In 1998 when the hospitality industry in MEA was just beginning, Ahmed pursued a vision that led to the formation of one of the most recognized hospitality advisory firms in the MEA region.
Before branching into his own ventures, and driven by a passion for the hospitality industry, Ahmed had a highly successful, 25-year long career journey across all the various fields in hotel management, including the running of multiple properties on behalf of global hotel chains such as InterContinental and Le Meridien.
Ahmed’s dynamic approach and deep experience led him to identify the need for transferring his valuable knowledge and independent industry guidance to investors developing their own hospitality portfolio.
His involvement was an instant success in all key areas. Shaping investor visions, transforming them into highly regarded, often landmark hotels and mixed-use developments, Ahmed is an industry champion of efficient hospitality designs.
His guiding principle: Deliver a quality project with significant cost-savings and maximum long-term return on investment on every client assignment. This commitment has led to the group’s exceptional reputation and rapid expansion in the MEA region and internationally.
As a result of Ròya’s achievements, Ahmed and the Ròya team have served as key advisors to prominent government institutions on some of the region’s most iconic master plans, such as Dubai Media City, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Reem Island and Saadiyat Island.
Ahmed is a strong and passionate advocate for the development of young Emirati and GCC talent to join the field.
Overseeing all aspects of Ròya International, Kees leads an interdisciplinary team of 60 consultants and specialists. Directling the group from the Dubai base, Kees also takes an active role in shaping the three key practice areas - development advisory, asset management, and hospitality services.
Recognized as a leading hotelier, Kees brings with him global expertise and experience gained from senior roles in three continents. Initially working in Europe, his career took him to the Middle East North Africa regions and then to Asia-Pacific.
A significant chapter in Kees’s career was his tenure with Hilton International, where, amongst many responsibilities, he drove all Food & Beverage development across the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific regions. As Vice President Asia, he led the company’s operations during its fast-paced, multi-brand growth in the region including key development markets such as China and the Indian subcontinent.
Prior to taking up the role in Ròya, he served as CEO of Rixos Hotels, orchestrating the transition of the chain from regional to international, shaping its strategy, structure and management tools.
Thanks to Kees’s diverse experience, comprehensive and broad insight at both unit and corporate level, he adds invaluable knowledge and direction to Ròya's services.
Walid is a multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary international hospitality professional who earned his BA in Hospitality in 1984 from L'Ecole Hoteliere de Strasbourg and later completed a two year Master’s Degree programme in Hotel & Restaurant Administration from the Institut de Management Hôtelier International (Cornell University/ESSEC Business School Joint Programme, Paris Campus) where he graduated in 1989.
Commencing his career with InterContinental Hotel in Riyadh, Walid went on to work for Le Meridien Hotel properties in Paris and Cairo as F&B Manager before joining the InterContinental Hotel group steadily rising to become a General Manager in 2000. After a 14 year career in operations, including 8 years as General Manager for various InterContinental Hotel properties, Walid took on a different challenge joining the Abu Dhabi based National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels as Hotels Division Director in 2007. In his new role, Walid oversaw all aspects of the group's hotel division and managed the rapid growth and evolution of the Danat Hotels and Resorts chain while asset managing various signature properties in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Throughout the course of his career Walid has gained extensive knowledge of the MEA markets, namely Oman, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. Accepting every challenge as an opportunity, Walid strategically manages change and uses impact and influence to develop talent in each of the more than 30 hotels in the Ròya asset management portfolio.
Managing Director – Ròya al Khaleej
A graduate from the Swiss Hospitality Group (Montreux) and the European University in Geneva, Yousif has acquired more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality, real estate, and banking sectors.
Prior to assuming the Managing Director position with Roya al Khaleej, Yousif has held many senior managerial and executive positions including board of directors, at companies including Almajdouie Holding Group as General Manager for Real Estate Developments, Vice President for Investments and Business Development, Dur Hospitality, as well as various roles in banking and investment companies.
During his work at Almajdouie and Dur Hospitality, Yousif was accountable for the management of multiple real estate and hospitality projects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the most important of which was in Riyadh and the Eastern Province, including hotels, furnished apartments, commercial and residential projects.
Advisor | Hospitality
Yannis has 30 years of international experience in the hospitality and leisure sectors, having served in managerial, senior executive, C-level roles and board directorships in 4 continents, 8 countries and 12 cities.
Yannis was previously employed by Hilton International in Athens-Greece, London-UK, Durban-South Africa and Cairo-Egypt, by InterContinental Hotels Group in Miami and San Francisco-USA, Toronto-Canada and Dubai-UAE and by Jumeirah Group in New York-USA and Dubai-UAE. His tenure with these global hospitality corporations expanded from hotel operations to project management, estate management and hotel development.
Between 2013 and 2019, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of RAK Hospitality Holding LLC and its five core subsidiaries, an integrated hospitality sector-focused group of companies which he helped establish in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Commencing in 2015 and until 2019, Yannis served the Boards of Directors of RAK Hospitality Holding and RAK National Hotels as an Executive Director and three State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) in Ras Al Khaimah and Georgia as a Non-Executive Director.
In 2019, he set up Nostos Ventures in the U.A.E., a private investment and advisory partnership.
Yannis is a graduate of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland and is certified in Corporate Governance (International Directors Program) by INSEAD / France.
Born in Dubai, Mohamed Jaseem completed his studies in hotel management and majored in hospitality accounting. Starting his career in food and beverage, he gravitated towards his major in finance, working in various accounting assignments. Joining the Rotana Group in 2003, he then spent a significant chapter of his career with Rotana where he played an instrumental role in its rapid regional and international growth.
In this period, he actively developed and monitored hotel finance metrics, created and implemented standard pre-opening processes, and was heading various projects such as systems consolidation, and the groupwide implementation of standard practises to adhere to the latest Uniform Systems, and Shared Services procedures.
With significant field and diverse assignment experience, for more than 20 years he has worked in key MENA destinations such as the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Lebanon and Egypt. This regional exposure has led him to a broad spectrum of financial analysis, a deep working knowledge of controls and compliance, cash flow management and process audits.
As part of the Ròya Asset Management team, he leads from the front and provides key support for Roya’s fifty plus hotels within Roya’s Asset Management portfolio.
Key contributions include ongoing financial operational analysis to ensure that properties are performing to their optimum, annual budgets proposed by operators are reflective of prevailing markets as well as the property’s potential, and that Owner interests are safeguarded in terms of expenditure without compromising product quality.
As Director of Special Projects, Asif brings more than 40 years of financial and hospitality experience through his tenure with InterContinental Hotels. With a major in Business Finance and a solid understanding of a number of different markets including the UAE and GCC, Asif has worked extensively in Europe, the Caribbean, Pakistan, Asia and Africa.
Thoroughly familiar with nearly aspect of the hospitality industry, Asif is a particularly skilled, experienced specialist in all aspects of hotel asset management.
Whether overseeing pre-opening planning for the implementation of financial systems, Asif undertakes comprehensive annual budget development including monitoring oversight of capital expenditure plan allocations, systems control and measures as well as comprehensive financial performance analysis.
Asif brings a wealth of diverse international market experience and capability for the successful development and planned implementation of long-term oversight and controls for hotel financial systems whether boutique in size or large scale, mixed-use integrated complexes.
Asif provides significant contributions to Ròya’s hospitality projects and plays a key role in the group’s Hotel Asset Management Services, both as a project leader as well as a team support member.
Educated in Germany with a Master’s Degree in Architecture, Anke soon commenced her own practice in Berlin, the vibrant German capital where she was exposed to the exciting design challenges of national reunification.
Several of her projects focused on closing the gap between the two parts of the country and earned her the First Prize in the international urban planning competition "Stadthafen Sassnitz".
Anke’s interest in cultural diversity grew and she consequently accepted a call in 2007 to work in the Middle East as Design Manager at Turner International. She gained market exposure in the U.A.E. as well as Oman and Jordan, where she was involved in a variety of projects as designer and project manager.
During that time, she began focusing on hospitality related projects and then moved to EMAAR Properties in a Development Management capacity.
At EMAAR, Anke was involved in the development of several benchmark, large-scale mixed-use projects before joining Ròya in 2017, where she will lead the Group’s design function for their rapidly expanding local and international practice.
In her current role, Anke will focus her attention on project design which seamlessly blends aesthetic appeal that suits the desired positioning as well as optimal operational efficiency. She believes that good design must incorporate both intent and cost parameters in order to meet the vision and expectations of the project owner or developer.
With a foundation in Architecture and more than 30 years of experience, Tony has a proven track record in developing and building successful operating hotels. Tony’s career included working with private practices as well as leading hotel groups such as InterContinental Hotels in locations including Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia.
In his role as Design Development Director, Tony has provided invaluable contributions to a number of hotel projects in the region overseeing their evolution from concept to development through to operational handover.
Specializing in master plan advisory Tony takes his design projects from concept, through schematic and detailed design. Often working in the pre-opening phase to develop positioning that enhances the design concept, Tony develops brand standards and guidance for implementation.
With Tony’s extensive design and development knowledge, clients are provided with the confidence that they will achieve maximum efficiency and design functionality in their hotel project.
In her capacity as Senior Manager-Hospitality Advisory, Kate brings nearly twenty years of international hospitality experience, most of which have been in the U.A.E. and GCC region.
Starting her career working for leading organizations in the UK and then the Middle East, Kate supports two key functions in the Hospitality and Asset Management divisions. As a qualified Lead Auditor with a quality assurance background, Kate advises Client’s through operational assessments on the quality and efficiency of hotel operations, develops operational manuals and suggests compliance guidelines using smart process driven, future-facing brand standards and mandatory requirements in sensitive areas such as health and safety, hygiene, HACCP, and international and/or applicable tourism standards, as well as hospitality project management.
She is also heavily involved in Ròya’s Hotel Operator Selection services, providing an instrumental role during contract negotiations where agreements undergo numerous revisions to reach the final and best contractual terms, protecting the Owner throughout the term from both a commercial and operational perspective, particularly approvals on Operator processes.
Mikko describes himself as a man who discovered his calling early in his career, then dove into the intensity of the field, and never looked back.
Following his passion, he established his career in the industry beginning with university. Mikko holds an MBA from Hult International Business School as well as a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management from the Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science in Finland. Additionally, he holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) degrees.
Since 2002, he has actively pursued the chance to experience new cultures through hospitality and developed a broad international F&B experience by working with global brands like Alain Ducasse Restaurants in Paris, Jumeirah Group in Dubai and the Starwood Luxury Collection in Helsinki as well as individual establishments in Italy, Spain, and Norway.
A chef by trade, Mikko has extensive experience in developing and launching new concepts and operational processes from intimate restaurants to large-scale event venues such as the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Since joining Ròya International, Mikko says he found an exciting assignment that uses his diverse talents in a group that is an almost perfect crossroads between industry and consulting that uses his diverse talents in almost every aspect of the fast evolving hospitality industry.
Consultant - Asset Management
Passionate about Hospitality, Dylan started his young career as a Chef when he was sixteen years old and never looked back since.
He then pursued a Bachelor in Business Administration (honors) at Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and United Kingdom, specializing in Hotel Development and Finance.
Throughout this period, he gained invaluable experience in the U.A.E. and Hong Kong, where he acquired crucial skills by working closely with the General Manager, undertaking project for the forthcoming renovation and reflagging of one of the iconic hotels.
Always thriving for new experiences and never afraid of challenging himself, whereas it is a new country or path of career, Dylan combined his last semester of studies with a new position of Project Coordinator at an international German multinational conglomerate company based in Geneva.
Joining Ròya in 2019, Dylan focuses on the current hotel performance and reviews of properties in the asset management portfolio. Responsible for benchmarking local and global Key Performance Indicators, he drills down on big data to look at current performance factors and future market trends.