A seasoned hotelier, Ulrich T. Eckhardt has an impressive track record, with more than four decades of experience in a variety of senior positions for prestigious hotel groups, including ITT Sheraton Corporation.
He joined Kempinski Hotels in 1995 as senior vice president — Latin America & Caribbean, based in Brazil, followed by a posting as managing director of Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center in China. Eckhardt arrived in the UAE in 1997 to oversee the preopening phase of Kempinski Hotel Ajman, which he has managed ever since.
Under the guidance of Eckhardt, the ME&A region, which he took over in 2002, has become a leader in the company with the highest fee earning hotel — Emirates Palace — and the biggest regional revenue contribution for the company. The revenue from the 17 properties in Middle East and Africa represents 40% of revenue for the entire company.
This year has been incredibly busy with the opening of four properties; Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah, Kempinski Grand & Ixir Hotel Bahrain City Centre, Kempinski Seychelles Resort and Olare Mara Kempinski.
Growth now is largely focused on new markets and Kempinski signed six new properties over the past year; Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Accra, Ghana; Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi, Kenya; Olare Mara Kempinski, Masai Mara, Kenya; Kempinski Hotel Talatouna, Angola; as well as Kempinski Hotel Panama in Central America. The company has also partnered with Leela Hotels in India to open the first Kempinski hotel in the country, Kempinski Ambiance Hotel, Delhi.
Plans for the remainder of 2012 include hosting the Kempinski Career Day in Abu Dhabi, where all the regional GMs come to interview candidates and make offers on the spot.
By the numbers
Kempinski Hotels open in Middle East: 11 Hotels in confirmed pipeline for Middle East: 9 Middle East hotels opened in past 12 months: 2 me hotels signed in past 12 months: 2 middle east hotels due to open by September 2013: 4 years in hospitality: 40 years in region: 15 Nationality: German