2022 will be a great year and he is extremely optimistic, he said, with a big smile, on 27th December. There will be realisation that lifestyle can be luxury – and fun. Luxury does not have to be classic-boring. He, like savvy new-luxury travellers everywhere, wants fun, paired with quality and personalisation that is more than ever bespoke in depth. It is plausible to suggest that the 18 properties under his care will concentrate on these 3 needs even more acutely. Add, too, a consideration of who is actually travelling – when with his family, for instance, he needs thoughtfulness for 3 think-they-are-already- teenagers (one 11-year son is already posting YouTube educationals on such subjects as how to get credit without spending money - wait until he starts reviewing hotel stays, online).
Just as he encourages his family, so he appreciates gms who innovate, as long as they can also implement. At London The Savoy, Franck Arnold made a financial case for hiring a champion New York-based mixology personality, Shannon Tebay, for The American Bar. Such requests are passed on by the hotel’s asset manager, from co- owner Kingdom KHI, and shared with Katara. These joint-venture partners are perfectly aligned, say Acar. He similarly approves of such Savoy initiatives as turning The Strand turning circle into an outdoor Summer eating venue, giving Gordon Ramsay another of the hotel’s restaurants, theming the Royal Suite for Gucci’s centenary ‘and more things to come’. Creative ideas only work, however, when they are meaningful both for consumers, and ownership.
Perhaps, he admits, the entire industry could do with more imagination. Top bosses are schooled in the big outside world of finance, or in on-site operations. This was his own path, ops, plus food and retail. After Honolulu Halekulani, and years with Four Seasons in the USA, islands and mainland, Mohamed Fayed enticed him to London to run his Harrods Food Hall (the entire store, and brand, coincidentally passed into Qatar’s hands in 2010). Acar’s Harrods tenure evolved to his overseeing food, and then, as gm, of Paris Le Ritz, which Fayed still owns. Next, Acar moved a couple of minutes across Paris to run Le Royal Monceau, and in 2014 that hotel’s owner, Katara, brought him inhouse, to his present role.
London-based, with frequent visits to Doha, Omer Acar is normally continually travelling. In New York he today has custody for Dream Downtown, and Fairmont’s Plaza. London’s tally includes The Adria, Grosvenor House (Marriott) as well as The Savoy (Fairmont). In France, Paris’ The Peninsula, and Royal Monceau Raffles are joined by Cannes InterCon – and there are InterCons in Amsterdam and Madrid. In Italy, the list is Marriott’s Milan Excelsior Gallia and Rome Excelsior Westin. In Switzerland he has responsibility for Bern Schweizerhof, Lausanne Royal Savoy and the massive Lucerne Burgenstock. He has no additional properties on his immediate horizon, though a pair of high-investment new products are in the works. First up, this September, is the 56- room Paris Delano, with Lazaro Rosa Violan interiors, and gm Gerald Van Reck remains gm (the restaurant is a partnership with Dani Garcia). Scheduled for spring 2023, the completely-renovated Cannes Carlton InterCon, now with 380 keys, has a new look by Tristan Auer (gm is Giuseppe Vincelli). As an 11-year old in his home town, Istanbul, Omer Acar already looked forward to a hotel life. He always anticipates a brighter future and, with infectious optimism, he expects by the end of March (2022) that the luxury sector will have learned to overcome current viral uncertainties, or moved on.