Hev | Image by Heidi Barroll Brown

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Hotelier Indonesia Interview with Rachel Grier , Asia-Pacific managing director, IDeaS Revenue Solutions

Questions Answered by: Rachel Grier

What are the key revenue management challenges currently impacting on Indonesian hoteliers?

Revenue management is a process that is driven by a combination of people, processes and technology. Although there have been rapid advancements with the technology in recent years, the practice is still not universally adopted by hoteliers in Indonesia. This is often because property owners need to be convinced of value of these new systems.

A key challenge for revenue managers themselves is that they need to move their focus and expertise away from traditional guest room revenue management to holistic revenue strategy optimisation. Today’s revenue managers need to be technologically skilled, analytical and data driven – but more importantly, they need to be effective communicators. Revenue managers need to communicate across various departments and often to act as mobilizers to gain agreement on key pricing strategies and foster an organisation-wide revenue management culture.
Can you please outline a recent innovation launched by IDeaS?

IDeaS acquired Smart Space Solutions in March of 2017. Smart Space is a cloud-based, visual strategy management solution that will help Indonesian hoteliers analyse the business trends and performance of meeting and event spaces within their properties.

IDeaS is helping bridge the gap between revenue management, sales, marketing and meetings and events teams for the benefit of the Indonesian market.

Global spending on meetings and events continues to rise, and the need for hotel and event managers to understand the impact of group and event business is critical. Smart Space by IDeaS creates a firm connection between revenue managers and event sales managers by providing visibility into meetings and events demand in a powerful cloud-based tool.

It seamlessly integrates sales and catering data to strategically manage meetings and events venues, allowing hoteliers to collaborate and create a demand-based pricing strategy.

Can you please outline how hotels can better grow revenues through function spaces today?

To better maximise revenue opportunities from meetings and events spaces, many hoteliers have begun to fold revenue management strategies into sales and catering processes. Today, with advances such as Smart Space by IDeaS, hotels can analyse and dissect their business trends and meeting space performance. These systems visually consolidate data from other sales tools to help hotel teams strategically manage property functions and collaborate on ideal pricing strategies.

Any increased focus on applying revenue management principles to meetings and events also requires hoteliers to take a well-rounded look at their sales and catering revenues, as decisions they make for their function spaces can have a major impact on the bottom line. To ensure that a hotel is optimising revenues from their function spaces, hoteliers must establish and review KPIs for these spaces.

It is essential to collect meaningful data, forecast with confidence, and as a result, identify the most valuable business. After all, any demand-based pricing strategy is rooted in clean and relevant data. Easy access to the right data, along with interactive visualisations, provides powerful insights into meetings and events performance, and influences strategic business decisions.

To achieve optimal levels of revenue from meetings and events, hoteliers also need to incentivise their sales team on achieving quality of business, rather than quantity. Having the right forecasting, data and metrics in place may not result in optimal business without the sales team delivering the right piece of business with greatest profit impact to the hotel.

Sales teams therefore need to be incentivised appropriately on the right measurements, to channel their focus on quality of business, rather than one-dimensional metrics such as sale volume or space occupancy.

How can Asian hoteliers improve their revenues in the future?

Hotel guests have more buying power than ever before. Online channels and social media continue to proliferate and offer consumers more transparency and insight. Guests no longer rely on directly knowing someone who stayed at a hotel to form an impression of the property and whether to book or not.

They have powerful social media platforms where they can communicate instantaneously to wide groups of potential customers about their experiences – good, bad or indifferent. This has significant implications for any hotel’s online reputation, and can directly impact the hotel’s approach to revenue management, pricing decisions and ability to attract the right guest for the right price.

Hotels need to consider revenue strategy solutions that incorporate a property’s reputation in addition to rate in relation to their competitive set and seek out revenue management systems that incorporate reputation scores into their actual pricing algorithms.

This is called reputation pricing, and it offers hotels a powerful method of utilising online reputation data to capitalise on additional revenue opportunity. It enables hotels to utilise the benefits of peer-to-peer social technologies to influence the intent to purchase at the point of decision making.

Revenue management systems that incorporate reputation pricing help hoteliers visualise their market position in relation to both rate and reputation.

The correlation between a hotel’s rate and reputation over time helps identify commercial areas of opportunity for a hotel to improve on in addition to pricing opportunities.

What are IDeaS future plans for Indonesia?

Indonesia is a key market for IDeaS. We are committed to helping local hoteliers grow their revenues across their entire property, in a complete manner. Using advanced forecasting and innovative pricing capabilities will allow hotels to capture more market share, outperform competitors and drive their business and revenues forward.

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Marriot International and Rajawali Group appoints Michelle Caporicci as Managing Director for two Langkawi Resorts and Langkawi International Convention Centre (LICC)

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – February, 2017 – Marriott International and Rajawali Group are pleased to announce the appointment of Michelle Caporicci to the position of Managing Director. Caporicci will be overseeing two resorts within the group and a convention centre; The St. Regis Langkawi, The Westin Langkawi Resort and Spa and The Langkawi International Convention Centre (LICC). Caporicci will be leading strategic direction for the business and overseeing the growth of the brands to propel the organisation forward.

With more than 20 years of experience in various high profile positions, Caporicci started her career in 1995 as a Catering Manager for Long Beach Marriott Hotel. Her continued dedication earned her a steadfast promotion to Director of Catering & Conference Services at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. In 2004, Michelle was appointed as Corporate Senior Director for Meetings and Special Events based in Maryland, USA. Michelle subsequently moved to Asia Pacific in 2008 and was appointed the Hotel Manager of The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai and in 2009 she was promoted to General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou.

In her most recent tenure as Regional Vice President, Sales & Marketing for The Ritz Carlton, Asia Pacific, Michelle oversaw 26 hotels in 8 countries and was responsible for US$1 billion in top line revenue. She opened 9 hotels; positioning some of the most iconic global hotels such as The Ritz- Carlton, Kyoto and Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Her proven track record and leadership achieved Market Share Growth and a RevPAR Index above 150%+ for comp hotels in the last 5 years consecutively. 

Other performance highlights include her contribution towards the growth of both group and non-qualified mix for comp hotels. Caporicci was also instrumental on the successful implementation of various key initiatives like the Elevated Experience Campaign, Scenography and Ritz Kids Night Safari Program, Source to Table Campaign and Storytelling.

Not just a driving force in business, Caporicci was also committed to developing talent within the organisation through her involvement in implementing the Director of Sales and Marketing Resource School in Asia Pacific for The Ritz-Carlton brand.

When not penning strategic plans or measuring sales goals, Caporicci is a Yoga enthusiast who enjoys Yoga retreats and solo travels. She also enjoys a good dose of retail therapy.

About St. Regis Hotels & Resorts
Combining classic sophistication with a modern sensibility, St. Regis is committed to delivering exceptional experiences at over 35 luxury hotels and resorts in the best addresses around the world. Since the opening of the first St. Regis hotel in New York City over a century ago by John Jacob Astor IV, the brand has remained committed to an uncompromising level of bespoke and anticipatory service for all of its guests, delivered flawlessly by signature St. Regis Butler Service. Starwood’s ultra-luxury brand is set to expand its legacy to 50 hotels by 2020. For more information and new openings, visit or follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Josh Lesnick Appointed as President & CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels
to Oversee Company’s Portfolio Including Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) & Worldhotels

Prominent Hotel Executive Tapped to Lead Companies Growing Hospitality Services and Global Sales Organisations

(Singapore, 08 March 2017) Associated Luxury Hotels, the parent company of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and Worldhotels, announced today that it has named highly respected hospitality industry executive Josh Lesnick to be its President and CEO. Lesnick comes to Associated Luxury Hotels from Wyndham Hotel Group, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for all aspects of revenue generation for 18 brands, encompassing more than 8,000 hotels in 77 countries. In his new role, Lesnick will oversee all business operations and subsidiaries of Associated Luxury Hotels, which significantly expanded its global footprint, hospitality services and collection of member hotels and resorts with the recent strategic acquisition of Frankfurt, Germany-based Worldhotels. He will also become only the third CEO in the 30+ year legacy of ALHI history. The announcement of this appointment was made by Associated Luxury Hotels’ Chairman David Gabri. Lesnick will assume his new role starting in April and will be based out of the company’s New York City office, and at its headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

As the owner and operator of ALHI and Worldhotels, Associated Luxury Hotels is evolving to be a significant, full-service “soft brand” solution for owners and operators of independent luxury-level hotels and resorts, and independent hotel brands around the world. Its extensive Global Sales Organisation (GSO) sales teams and hospitality services now include broad-reaching reservations connectivity solutions, a powerful sales and marketing infrastructure, partnership marketing opportunities, and an impressive geographic reach that will effectively compete in the world’s changing hospitality environment. The company provides an incredible portfolio of solutions for accounts with distribution across the globe, plus a full menu of valuable services and strategic hospitality resources for owners and operators of independent luxury-level hotels and resorts, and independent hotel brands.

ALHI is the leading independent Global Sales Organisation serving the North American Meetings & Incentive (M&I) marketplace for its distinguished portfolio of more than 250 luxury-level and upper-upscale M&I-focused hotels and resorts worldwide, plus a Global Luxury Alliance partnership including 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for M&I programmes, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide. Worldhotels, acquired in February 2017, is operated as a separate division, and primarily focuses on the transient travel sectors, small group meetings, revenue strategy, training and loyalty solutions for its 350 member hotels and resorts in 200 destinations in more than 50 countries. Worldhotels’ roots date back to more than 45 years.

While at Wyndham, Lesnick was responsible for leading a team of more than 1,200 sales, marketing, and call centre associates through a major global transformation that touched all revenue generation functions. This included the roll-out of Wyndham’s new loyalty programmes that earned the #1 ranking in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report for hospitality programmes. He also oversaw the repositioning of the company’s 18 brands, a refresh of its brand websites and online capabilities, and evolved the company’s Global Sales Organisation and revenue management services.

Prior to his tenure with Wyndham, Lesnick served for six years as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Audience Rewards, where he led the start-up from its early stage development to a highly successful audience development programme for Broadway and the Arts. As a first-of-its-kind alliance that united the major Broadway theatre owners, producers, ticketing systems, and national arts presenters, the programme now serves as one of the largest performing arts audience development programmes in the country.

Previous to that, he was at Starwood Hotels and Resorts as Corporate Vice President of Customer Loyalty, Marketing and Membership Programmes and as Vice President of Hotel Marketing, CRM and Online Marketing. While at Starwood he led the roll out of the award-winning SPG programme and launched the company’s online/CRM field marketing organisation. His hospitality career also includes five years in corporate leadership roles at Hyatt Hotels Corporation where he developed the first desk lamp with built-in power outlet for the growing number of guests with laptops.

“Josh is the ideal person to lead us as we evolve to meet the growing needs of our distinguished member hotels, Alliance partners, and our valued customers and guests around the world,” said Gabri. “He has a proven track record of creating winning cultures, driving meaningful innovation, and a tremendous passion for enhancing customer loyalty as evidenced by the five highly successful customer loyalty programmes he has launched and managed.”

Gabri continued, “We’ve experienced considerable growth over the last several years through market effectiveness and expansion, acquisitions, organic growth, and particularly with the recent addition of Worldhotels to our Associated Luxury Hotels portfolio. The sky is now the limit to grow strategically with Josh at the helm, leading our significantly expanded teams in North America and abroad. He has the vision, skills, extensive experience, and strong core values to guide the organisation for our members’ benefit, as we build the industry’s best portfolio of ‘soft brand’ solutions and tools for independent luxury-level hotels and independent luxury hotel brands around the world. We could not be more pleased to have such an outstanding, highly accomplished executive, with proven talents within our business to be leading our team.”

Lesnick said, “Incredible changes are going on in our industry with respect to soft branding, loyalty services, and distribution that are having a major impact on independent luxury hotels. To have the opportunity to work with the very talented and passionate teams of ALHI and Worldhotels, creating a new approach to these challenges, will allow us to better serve the needs of such unique and independent hotels, their owners, and our guests.

Together, our goal is to build upon the decades of experience from both ALHI and Worldhotels to become the market leader in serving and supporting independent luxury-level hotels and resorts worldwide. I look forward to leading the team and working with Dave to help guide Associated Luxury Hotels and our fantastic members to even greater heights in the future.”

The appointment of Josh Lesnick as President and CEO represents the second major announcement in a week by Associated Luxury Hotels of a major brand executive joining the team. Last week, the company announced that highly regarded Mark Sergot, the Senior Vice President of Sales from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, had joined the company as its Chief Sales Officer. Further, only last year, the appointment of Tom Santora, the former Chief Marketing Officer and SVP of Sales for OMNI Hotels & Resorts was announced as the firm’s Chief Commercial Officer.

Lesnick earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Audience Rewards, and the Advisory Board of the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration.

About Associated Luxury Hotels
Associated Luxury Hotels ( is the parent company of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and Worldhotels. With the acquisition of Worldhotels, Associated Luxury Hotels has significantly expanded its global footprint, and its worldwide sales, marketing, distribution and revenue generation services.

As the owner and operator of ALHI and Worldhotels, Associated Luxury Hotels is now an even more valuable hospitality resource for owners and operators of independent upper-upscale and luxury-level hotels and resorts, and independent hotel brands around the world. The company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

About ALHI, with 250 Hotels & Resorts + Alliance Members
ALHI (, established in 1986, is the leading independent Global Sales Organisation with an outstanding track record of serving the North American meetings and incentive (M&I) marketplace, by providing one-call local access for its distinguished membership of more than 250 luxury-level hotels and resorts, and a collective 138,500 rooms. ALHI’s portfolio also features a Global Luxury Alliance partnership including 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for M&I programmes, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide. The member dues-funded ALHI GSO has been serving its clientele with an unparalleled variety of M&I solutions around the globe for more than 30 years. Offering extensive GSO sales services throughout the United States and Canada at no cost to M&I customers, ALHI provides valuable services, expertise, local connectivity, market intelligence, and account advocacy. Currently ALHI features 20 Global Sales offices across the United States and in Canada, and also soon will expand with a new office opening in London in late March, and has plans for additional offices in key markets globally. The company is headquartered in Orlando, Florida.

About Worldhotels, with 350 Hotels & Resorts
The 45-year-old Worldhotels ( is a global brand that brings together some of the world's most unique independent hotels, including 350 member hotels and resorts in 200 destinations in over 50 countries, with a collective 75,000 rooms. This includes 165 hotels and resorts in Europe, 108 in Asia Pacific, 18 in South America, 12 in the Middle East, 7 in Africa, and 40 in North America. Worldhotels offers its membership of luxury-level hotels and resorts and small competitive brands a comprehensive range of services – including global marketing, sales, training, e-commerce and state-of-the-art distribution and technology. These services provide independent hotels a soft brand solution that allows them to retain their individual character and identity while capitalising on global marketing opportunities targeting the Individual Business Traveller, leisure traveler, meetings and distribution sectors. Worldhotels is headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany.