Raffles Has A New Vice President For The Middle East

Skift Take

While Raffles is best-known for its classical hotels, the brand is fast-developing in the modern Middle East.

Luxury hospitality brand Raffles has a new operations vice president for the Middle East. Ayman Gharib, who was earlier the managing director of the brand’s flagship hotel in Dubai, moves up to the role.

Raffles is a five-star flag within the Accor stable, known for its palatial properties and more traditional approach to luxury. The Middle East is home to numerous Raffles.

Ayman GharibAyman Gharib
Ayman Gharib

In Dubai, there is Raffles The Palm Dubai and another Raffles closer to the main airport, while Qatar’s crowning hotel is the Raffles Doha, connected to the Fairmont Doha. The Raffles in Doha stood as a new landmark in the country when it hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

In Saudi Arabia, a super-modern version of Raffles will open in the Neom giga-project. Slated for 2027, Raffles will open in Trojena – the man-made skiing destination of Neom. The resort is set to include 105 rooms, which are arranged around the perimeter of the ring. Circular zones and landscaped gardens are also planned.

There is already a Raffles open in Makkah, and another in Bahrain, totaling five hotels in the region.

Taking on Gharib’s previous role is Aaron Kaupp who is now managing director of Raffles Dubai The Palm. Kaupp was previously regional vice president for Jumeirah Group in the UK, serving as manager of its London Carlton Tower hotel for three years.

Raffles’ Approach

At Skift Global Forum 2023, Raffles CEO Omer Acar likened the brand’s approach to hospitality to the high-end retail space.

Acar explained: “Luxury retailers are focusing more and more on experiences. I was shopping with my wife and kids, and I went to a very well-known shop: Dior. Immediately, a magician came and took our son, to make sure we had more time to look around and less time worrying about our son running around. Experience is important. Through my years at Harrods it was similar. Luxury retailers sell the dream, but we (as hoteliers) deliver the dream.”

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