Simon Coombs was appointed president and chief executive officer of Shaza Hotels in September 2009 and since then the British national has brought a wealth of expertise to the niche market operator.
Prior to his current role, Coombs spent three years with Kempinski as executive vice president and chief financial officer, and before that spent 16 years with Hyatt International.
Following the opening of Shaza’s first hotel in Madina in December 2010, Coombs negotiated 15 Letters of Intent, signed an agreement for Shaza’s first resort hotel in Salalah, and is close to concluding management agreements for properties in Doha, Jeddah and Dubai. By the end of 2012, Coombs expects to have 10 hotels under development. Currently, he is responsible for seven hotels under construction, including the Al Rawdatain Gardens hotel in Karbala, Iraq, and two in operation.
The expected future pipeline currently consists of Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Dakar (to be signed in 2012), Black Sea, Konya and Al Khobar. The aim is to grow the brand — which focuses on niche markets such as religious tourism —up to 25 hotels in the next four years, predominately located in the Middle East and North Africa, with south Asia and key European cities identified as secondary markets.