Awards 2023Judges

Industry leading figures working across design, architecture, hospitality and lifestyle media

Amber Asher

Amber Asher

Chief Executive Officer

Standard International

(Global)

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Amber Asher

Amber Asher

Chief Executive Officer - Standard International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurant & bars are integral to The Standard brand. They are not just outlets in our hotels, but rather distinctive venues with extensive thought and care put into every detail. Restaurants and Bars are far more than just cocktails and cuisine - they provide an immersive experience of design, innovation, and connectivity to create a captivating journey that inspires all five senses for our guests.

Bio
Promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Standard International in October of 2021, Amber Asher is driven to lead the Standard, Bunkhouse and Peri brands and their teams as they head into a phase of significant growth. Her leadership has been defined by team building, accelerated growth, and scaling a once U.S. founder-led brand globally, with recent openings in London, Hua Hin (Thailand), Ibiza and Bangkok. Amber joined The Standard 11 years ago, and while the company expands internationally, she remains committed to the brand’s core values of inclusivity, creativity, and uniqueness. Each hotel embraces local identities while maintaining a common thread of fun, style, and culture.

Website
standardhotels.com

Antoine Ménard

Antoine Ménard

Chief Creative Officer

Paris Society

(Global)

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Antoine Ménard

Antoine Ménard

Chief Creative Officer - Paris Society

The world's most creative spaces
Design, light, bespoke furniture, music, food, table art, stylism, food, beverage experience are all the component that we can play with to curate innovative guest journey. Hotel, bar, restaurant are the world’s most creative space for creative people.

Bio
Antoine Ménard, an established consultant, joined Paris Society in 2017 as the New Business Director. In 2021, he was appointed the role of Chief Operating Officer. Today, Antoine’s role as the Chief Creative Officer means he is in charge of creating new brands and concepts for the group, developing these in France & abroad, and overseeing the Consulting branch of the business.

Website
paris-society.com

Antonio Gonzales

Antonio Gonzales

Chief Executive Officer

Sunset Hospitality Group

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Antonio Gonzales

Antonio Gonzales

Chief Executive Officer - Sunset Hospitality Group

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world's most creative spaces because they are places where technology, art and nature amongst other themes are incorporated to create a world for diners to get together, socialise and celebrate life.

Bio
A highly accomplished hospitality entrepreneur, Antonio Gonzalez is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Sunset Hospitality Group (SHG). A Spanish national, Antonio has 23 years of experience, starting his career in media and advertising, before moving into a large FMCG / Healthcare multinational where he became General Manager for Middle East & Africa. He set up Kalys Management in 2009, a management investment firm focused in Middle East hospitality projects which ultimately evolved into SGH in 2011. Possessing an expansive knowledge of global hospitality markets, particularly in the US, Middle East and Africa, Antonio has spent the last 13 years successfully creating and expanding SHG’s impressive portfolio of brands. Under Antonio’s leadership, SHG now enjoys a highly visible and well-respected presence in nine countries across 26 brands.

Website
sunsethospitality.com

Ari Kastrati

Ari Kastrati

Chief Hospitality Officer

MGM Resorts International

(Global)

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Ari Kastrati

Ari Kastrati

Chief Hospitality Officer - MGM Resorts International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world's most creative spaces because they are designed to make guests feel inspired, welcomed, spoiled, entertained, engaged and sated. The genius minds behind the best designs must be worldly, practical and whimsical at the same time; they must see into the future to design venues that will stand the test of time and yet speak to the present moment.

Bio
Ari Kastrati is Chief Hospitality Officer (CHO) for MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), an S&P 500® global hospitality and entertainment company. As CHO, Ari is responsible for driving non-gaming strategic operations, creating transformative guest-centric strategies, and curating innovative experiences that deliver long-term value for the company. Ari leads a diverse team representing divisions that include: resort/hotel, food & beverage, nightlife, retail, guest experience, art and culture, and the internal real estate efforts focused on leasing and development. In addition, he plays a key role in supporting MGM Resorts’ integrated resort gaming projects around the world, focused on master planning/design.

Website
mgmresorts.com

Arian Zandi

Arian Zandi

Co-Founder

Emerald Hospitality Group

(UK)

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Arian Zandi

Arian Zandi

Co-Founder - Emerald Hospitality Group

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are some of the oldest business models in history. They have managed to prevail throughout time, not only because brings people together, but also due to its capacity to immerse everyone in an end to end experience. The creativeness and innovation of premises have become even more paramount in todays hospitality scene, aiming to provide a balance between authenticity and fusion.

Bio
Arian studied Business Management and Finance at Queen Mary University in London, and did an MSc in Computer Science and a second MSc in Management and Digital Innovation at London School of Economics. Arian started his career at Business Integration Partners in strategy consulting. He then went on to co-found Emerald Hospitality Group. Arian Zandi Mas's role is co-founder of Emerald Hospitality Group which was founded in 2018. During the pandemic, Arian opened two more restaurants: Como Garden, an Italian restaurant in winter 2020, and El Norte, a Spanish restaurant in December 2021. Arian will be opening the hospitality group's fourth restaurant in January 2023 in Mayfair, a Southern French restaurant called Riviera.

Website
emerald-hospitality-group.com

Arielle Quick

Arielle Quick

Chief Continent Lodging Services Officer

Marriott International

(EMEA)

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Arielle Quick

Arielle Quick

Chief Continent Lodging Services Officer - Marriott International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are venues that transport us not only through new culinary experiences we may not have had yet, but they also help us to travel to different worlds unto themselves, real or imagined. Their creativity brings us out of our own paradigms and unite us into discovery and new perspectives that we can enjoy and share as we host and connect with people all around the world.

Bio
Arielle is Chief Continent Lodging Services Officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Marriott International. She oversees all operational disciplines such as Rooms Operations, Digital Guest Experience, Restaurants & Bars, Event Management, Procurement, and Openings as well as IT for over 1,000 hotels in 76 countries. Through her 20+ year career at Marriott, Arielle has gained extensive experience building platforms and tools to support hotels and inspire performance. She is passionate about enabling hotels to deliver quality, design and service so they can best reach into their own unique ability to connect guests to local destinations and provide unforgettable experiences.

Website
marriott.com

Aurelie Schwend

Aurelie Schwend

Director Interior Design, Luxury Brands

Marriott International

(EMEA)

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Aurelie Schwend

Aurelie Schwend

Director Interior Design, Luxury Brands - Marriott International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world''s most creative spaces transporting their guests into a world of culinary experiences. Sometimes the F&B is the focal point and sometimes the destination is like a theatre. It all starts with a vision the creative talent then translates into reality. Each venue is unique and gives chefs and designers the freedom of expression and innovation, creating unforgettable experiences and impressions, as a response to all senses.

Bio
Aurelie is the Director of Interior Design, Luxury Brands at Marriott International. Aurelie has extensive skills and qualities of management gained during 15 years of experience on lifestyle and luxury hospitality projects. As a member of the European Global Design team, Aurelie is supporting the development and growth of Marriott’s Luxury Brands primarily in Europe. As part of her role she has the responsibility for the successful architectural and interior design delivery of projects within established budgets, schedules and brand quality standards. Aurelie is passionate about architecture, design and innovation and loves creating hotels with unique experiences.

Website
marriottinternational.com

Ben Spriggs

Ben Spriggs

Editor in Chief

ELLE Decoration

(UK)

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Ben Spriggs

Ben Spriggs

Editor in Chief - ELLE Decoration

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world’s most creative spaces because they’re rooted in fantasy, escapism and decadence. They’re where we step outside of our daily lives, different to our homes, these are spaces which can be everything from exuberantly over the top to serenely minimal. Creating environments which we immerse ourselves in for only a few hours gives designers licence to create alternate realities, pushing boundaries and firing imaginations.

Bio
With over 20 years’ experience of lifestyle, interiors and design journalism, Ben has divided his career between newspapers and print magazines. Having held senior roles at The Sunday Times Style, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph, he also worked on the UK launch of InStyle, Livingetc and edited Real Homes. He has spent much of the last ten years driving the ELLE Decoration brand and took over the editorship in July 2017. With an avid interest in contemporary design and décor and an unrivalled reputation, Ben also gives talks, chairs discussions and acts as a spokesperson for the interiors industry.

Website
elledecoration.co.uk

Danilo Gasparrini

Danilo Gasparrini

Co-Founder

Bun Burgers

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Danilo Gasparrini

Danilo Gasparrini

Co-Founder - Bun Burgers

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars today are some are the world's most creative spaces. They are no longer simply about food and drinks, they are about entertaining, engaging customers, they are about the experience they provide as a whole. Designers are therefore allowed to experiment, of course with new materials and colours, but also with creating unconventional and immersive spaces.

Bio
Danilo is a long-time entrepreneur with a strong background in digital and food industry. Online Brand Strategy and Positioning, Digital Marketing and Advertising are his bread and butter. “During my experience in Babotel [the consultancy agency specialized in brand digitization and innovation he founded and directs since 2008] I realized the enormous potential of food industry and founded Bun Burgers to put all my ideas into practice.” The successfull burger chain recently won the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards and the Innova Retail Award 2022. He also deals with Digital innovation, LAB and permanent observatory for UBRI (Unione Brand Ristorazione Italiana) of which he is General Secretary. His most recent initiative is the foundation of a new Dry Bar chain in Italy.

Website
bunburgers.com

David McIntyre

David McIntyre

Chief Operating Officer

D.ream International

(Global)

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David McIntyre

David McIntyre

Chief Operating Officer - D.ream International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and the related food experience power memory and nostalgia; bypassing conscious awareness and living in our sub-conscious forever. These emotional and visceral reactions connect us to a time and place where imagination meets reality…..the restaurant.

Bio
Thirty years of leadership in hospitality. Industry experience in hotel, restaurant and casino operations, development and intermodal transportation. Company affiliations; Dream International, MGM Resorts International, Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

Website
dream-international.com

David Taylor

David Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

Lore Group

(Global)

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David Taylor

David Taylor

Chief Executive Officer - Lore Group

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurant and bar design is special as the designers are creating unique spaces in which to showcase the hard work, dedication and creativity of culinary and bar teams. These spaces represent special moments in our lives, the coming together of people and evenings that often live long in the memory.

Bio
David Taylor is the CEO of Lore Group; the international hospitality company that designs, transforms and manages hotels across Europe and the United States. David previously led the transformation of a number of UK hotels including developing the Principal brand under the ownership of Starwood Capital. In addition to launching The London EDITION as General Manager, David is associated with other high profile openings and re-positionings such the original Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch, the Great Eastern Hotel and Sofitel St James. His dedication to promoting best practise within the industry has been recognised with a Master Innholders Scholarship in 2009 and membership of Master Innholders in 2012. David also serves as a trustee at The Savoy Educational Trust

Website
loregroup.com

Diana Darmina

Diana Darmina

Interior Design Manager

Lamington Group

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Diana Darmina

Diana Darmina

Interior Design Manager - Lamington Group

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the most creative spaces a designer can put their stamp on. Hospitality owners want to stand out from their competitors by creating immersive environments for their guests. This has become even more important after Covid, when guests are seeking more experiences than ever and eating out has become more than just enjoying fantastic food.

Bio
Diana is an interior designer and architect, specialising in hospitality design. Diana is passionate about how the built environment can affect one’s well being, state of mind and influence social behaviours. Since working with Lamington Group Diana she designed the award winning room2 Chiswick hometel, the first whole life net zero hotel. She has since become an expert in sustainable interior design and is consistently pushing the boundaries of conscious design on all of the upcoming hometel projects for the fast expanding hotel group.

Website
lamingtongroup.com

Diana Espejo

Diana Espejo

Director of Technical Services EMEA

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

(Global)

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Diana Espejo

Diana Espejo

Director of Technical Services EMEA - Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants & Bars date back to ancient civilizations and have since become a key part of human society. Designing these according to the times we live in, appealing to a constantly changing crowd, while providing a sense of comfort where people no longer just go “out for a meal”, but rather for an experience - this must give place to some of most exciting and creative spaces in the world.

Bio
Diana drives the design and development of multiple Six Senses projects within the EMEA region, hand-in-hand with Hotel Owners and together with some of the best designers in the world. She has been in the hospitality industry for over 15 years and has worked across the globe with award-wining international architecture and design studios specialised in luxury hospitality projects, such as Kerry Hill and Jean-Michel Gathy to name a few. Having always been passionate about travelling, well-being and sustainability, Diana personally identifies with Six Senses’ unique ethos. She is a conscious traveller and an avid recycler/up-cycler who is constantly on the lookout for the newest sustainability and design trends.

Website
sixsenses.com

Dino Sura

Dino Sura

Managing Director

Burger & Lobster Restaurant Group

(Global)

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Dino Sura

Dino Sura

Managing Director - Burger & Lobster Restaurant Group

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants honour the human predisposition to come together and celebrate over food and drink. They connect people with culture through unique experiences outside of their everyday life. Spacial creativity is required to transport guests to a curated world for a short time, where every touch point heightens the sensorial journey and, in turn, their tasting experience.

Bio
Dino Sura possesses a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector. As a Hospitality Management graduate from Canterbury Christchurch University, Dino’s career spans over 23 years. Having cut his teeth working up the ranks in various roles across the sector, Dino established himself as Senior Operations Manager for Strada over an eight-year tenure. Since then, he has enjoyed several senior and NED roles at Bill’s Restaurants, MW Eat, Street Kitchen, and Chef Academy before joining Burger & Lobster as Operations Director in 2018. Today, Dino sits as Managing Director and leads the overall strategy in the UK, Europe and US ensuring Burger & Lobster’s long-term future.

Website
burgerandlobster.com

Douglas Taylor

Douglas Taylor

Director Of Upscale F&B

IHG

(EMEA)

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Douglas Taylor

Douglas Taylor

Director Of Upscale F&B - IHG

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars provide an opportunity to break bread and allow us to connect with others – whether it’s family gatherings, catching up with friends, or a more escapist experience. These moments are the glue that bind us together.

Bio
Douglas Taylor has 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and is now focused on crafting the future of F&B for five IHG brands across EMEAA. He’s responsible for devising F&B philosophies for these luxury lifestyle and boutique propositions, as well as designing one-of-a-kind concepts throughout the region. He believes creating new restaurants and bars should be viewed through a holistic lens, rather than purely focused on food and drink, as ultimately, they are spaces where memories are created.

Website
ihg.com

Enrique Mandl

Enrique Mandl

Chief Executive Officer

OKU Hotels

(EMEA)

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Enrique Mandl

Enrique Mandl

Chief Executive Officer - OKU Hotels

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are fantastic experimental areas for interior designers. Great concepts create different moods and let us immerse ourselves in a wide variety of interior worlds to meet, to hang out and to enjoy our culinary senses.

Bio
Enrique is COO of OKU Hotels and General Manager of Ibiza, responsible for openings of new hotels and to position and strength the hotel in the existing markets. He began working in lifestyle hospitality in OD Hotels as General Manager for the Ocean Drive Hotel and 4 years as COO. Prior to joining OKU Hotel in 2020 he was General Manager of LIO, the most successful restaurant & cabaret concept in the world, where he was responsible for analyzing acquisitions and management opportunities as well as overseeing property renovations and new construction. He worked 10 years for Starwood The Luxury Collection in Sales and Marketing in various cities around Europe. Enrique holds a BA in tourism and hotel management from the Modul University Vienna.

Website
okuhotels.com

Jennifer McPhee

Jennifer McPhee

Brand Director

The Alchemist

(Global)

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Jennifer McPhee

Jennifer McPhee

Brand Director - The Alchemist

The world's most creative spaces
To design a bar, is to create an Illusion; a safe and functional space that at once manifests your brands story into physical form. To deliver the fantasy created online into a living, breathing experience that has the power to generate moments that can last a lifetime.

Bio
Jenny is the Brand Director of The Alchemist, the UK’s leading creative cocktail bar and restaurant business. Established in Manchester in 2010 and renowned for its highly theatrical drinks offer, the group now operates 21 venues in major cities around the UK. The business will open its first international location in Germany next year. Jenny looks after the brand’s identity and integrity; online, in venue and in the media, in a role that covers everything from venue design, to spirit partnerships. Jenny recently developed an ecommerce platform so the business could deliver its popular cocktails direct to people’s homes and was the driving force behind the successful Alchemist cocktail book.

Website
thealchemist.uk.com

Jessica Gidari

Jessica Gidari

Director of Design & Concept Development

Union Square Events

(USA)

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Jessica Gidari

Jessica Gidari

Director of Design & Concept Development - Union Square Events

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurant & bars are some of the world’s most creative spaces as it captures the artistry of the chef, the layered materiality of the design, and the storytelling of the brand. All blended seamlessly in an inspired experience. These spaces are telling elaborate visual narratives throughout all of their touchpoints.

Bio
As Director of Design & Concept Development, Jessica is the design lead for USE by Union Square Hospitality Group’s consulting practice and new business initiatives from concept through to completion. A strong focus in both Interior Design and Branding, Jessica has spent the past 14 years designing restaurants and branding hospitality spaces both domestic and international. In her current role, she works with her various clients to conceptualize and bring to life holistic F&B experiences, touching upon all areas from design to culinary to operations.

Website
unionsquareevents.com

Joey Ghazal

Joey Ghazal

Founder & CEO

Fighterbrands

(Global)

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Joey Ghazal

Joey Ghazal

Founder & CEO - Fighterbrands

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants & bars are the most creative spaces because they have to tell a beautiful story through design. One that is experiential, immersive, relatable and yet stands out in an ocean of other spaces. Every element has to work together seamlessly to create a memorable experience that stays with the guest long after they’ve paid their bill.

Bio
Canadian Lebanese Gastropreneur, Joey Ghazal, has developed dozens of popular restaurant and bar concepts across two continents. Recognized by Caterer Magazine as 'Middle East Restauranteur of the Year 2018' and one of the 'Most Powerful Independent Restauranteur in the Middle East' in their yearly ‘Power 50’ issue, Joey is most recently known for The MAINE, an award winning New England Brasserie with locations in Dubai and London. Joey also founded Fighterbrands, a concept design and development agency that has created some of the most compelling brands and ‘The Million Oyster Project’ which uses the Maine’s discarded Oyster Shells to regenerate UAE’s coast line, promote marine biodiversity and save the endangered Hawksbill Turtle.

Website
fighterbrands.com
themaine.ae
themainemayfair.com

Kim Walker

Kim Walker

Co-Founder

Ten Five Hospitality

(USA)

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Kim Walker

Kim Walker

Co-Founder - Ten Five Hospitality

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars have the privilege of creating concepts which enhance one of the most important human needs, to be nourished. Through smell, sight, sound, touch and taste, together designers and chefs have the ability to transport their guests and create spaces designed to evoke emotions, connection and joy.

Bio
Kim Walker is Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Ten Five Hospitality, a new type of integrated hospitality investment and management company. Since its establishment in 2021, Ten Five Hospitality has developed internationally renowned concepts with award-winning partners, from Mother Wolf restaurant by Chef Evan Funke to celebrity-favorite rooftop lounge, Bar Lis in Hollywood’s Vinyl District. Walker oversees all aspects of brand development, marketing and communication efforts for the company’s portfolio of assets. Walker has over thirty years of marketing experience, beginning her career at Morgans Hotel Group under Ian Schrager. Following Morgans Hotel Group, she founded her own boutique creative agency, Sidework, which helped brands build and maintain cultural relevance, increase awareness and, ultimately, generate revenue and brand equity.

Website
tenfivehospitality.com

Kimberly Grant

Kimberly Grant

Global Head of Restaurants & Bars

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

(Global)

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Kimberly Grant

Kimberly Grant

Global Head of Restaurants & Bars - Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The world's most creative spaces
The developmental and design process for world class restaurant and bars located in the hotel environment can begin as much as five years before an outlet may open. The success of the product is based on the visionary collaboration of designers, architects, and restauranteurs who share a passion for creative thinking as they imagine the future of the dining experience.

Bio
Kimberly Grant currently serves as the Global Head of Restaurants and Bars for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. She is the chief executive leading all worldwide food and beverage operations for the company including all restaurants, bars, lounges, meetings and events, and in-room dining. She also serves as an independent director of Performance Food Group, a Fortune 200 NYSE mid-cap food distribution company. Over her career, she has led and scaled restaurant companies in both the privately held and publicly traded sectors with a strategic, entrepreneurial approach. Prior to joining Four Seasons, she served six years as the CEO of TFG which owns and operates restaurant concepts by Michelin awarded Chef José Andrés and five years as an independent director of Blackberry Farm, a Relais and Chateaux luxury hotel located in Walland, Tennessee.

Website
fourseasons.com

Lisa Bonaficio

Lisa Bonaficio

President & General Counsel

Bunkhouse

(Global)

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Lisa Bonaficio

Lisa Bonaficio

President & General Counsel - Bunkhouse

The world's most creative spaces
A restaurant / bar space are the gathering place of a community. Where creatives meet business executives, where ideas are shared, and dreams are thought up. An inspiring space helps fuel the creativity that makes the space come to life.

Bio
Lisa Bonifacio’s passion for travel has led her to a diverse 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. After obtaining both her MBA in international business and JD degree, she focused her career on counsel for restaurants, hotels, spas, and health clubs. Her keen financial background helped her excel as senior counsel for Standard Hotels before taking on the role of President + General Counsel of Bunkhouse, a Standard subsidiary and hospitality company that believes in inspired design, connection to place, and the value of community with a celebrated portfolio of projects throughout the U.S. and Mexico. When she’s not traveling for work, she loves to travel for pleasure and has visited over 50 countries and countless restaurants.

Website
bunkhousehotels.com

Lola Marseguerra

Lola Marseguerra

F&B Design & Development Manager

Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

(Global)

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Lola Marseguerra

Lola Marseguerra

F&B Design & Development Manager - Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

The world's most creative spaces
The magic in restaurants and bars is created in the moment, when all the pieces are moving seamlessly, just like a theatre performance, reflecting the mood of its surroundings and the people temporarily inhabiting it. Interior design is responsible for placing each piece in that journey, facilitating that unique experience through the senses.

Bio
Lola is a French hospitality professional based in London. Her love for the industry started at a very young age, and her dream job was always to “rate hotel’s beds”, as written in her journal from age 9. After operational exposure and managerial F&B roles within a few luxury hotels, Lola went on to start working on the strategy and development side of restaurants and bars, with Mandarin Oriental. In her current role, she looks after EMEA and Americas development projects, building concept briefs, selecting interior designers, and working alongside all consultants involved in delivering the best possible product to the local community and hotel guests. Creating relevant yet timeless concepts is the way Mandarin Oriental looks at F&B, whether partnering with established brands, up and coming chefs or opening fully self-operated outlets.

Website
mandarinoriental.com

María Zarraluqui

María Zarraluqui

Global Development VP

Meliá Hotels International

(Global)

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María Zarraluqui

María Zarraluqui

Global Development VP - Meliá Hotels International

The world's most creative spaces
Because in recent years there has been an acceleration in trends, there is a more precise differentiation between experience and transactional hospitality. Those that focus on the social aspect of restaurants will have to work hard to improve their offerings, design, service, food, lighting and music and they will have to be surrounded by the best team in order to create an experience.

Bio
María Zarraluqui is Global Development VP for Meliá Hotels International Group, she is heading the worldwide development for the Group and is responsible for executing together with her team of developers the growth strategy of Meliá worldwide, having signed over the last 3 years more than 110 deals worldwide. María holds a Law degree from the University of Navarra in Spain, as well as a Master’s degree in Enterprises Legal Consultancy for the Deusto University in, Spain, a Postgraduate degree in Urban Development Law from the UIB University and got a Mention of honour as number 1 of the 2008-2009 Executive Tourist MBA, IE Business School, in Spain. She joined Meliá´s legal Department in 1999, on 2008 she joined the Development team as Development Director and was promoted to Global Development VP in 2011.

Website
melia.com
meliahotelsinternational.com

Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Founder

Auberge Resorts Collection

(Global)

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Mark Harmon

Mark Harmon

Founder - Auberge Resorts Collection

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world's most creative spaces since they are not formally bound by conventional rules. Those spaces can become fantastic, familiar, surreal or comforting. In every case, the goal is to immerse the guest in an experience they will not forget.

Bio
Mark is the owner of Auberge Partners, a hotel development and management company dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind properties in exceptional locations. Prior to forming Auberge Partners, Mark was Founder and CEO of Auberge Resorts Collection, recognized as one of the top luxury brands worldwide. Under Mark’s direction, Auberge Resorts Collection became an international portfolio of unique hotels, resorts and residences that garnered numerous awards and accolades for their character and memorable experiences. Mark has played a key role in the design and development of numerous resorts and hotels, from the initial concept to opening, with the goal of creating places that connect people to spectacular natural settings and to one another. Each property shares a crafted approach to luxury that is expressed through captivating design of the restaurants and bars, exceptional cuisine and spas, a spirit of adventure and romance, and gracious yet unobtrusive service.

Website
aubergeresorts.com

Mark Signorio

Mark Signorio

Vice President Interior Design

Las Vegas Sands

(USA)

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Mark Signorio

Mark Signorio

Vice President Interior Design - Las Vegas Sands

The world's most creative spaces
Great Restaurants and bars are transformational spaces where we gather and form both personal and professional relationships as well as lasting memories. Such intangible experiences can only be successfully achieved by creative collaborations between design visionaries and culinary giants whose expertise and knowledge produce truly transcendent destinations.

Bio
Mark Signorio is Vice President of Interior Design for Sands (LVS), the world's leading integrated resort developer and operator whose groundbreaking developments have transformed local regions and the hospitality industry. His responsibilities include leadership, creation and design of Sands’ global food and beverage programs in the US, Singapore, Macao and developing regions. Managing and overseeing teams in Las Vegas, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao and working closely with over 75 internationally acclaimed design firms, Mark has developed over $500MM of food and beverage venues during his tenure with Sands. Drawing on his in-depth operational knowledge and design aptitude, Mark has successfully completed a wide range of culinary destinations from casual dining concepts, ultra-lounges and iconic nightclubs to award-winning celebrity chef restaurants.

Website
sands.com

Michael Goodman

Michael Goodman

Co-Founder & Chief Visionary Officer

The Dandy Collection

(Asia)

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Michael Goodman

Michael Goodman

Co-Founder & Chief Visionary Officer - The Dandy Collection

The world's most creative spaces
These are spaces where form, function, emotion and soul combine; places that can immerse people into another world, taking them on a journey they’d otherwise not expect. We can deliver people to an entirely new universe and at the same time connect human beings together. That makes it incredible rewarding.

Bio
Michael has a unique set of qualifications; as a Restaurant Owner, an Interior Designer, a Brand Strategist and a former Executive Chef. Part of the Dandy Collection he owns and operates four diverse concepts: Neon Pigeon, Fat Prince, Firangi Superstar and California Republic. As Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, Michael is committed to pushing the envelope creatively and connecting with guests emotionally. He also spearheads the conceptualization and design process of these spaces while developing strong, distinctive brand stories and voices. Working closely with the team, Michael is deeply involved in development of menus and the guest experience. Constantly challenging the status quo, he injects elements and touchpoints that are not only playful and refreshing, but also thoughtful and meaningful.

Website
thedandycollection.com

Naomi Heaton

Naomi Heaton

Chief Operating Officer

The Other House

(UK)

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Naomi Heaton

Naomi Heaton

Chief Operating Officer - The Other House

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are unique spaces that can engage all of the senses. It''s how the senses are brought together to create a cohesive experience and space that is both the creative challenge and joy. Everyone has a lasting memory of a bar or restaurant who managed to get this just right.

Bio
Naomi Heaton, MA Hons (Oxon) is founder and Chief Executive of The Other House, a new lifestyle hospitality brand in prime central London from The Portfolio Club. Established in December 2019, this is a joint venture between London Central Portfolio Ltd (“LCP”), leading real estate investment advisory and APG. Since its creation, the venture has acquired three assets, the Harrington Hall in South Kensington, the Wellington Block in Covent Garden and a third site in Belgravia. South Kensington opened in July 2022, Covent Garden will open in 2024, with Belgravia to follow in 2025. Naomi is also Chairman of the LCP Group. She founded LCP in 1990, exclusively to represent investors in the private rented sector in Prime Central London. It offers an all encompassing service including property search and acquisition, refurbishment and design, letting and rental management, based on sophisticated financial modelling. She has also launched a number of funds investing in this asset class.

Website
otherhouse.com

Natasha Waterfield

Natasha Waterfield

Chief Operating Officer

New World Trading Company

(UK)

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Natasha Waterfield

Natasha Waterfield

Chief Operating Officer - New World Trading Company

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world''s most creative spaces, they present us with the opportunity to continuously develop our brand proposition, marketing strategies, menu development, culture and interior design. All of which work in sync with each other to provide guests with a seamless experience.

Bio
Chief Operating Officer responsible for organisational strategy and its implementation through building and developing teams in Product Development, Sales, Marketing, Operations, Talent, L&D and Engagement. Being a previously highly successful People Director I utilise coaching and communication skills to my advantage in working to create a pioneering and successful business.With The New World Trading Company I have both seen and contributed to the delivery of a multi-award-winning operation consisting of 33 sites and counting. NWTC is one of the country’s most exciting brands in the restaurant market consisting of The Oast House, The Botanist, The Smugglers Cove, The Club House, The Trading House, The Canal House ,The Florist and The Furnace. As a company, we have been voted 10th (2017), 7th (2018) and 5th (2019) in the Sunday Times Top 100.

Website
nwtc.uk.com

Maria Casbas

Maria Casbas

Editor

Condé Nast Traveler

(Spain)

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Maria Casbas

Maria Casbas

Editor - Condé Nast Traveler

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world's most creative spaces because they are like micro-universes. By entering them, the atmosphere and the interior design allow us to live an immersive experience that, along with the food, create all together an unforgettable memory.

Bio
Born in Zaragoza and based in Madrid, María Casbas writes at Condé Nast Traveler Spain about travel, culture, restaurants, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and any other hidden and wonderful gems that she finds around the world. Her work has also been published in several international titles such as Vogue Spain, AD Spain and Condé Nast Traveller Middle East. Specialized in editorial strategy and social media, she has been running @cntravelerspain Instagram account for more than four years and she has been a teacher at the Vogue Summer School (Condé Nast College). She loves Italian design, Japanese food and French ''savoir faire''. Always ready to take a plane, never tired of telling amazing stories.

Website
traveler.es

Omar Romero

Omar Romero

Chief Development Officer

Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

(Global)

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Omar Romero

Omar Romero

Chief Development Officer - Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

The world's most creative spaces
Looking to satisfy our sense of taste, sight, touch and sound we set out for a search for the perfect restaurant or bar that would helps us enrich our most prominent hours of the day. A restaurant or bar today, is an experiential space which attracts its customers to create time and spend in it. They provide people the opportunity to reconnect with others and themselves. This is not an easy task hence restaurants around the world have been pushed away from their comfort zone making them the most creative spaces on the earth.

Bio
Omar stays a veteran of Six Senses with almost two decades work experience, with over half of those spent leading its development team globally. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland and a Diploma in Hotel Management & Food Science from Les Roches, Hotel Management School. In addition, Omar was born into a hospitality focused home spending his early years learning its core. Omar has led the growth of the brand to all five continents ensuring its global & prestigious footprint, by creating a series of circuits of properties that complement each other in different destinations around the world.

Website
sixsenses.com

Omer Acar

Omer Acar

Managing Director

Katara Hospitality Europe

(Global)

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Omer Acar

Omer Acar

Managing Director - Katara Hospitality Europe

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are the world’s most creative spaces as the only places engaging with all the five senses, offering an immersive culinary journey combining cultural heritage and traditions with constant innovation.

Bio
Seasoned professional with +25 years of experience across the luxury hospitality industry with specific expertise in food and beverage. Since 2015, Omer is the Managing Director of Katara Hospitality Europe, leading the company’s international hotel and restaurant portfolio over 3 continents. Prior to this tenure, Omer was heading Harrods’ Food and Beverage operations but also General Manager of iconic properties including Ritz Paris and Royal Monceau Raffles Paris as well as involved in various senior F&B roles with Four Seasons, developing several successful restaurants and bars projects as well partnering with some of the world-renowned Chefs around the globe.

Website
katarahospitality.com

Pinar Calimano

Pinar Calimano

Director, Design EMEA

Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

(Global)

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Pinar Calimano

Pinar Calimano

Director, Design EMEA - Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

The world's most creative spaces
Design excellence is creating a sense of awe and wonder, that is built on a foundation of holistic experience design, operational understanding, sustainability and delivering a long term value for the patrons. Curating a design experience that goes against the sea of sameness, challenging boundaries, exploring the less travelled path, while creating a built environment that supports the operation team to deliver their best every day.

Bio
A passioned design leader with multifaceted background in Interior Design and Hotel Operations. As Director, Design EMEA at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Pinar oversees interior design of new hotels and renovations. She also worked for Hyatt Hotels International and IHG as Director Design, MEA managing design process of new hotels from development reviews to design through opening. In her 25-year career, she designed for leading hotel brands such has Ritz Carlton, Marriot, IHG, Hilton, Starwood and Millennium Hotels in US and GCC. Thanks to 8-years in hotel operations prior to her design education, she has in depth understanding of restaurant and bar operations.

Website
fourseasons.com

Quynh Phuong Brown

Quynh Phuong Brown

Executive Chef

Zuma Hong Kong

(Global)

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Quynh Phuong Brown

Quynh Phuong Brown

Executive Chef - Zuma Hong Kong

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars are creative spaces for chefs/bartenders as much as art studios are for artists. It is the designs and ambience that catalyses inspiration by “stirring” and setting the stage for creative thought process. In given case, a new menu, a new cocktail, or even a new concept.

Bio
I am Vietnamese born and raised from Saigon, until moving to the United States in my teens. This marked the beginning of my travels across the USA for 19 years. Consequently, allowing me to absorb diversified cultures through training in various kitchens, cuisines and spirits; from French, Hispanic, Thai, Italian, American, working both FOH and BOH. I fell in love with Japanese cuisine since 2010. Through which I have been pursuing a career with major leading companies in the field such as Nobu and Azumi; working throughout USA, Middle East and Asia. After 18 years in hospitality industry, I currently reside in Hong Kong and operate as Executive chef for Zuma branch.

Website
azumirestaurants.com

Robyn Kaminski

Robyn Kaminski

Senior Director, Global Design Strategies

Marriott International

(Global)

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Robyn Kaminski

Robyn Kaminski

Senior Director, Global Design Strategies - Marriott International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants & bars sit at the intersection of all the things we love as humans: food, celebration, connection, escape, discovery. Creating spaces that house all our complex moments is a unique opportunity to showcase a cuisine, location, or talented mixologist/chef through design and make it memorable.

Bio
Robyn Kaminski is Senior Director of Design for Marriott’s Global Design Strategies team and is responsible for establishing creative design direction for Marriott International’s Classic brands globally. In her role she champions strategic design leadership for Sheraton Hotels, All-Inclusive hotels, and Marriott Vacations Worldwide. Robyn joined Marriott after spending over 10 years as part of the Global Brand Design team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. After joining Marriott, Robyn worked for five years building the design direction for Marriott’s lifestyle brands; Renaissance, Westin, Le Méridien, Autograph, Tribute, and Element. Through her career, Robyn has developed a passion to make beautiful things work seamlessly, she strives to design thoughtful experiences through conceptual development, storytelling, and an obsessive attention to detail.

Website
marriott.com

Sandeep Walia

Sandeep Walia

Chief Operating Officer - Middle East

Marriott International

(Global)

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Sandeep Walia

Sandeep Walia

Chief Operating Officer - Middle East - Marriott International

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars bring together the best of culinary excellence, service, design, innovation, creativity and talent who bring to life all aspects of restaurants through their passion. Restaurants play an important role in in bringing people and cultures together and sparking inspiration, conversations, and ideas.

Bio
Sandeep Walia is the Chief Operating Officer for Marriott International in the Middle East. With over 25 years of international experience in the hotel industry, he is currently responsible for the operations of Marriott’s properties in the Middle East (including Egypt and Turkey) which features over 200 operational properties and more than 100 properties in its pipeline. Sandeep joined Marriott International in 2005 and prior to his current role he was the Area Vice President for the UAE and overlooked the operation of the company’s largest market in the Middle East. Having worked for brands across Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe, Sandeep has a global mindset and an understanding of the consumer landscape and their evolving needs and aspirations.

Website
marriott.com

Sara Kristófersdóttir

Sara Kristófersdóttir

Chief Commercial Officer

Center Hotels

(Iceland)

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Sara Kristófersdóttir

Sara Kristófersdóttir

Chief Commercial Officer - Center Hotels

The world's most creative spaces
The design and architecture of the physical space of a site is one of the most important expressions of your brand. Your brand is simply the impression people have of you. Architecture and interior design are extremely important in creating this impression, and they dictate that the "channels" of your brand portfolio are immersive, tangible and multi-sensory. These branded spaces can profoundly impact and engage our fundamental humanity, evoking emotional responses and rational thought patterns that influence behaviour for better or worse.

Bio
A BSc honors graduate in International Hospitality Management from Dublin Institute of Technology, her responsibility as CCO is the overall commercial strategy of the Center Hotels chain as well as directly managing the Directors of Sales, Revenue and Marketing. In her role she led the project team collaborating with I Am London on the concept development, design and branding for their 2 new hotels and restaurants and the rebranding & renovations of their existing hotels in the chain. Sara started in the hospitality industry at the age of 15 when her parents opened a 14 bedroom bed and breakfast in 1994. She has over 25 years of experience in the industry, working in all roles of her families business that has now grown into a 8 hotel chain with almost 1000 rooms, 5 restaurants and 4 Spa facilities, all located right in the city center of Reykjavik.

Website
centerhotels.com

Sophie Banford

Sophie Banford

Associate, General Manager & Editor

ELLE

(Canada)

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Sophie Banford

Sophie Banford

Associate, General Manager & Editor - ELLE

The world's most creative spaces
We can eat in the best restaurant in the world, if the atmosphere is not there, we will not want to go back. The space, the decor and the appetite for design allow the magic necessary to create memorable moments.

Bio
Sophie Banford has nearly 20 years of experience in the magazine industry. Over the years, she has served as editor-in-chief, content director and publisher for many top publications, including Chatelaine, Loulou, Clin d''œil, Moi&cie and Signé M - brands that have thrived because she has placed as much emphasis on their bottom line as she has on producing impactful, visually appealing articles. For her, business and creativity are not opposites; they are essential to each other. Stimulated by the constant buzz around her, she leads the print and digital destinies of KO Media (Véro Magazine, ELLE Québec, ELLE Canada, Josée di Stasio, K pour Katrine) and KO Éditions.

Website
ko-media.ca

Sophie Borel

Sophie Borel

Senior Designer & Project Manager

Cheval Collection

(Global)

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Sophie Borel

Sophie Borel

Senior Designer & Project Manager - Cheval Collection

The world's most creative spaces
Restaurants and bars can energize yet relax us, they provide a place where we can escape from the world outside, a place where we can spend hours creating memories, a place where we want to be. They are innovative in their offering thanks to the melting pot of people that the industry attracts and are designed to create experiences that call to our senses and feelings - that is why restaurants and bars are the world''s most creative spaces.

Bio
Sophie Borel has worked internationally in the hospitality design industry for 17 years and is a Senior Designer and Project Manager for Cheval Collection, a leading provider of luxury accommodation in the UK. Sophie is responsible for assessing feasibility, planning and execution of design opportunities across Cheval Collection’s portfolio for new and existing properties, as well as the development of new brands. Sophie''s passion for the hospitality industry has been born out her flair for creative design and her love for food developed over the years growing up in France.

Website
chevalcollection.com

Teddy Mayer

Teddy Mayer

Vice President, Creative Director

Virgin Hotels

(Global)

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Teddy Mayer

Teddy Mayer

Vice President, Creative Director - Virgin Hotels

The world's most creative spaces
Exceptional F&B concepts are inherently creative. Responding to the seasons and constantly evolving they become cultural bellwethers, reflecting community and connection. When this philosophy extends to the physical space, exciting things happen. A platform for a well-orchestrated experience that’s adaptable, showcasing special activations, guest chefs, and revolving art installations.

Bio
As Vice President, Creative Director, Teddy oversees the vision and execution of the Virgin Hotels brand across all consumer touch points. Over the past seven years Teddy has launched Virgin Hotels in 8 cities with the latest in Edinburgh and their New York City flagship in Nomad. Previously, Teddy spent seven years as the Senior Director of Design at Morgans Hotel Group, focusing on the Delano and Mondrian expansion. On the agency side, he began his design career at SOM in New York working on projects for brands such as W and The James. Teddy holds a Masters of Architecture, Bachelors of Architecture and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design, all from the University of Idaho.

Website
virginhotels.com


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