Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.


Tolga Lacin Leaving Marriott To Become Regional Ennismore COO

6 days ago

One of the most prominent general managers in Dubai, Tolga Lacin, is leaving his post. The Marriott leader is moving on for a role in Ennismore.

Lacin led some of Marriott’s flagship destinations in the emirate, including The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, the long-standing Le Meridien Dubai by the airport, and the newest W Dubai. He has been Marriott’s area general manager in Dubai since 2020 and its complex GM before that since 2019.

He will now become COO for Ennismore’s lifestyle brands in UAE and Turkey. In the UAE, Ennismore has 25hours, SLS, Hyde and a new SO in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi, it will open a Mondrian hotel. In Turkey, the operator is expected to open the Hyde Bodrum resort next year.

In total, he leads 14 hotels either in development or operational. Ennismore has eight pipelined hotels in the region, including a Delano in Dubai.

Lacin shared: “I’ve long admired what Ennismore has been doing in both the UAE and globally, and I’m delighted to be joining the team at such a pivotal moment in their growth. I look forward to working across such varied and iconic global brands such as SLS, 25hours, and SO/, and supporting our general managers and hotel teams to continue to deliver outstanding service and experience to our guests.”

Before becoming Marriott’s area GM, Lacin was a Starwood man. He has been with the original Westin and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi cluster in the city since 2009.

He will leave Marriott for his new role with Ennismore in early 2024.


Dubai’s First Dorchester Collection Hotel Pushed To 2024

2 weeks ago

Dubai’s first and only Dorchester Collection hotel, called The Lana, has been delayed again. Announced in 2021 and expected to open the following year, the super-luxury city hotel has announced numerous opening date revisions since then.

February 2024 is the newest opening date and could be the real deal as it is also accepting bookings from that month.

Before March 2022, Dorchester’s page for The Lana contained the statement: “(Opening 2022) The latest gem in our collection is soon to be unveiled as a landmark of luxury in the heart of Dubai.”

The website later underwent a modification, announcing that the hotel’s unveiling would take place “by the end of 2022.” Come August 2022, the website underwent another alteration, with the expected opening date shifted to spring 2023. It then shifted one more to September 2023, before executives said it would, instead, open before the end of 2023.

When the hotel does open, it will add 225 rooms to the city, along with seven restaurants. It will become the operator’s first hotel in Middle East and Asia, joining a collection of legendary properties and celebrity haunts such as Hotel Eden in Rome, The Beverly Hills Hotel in LA and The Dorchester in London.

The Lana Rates

Including taxes and fees, rooms start from $1,390 a night, comfortably making it one of the most expensive hotels in the city.

Rates can reach more than $13,000 for the royal suite that sleeps five people.

The hotel is owned and developed by a local firm called Omniyat, a real estate major that also owns the ME Dubai hotel operated by Melia. The company also has a portfolio of Dorchester Collection-branded luxury residences, including The Vela connected to the hotel itself and standalone projects on Palm Jumeirah.

Dorchester Collection declined to comment when asked by Skift.


Generator Completes $805 Million Refinancing Deal With 3 Lenders

3 weeks ago

Generator Group has completed a refinancing deal worth approximately $805 million (€750 million) with new and existing lenders across Europe and the US. Generator Group, which owns or runs 21 hotels, has seen strong results following the pandemic, giving its owner Queensgate the ability to refinance the group’s global debt.

Described as “one of the largest and most innovative real estate financings that the market has seen in years,” by Queensgate Investments CEO Jason Kow, different debt facilities have been used for different arms of the business.

For the Europe business, firm Ares Management backed private bond issuances and debt facilities in Pounds, Euros and Danish Krone of approximately $472 million (€440 million). While in the US, existing lenders Waterfall Asset Management and Värde Partner backed US debt facilities of around $330 million.

At the start of October, Generator gave a financial update, showing it is on track to produce revenues of about $238 million (€225 million) this year — 25% more than its revenues before the pandemic.

With the new refinancing scheme, Generator said that it is “now armed to continue its strategy of superlative organic growth.”

To find out more about Generator’s expansion strategy, watch the interview with its CEO from last year’s Skift Global Forum East (below) or read Skift’s piece Generator’s Takeover of Paramount Hotel in Times Square Is Part of Broader Hostel Reboot.


Red Sea Global Creates Own Luxury Hotel Group Called Shebara

3 weeks ago

Saudi Arabian development group Red Sea Global has created its own luxury hotel brand called Shebara. The Shebara brand will be deployed for the upcoming Sheybarah Island resort – seen as the most exclusive of the current 16-property lineup in the archipelago development.

Opening next summer, the resort contains 73 keys, including overwater and beach villas and guests arrive either by a 45-minute boat ride from the mainland or 20 minutes by seaplane. The resort has been designed by renowned firm Killa, behind the Museum of the Future in Dubai, and is most recognizable for its stainless steel orbs which act as private villas.

The Shebara Resort will be run by Red Sea Global, meaning the firm both owns and manages the asset. Last month, RSG also announced it would self-operate a private island project called Thuwal Island near the Red Sea Project.

It is the latest hotel brand to come out of Saudi Arabia. At the start of last year, Boutique Group was announced: A hotel brand designed to repurpose former palaces and government buildings into luxury hotels. Both Shebara and Boutique Group come under the ownership of the vast Public Investment Fund.

Much like how Jumeirah Group has become a showcase of Dubai’s approach to Arabian hospitality, Red Sea Global hopes Shebara will do the same for Saudi.

RSG CEO John Pagano said: “Shebara is a beacon for all that RSG stands for, showcasing the very best in Saudi hospitality while setting new standards in responsible development and sustainable operations.”


Four Seasons Names New EMEA President, Succeeding Simon Casson

2 months ago

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has named a new regional president: Adrian Messerli is now president of hotel operations for the EMEA region. He succeeds Simon Casson, who held the role since 2016 and announced his departure from the group earlier in the year for a to-be-confirmed new opportunity.

Unlike Casson, who was regional VP and general manager for the group in Dubai and Doha on separate occasions, Messerli has more international experience.

A significant step up in his 18-year career with Four Seasons, Messerli was previously regional VP and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Madrid. Before that, he held the same position for the group in Shanghai. Prior to his executive-level positions, he spent time working in Seychelles, Egypt, Portugal, Uruguay, Bahamas and the U.S.

Messerli is relocating to Dubai for the role.

During Casson’s tenure, Four Seasons focused heavily on Middle East development. The group has two hotels in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi, two in Qatar, one in Saudi Arabia, and plans for a property in Oman and many of Saudi Arabia’s giga-projects.

Four Seasons has long had a close relationship with the Middle East. Saudi billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company has a 23.75% stake in the company.

Four Seasons did not immediately respond to Skift’s request for comment.




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