Industry titans named to AMAALA Advisory Board

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Ultra-luxury destination AMAALA.



RIYADH — AMAALA, the ultra-luxury development located along Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast, has announced its Advisory Board. The first board meeting saw a veritable who’s who of industry titans gather to share their visionary knowledge of health and wellness, sustainability and conservation, the arts and hospitality.

Nicholas Naples, chief executive officer of AMAALA, said: “This is an unprecedented project built with sustainability and philanthropy at its core. From the ground up, we are creating an integrative approach to health, well-being and experiential luxury.

“With the scale and ambition of AMAALA, the broad range of expertise and diversity of our Advisory Board will be imperative as we move forward as a business. An invaluable asset, their collective insight is helping us meet our ambitions to create a proposition that provides visitors with transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness, and the purity of the Red Sea.”

The ecology of the site demands exceptional sensitivity. The Master Plan will be developed in phases to support economic diversification while promoting cultural and ecological preservation.

AMAALA is a mesmerizing proposition that is unique by all measures. It conjures Arabian adventure and rediscovery of wonder. The AMAALA Advisory Board bring their rich experience, best practices, and new ideas to the brand’s three core pillars: arts and culture; wellness and sport; and sea, sun and, lifestyle.

Working to craft an experience that resonates well beyond a guest’s stay, AMAALA’s hospitality segment will be guided by global hospitality leaders:

Antoine Corinthios, president, AGC Consulting LLC: The former President of Europe, Middle East and Asia for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Antoine Corinthios is an established leader in hospitality with nearly 40 years of experience in the luxury sector across a broad range of international markets. Corinthios also served as executive advisor of development and operations for Rocco Forte Hotels and founded his own hospitality advisory business.

Neil Jacobs, chief executive officer, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas: Neil Jacobs, chief executive officer at Six Senses Hotels Resorts, Spas, career has spanned the globe. Prior to joining Six Senses, Jacobs held key leadership roles at both Starwood Capital Group and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. He was involved in the development of many exciting brands including Baccarat Hotels and 1 Hotels.

Edward Mady, regional director and general manager of The Beverly Hills Hotel, Dorchester Collection: Hotels Magazine’s 2017 Hotelier of the World, Edward Mady brings over four decades of experience, including 20 years with The Ritz-Carlton Company where he served most prominently as vice president and area general manager. Mady is the recipient of several honors, including the 2011 Hospitality Professional of the Year Award from the Food and Beverage Association.

Claude Maniscalco, general manager, Saint-Tropez Tourist Office: Claude Maniscalco is an experienced CEO in charge of the promotion of one of the major touristic brand destinations, Saint-Tropez, with a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel and tourism industry.

Georg R. Rafael, director and owner of Rafael Group S.A.M.: Georg R. Rafael is the former executive vice president of Regent International Hotels, graduating to joint managing director and a major shareholder of the company. He is also the founder of Rafael Hotels Limited, a collection of five-star luxury boutique hotels. In 2002, he established Monaco-based Rafael Group S.A.M. to act as a senior advisor to internationally renowned hotel companies in acquisitions, development and repositioning of deluxe hotels. He also served as director and vice chairman of the Board of Belmond from 2002 to 2014.

Horst Schulze, chairman emeritus, Capella Hotels: Horst Schulze is recognized as one of the world's leading hoteliers with a career spanning over six decades. One of the founding members of The Ritz-Carlton Company, Schultze served as president and chief operating officer of worldwide operations. During his tenure the company was honored with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award twice. Schulze went on to found luxury brand, Capella Hotels & Resorts.

The impressive list continues with the following global leaders whose recognized achievements in real estate development and financing also connect AMAALA with potential investors and partners, while serving as global ambassadors:

Evan Kwee, vice president, Pontiac Land and owner, Capella Hotel Group: Evan Kwee has led the business development arm of Pontiac Land for the last 18 years and was instrumental in conceptualizing each new property developed in their portfolio. He is vice chairman of Capella Hotel Group and oversees development for Capella and Patina Hotels and Resorts. Kwee also heads product development for the group working closely with clients, architects and engineers to ensure design excellence, creating innovative but also profitable products.

Barry S. Sternlicht, chairman & chief executive officer, Starwood Capital Group: Barry is chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group. The private alternative investment firm is focused on global real estate, hotel management, oil, gas, and energy infrastructure. Sternlicht also serves as chairman of Starwood Property Trust (NYSE: STWD), the largest commercial mortgage REIT in the United States, as well as member of the Board of Directors of Invitation Homes — the largest publicly traded investors, owners and operators of single-family homes in United States.

With sustainability at the heart of AMAALA, decisions related to environmental building and operating practices, as well as protective marine and land programmes and studies, will be advised this lauded expert:

Emma Johnston, Dean of Science, professor of marine, ecology & ecotoxicology, UNSW Sydney: The Dean of Science at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Emma Johnston is an authority in marine ecology and a former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW and former President of Science & Technology Australia. Professor Johnston is head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at UNSW and has led major projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council, and the Australian Antarctic Science Program.

AMAALA will also feed the soul through arts and cultural offerings, and be guided by these respected aficionados:

Solenne Blanc, deputy chief executive officer of Beaux Arts & Cie, senior advisor for EY on Media and Cultural Industries: With 22 years of experience in strategy, innovation and digital transformation in media and cultural industries, Solenne Blanc is responsible for driving the internal and external growth of Beaux Arts & Cie and managing new business units like Beaux Arts Institute and Beaux Arts Consulting.

Thomas Krens, director emeritus, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and chairman & chief executive officer, Global Cultural Asset Management LLC: As Director and Chief Artistic Officer of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for more than two decades, Krens was responsible for the creation, development, and operation of the Guggenheim Global Network. Krens was also responsible for conceiving and developing the $5 billion Saadiyat Island Cultural District Master Plan for the Government of Abu Dhabi and has worked for national and regional governments and major corporations to develop comprehensive new museum developments, programme, collection, exhibition and operating plans.

An immersive and interactive destination, the offering of individually personalised programs at AMAALA encompassing body, mind and soul, will include curated wellness and rejuvenation programs, as well as elite level sporting programing shaped by these passionate sports and wellness pioneers:

Simon Brooks-Ward, chairman and chief executive, The HPower Group: Simon Howe Brooks-Ward, is a British event organizer with 30 years of experience within the event industry in equestrian sport and state commemorations and celebrations for royal family and governments. Through his BAFTA-award winning company, the HPower Group, Brooks-Ward is best known for organizing largescale equestrian events worldwide, including The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration and The Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras, celebrity and polo player: Leading international polo player, Nacho Figueras, is often called the “David Beckham of polo” for his contribution to the sport. One of the most recognized and talented polo players in the world, he is also one of the very few high goalers who actively draw spectator and media attention to the sport. He is currently the captain and co-owner of the Black Watch Polo team, which has won the Bridgehampton Mercedes Polo Challenge and the Hall of Fame Cup.

Susan Harmsworth, founder of ESPA International: The founder of spa and skincare brand ESPA International, Harmsworth has more than 50 years of experience in the spa and wellness industry and has founded and managed multiple successful wellness businesses, as well as pioneering the modern spa model we are so used to today.

Ingo Schweder, founder & chief executive officer, GOCO Hospitality: Schweder brings together more than 30 years of experience in the spa and hospitality industries. He leads the multi-disciplinary teams at GOCO Hospitality and Horwath HTL Health and Wellness to strategize, conceptualise, design and manage the latest wellness developments for the world’s top hospitality and real estate brands.

The announcement of the AMAALA Advisory Board is latest milestone for AMAALA following its incorporation as a standalone company. In accordance with the AMAALA’s Advisory Board charter, the board will meet two to four times per year. — SG


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