Jumeirah Al Naseem's general manager Azar Saliba was crowned the GM of the Year at the 14th annual Hotelier Middle East awards held on October 24, 2018 at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre. 

Saliba impressed the judges with his work in a challenging opening market.

The judges noted that since opening, "he has achieved and surpassed pre- and post-opening budgets and KPIs, and exceeding financial expectations post budget for Revenue and GOP. When it comes to guest satisfaction, this individual has mandated a “Nothing is impossible” attitude. At the same time, he always challenges the team, frequently asking “How can we make it better?” Not only that, he also initiated a ‘rising star’ programme to recognise employee hard work to further encourage them to become successful hoteliers."

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Saliba said to Hotelier Middle East on winning the award: "To receive recognition in the Hotelier Middle East Awards is a tremendous honour. The team at our hotels work incredibly hard to keep our service levels at the highest they can be, ensuring our guests have exceptional experiences throughout their stay with us. This recognition is a testament to the team's continuous hard work and unwavering focus on our guests. Hotel employees especially our Jumeirah colleagues are continually pushing to go the extra mile, so these awards are an amazing opportunity to acknowledge those working behind the scenes - the people responsible for those perfectly-made beds, hidden cables and gleaming corridors."

Highly commended nominee was Gerrit Graef from The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh who in a difficult political climate situation pulled his team through successfully. 

The judges also commended James Hewitson from Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara who also faced an impossible situation but rode through the difficulty setting a bench mark. He took an “all hands on deck” approach during cyclonic storm Mekunu in Salalah, Oman and ensured the safety of the guests and staff.

The award was presented by Jim Backhouse, VP at OSN for Business.

The other shortlisted nominees were:

  • Gonzalo Rodriguez, The H Dubai
  • Guido Bayley, Radisson Blu Hotel and Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island
  • Hessa Al Mazroa, Novotel Suites Riyadh Olaya Hotel
  • Mark Kirby, Armani Hotel Dubai
  • Ranjit Phillipose, Taj Dubai