The big interview: Alexander Schneider, president, Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts Global

Luxury group Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts Global is further expanding its five star presence with a new site in Muscat, so TOPHOTELNEWS looked a little deeper as to what this means for the brand.

The firm’s president, Alexander Schneider, gave us the inside track on the project and the company’s development direction.

How did the Nikki Beach Muscat project come about?

The opening of Nikki Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai in 2017 created a lot of awareness for the way that more modern and boutique brands can change the hospitality landscape, even in destinations that are already saturated in terms of supply and demand. It became clear that certain brand applications can make clients travel just to experience the new location. On the other hand, we already envisioned Muscat, Oman as the perfect counterbalance to our property in Dubai as the two destinations have a yin and yang relationship. We were very blessed that Omran, the hospitality arm of the Omani Investment fund, agreed on our thought process.

What will be unique about this resort?

I very much believe that true uniqueness is created between a location, its culture, and how the hotel blends the two. In our case, we aspire to bring a new type of hospitality style to the Omani market place. The interplay between the rich culture, the amazing local materials, and Nikki Beach’s signature barefoot luxury ethos creates a product that is unrivalled in terms of energy, design, and cultural integration.

What criteria are you using to designate the architects and suppliers for this project?

Local relevance has always been at the top of our list for every project. We don’t believe in global standardisation but in the celebration of the local terroir – its handicraft and art. Subsequently we are working on various concepts and applications with artisanal producers in order to reflect the unique ambiance of Oman in a new contemporary yet authentic context.

Does Nikki Beach have any other hotel development projects underway?

We have many exciting projects in the pipeline, with the goal of adding unique new locations and experiences for our extremely loyal followers. With each new location we aim to continue delivering outstanding quality that enhances the brand with every step we take.

Do you prefer signing newbuild or converted hotel sites to expand your brand?

Both concepts have their merit depending on the location and its markets. From a sustainability standpoint, we very much like the conversion of properties with great potential. We have established a strong track record with both options in the past few years and are proud to say that three of our properties are conversions of formerly underperforming assets that have not only been turned around successfully but have become beacons of lifestyle hospitality in their respective territories.

What regions do you see as having the best hotel development potential for Nikki Beach?

When you analyse our growth pattern you will see that we like to enter markets when they are still in their development phase for products like ours. We were the first boutique lifestyle hotel in Dubai, the first high energy beach resort in Santorini, and we entered Montenegro when it was still a relatively unknown travel destination in Europe. With Oman we are again entering uncharted territory and we will continue to focus on emerging markets. Currently we are in love with some of the lesser known parts of Italy, Spain, and Latin America.

What factors most influence your hotel development decisions?

We always focus on bringing a new, fresh approach to the destination as we don’t believe in following established trends. Being the best possible neighbour in our destinations plays a central role in everything that we do. This includes local purchasing, development of local talent, and celebrating local culture. Wherever we find an alignment of these values we tend to feel at home while also bringing true value to the destination.

Have you considered launching any additional brands?

Nikki Beach has been operating successfully around the globe for more than 20 years and we believe that a brand like this with such intricate DNA deserves all the attention, diligence, and love that we can give. Consequently we are very much focused on continuing expansion for our beach clubs and hotels rather than spinning off a hybrid brand for the sake of enhanced scale and growth.

Would you be looking at any mergers or acquisitions for your hotel division?

We have grown and are growing through strategic partnerships that enable us to enhance our vision and strategy while also ensuring that we protect the brand and its legacy. On this vertical we will continue our path. A classical merger with another or bigger brand is currently not a priority as we believe that we are still on a strong organic rise.

What strategic direction do you see Nikki Beach’s hotels division going in?

I believe that we will continue on our current path. The last few years have shown how resilient and successful our model is. The covid years have actually amplified our relative strength in the market which enabled us to create a whole new level of visibility and performance. The global luxury market is currently pivoting towards more selectivity and smaller scales with enhanced customisation. Nikki Beach has been leading this trend for many years and intends to keep it that way.