Ennismore: Focused on curating unique lifestyle experiences
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Ennismore: Focused on curating unique lifestyle experiences

Ennismore: Focused on curating unique lifestyle experiences

Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO of Ennismore shares the fast-growing lifestyle and hospitality company’s expansion plans in the region

Neesha Salian
Ennismore CEO Gaurav Bhushan

Award-winning lifestyle and hospitality company Ennismore curates and manages eclectic hotel brands, which have distinct personalities and unique offerings, across Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

The company, which has a JV with Accor, has witnessed rapid growth and expansion under the direction and vision of Sharan Pasricha, founder and co-CEO, and Gaurav Bhushan, co-CEO.

We recently caught up with Gaurav Bhushan to discuss Ennismore’s footprint in the region and its exciting pipeline of projects.

Tell us in brief about the hotels that are part of Ennismore.

Ennismore’s portfolio has 14 brands and more than 100 operating properties and over 160 in the pipeline.

Our brands, which come from across the world, comprise 21c Museum Hotel, 25hours Hotels, Delano, Gleneagles, Hyde, JO&JOE, Mama Shelter, Mondrian, Morgans Originals, SLS, SO/, The Hoxton, TRIBE and Working From.

As a company that works with multiple brands, what has helped bind this diverse collective of hotels and their founders?

At Ennismore, we’ve spent considerable time and painstaking effort in consolidating our partnerships with the different brands and founders that work with us. We nurture the brands and retain their soul and DNA as custodians should.

The hotel brands are fundamental to our success and their founders are involved in every aspect pertaining to the brand identity and promise. Their inputs go into everything from the interiors of the hotel to the talent we source and the culinary concepts we introduce into the hotel’s ecosystem. It’s a symbiotic relationship and one that is built on trust and respect. I am really proud that these brands have to chosen to partner with us for the long term.

Tell us about Sharan and why your partnership with him works so well.

Sharan and I have known each other for a long time. Our partnership is strengthened by the common goals and values we share. Having said that, we are also very different.

We bring different skill sets to the table. Sharan is a very talented entrepreneur. He focuses on the product, brand, and digital side of the business while I drive operations and expansion, among other areas.

We make key decisions together based on our diverse skills and experience, which is always good for business and innovation.

How did the company perform in 2022?

It was a great year – both in terms of operations as well as growth. In fact, it has exceeded expectations since the JV with Accor. Most importantly, we integrated six different businesses into one platform, and we did this during the pandemic. We got brands from all over the world together and set up a great multicultural team. Today, the company represents a strong entrepreneurial culture. We are also agile, driven to innovate and take risks to continue evolving.

Why is the Middle East, particularly the UAE, a key market for Ennismore?

The Middle East is one of our top priority markets and we have significant assets in the region. We opened the Mondrian in Doha, Qatar a few years back and have a few properties in Dubai, including 25hours Hotels, SLS Dubai and Hyde Hotel Hotel. We also have projects coming up across Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The region accounts for 10 per cent of our business footprint, but the way we see the market growing, we can expect to see its share rise to 25 per cent.

When it comes to the UAE, our brand resonates with the young community here – people who like to go out, have fun, travel, and explore new experiences. We see ourselves as a lifestyle and entertainment hub and an extension of the community where people like to hang out while enjoying the ambience of the hotel and our unique hospitality and F&B experiences.

We have strong partnerships with local companies across the entertainment and F&B sectors and they add local context to our platform and business, which is key to our brand philosophy.

You signed an agreement with NEOM Hotel Development becoming an inaugural hotel partner in October 2022. What does the partnership involve?

The tie-up with NEOM Hotel Development will see two of Ennismore’s iconic brands – 25hours Hotels and Morgans Originals – open properties in Trojena, NEOM’s mountain tourism destination.

These distinct lifestyle brands exemplify creativity, offering tasteful, aesthetic spaces and authentic culinary experiences to guests.

We are excited for the brands to open in Trojena, a unique setting that will attract both local and international visitors.

Read: NEOM Hotel Development names Ennismore as inaugural hotel partner for Trojena

In January, you announced the company’s first SO/ development in Saudi Arabia, SO/ Jeddah Tahlia. Tell us about it.

Each SO/ property draws its inspiration from the world’s most influential fashion icons, brands and houses, as does SO/ Hotel & Residence, Jeddah Tahlia.

Kristina Zanic, one of the region’s leading designers, will design the interiors. The hotel, aimed at both business and leisure guests, is centrally located between  Jeddah’s Business District, the Corniche and Tahlia Street.

The property includes guest rooms, suites, serviced apartments, and five new restaurants offering exclusive dining experiences.

This project is the first of its kind in Jeddah that marries design, fashion and innovative culinary experiences.

Ennismore unveiled its food and beverage concept studio in Dubai in October last year. Tell us how it complements your business.

Our portfolio of 100 lifestyle hotels includes 190 food and beverage offerings, which generate around 50 per cent of our total revenue, making Carte Blanched an important facet of our business.

Carte Blanched is one of Ennismore’s four specialised in-house studios. It features a specialist in-house team, which includes operators, chefs and mixologists, who create customised, authentic and “culturally relevant” F&B concepts for our lifestyle brands.

The studio creates new and develops existing F&B brands for hotel owners, overseeing everything from conception through to opening and beyond.

Carte Blanched has over 40 brands, and since 2021, has opened 17 new outlets in Europe and the Middle East. These include Tandoor Tina at 25hours Dubai and Fi’Lia at SLS Dubai.

Internationally, its portfolio includes Four Corners at The Hoxton, Barcelona, Seabird at The Hoxton, Southwark, and Bibo at Mondrian Shoreditch.

Finally, can you share Ennismore’s plans for expansion in the region?

The company’s expansion in the Middle East continues to be robust, adding to its existing five hotels and branded residences, including 25hours Dubai, SLS Dubai and Hyde Dubai – a pipeline of over 20 properties featuring Mama Shelter Dubai, SLS Red Sea and 25hours Trojena.

Read: How hospitality is reshaping Dubai’s real estate landscape

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