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Regional accent: Interview with Marriott’s Alex Kyriakidis

Amid a period of considerable social, economic and geopolitical upheaval, Marriott International has forged ahead with wide-ranging expansion plans in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), targeting a footprint of 70,000 rooms by 2020. Alex Kyriakidis, the company’s president and managing director for MEA, speaks to Phin Foster about diversifying geographical risk, the evolution of emotional hotel investors and the thirst for quality-tier accommodation across the region.

A blank canvas

In June, Marriott International launched its international campaign, Project Canvas, in the Middle East, encouraging food and beverage entrepreneurs to create home-grown brands in the region. Hotel Management Middle East assesses the new ways hotel operators are connecting with the local communities by showcasing innovative and diverse F&B offerings.

Beyond measure: Security in the face of terrorism

Recent terrorist attacks on luxury resorts have highlighted the growing threat operators face, from a security perspective and in terms of reassuring guests about their safety. Marc Josselin, operations director at Whispering Bell, and Carlson Rezidor’s Paul Moxness and Tony Johnson, speak with Sarah Williams about what can be learnt from these tragic events.

Tailored treatment: Growing your wellness business

As spas multiply in the Middle East, it’s become crucial for their managers to think outside the box if they want to grow their wellness business. Elly Earls finds out what’s worked so far for those at Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Spa, Dubai’s Heart & Soul Spa and the Chedi Muscat in Oman.

Sustainable establishments: Going green in the Middle East

The green agenda is playing an increasingly dominant role across all aspects of the hospitality sector. While not all hotels in the Middle East are getting the message, those that have are among the most innovative. Green Globe CEO Guido Bauer, Iberotel’s Ashraf Helmy and CEO of Diamond Developers Faris Saeed speak with Rod James about building for a sustainable future, and the role GMs must play in driving environmental performance.

Change of pace: Masdar City’s continued progress

Hailed as a utopian platform for experiments in green urbanism, then slowed by global financial trouble and technical glitches, Masdar City continues to make quiet progress amid design revisions and reversals. Will it fulfil its potential to prepare the United Arab Emirates for a post-petroleum future or is the project little more than a theme park devoted to ecological ideals? Bill Millard digs for answers.

Iran back in the running: A country’s future in hospitality

With the news that many of the sanctions against Iran will be lifted and the country’s nuclear programme halted, the Islamic Republic’s long economic isolation looks to be coming to an end, which could mean an opening up of its hotel and tourism sector to international operators. Christophe Landais, COO of Accor Middle East, and Christopher Hewitt, associate director at TRI Consulting, discuss the future of Iranian hospitality, mitigating political risk and the enormous potential of the country’s young population.

Reel in the talent: An effective recruitment strategy

With the majority of operators outlining hugely ambitious growth strategies for the Middle East, the competition for recruiting and retaining talent has never been fiercer. How can a hotel company best position itself as an employer of choice in the region? Ben Bengougam, vice-president, human resources, EMEA for Hilton Worldwide, and his corporate counterpart at Rotana, Joseph Abu Yaghi, discuss.

Hotel hotbed: Development in the Middle East

Development is surging across the Middle East hotel market. But what kinds of properties are being built and how are deals being structured? Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, head of hotels and hospitality, Middle East and Africa at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), discusses new investor profiles, rapid growth and the expansion of the mid-market segment.

Staying in fashion

After nine years in development hell, indications are that the Palazzo Versace Dubai will open its doors to the public later this year. Yet, after so long a wait and amid fierce competition, Greg Noone wonders to what extent the experiences on offer at the world’s newest fashion hotel will still remain in season.