Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi

The past year has revealed that Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi is a master of time management and extremely skillful at juggling multiple roles. A prolific, self-made Emirati entrepreneur, he holds senior leadership roles in several businesses he has founded, in the investment banking, private equity, and real estate sectors, as well as in hotel ownership and development.

The founder, president, and CEO for Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa, has also managed to find the time to launch eight hotels since July 2016, with 20 more due to open by the end of 2017 — at which point the group’s portfolio will have grown by more than 50% over the last year.

For Alzaabi, the past year is only the start of rapid, region-wide expansion for the group, with the goal of operating more than 100 properties within the next three years.

Under Alzaabi’s leadership, development and acquisitions at the company have raced ahead, with 40 new contracts signed in the last 12 months, adding more than 15,000 rooms across the Middle East. Among these was Studio M Dubai World Central, which has around 750 keys, making it one of the largest budget hotels in the region.

New brands have also launched in the region, spanning from budget and mid-market concepts such as Studio M, M Hotel, and Millennium Executive Apartments, through to luxury concepts such as Biltmore. The group has also developed and signed another new brand for the region: Agarwood. The eco-lifestyle concept, researched and developed specifically for the Middle East, is due to debut in Salalah, Oman, later this year.

Three Studio M hotels are due to open in Dubai by 2018, as well as another in Muscat and one in Saudi. With more than 10,000 keys in the pipeline, Saudi Arabia remains a key strategic focus for the group. It operates five properties in the kingdom, with an additional 23 properties in the pipeline. Two new hotels in Saudi Arabia with more than 1,400 keys — close to Al Masjid Al Haram, with direct access to the Holy Ka’aba — are in the offing.

Three further properties are in store for Makkah, with a goal of opening 10 to 12 hotels in the next six to 12 months, encompassing the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah and extending to the North, South, and Western Provinces. The next openings for the country include Millennium Hotel in Madinah as part of Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport, and Millennium and Copthorne hotels in Makkah Al Naseem, due to open later this year.

“Our development objective is to have 130 hotels by 2020,” Alzaabi says, adding: “We have successfully positioned Millennium Hotels & Resorts MEA as one of the major players in the hospitality sector, not only in the UAE but across the region, and for this I am truly grateful to all of our team.”

Andreas Mattmüller

Chief operating officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa
Mattmüller's aim is to operate 125 upscale and upper-upscale hotels in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia by 2020

Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi

Founder, president, and CEO, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa
Under Alzaabi’s leadership, development and acquisitions at the company have raced ahead, with 40 new contracts signed in the last 12 months

Omer Kaddouri

President and CEO, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation Ltd
Rotana celebrated its 25th anniversary this year

Robert Kunkler

Chief operating officer, Minor Hotels
Minor Hotels now has 14 hotels spanning 2,678 rooms coming up in the years ahead

Kamel Ajami

Vice president operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Levant, Hilton
Under his leadership, Hilton’s footprint in KSA and the Levant is set to triple in the region

Amine Moukarzel

President/ partner, Louvre Hotels Group/ Golden Tulip Hotels MENA
His leadership has overseen the overhaul of the core four-star brand, Golden Tulip Hotels

Ignace Bauwens

Wyndham Hotel Group regional vice president, Middle East and Africa
Wyndham has 27 hotels and 6,167 rooms in the MENA pipeline, while already operating 49 hotels and 8,528 rooms in the region

Sami Nasser

COO luxury brands, AccorHotels Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean
More than 30 properties are under development, which will add a further 9,000 hotel rooms to the group’s luxury upscale segment by 2021

Olivier Harnisch

CEO, Emaar Hospitality Group
Emaar’s new CEO boasts an impressive total of 30 years’ hospitality industry experience

Peter Fulton

Group president – Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia, Hyatt International
Hyatt has a total of 13 new properties in the pipeline for the MENA region across the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, and Hyatt House brands

By THE NUMBERS

  • Number of years in the role 16
  • Number of years with the company 16
  • Number of regional operating hotels 30
  • Number of hotels in regional pipeline 40
 

Andreas Mattmüller

Chief operating officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa
Mattmüller's aim is to operate 125 upscale and upper-upscale hotels in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia by 2020

Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi

Founder, president, and CEO, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa
Under Alzaabi’s leadership, development and acquisitions at the company have raced ahead, with 40 new contracts signed in the last 12 months

Omer Kaddouri

President and CEO, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation Ltd
Rotana celebrated its 25th anniversary this year

Robert Kunkler

Chief operating officer, Minor Hotels
Minor Hotels now has 14 hotels spanning 2,678 rooms coming up in the years ahead

Kamel Ajami

Vice president operations, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Levant, Hilton
Under his leadership, Hilton’s footprint in KSA and the Levant is set to triple in the region

Amine Moukarzel

President/ partner, Louvre Hotels Group/ Golden Tulip Hotels MENA
His leadership has overseen the overhaul of the core four-star brand, Golden Tulip Hotels

Ignace Bauwens

Wyndham Hotel Group regional vice president, Middle East and Africa
Wyndham has 27 hotels and 6,167 rooms in the MENA pipeline, while already operating 49 hotels and 8,528 rooms in the region

Sami Nasser

COO luxury brands, AccorHotels Middle East, Africa and Indian Ocean
More than 30 properties are under development, which will add a further 9,000 hotel rooms to the group’s luxury upscale segment by 2021

Olivier Harnisch

CEO, Emaar Hospitality Group
Emaar’s new CEO boasts an impressive total of 30 years’ hospitality industry experience

Peter Fulton

Group president – Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia, Hyatt International
Hyatt has a total of 13 new properties in the pipeline for the MENA region across the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hyatt Place, and Hyatt House brands