Following three decades in hospitality and experience on four continents, Ulrich Eckhardt came to the Gulf in 1998 as opening general manager of the Kempinski Hotel Ajman, the first foray of the luxury European group in the region.
Thirteen years on, he retains the stewardship of that hotel while becoming regional president looking after the Middle East and Africa, a key area for expansion for Kempinski. Already the group operates 14 hotels in eight countries, seven of which are in the Middle East, including the icon Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.
This network will double by 2015 as Kempinski moves in to new territories including a hotel at the Bahrain City Center opening this month as well as the much-anticipated Kempinski Residence & Suites Palm Jumeirah.
To come is the Kempinski Seychelles in December and the Kempinski MIdgard Country Estate — part of the group’s expansion in Namibia — while three hotels are under development in Saudi Arabia as well as two in Beirut, all scheduled to open next year and followed by properties in Oman, Egypt and Accra, Ghana.