Guido de Wilde. Guido de Wilde.

The Hotelier Middle East Power 50 List 2016 has been topped by Starwood Hotels & Resorts senior vice president, regional director Middle East Guido de Wilde.

With the number of operating and contract hotels under his command hitting 100 hotels, de Wilde has led the operator's growth in the region over the last year, leading him to the number one rank on the 2016 list.

With a number of new openings in the UAE, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, the last year has marked a series of 'firsts' for the company - from the first The Luxury Collection hotel in Lebanon, to the first Westin in Qatar, and the first The St. Regis hotel in Dubai. The operator did not stop there; its achievements in the last year also include the launch of the W brand in Dubai, along with its first hotel in Sharjah with the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & Spa.

Added to this are the signings that the hotel operator has announced in a number of new cities across the region - from Ras Al Khaimah to secondary and tertiary cities in Saudi Arabia.

De Wilde revealed to Hotelier: “The Middle East continues to be an important market for Starwood’s overall global strategy and our development teams have done a great job in growing our portfolio in the region."

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In addition to the hotels, F&B plays an important role for the hotel operator, with more than 300 restaurants and bars in the Middle East.

In a statement earlier this year, Michael Wale, president of Starwood, Europe, Africa and Middle East, said that the Middle East continues to be one of Starwood’s fastest growing markets.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts is currently awaiting the final anti-trust clearance for its acquisition by Marriott International; due to this, the companies were treated as two separate trading entities for this year's list.

The entire Hotelier Middle East Power 50 List will be online soon, and can be viewed in the September 2016 issue of Hotelier Middle East.