JEDDAH — Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of Kerten Hospitality, specialist-mixed use operator, has been awarded by CEO Today 2020 Business Woman of the Year Award. Marloes is the only leader from the hospitality industry who has been recognized with this global award given to CEOs who have demonstrated expertise in taking their organizations to new heights.
Kerten Hospitality will see 4 projects welcome guests in 2020 starting with the organization’s first mixed-use project that will be opening as part of a unique lifestyle destination in Jeddah later this year. Marloes says, “This project was born as a dream of our Saudi Arabian owners who had a vision of new hospitality. At the time no one envisioned the country would go through such transformation with a stronger hospitality.”
The City Yard complex will be Saudi Arabia’s first boutique mixed-use lifestyle destination, featuring The House Hotel Jeddah City Yard which will also be home to the second Ouspace in the city — offering tailormade co-working and office space, yoga, pilates, music recording, private areas, cooking classes, and other lifestyle community activities. This will be the venue with leading restaurant brands, which, even in this New Era, will be providing different quality experiences to residents and visitors. Baker & Spice, Akibadori, and the largest Burger Boutique store are few of the concepts in this vibrant destination showcasing the world’s changes.
Marloes has a great passion for the new generation. A few months ago Kerten hosted the most disruptive and successful recruitment day in City Yard that witnessed unforeseen turnout. “These were the well-educated Saudi youth, who will form the core of our new, locally- driven team — an approach we have embraced not because of any rules or regulations but because we truly believe that you need local talent in order to create true local experiences and to transform this business, making it more profitable and commercial,” she said.
Marloes’ innovative mindset has established Kerten Hospitality as a disruptive, dynamic international hospitality group dedicated to the management of mixed-use developments in key global destinations. Starting with a single hotel, her dynamic leadership has seen the company take giant strides, establishing multiple brands and cementing Kerten Hospitality as a boutique mixed-use operator of choice by creating customized lifestyle destinations that give owners a huge amount of flexibility and deliver a strong return on investment.
The other projects opening this year include Cloud 7 Residence Ayla Aqaba, The House Hotel Al Khiran in Kuwait and The House Hotel Tbilisi in Georgia, in addition to 2 newly signed mix-use developments. ”Our brands are agile and they can be combined with other brands to forge partnerships that, in turn, foster communities and collaborations. This is one of our core beliefs.”
Marloes’ journey in the hospitality field started with Hilton where Marloes held senior operational and commercial management positions for 10+ years. At the helm of Kerten Hospitality, which she developed and launched with the backing of Kerten, Ireland-based investment vehicle, Marloes has grown the organization’s operational and pipeline portfolio from 1 brand in one country to 10 aspirational lifestyle-driven concepts in 35 development projects across 3 continents.