David Roberts joined Fairmont Hotels & Resorts as general manager at the picturesque Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and spent the majority of his early career with the company in Canada at various properties.
In 2008, he then went to Singapore as executive vice president, Asia Pacific for parent company Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. Two years later, Roberts’ focus expanded to include Middle East and Africa. Some of his duties also include managing Fairmont’s regional vice presidents in these markets, overseeing multi-unit developments like the projects in Manila, Makkah and Singapore, and all new development where the company’s brands may not have a regional structure to support the hotels.
This last year has been spent increasing brand awareness in the region, driven by success in the Dubai marketplace, and fruitful relationships in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The establishments of partnerships with Saudi’s Kingdom Hotels and Qatari Diar has also brought a wealth of opportunities, not only to the company’s Middle Eastern portfolio, but globally.
Construction is complete on the Fairmont Hotel in Makkah as well as the handover of the final phase of guest rooms. This Ramadan, the company opened the Royal floors and the balance of the room inventory. The Fairmont hotel now boasts 1293 rooms and has been joined in the high season with the soft opening of the Swissôtel Makkah. The hotel opened half of its available rooms for Ramadan, and plans to have all 1500 rooms open by Hajj of this year.
Coming up in 2012 is the opening of Fairmont The Palm in Dubai and the Fairmont Makati in Manila will open in December. There are also properties slated for Amman, Ajman, Fujairah, Muscat, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Roberts’ responsibilities extend beyond the Middle East and in total, incorporate 17 operating hotels across India, China, Singapore, KSA, UAE, Africa and Egypt.
By the numbers
FRHI Hotels open in Middle East: 9 Hotels in confirmed pipeline for Middle East: 6 Middle East hotels opened in past 12 months: 1 Middle East hotels signed in past 12 months: 3 Middle East hotels due to open by September 2013: 4 No of years in hospitality: 37 No of years in region: 2 Nationality: British