Sami Nasser Sami Nasser

When FRHI was acquired by AccorHotels just over a year ago, to support the luxury and upper-upscale segment the operator established an operational framework with dedicated resources and specific brand strategies to ensure differentiation among its brands and the competition.

Chris Cahill, who has 19 years of experience with FRHI, was appointed to the role of CEO for the luxury division, based in Paris, and Sami Nasser reports directly to Cahill – effectively making him the leader of the luxury brands in this region.

Comprising brands like Raffles, Fairmont, Sofitel, Sofitel Legend, Pullman, Swissôtel, MGallery, and Grand Mercure, the operator has more than 22 hotels in the Middle East and upwards of 40 hotels when incorporating FRHI legacy hotels, making approximately 15,000 rooms across eight countries. 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.

The luxury division boasts robust owner relations, resulting in more than 60% of new projects being with existing owners, including the reflag/takeover of well-known properties Al Ghurair Hotels & Residences – with the Swissôtel & Swissôtel Living brands – and the Sofitel Wafi.

There have been two flagship Fairmont openings within the last 12 months, including Fairmont Fujairah and Fairmont Amman. The 1,487-room Swissôtel Al Maqam also opened its doors, and is flanked by four other properties already within the AccorHotels Luxe portfolio: Pullman ZamZam Makkah, Raffles Makkah Palace, Fairmont Makkah Clock Royal Tower, and Swissôtel Makkah. The Accor properties in Makkah offer a total inventory of more than 6,000 rooms.

Nasser’s other accomplishments, he believes, relate to the company’s talent and culture: “One of my key accomplishments is mentoring and grooming directors of operations and hotel managers,” he says.

Over the course of a year, he has prepared six staff members to take on top leadership positions either at their own hotels or within one of the other hotels in the firm’s portfolio. Setting up a proper framework for professional growth and giving staff the opportunity to take the reins of at a hotel are “key to our business”, he says.

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

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief executive officer, Dur Hospitality
Dur Hospitality boasts a portfolio of more than 20 projects and properties worth SAR 2.4bn (US $640m) in the pipeline

Antoine El Sayegh

President, Gloria Hotels & Resorts
Sayegh and his team secured a number of hotel deals for the Gloria Hotel brand pipeline, including three in Dubai

Imad Elias

CEO, Roda Hotels & Resorts
With a total of six hotels currently operational, Roda has ambitious growth plans

Vincent Miccolis

Country general manager, Middle East and Turkey, The Ascott Limited
During the last 12 months, Miccolis and his team have been busy with properties all over the region, installing pre-opening teams where needed

By THE NUMBERS

  • Number of years in the role 1 
  • Number of years with the company 1 
  • • Number of operating hotels in the region as of July 2017 33
  • • Number of pipeline hotels in the region as of July 2017 30
 

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

Dr Badr Al Badr

Chief executive officer, Dur Hospitality
Dur Hospitality boasts a portfolio of more than 20 projects and properties worth SAR 2.4bn (US $640m) in the pipeline

Antoine El Sayegh

President, Gloria Hotels & Resorts
Sayegh and his team secured a number of hotel deals for the Gloria Hotel brand pipeline, including three in Dubai

Imad Elias

CEO, Roda Hotels & Resorts
With a total of six hotels currently operational, Roda has ambitious growth plans

Vincent Miccolis

Country general manager, Middle East and Turkey, The Ascott Limited
During the last 12 months, Miccolis and his team have been busy with properties all over the region, installing pre-opening teams where needed