Guido de Wilde maintains his top five position in the hotelier middle east power 50. Under his regional leadership, starwood hotels & resorts has made significant headway over the last 12 months with signings across its trendy lifestyle brand, aloft and eco-conscious long-stay brand, element.
Four new properties were signed this year, marking the launch of both the Aloft and Element brands in the region.The properties, signed with Wasl Asset Management Group are Aloft Al Raffa and Dubai Airport, and Element Al Raffa and Dubai Airport. Additionally, Starwood will be one of the first groups to open a hotel in Dubai World Central, following the signing of Aloft Dubai World Central with Radar DWC. The Aloft brand will also make its debut in Qatar and Oman with the signings of Aloft Doha and Aloft Muscat this year.
Another first secured this year is the company’s polo resort, The St Regis Polo Club & Resort in Dubai, being developed with the Al Habtoor Group alongside the three-property Habtoor complex on Sheikh Zayed Road, the first phases of which — the St. Regis and W Dubai Al Habtoor – are earmarked to open this year, followed by the Westin Habtoor next year.
“On a personal note I am inspired by the great athletes, especially in the world of cycling. I think in particular about my all-time favourite and hero Eddy Merckx, the Belgian cyclist who won over 500 races during his career and who just turned 70 a few weeks ago. He was an incredible champion and is a great human being. He believed in himself, pushed his boundaries during every race, gave his utmost to achieve his objective and constantly revised his goals. Yet despite all his wins he remained humble and was and still is easily approachable for everybody. I am privileged to know him personally”.