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Five on Friday: May 31st, 2024

Dubai aims to entice more travelers, the century-old Kempinski Hotels names its first-ever female CEO, and HD launches a TikTok account. All that and more in this week’s Five on Friday.


Kempinski Hotels appoints first female CEO

Barbara Muckermann Kempinski Hotels CEO

Barbara Muckermann; photo courtesy of Kempinski Hotels

Last week, Kempinski Hotels announced the appointment of Barbara Muckermann to the role of CEO, reports Skift. Previously at the helm of Silversea Cruises (part of Royal Caribbean Group), Muckermann succeeds Bernold Schroeder, who stepped down when his contract ended this spring, to become the first woman to lead Kempinski in its 127-year history. “Barbara has always been at the forefront of luxury, and her proven ability to elevate the guest experience while simultaneously maximizing profitability for leading travel brands made her the ideal choice to lead Kempinski Hotels,” says René Nijhof, chairman of Kempinski’s board of directors. The Kempinski Hotels portfolio spans 82 hotels in 36 countries, with plans to add an additional 34 hotels and residences in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa in the coming years.


Dubai looks to attract more repeat visitors

dubai skyline united arab emirates uae Burj Khalifa

The Dubai Skyline; photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Dubai, frequently seen as a transfer hub or short-term destination, is undergoing a tourism rebranding of sorts, according to Bloomberg. The most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is implementing new visa rules and additional airline capacity in an effort to entice more repeat tourists. A tourist visa would now allow multiple entries for five years (far surpassing the 90 days previously offered), while Al Maktoum International Airport, also known as Dubai World Central, will soon add a new passenger terminal as part of a $35 billion plan. Furthermore, the number of hotel beds in the city has increased more than twofold over the last decade, including with openings including the One&Only One Za’abeel, The Lana, Atlantis the Royal, and more.


Iberostar Group zeroes in on sustainability

Kimpton Las Mercedes Santo Domingo Dominican Republic

The 130-room Kimpton Las Mercedes, located in the Dominican Republic’s Santo Domingo, will open this summer in partnership with Iberostar Group; photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

A recent Q&A from The New York Times profiles Megan Morikawa, a marine biologist who earned her Ph.D. at Stanford prior to joining Iberostar Group. Morikawa currently serves as the Spain-based hospitality company’s global director of sustainability. In the interview, Morikawa discusses transitioning her career from academia to hospitality and Iberostar’s sustainability efforts, including her new role for the Travel Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with tourism companies and organizations to provide destinations with sustainable-tourism research, strategy, and training. “As a scientist, I recognize that a lot of discovery of how to do things that have never been done before requires quick absorption of new materials and being able to speak multiple languages,” Morikawa says. “And by that, I don’t mean linguistic languages—I mean speaking from a research standpoint to a government standpoint to a business standpoint. A lot of the barrier to collaboration was not being able to communicate effectively with each other.”


Sarah Jessica Parker’s newest store is pretty in pink

SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker shoe store Abu Dhabi

Photo by Yasser Ibrahim

Dubai-based architecture and design studio Roar has completed the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker store in the Galleria mall on Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah Island. The shoe brand’s sixth retail location was crafted as a whimsical wonderland. The pink-filled space is accented with bubbles, feathers, reflective surfaces, and iridescent colors. Digital elements were also incorporated to enhance the sensory experience. “We wanted to imagine a space that goes beyond a typical retail environment,” says Roar founder and creative director Pallavi Dean. “It’s about stepping into a dream, where every element—from the blush color palette reminiscent of an elegant, intimate powder room to the curved lines that invite and embrace—contributes to a feeling of soft enchantment.”


Flashback Friday, plus an exciting announcement from HD

HD Expo + Conference 2024 was just over a month ago, and we are still reminiscing about those inspirational, educational, and fun-filled days in Las Vegas. Weren’t able to attend this year’s show? Here’s a rundown of what you missed. Also, check out our YouTube channel weekly as we share HD Live videos touring six manufacturers’ booths. If you’re seeking even more inspiration, we invite you to follow Hospitality Design’s newly created TikTok account, which officially launches tomorrow. You can expect to see even more coverage from our various events, design projects, and so much more shared across our latest social media channel. We are excited to connect with the industry in a new way. See you on TikTok!

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