Simon Wan spoke to Hotelier Middle East at the Park Regis Kris Kin. Simon Wan spoke to Hotelier Middle East at the Park Regis Kris Kin.

After opening its first Middle East hotel at the height of the global financial crisis, Staywell Hospitality is looking to finally get the ball rolling in the region. CEO Simon Wan spoke to Hotelier Middle East on a visit to Dubai and was not shy about setting out his company’s ambitions

Simon Wan, chief executive officer of Staywell Hospitality Group, is in Dubai for his company’s global management gathering, attended by joint venture partners from around the world.

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East in one of the suites at the Park Regis Kris Kin, a Staywell hotel and host venue for the event, he talks through some of his Middle East expansion plans.

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“Our growth is based on two planks,” he explains.“One is normal organic growth; one by one. So we are negotiating for two new hotels in Dubai — one in Business Bay, one in the Marina. That will add 600 rooms to our 400-room stock. So we will have 1000 rooms.

“We are also in very advanced stages of having a local hotel management group join us, which has seven hotels right now in the Middle East.

“They have got two in Abu Dhabi, they have hotels in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

“If we are successful in concluding this transaction, immediately we are going to have nine hotels, plus two more and we will have a great platform. Ten hotels is a good start in the Middle East.

“And we are now also negotiating in Doha and Egypt as well. So I’m very confident that in the Middle East we’ll get to 15 hotels in 2015, with the UAE having five or six hotels.”

This would indeed represent a “good start”, were it not for the fact that Staywell actually arrived in the region almost four years ago, with the opening of Park Regis Kris Kin in late 2010.

As the Hotelier Middle East archives document, the Australian company had grand ambitions for the region, with Wan talking about possible locations in Qatar, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Looking back now, he admits living up to the promise of growth in the Middle East proved to be a tough task.

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