Robert Kunkler Robert Kunkler Robert Kunkler Robert Kunkler

Minor Hotels has had a good year in the region. It has opened two Anantara-branded properties in Oman, signed the development of the first Minor Hotels property in Saudi Arabia, and — just before the 2016 edition of this list — rebranded the Mövenpick Deira as an Avani property.

Two more Avani hotels have been added to the existing Avani Jebel Dhanna in the pipeline: Avani Ibn Battuta Dubai Hotel, in partnership with Nakheel, and Avani Al Marjan Island Ras Al Khaimah Resort. The company’s COO, Robert Kunkler, hints at more impending announcements.

Minor Hotels now has 14 hotels spanning 2,678 rooms coming up in the years ahead; this includes the first Tivoli-branded properties in the region. Pipeline hotels under development are located in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Tunisia in the MENA region, with others across the globe.

Kunkler says that in addition to the 10 properties in the GCC pipeline, there are a number of HMAs awaiting “imminent signing” in new markets; he reiterates that the Middle East continues to be an area of key strategic focus for Minor Hotels.

“The senior leadership team and I have ambitious plans to further expand Minor’s existing brands in the region and to explore strategic acquisitions with strong joint-venture partners,” Kunkler reveals.

He continues: “The group’s pipeline is already substantial in the MENA region, and I’ve made sure to be instrumental in securing new management agreements. Anantara Dubai Creek Hotel is under development in Culture Village in Dubai, scheduled to open in 2020. Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort will be the brand’s first property in the emirate when it opens in 2020. In addition, the group’s first hotels in North Africa are currently under development — Anantara Tozeur Resort in Tunisia and Anantara Al Houara Tangier Resort in Morocco.”

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

Hussain Sajwani

Chairman of Damac Properties / Damac Hotels & Resorts
The company has five hotels and 2,000 rooms in operation, and 26 pipeline properties

Simon Casson

President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
Casson has led the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, and the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya

By THE NUMBERS

  • Number of years in the role 3.5
  • Number of years with the company 5.5
  • Number of operating hotels in the region as of July 2017 13
  • Number of pipeline hotels in the region as of July 2017 14
 

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

Hussain Sajwani

Chairman of Damac Properties / Damac Hotels & Resorts
The company has five hotels and 2,000 rooms in operation, and 26 pipeline properties

Simon Casson

President – hotel operations, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts
Casson has led the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, and the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya