Saudi's AMAALA gigaproject reveals industry leaders on advisory board

The advisory board – which will meet 2 to 4 times a year – follows AMAALA’s incorporation as a standalone company

AMAALA is  is a 3,800km² ultra-luxury tourism project located within Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve
AMAALA is is a 3,800km² ultra-luxury tourism project located within Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve

Saudi Arabia’s 3,800km2 AMAALA gigaproject taking shape in the north-western coast of the kingdom, which is led by the Crown Prince HRH Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has announced its advisory board.

The first board meeting saw the industry’s top leaders gather to discuss the vision on sustainability, conservation, hospitality, health and wellness, as well arts.

The announcement of the AMAALA advisory board is the latest milestone following AMAALA’s incorporation as a standalone company. In accordance with the AMAALA’s advisory board charter, the board will meet two to four times per year.

AMAALA’s hospitality segment will be guided by heads of hospitality, including the president of AGC Consulting, Antoine Corinthios, who was also the former president of the Europe, Middle East, and Asia regions for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Corinthios has approximately 40 years of experience in the luxury sector and across international markets.

The chief executive officer of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Neil Jacobs, who has formerly held held key leadership roles at both Starwood Capital Group and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts also joins the advisory board.

The regional director and general manager of Beverly Hills Hotel, Dorchester Collection, Edward Mady, brings more than 40 years of experience to Amaala, including 20 years building The Ritz-Carlton Company, where he served most prominently as vice president and area general manager.

The general manager of the Saint-Tropez Tourist Office, Claude Maniscalco, has a demonstrated history of working in the leisure, travel, and tourism industry.

In addition, the director and owner of the Rafael Group SAM, Georg R. Rafael, who is the former executive vice president of Regent International Hotels, graduating to Joint Managing Director and a major shareholder of the company, has also joined the gigaproject’s advisory board.

Recognised as one of the world’s leading hoteliers, Horst Schulze, whose career spans more than six decades has also been appointed to the advisory board. As one of the founding members of The Ritz-Carlton Company, Schultze also served as president and chief operating officer of worldwide operations.

The impressive list continues with the global leaders whose recognised achievements in real estate development and financing also connect AMAALA with potential investors and partners, while serving as global ambassadors. It includes the vice president of Pontiac Land, and owner of the Capella Hotel Group, Evan Kwee; as well as the chairman and CEO of the Starwood Capital Group, Barry Sternlicht.

Advising AMAALA’s sustainability initiatives, as well its environmental building and operating practices, will be the dean of science, professor of marine, ecology and ecotoxicology at UNSW Sydney, Emma Johnston.

Arts and and cultural offerings at the Saudi gigaprojects will be guided by the deputy CEO of Beaux Arts & Cie, and Senior Advisor for EY on Media and Cultural Industries, Solenne Blanc; as well as the director emeritus of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and chairman and CEO of Global Cultural Asset Management, Thomas Krens.

AMAALA, which intends to be an immersive and interactive entertainment destination offering individually personalised programmes encompassing body, mind, and soul, will include curated wellness and rejuvenation programs, as well as sports programming shaped by passionate sports and wellness pioneers.

These include the chairman and chief executive of The HPower Group, Simon Brooks-Ward; renowned celebrity and the “David Beckham” of polo Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras; the founder of ESPA International, Susan Harmsworth; as well as the founder and CEO of GOCO Hospitality, Ingo Schweder.

Commenting on the announcement of the company’s advisory board, the chief executive officer of AMAALA, Nicholas Naples, said: “This is an unprecedented project built with sustainability and philanthropy at its core. From the ground up, we are creating an integrated approach to health, well-being, and experiential luxury.

“With the scale and ambition of AMAALA, the broad range of expertise and diversity of our advisory board will be imperative as we move forward as a business. An invaluable asset, their collective insight is helping us meet our ambitions to create a proposition that provides visitors with transformative personal journeys inspired by arts, wellness, and the purity of the Red Sea.”

The ecology of the AMAALA site demands exceptional sensitivity. The gigaproject’s masterplan will be developed in phases to support the kingdom’s economic diversification efforts, while maintaing cultural and ecological preservation.

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