The BEST Luxury Travel Professionals

The best travel experiences come from the heart – the hearts of the countless staff that come together to make the guest experience possible. We are bringing to the forefront the inimitable hotel leaders and team mentors who continue to look to the future of hospitality and define the evolving face of travel today.

LuxuryHunt founder Sii has personally selected these travel industry professionals she has met on her journeys to be featured in this dedicated section. These are the dynamic individuals who are born with an innate sense of hospitality, and who so elegantly translate the essence of the brand into tangible travel experiences. 

 

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100 BEST
100 BEST
100 BEST
100 BEST

Be inspired by the 100 BEST coffee table book featuring a carefully curated collection of the world's finest luxury hospitality experiences from LuxuryHunt.com. This beautifully bound book with gorgeous photography is now in its second edition available to purchase now.

The BEST Luxury Travel Professionals

Nick Downing

General Manager, The Siam
Nick’s down-to-earth attitude makes him an approachable person, while his passion for travel and new adventures give the former VP of Per Aquum (and Minor VP Operations, Indian Ocean) plenty to say. His attention to detail makes him ideal for his current post as general manager at The Siam, a hotel that’s all about the details.

Yuji Tanaka

Multi Property Vice President Luxury Japan, The Ritz Carlton and General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
Yuji may be a man of few words, but when he moves through the hotel, everyone sits up and takes notice, such is the incredible energy he delivers with utmost courtesy and humility. The transformation of everything he’s touched speaks for his mastery of the details, and the results have impressed his industry peers as much as his guests. Prior to his recent Tokyo posting, the Japanese national held the reins at Bulgari Resort Bali, and before that as opening GM at The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto.

Catherine Heald

Co-Founder and CEO Remote Lands
Catherine is an adventurer, an Asiaphile and a serial entrepreneur. She describes her greatest fear in life as mediocrity, and her second greatest as boredom -- and the combination being the stimulus for Remote Lands. A former software engineer, technology entrepreneur and founder of three software companies since 1989, she considers herself lucky to have found her true calling at the age of 42, and to have been able to turn her life's passion for Asian travel into her profession.

Hermann W. Elger

EVP & GM, Travel, Entertainment, & Health Security, Sharecare
From his modest beginnings as a doorman, Hermann has steadfastly climbed his way up through the ranks at luxury properties such as The Ritz-Carlton Cancun, Montage Beverly Hills, The St. Regis New York and Baccarat Hotel New York where he was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Baccarat Hotels and Resorts. With his three decades of experience in the luxury hospitality space, the charismatic gentleman is now Executive Vice President of Travel, Entertainment, and Health Security at Sharecare, the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place. 

Jannes Soerensen

Former General Manager, The Beaumont
Jannes may be one of the youngest GMs of a five star hotel, but when you meet the delightful German national it immediately becomes clear how he rose to such an exalted position so quickly. His beginnings as assistant concierge in Berlin taught him to learn what people want and to deliver it, a fundamental skill sharpened through later stints at Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, The Plaza Hotel New York, The Connaught, Le Bristol Paris and most recently at The Beaumont where he was General Manager at the time of our 100 BEST selection. Jannes has an unmissable aura of cheeriness, winning over one guest at a time.

Anna Nash

Chief Marketing Officer, Aman

Anna Nash has spent more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, working with some of the finest hotels, brands and travel experiences in the world. Currently as Chief Marketing Officer for Aman, Anna leads the planning, development and implementation of the brands multi-channel global marketing and communications strategy. In her 7 years with Aman, she has worked to establish brand consistency and protection internationally and pro-actively leads in identifying and capitalising on opportunities to drive performance, profitability and growth across the portfolio.

Julian Haddon

Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Europe, Rosewood Hotel Group
With a jovial character and vast array of experience, Julian is a familiar face to many in the luxury travel industry. Julian has 30 years of extensive experience in many senior sales roles including Forte Exclusive, Intercontinental and Sheraton in the UK, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. He was formerly Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Europe at Fairmont for eight years and was responsible for the relaunch of The Savoy before joining Rosewood London and subsequently being promoted to his current position as Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Europe.

Jörg Arnold

Managing Director, City & Lake Resort
Jörg is a shining example of why “Swiss hospitality” enjoys such an esteemed reputation. When it comes to anything about his native Switzerland, hospitality or not, he is happy to share and connect. He is on the executive committee of the Swiss Hotel Association and was also the former president of the Zürich Hoteliers Association. Since 2020, the experienced hotelier no longer only manages the Storchen Hotel, but has taken on a new challenge: He is now the managing director of the three prestigious 5-star hotels Widder, Storchen and Alex. With a unique vision, he has made a long-awaited dream come true and merged the 3 hotels into the "City and Lake Resort". This creates the largest resort in the town of Zurich along the shores of Lake Zurich and down the Limmat. Guests are transported from A to B by their own hotel boat, bicycle or taxi.

Blaise Montandon

General Manager, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai
This luxury hospitality expert has worked with some of the world's finest brands, with one of his career milestones being Aman Resorts' Managing Director for North and South Asia. This Swiss national can light up any room with his positivity: his energy is that contagious. Three decades of hospitality experience has taken him on missions across Singapore, Japan, China, Thailand, India, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka-- a dream come true for someone who regards travel as a personal passion. Blaise was General Manager at Four Seasons Resort Marrakech when the property joined the LuxuryHunt collection in 2017, and now helms the brand's first property in Vietnam, Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai.

Antonio Saponara

General Manager, Bvlgari Hotel Beijing
Antonio is a man that makes a difference, and for Bvlgari’s first hotel in China, they found the perfect embodiment of refinement and an amplifier for the ‘Made in Italy’ brand. Judge a leader by his team – his team in Beijing is as polished as the gregarious Neapolitan, and together they up the luxury game in China in inimitable style. Prior to this, he held leadership positions at The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, The Surin Phuket and Amanpuri.

Claude Sauter

Former General Manager, The Surin, Phuket, soon to be General Manager, The Slate Phuket
Some people learn the art of hospitality, and some of them are just born with it. It’s not just at his resort that Claude plays the role of host with the most – if you meet him off duty, he’s still the same charming individual, with nary a thing he can’t do. In the over two decades he has been living in Phuket, he has held general manager positions in several resorts, including The Surin Phuket which he looked after for over five years.

Daniel Meury

General Manager, Andara Resort & Villas
There are some people that others just gravitate towards – Daniel is one such person. His disarming sincerity is evident at Andara Resort & Villas, where he makes a point to recognize guests as individuals. The Swiss native considers Asia his second home, where he has worked for over 25 years including leading the team at the former Chedi – now The Surin Phuket – where he was approached by Allan Zeman to lead the team at Andara Resort & Villas.

Marc-Olivier Raffray

General Manager, The Ritz Paris
Born in England, Marc-Olivier has a long history of excellence and expertise in hospitality and has been general manager of the prestigious The Ritz Paris since August 2019. The 2017 rebirth of Hôtel de Crillon highlighted the extensive restoration work to bring the 18th century palace into the 21st century. While the actual hotel stole a lot of the thunder, behind its transformation was an entire team, led by discreet Marc-Olivier who was managing director and steward of the legendary French art of living. Previous to this post, Marc-Olivier was also MD at Hotel des Bergues in Geneva and he spent years at the illustrious Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris.

Michael Faulkner

Head of Sales & Distribution, Swire Hotels
Michael is no stranger around the hallways of Swire Hotels, having joined the group in 2009 as Director of Sales & Marketing at The Opposite House, and later assumed the position of General Manager at East, Beijing in 2013 before taking on the role of General Manager of The Middle House and overseeing its opening. Now based at Swire Hotels Central Support Office in Hong Kong, Michael’s focus is on the development of a comprehensive distribution strategy for both The House Collective and EAST brand.

Marcel Thoma

General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Marrakech
Marcel is a young gun – efficient, energetic, and engaging, and an obvious choice to lead luxury hospitality brands such as The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, The Upper House, Hong Kong and the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech where he has been General Manager since October 2020. Perhaps it’s Marcel's experience, or his innate ability to understand what is needed, but under his leadership, he has infused an energy of cool happening vibes and up close intimacy at The Mandarin Oriental Marrakech, the ultimate Morccan escape set in 20 hectares of fragrant gardens and olive groves.

Kurt Macher

General Manager, Shangri-La The Shard, London
Kurt has more than 28 years experience in the luxury travel industry. This dynamic Austrian native is full of energy and is currently making an impression at Shangri-La The Shard, London. Kurt was general manager at The Temple House, Chengdu when the hotel joined our collection, and was also on the board of the British Chamber of Commerce in Southwest China. Prior to this, Kurt has travelled extensively and worked in Europe, UAE, North America, Caribbean, and Asia, working with hospitality groups including Marco Polo Hotels in Hong Kong, Four Seasons, and The Peninsula. 

Paul Linder

General Manager, Amanzoe
Paul joined Aman as General Manager at Amanpuri in 2015 before moving to Greece in 2018. Before joining Aman, Paul was responsible for Shambhala Estate and Uma by COMO, in Ubud, Bali. He has also been General Manager for over 10 years at the well-known Chiva-Som International Health Resort in Hua Hin, one of the top Destination Spas in the world. Earlier in his career, he held F&B leadership roles in Europe, and at the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok where he was in charge of Le Normandie and the Authors Lounge.

Nicolas Ilickovic

General Manager, Amanpuri
Nicolas has over two decades of experience in the luxury hospitality industry. He began his career in 1998 in the events department at the Ritz-Carlton in Sydney and spent almost a decade in Australia working for a number of leading luxury hotel brands. Nicolas first joined Aman in 2007 as Senior Assistant Manager at Amanjena in Morocco. He subsequently helped lead the opening of three Aman resorts; Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, Amangiri in Utah and Amandayan in Lijiang, China, where he took on the role of General Manager in early 2015. Later that year, Nicolas returned to Amanjena in Morocco, this time in the role of General Manager. In July 2020 Nicolas was appointed General Manager of Amanpuri, Thailand – Aman’s first resort and flagship property. 

Jodie Clark

Director of Global Sales, Rosewood Hotel Group

An Australia native, Jodie has 20 years’ experience in hospitality sales and marketing including prior positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts before joining Rosewood Hotel Group. Jodie was director of sales and marketing for Rosewood Phuket and Rosewood Luang Prabang where she played a key role in the resorts’ success. She now leads global sales for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, New World Hotels & Resorts and KHOS brand properties in the Southeast Asia and Australia region. Jodie’s warm personality shines bright and she is a true ambassador for the Rosewood brand.

Cristiano Rinaldi

Chief Operating Officer, Capella Hotel Group

Cristiano Rinaldi has an impressive resume incorporating some of the world's most sought-after luxury hospitality brands. While working with brands such as Hilton, Ritz-Carlton, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, EDITION hotels and One&Only Resorts he has opened more than 35 hotels across the world. His current post at Capella comes at an exciting time when as the brand pursues international expansion plans.

Caroline Goux

Vice President Sales, The Peninsula Hotels
French-born, Caroline began her sales career with the Hôtel Château Grand Barrail. In 2000, she joined the Hôtel Ritz Paris as Sales Manager and two years later was promoted to Director of Sales. In 2004, she joined the Le Bristol Paris as Associate Director, Sales & Marketing, where after she was promoted to Director, Sales & Marketing, North America, Australia and Asia with the Oekter Collection. The Oetker Collection appointed her Vice President, Sales, where she was responsible for the global sales of its 10 hotels. In her current role at The Peninsula Hotels, she is responsible for Global Sales, Global Customer Service Centre and Global Customer Database & Sales Projects. In addition to speaking French, Caroline is fluent in English and German.

Andrew Turner

Regional Vice President and Managing Director, Rosewood Phuket
Andrew Turner, a native Australian, joined Rosewood Hotels and Resorts® in March 2016 as Managing Director of Rosewood Phuket, the first resort in Southeast Asia for the ultra-luxury brand.  With 22 years' experience managing both city hotels and resorts in Thailand, Australia, China, Egypt, Ireland, Qatar and the U.S.  He is also the Regional Vice President for SE Asia & Middle East Rosewood Hotels & Resorts.

Marco Groten

Area Vice President, Hyatt Indonesia
In Marco’s 10 years with Alila, he was general manager, then regional GM looking after all five Bali resorts. In 2019 he made the move to Hong Kong tasked with overseeing operations across the whole Asia Pacific. Marco has since returned to Indonesia, a place very close to his heart, and is now Area Vice President for Hyatt overseeing Park Hyatt, Alila, Andaz, Grand Hyatt and Hyatt Regency. His properties speak volumes for his leadership, and seeing him in action will just reaffirm what they're saying. The ultimate host, he is omnipresent to meet and greet his guests (all VIPs in his eyes) – his passion for what he does rubs off on people, and before you know it we're all a bit more inspired because of him.

Kerry Bergin

Senior Director of Leisure Sales & Entertainment, Baccarat Hotel New York

Kerry began her career in hospitality as a front desk agent at Grand Hyatt New York. Her passion for the industry and an understanding of hotel operations led her to transition into sales. Kerry has been a sales professional for over 20 years representing leading luxury hotel brands Hyatt International, Rosewood Hotels, Belmond and Gansevoort before joining SH Hotels & Resorts as a member of the opening team at Baccarat Hotel New York.

Christine Galle‐Luczak

Founder, Heavens Portfolio
Having spent more than fifteen years in Asia, this captivating continent never ceases to amaze Christine. In 1999, having successfully led the expansion for a satellite office of an acclaimed Singapore organization in Bali, Indonesia, Christine was appointed the Director of Sales & Marketing at Chiva‐Som, Thailand, in 2001 ‐ 2005. This enriching environment is where Christine prompted the conception of an independent business venture that would fuse her former experience and expertise. She was keen on providing personal marketing strategies for truly extraordinary travel destinations. As a result, Heavens Portfolio was launched in July 2005 in Singapore.

Adrian Rudin

Vice President Operations, Kempinski & NUO Hotels

Adrian, is a highly qualified executive with more than 30 years’ experience within the hospitality industry with leading international hotels and resorts including The Peninsula Hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and Kempinski Hotels where he is currently Vice President of Operations. He has a proven track record in leadership, vision and direction to hotels, resorts, residences and restaurants in China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, U.A.E and Switzerland. Adrian is a native speaker of German and fluent in English, speaks basic French and Italian.

 

Paul Hicks

Founding Partner & CEO, GHC Asia
Paul is an experienced journalist, broadcaster and luxury lifestyle PR professional with over 25 years’ experience in Asia. He is one of the founding partners of GHC Asia, the region's leading luxury lifestyle and hospitality PR consultancies overseeing a growing team of 70+ located throughout Asia in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Bangkok. GHC Asia provides holistic communications solutions for some of the world's leading names in the fields of hotels, hospitality, tourism, property and luxury lifestyle. Paul has also been Associate Editor for the American Express 'Centurion' & 'Departures' magazines in Asia for the past fifteen years.

Lisa Pile

Vice President & General Manager, Australia & New Zealand, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Lisa is a commercially focused sales and marketing professional with more than 20 years of senior leadership experience. She has managed both commercial and marketing teams for leading global luxury hospitality brands across the Asia Pacific, China, USA, UK, Europe, and Africa. With a career that has taken Lisa all over the globe, she has extensive knowledge and affinity with the Asia Pacific and Chinese markets, finding both, challenging and extremely rewarding. Lisa excels in creating and leading dynamic high performing teams, connecting people, building cultural bridges, setting high standards and delivering optimal results. Her favourite quote is ‘Life is not a dress rehearsal. You only get one shot at it. Take it’

 

Jason Friedman

Managing Director, J.M. Friedman & Co.
A native New Yorker, Jason has spent the past 2 decades in the hospitality industry working across Asia with brands such as Four Seasons, Raffles and Amanresorts as well as independent properties such as The Siam and Qualia Australia. He and his hotels have received many accolades including Best General Manager Worldwide 2015 by Gallivanter’s Guide and Best Hotel Manager Worldwide 2013 by Andrew Harper - The Hideaway Report as well as urning World #1 status for his openings of Four Seasons Tented Camp and Qualia. In 2016, with a wealth of experience and a creative mind, he formed the hospitality and tourism consulting firm J.M. Friedman&Co. Specializing in the conceptualization, development, opening and operations of experience driven, luxury resorts such as Rosewood Luang Prabang, Shinta Mani Wild, The Kudanil Explorer and InterContinental Khao Yai. 

Anthony Lark

Owner and Principle, Bespoke Luxury Hospitality
Born in Sydney, Australia, Anthony has spent his entire working life at the very highest end of hospitality, from his young trainee days at Sydney’s fabled Wentworth hotel, then as senior front office manager at the opening of the Regent (now Four Seasons) hotel on Sydney Harbour. Personally hired by legendary Amanresorts founder Adrian Zecha, Anthony opened Amanpuri in 1988 as general manager and went on to open and lead three more Aman properties in Indonesia and Myanmar before spearheading the design, masterplan, operations, sales & marketing and residential villa sales for the multi-award-winning Trisara resort on Phuket from 2000 to 2020. His name synonymous with Asian luxury hospitality, Anthony now brings to clients the benefits, insights and expertise of his three decades at the helm of some of world’s most successful resorts and hotels.

Elie Kik

Area Director of Sales and Marketing, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Elie attended Ecole Hôtelière de Genève in Switzerland, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Hotel Management. Throughout his career he has held positions in various departments including food and beverage, rooms division and sales with La Cigale Hotel Beirut, President Wilson Geneva and Starwood Hotels New York City. Elie worked his way up the ranks at The St. Regis New York, where he held the position of Director of Sales before joining the team at The Carlyle, New York in 2016.

Chrissie Lincoln

Director of International Sales, Swire Hotels
Chrissie is a sales professional with 15 years experience in the luxury hospitality industry. Chrissie worked with Amanresorts for over 9 years as Director of Sales before moving to Hong Kong in 2015 to join Swire Hotels as Director of International Sales. Her experience, amazing network and knowledge of the luxury travel industry is one of a kind.   

Vincent Billiard

Managing Director, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

A Parisian by birth, Vincent Billiard studied at the prestigious hospitality-management school ‘École hôtelière de Lausanne’, Switzerland, before pursuing his career in the United States, the Cayman Islands and then Asia. After gaining extensive experience in the international luxury hotel management sector over the past 20 years, Vincent Billiard is now the youngest Managing Director of a luxury hotel in Paris. Through his varied international experience at luxury hotels, he has developed an intuitive understanding of the expectations of local and international clients, alongside excellent operational knowledge. Gaining these skills has culminated in his job as the Managing Director of one of the world’s most renowned luxury hotels. Vincent Billiard lives by the Relationship Hospitality philosophy and attaches a great importance to creating unique experiences through his team’s savoir-faire and personalised service.

Hervé Mazella

General Manager, Park Hyatt Tokyo

Born in Provence, Hervé Mazella studied hotel management in both France and Germany and has received a Master’s in Hospitality. His strong passion for culinary and the “Arts de la table” lead him to work in Michelin-starred Relais & Chateaux properties in Provence and the UK, including the Waterside Inn under the famous three Michelin star Chef Michel Roux. Mazella’s international hotel property experience ranges from events management in Monte Carlo, Director of Operations on the French Riviera to Director of Food and Beverage and Executive Assistant Manager in Cairo. Mazella first joined the Hyatt Hotels Corporation in Hong Kong as the Executive Assistant Manager-Food and Beverage at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and was promoted to Hotel Manager. In 2016, he was appointed as General Manager of the iconic Park Hyatt Tokyo where he currently resides.

Amie Buchanan

Global Sales Director, Aman Residences

Amie has over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry in New York working for luxury hotels such as The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel, TriBeCa Grand Hotel and The Lowell Hotel before joining the pre-opening team at Aman New York in 2018. Amy has a proven track record as a sales professional and she continues to climb the ranks at Aman in her latest role as Global Sales Director of Aman Residences.

Marc C Brugger

Senior Vice President Aspac - Luxury Hotel Operations, Marina Bay Sands

Marc Brugger is a Swiss national with almost 30 years of luxury hotel management experience. Prior to his current role, Marc was the successful opening Managing Director at Rosewood’s first hotel in Asia, Rosewood Beijing, before opening the landmark property Rosewood Hong Kong in 2018. His hospitality career has taken him all over the world to Cancun, Kuala Lumpur, Goa, Dublin and Macau working for brands such as Hyatt International, Four Seasons, Altira Hotel & Casino Macau, City of Dreams Casino Macau and Crown Towers Hotel & Casino Macau. Marc graduated from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, he has an executive MBA from Ivey Business School at Western University and speaks five languages.

Javier Rivadulla

Director of Sales & Marketing, Finca Cortesin

Since November 2007, Javier has been the Director of Sales & Marketing at the award-winning luxury Finca Cortesin Hotel, Villas, Golf & Spa in Marbella, Spain. He is also a recent graduate in Hospitality Operations Management at the esteemed Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland.

Matthias Terrettaz

General Manager, Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai

Matthias is a Swiss citizen with 25 years’ experience in the hotel industry. He graduated from the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and soon after pursued his career in the US. He joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1999 which took him from San Francisco to New York, and then across the globe to Asia with posts in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Doha. After 10 years he continued to rise with the Shangri-La Group and transferred to Paris as Resident Manager before returning to Asia to be Hotel Manager at The Ritz Carlton, Hong Kong. In 2018 Matthias moved to China to take his first General Manager position at The St. Regis in Changsha, and is now continuing his success story with Bvlgari. 

Bob van den Oord

Chief Operating Officer, Langham Hospitality Group
Bob is a highly respected hotelier with over two decades of experience in luxury hospitality. Based in Hong Kong, he leads a team of talented industry professionals driving hotel operations and other core business functions which includes brand marketing, sales and quality over four continents (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and China). Throughout his exemplary career, Bob has been involved in all aspects of managing successful hotels in major cities around the world. At The Langham, London, he was instrumental in guiding the group’s flagship hotel to new heights and effectively grew the hotel’s revenues significantly on an annual basis. During his time as Managing Director at The Langham, Hong Kong, the hotel was awarded five-stars by Forbes Travel Guide and its signature Cantonese restaurant, T’ang Court attained the coveted three Michelin star status.

Tessa Gorman

General Manager, Bvlgari Resort Bali

A Londoner by birth, Tessa has spent the last 17 years managing luxury hotels in Southeast Asia. She began her career at Aman’s flagship property, Amanpuri in Phuket in 2005. After five years Tessa consulted for numerous luxury hotel brands including Aman Villas, Bvlgari Hotels, LVMH and Ritz-Carlton. In 2016 Tessa was appointed as General Manager of Phulay Bay, A Ritz Carlton Reserve where she remained until 2018. At the end of 2018 Tessa moved to Bali to become the first female General Manager for Bvlgari Hotels and Resorts.

Olivier Gibaud

General Manager, Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts
Olivier is the creative and innovative General Manager at Twinpalms Hotels & Resorts. He is a luxury dining and entertainment expert responsible for opening the first beach club on the island, the iconic Catch Beach Club, and the first to introduce the now famous Sunday Brunch concept to Phuket. Olivier now manages a collection of stylish hotels, resorts, beach clubs and cafes for Twinpalms.

René Roseburg

Managing Director & Founder, THE PASSIONIST Traveller

Passion, Curiosity and a new way of personalization.
With a creative background being a singer and actor succesfully on stage, René Roseburg discovered his own passion for defining travel creations after more than 10 years working in various management positions in the LUFTHANSA Group. His travel brand THE PASSIONIST was founded in 2016. As a Luxury Hotel Coach & Trainer, Key Note Speaker and one of the leading Luxury Travel Designers for extraordinary, unique transformational trips, his dedication and a sense for detail, goes much further and deeper than the mere execution of luxury service standards.

 

Walter Zahner

Former Executive Director Asia, Hakkasan Group
Walter Zahner, a Swiss national, is one of the most experienced F&B operators in Asia. From financial and personnel management, customer service to training, facility and menu planning, to every station in the kitchen, Walter has done it all, and performed to world standards. He rose through the F&B ranks at the Montien, Rembrandt and Banyan Tree hotels in Thailand before moving into management at the Sofitel Hyland Hotel (Accor Group) in Shanghai. Walter served as the opening General Manager of CHE Tapas & Grill before becoming General Manager and then Managing Partner for T8 Restaurant & Bar, “The best in Shanghai” according to Condé Nast Traveller. From 2013-2020, he was Executive Director of Operations – Asia for renowned restaurant brand Hakkasan. 

Hemal Jain

General Manager, Alila Villas Uluwatu
Born and raised in Kolkata, India, Hemal Jain, General Manager of Alila Villas Uluwatu, has extensive experience in the luxury hotel industry, working with leading luxury brands such as Oberoi Hotels and Park Hyatt before joining the Alila Hotels and Resorts in 2009, now Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Hemal's passion for defining and delivering the authentic meaning of luxury hospitality is in his DNA. He believes that the modern-day luxury traveler is looking for sustainability in travel and to contribute in some form or other to the environment and community. “Nothing unites the world like travel, and nothing more so than #travelwithpurpose – taking the opportunity to experience cultures and interact with communities on a more meaningful and positively impactful level- whether you are travelling for business or for leisure".

Andrew Steele

General Manager, Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi
Andrew has more than 20 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry working at some of the world’s most well-known luxury brands including Mandarin Oriental, Le Meridien, Shangri-La and MGM Grand. Andrew comes to Fairmont Maldives from Potato Head where he transformed the business from an F&B company into a globally recognised sustainable lifestyle brand as Group Managing Director. He certainly lives up to his personal mantra “Live and lead with honesty, integrity and humility. Making the world a better place for the future.”  

Jeff Kwok

Director of Marketing, The Peninsula Shanghai
Jeff is a passionate sales and marketing professional with a demonstrated history of working in some finest hotels in the world. He began his career as Assistant Front Office Manager at The Peninsula Hong Kong where he worked his way up the ranks to Associate Director of Sales before transferring to Tokyo to continue his success as Director of Sales and Director of Marketing. Equipped with his solid experiences in operations management and customer-focus mentality, Jeff returned to Hong Kong in 2015 to join The Landmark Mandarin Oriental as Director of Sales & Marketing. He is currently based in China, continuing to shine at The Peninsula Shanghai.

Mariano Tribelhorn

Director of Sales, The Alpina Gstaad
Mariano graduated from the world-renowned Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne. His passion for hospitality has taken him from an apprentice to director in just eight years working for luxury Swiss hotels Mont Cervin Palace, Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois Basel, and The Dolder Grand. In 2015 Mariano travelled to Miami to be part of the pre-opening team at Faena Miami Beach before returning to The Dolder Grand in Zurich as Senior Sales Manager developing the sales activities for Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern market. As Director of Sales he now leads the sales team and events at The Alpina Gstaad.

Michael Branham

General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake
Michael’s career with Four Seasons started in 1997 as Director of Food and Beverage in Jakarta and Bangkok. He was promoted to Hotel Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Chinzan-So before continuing his career at Four Seasons Hotel Singapore. Michael returned to Japan for his first General Manager role at Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi. In 2011 his next move was to Bali to oversee two properties Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran Bay and Four Seasons Resort Sayan. Returning to Thailand the second time, he was based in Chiang Mai to be the General Manager of both Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. Now as the General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, Michael feels that it’s a place worthy of our exploration and discovery.

Geoffrey Webb

Director of Commercial Strategy CEA Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Geoffrey is a broadly experienced leader and hotel school graduate with over thirty years experience working in United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Australia, Canada and the United States for leading luxury hotel brands including Sofitel Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis® Hotels & Resorts, Peninsula Hotels and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. His success covers single and multi-unit hotel sales and marketing; national retail sales leadership, food and beverage operational management; hotel opening and re-branding; travel management; event production and integration; tourism project design and business consulting.

Simon Gilkes

Regional Director of Sales & Marketing, Rosewood Hong Kong

Simon’s career in the hospitality industry spans over two decades with experience working in luxury hotels in New York, London and Hong Kong. After graduating from the University of Surrey, Simon began his career at The Boca Raton Resort and Club in the US. After two years he moved to New York and climbed the ranks at The Regency New York, The Drake New York and The St. Regis New York where he held the position of Director of Corporate Sales before returning to London in 2005 to re-launch The Savoy after extensive renovations. Simon was also part of the pre-opening team at Mondrian London before moving to Hong Kong to open the iconic Rosewood Hong Kong in 2018.

Patrick Gauthier

Regional Director of Sales & Marketing - Asia Pacific, Aman
Born in Quebec, Canada, Patrick started his career in sales and marketing in the aviation industry in Europe. He moved to Vietnam in 2012 and began his hospitality journey with Six Senses as Director of Sales and Marketing. In 2013, Patrick first joined Aman to assist with the opening of Amanoi on Vietnam’s south-eastern shores. In 2016, Patrick was appointed the role of Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Bhutan and Indochina for Aman. In 2020, Patrick continued his journey with Aman and was appointed Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Asia Pacific expanding his responsibility across further properties in the collection.

Leanne Reddie

Commercial Director, AZERAI Resorts

Leanne has over 20 years track record in the luxury resort, hotel and airline sector with extensive experience across all facets of hotel operations, sales, marketing and distribution across the world. She has a dynamic career history with leading luxury brands; AZERAI, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Emirates Airline, Jumeirah, The Siam, Trisara Phuket and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. An Australian citizen and Murdoch University graduate, Leanne has lived and worked in Australia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Asia. 

Yngvar Stray

General Manager, Capella Sanya
Yngvar is an accomplished hotelier with 35 years’ experience in international hotel operators in key gateway cities in Asia and Europe. Leading flagship hotels with award-winning international luxury and lifestyle brands such as SAS International Hotels, Conrad International Hotels, Sheraton Hotels, Radisson Hotels, St. Regis® Hotels & Resorts, W Hotels, Banyan Tree Hotels and Capella Hotel Group as well as local Asian family consortiums. Yngvar's experience spans hotel pre-opening, re-positioning, urban hotels, urban resorts, high-end leisure destinations, service apartments, multiple units and corporate appointments.

Vito Romeo

Managing Director, Rosewood Beijing
Born in Italy, Vito Romeo has more than 30 years’ hospitality experience, his passion for excellence and enthusiasm towards the luxury hospitality industry has resulted in a successful career spanning many different countries from Europe to Asia. He has held senior hospitality positions in multiple brands include Rosewood, Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-la, etc. Since 2017, he has been Managing Director at Rosewood Sanya, and was appointed Managing Director at Rosewood Beijing in April 2020. 

Sandrine Boutin

Director of Sales & Marketing, The St. Regis Bali Resort

Sandrine has over 20 years’ experience in the luxury and ultra-luxury tourism and hospitality sectors. She is experienced in creating unique and exclusive experiences for Guests, creating new sales & marketing avenues and establishing partnerships with ultra-luxury lifestyle brands. She has worked with luxury brands such as Conrad, One&Only and Starwood. After 6 years with Aman in Singapore, Sandrine is now located in Bali, heading up the sales and marketing for The St. Regis Resort Bali and The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa.

Dominik Trimborn

Director of Sales & Marketing, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris

Originally from Germany, Dominik has a wide global skillset and deep expertise in the industry from a career spanning over a decade. He offers luxury expertise and experience in very competitive markets including the United States, Asia and Europe. He joined the team at the prestigious Shangri-La Hotel, Paris in April 2021 after leading The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park’s repositioning, where major renovations were carried out. He led sales efforts at The St. Regis Bal Harbour in Miami and the W Miami and helped Marriott Group achieve the title of “Best Luxury Hotel in the United States” in both 2018 and 2019. Prior to his time in the United States, Dominik worked in Asia for 15 years managing sales and marketing for hotels in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. 

Janet Chan

Hospitality Consultant

A Hong Kong born Australian, Janet’s career in luxury hospitality spanned across Asia Pacific over two decades with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Accor Luxury Brands and Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani. With expertise in international markets and a focus on China and Asia’s HNWI clients, her well rounded sales & marketing experiences included city hotel, boutique and lifestyle resort, private island and eco-luxury tented camp at both regional and property level. Janet is now consulting on new development projects and devoting her spare time to volunteer with UNDP on Sustainable Development Goals. 

Thomas Harlander

Managing Director, Rosewood Bangkok
With more than 18 years of experience in the luxury hospitality industry, Thomas Harlander is appointed as the Managing Director of Rosewood Bangkok. Born and raised in Germany, Harlander’s successful career has taken him around the world. Mr. Harlander brings with him a wealth of luxury hospitality experience from many different locations, including Washington DC, Cologne, London, Los Angeles, Buenos Aries, Tokyo and Seoul. Prior to joining Rosewood, his career has largely been spent with Hyatt hotels, primarily in the Park Hyatt brand where he held senior roles through food and beverage to general management. Mr. Harlander began his career after graduating from Simon-Knoll-School in Munich, Germany, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hotel Management.  

Kate Dixon

Director of Sales & Business Development, The Beaumont
Kate is passionate about luxury hopsitality and has been Director of Sales & Marketing at The Beaumont since it first opened in 2014. Kate has a wealth of experience in the five-star hotel market with positions held at some of London’s most deluxe properties during her career including St. James Hotel and Club where she successfully re-launched and repositioned the hotel, The Franklin and The Conrad, London.