Sunset Hospitality Group (SHG) was founded in 2011 with a vision to create unique hospitality experiences around the world, ranging from resorts and beach clubs to restaurants and nightlife. The group has since rapidly grown to become a leading hospitality investment and management company, developing new and pioneering concepts and acclaimed multinational brands.
Tell us about Sunset Hospitality Group (SHG)
SHG was founded in 2011 with a vision to create unique hospitality experiences around the world, ranging from hotels, resorts and beach clubs to restaurants and nightlife. The group has since rapidly grown to become a leading hospitality investment and management company, developing pioneering concepts and acclaimed multinational brands.
We are present in 10 countries across 26 brands, with a proven record in delivering a blend of high-quality services at exceptional locations. The group’s portfolio includes METT Hotels & Resorts, Azure Resort and Beach Club, Black Tap, Luigia, Goldfish, Ammos, Drift Beach Club, Aura, SUSHISAMBA, L’Amo Bistro Del Mare, DREAM, Mott 32, and many more.
What was your background prior to working for SHG?
I have a background in media and advertising, and worked for a large FMCG/healthcare multinational, where I became GM for Middle East & Africa. In 2009, I set up Kalys Management, a management investment firm focused on Middle East hospitality projects, which ultimately evolved into SHG in 2011.
What does your current position involve?
As CEO, I oversee all extensive operations and resources of the group, mapping out and driving forward strategic plans to bolster our business portfolio and further heighten our presence around the world as one of the leading international hospitality companies. For the last 12 years, we have worked tirelessly to introduce new hospitality concepts that bring people together to create memorable experiences.
“Within the next two years, we plan to open properties in Spain, Greece, Italy, and Dubai”
What do you love most about what you do?
I love seeing satisfied customers who are the core of everything we do, as well as empowering our team to go the extra mile to deliver the best possible experiences.
How has the coronavirus impacted SHG’s properties?
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us to be extremely mindful of our health and safety. The crisis has crippled many businesses and affected the personal lives of our people. The industry is slowly recovering, but it doesn’t mean we overlook the most important elements of our business – our people and our customers. At Sunset, the health and safety of both staff and guests have been our top priority. There are health and safety measures that we strictly follow, adhering to government and health officials’ guidelines to ensure we stop the spread of the virus.
You recently opened your first hotel under the new METT brand – what was the inspiration there?
The hospitality industry has transformed immensely in the last five years, and we believe that this is the right time to venture into the hotel business with our lifestyle brand. METT is a unique concept focusing on entertainment, dining, and experiences, which complements the existing offering of the other more traditional hotel brands in Bodrum and around the world.
METT Hotel & Beach Resort Bodrum is a dining destination, with four independent venues: the Mediterranean FOLIE Restaurant & Sea; our Italian restaurant ISOLA Manzara Gardens; Pan Asian lounge MOOD; and Otto, a traditional Turkish restaurant.
Bodrum is the hottest destination in the Turkish Riviera, and competes with some of the best destinations around the Mediterranean. The opening of international and luxury hotels,
restaurants and retail brands makes it a destination that will continue to grow. Our mission of bringing people together to celebrate life blends perfectly with Bodrum’s positioning, and makes it a fantastic destination to open our first of many METT Hotels & Resorts.
METT is conceived for the traveller of today looking for an ideal place to celebrate life and unwind. At METT Bodrum, we have spent a lot of time and effort curating the offering of our four different restaurants to cater to both the local and international clientele we see in Bodrum. It’s a favorite destination for Turkish guests looking for a weekend getaway or a long summer by the sea, as well as an attractive destination for Europeans, CIS countries and Gulf countries.
What role will Europe play in SHG’s international growth?
Within the next two years, we plan to open properties in Spain, Greece, Italy and Dubai. We are looking at multiple locations, and we are very excited about our pipeline in Europe.
What is the biggest challenge that you’re facing to improve the guest experience today?
Today, people have moved away from collecting ‘things’ in favor of collecting ‘experiences’. Those experiences can range from a simple night out at a new restaurant with family or friends, to a holiday in a resort.
We focus on the concept of relaxed luxury, where our team can be themselves – they can connect with each guest without having this feeling of service being forced. This is not something you can teach, but instead you need to employ talents with a deep passion for hospitality, and make people feel happy.
“I believe there is an overall movement towards functionality and atemporal design, as opposed to opulence or impractical design”
How important is interior design within your properties?
Design makes the first impression in any hospitality experience. It must appeal to the senses, with attention to detail, high quality, and functional rooms. We are in the people business, people serving people, so when designing our property, we need to understand our customers, ensuring we deliver remarkable experiences – especially for the modern travellers of today.
Our collection of hotels features a blend of modern minimalism inspired by coastal living – a place you’ll love to stay in and belong to, where attention is in the details and bohemian chic vibes are expressed in every corner. It is light, flowy, and natural, with local, ethnic-inspired touches.
Have you noticed any trends in interior design?
I believe there is an overall movement towards functionality and atemporal design, as opposed to opulence or impractical design. We embrace this movement, and it is an approach we like to consistently apply in all our venues.
What are the key components of design in SHG’s properties?
Every venue, every brand, is very different and unique on its own way. The common key component is that we put our guests at the core of every design we do – it is all about creating an environment that enhances the experience we want to deliver.
“Design makes the first impression in any hospitality experience”
What does this mean for the future of hospitality?
People will go out for a truly memorable experience where they feel safe and can get together. The creativity that we provide collectively will keep the hospitality industry ready and strong to take the opportunities or overcome the hurdles that come our way in the future.
What plans and aspirations do you have for SHG?
We create brands with a common goal – bringing people together to celebrate life. This philosophy runs throughout all our brands, and has fuelled the process of creating and launching all our brands since we created Sunset. Our aspiration, our goal, is to spread this philosophy around the world.
What’s next for SHG?
We are very excited about the future of Sunset. With more than 20 new openings in the pipeline over the next 18 months, we will continue to pioneer, expand geographically, and deliver unique hospitality experiences around the world.
Please share something exclusive that we can expect from SHG in the coming years “¦
Very soon we will be announcing our METT hotel in Spain – one of many to come!
What would be your dream hotel project?
I love all the hotel projects we are working on. They are all in great locations, with amazing views, and we are crafting them with wonderful designs to deliver unique and memorable experiences.
What would you say are the three best places you’ve ever stayed?
Of course, METT Bodrum is my favourite hotel! Not only our first hotel at Sunset, but also a wonderful destination where you can unwind, celebrate with friends in incredible restaurants, and, overall, always have a great time. There are many other hotels that are amazing, have great teams running them and great attention to detail – Baccarat in New York, Cheval Blanc in Maldives, The Edition in London, just to mention a few!