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November 30, 2014

Three Former Ritz-Carlton Bosses Are Making News at Regent, Baccarat and Nihiwatu

By Neharika Padala

Three former Ritz-Carlton executives are making news at the International Luxury Travel Mart (ILTM) here in Cannes.

Mark Lettenbichler, who is aiming to restore Regent Hotels & Resorts to its former position at the top of the luxury hospitality industry, told Elite Traveler that he has signed off on a second phase of Porto Montenegro late last week. He will also bring the brand to Xi’an and Chonqing in 2016 and Jakarta in 2017. Growth is not limited to Asia. A ski-in, ski-out resort in Kitzbuhel is in the pipeline, and the Canadian boss is chasing a deal that would bring Regent back to Los Angeles. The Beverly Wilshire was a Regent when it was prominently featured in the movie Pretty Woman.

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Another Ritz-Carlton disciple, Andrew Turner, is getting ready in eight weeks to open the much anticipated Baccarat in New York (below). The hotel’s website boasts, “What do Kings, Tsars, and Maharajas have in common? Coup d’etats, vacation spots, and Baccarat.” Describing itself as a “modern palace,” expectations are high following the opening of the Park Hyatt and stiff competition for the nearby St. Regis, Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Trump, Pierre, and Plaza.

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Far away on the Indonesian island of Sumba former Ritz-Carlton executive and YTL CEO James McBride is creating the next “it resort,” Nihiwatu. Having secured global coverage from worldwide media, he has delivered a five-star Trip Advisor rating during his tenure as Owner and Managing Director. Of 157 consumer reviews 152 rate the resort Excellent and five more as Very Good.

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He has now started on a second resort (of three planned over 600 acres), Nihioka, 20 minutes by Land Rover, which will feature 12 tree house villas. The first phase of the new property will include an industry first. Guests can book two spa therapists for the entire day for $450. The therapists stay on call the entire day so guests can enjoy beaches, horseback riding, swimming in waterfalls, and then enjoy treatments at their leisure instead of having to worry about pre-set appointments.

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