Kerten Hospitality’s Chief Experience Officer Antony Doucet gives snippets of Kerten Hospitality’s philosophy on mixed-use and community centric destinations where personalized experiences remain at the center of each product. Creating ESG-focused concepts with a purpose, as well as the group’s boutique and personalized approach were some of the topics Doucet shares with Invest Gate.
“In a nutshell, our discussion can be summed up as: Kerten Hospitality is set to disrupt the current hospitality market in Egypt… Out with the old and in with the new”, comments Doucets.
Would you please introduce Kerten Hospitality to our readers?
We are a mixed-use and ESG, lifestyle operator managing and operating hotels, branded residences, serviced apartments, workspaces and business hubs and clubs under our 100% own and developed brands. Kerten Hospitality transforms destinations through impactful collaborations both with our own and other branded food & beverage, retail, entertainment, art, and wellness brands with a focus on building ecosystems, and unique community-centric destinations, that connect International & local travelers.
We manage a portfolio of 11 owned brands including: Cloud7 Hotel and Residence, The House Hotel and Residence, OutSpace – a collaborative social and business hub and serviced offices concept. KH has a suite of in-house designed and operated food & beverage offerings and employs and collaborates with world renowned Michelin chefs to up and coming local “foodpreneurs”. All brands have an edge, a story, and a purpose.
The current pipeline includes 35 projects ranging from eco-luxury resorts in the UAE, to art hotels including residencies in Georgia curated by the consultant for the master planning of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The same curators oversee the master planning of the Contemporary Art Museum that will be next to The House Hotel Kvareli in Georgia.
Some other projects include: urban city center destinations in Italy, extension of the Cloud 7 Residence Ayla Aqabasuccess with an experience hotel & hub in Jordan, a Suite-only project in Kuwait, Leisure, Business, and Meeting Mixed-Use in the first Sustainable destinations in the most prestigious developments in the Egyptian North Coast, to name a few, with many further projects in Europe, Middle East and North Africa.
Earlier this year, we announced our entry into Europe with a boutique project in the center of Rome – Cloud7 Rome. We are expanding our portfolio in KSA with an eco-resort in Abha that was announced earlier this year.
In Q3 last year, we opened The House Hotel Jeddah City Yard in Jeddah recently crowned as the Best Luxury Boutique Hotel in Jeddah by Conde Nast Traveler Middle East. This is Saudi Arabia’s first true community-centric destination to stay, dine and socialize, having already hosted some big local and international names, the project has gone to the market in an organic way, to build a long term and sustainable business. We have an ESG-focused ethos across all our operations and pipeline of developments.
How does the Kerten Hospitality respond to the calls for green living and sustainability?
We cater to local and international communities alike. We treat sustainability on two levels that I call hardware and software. We focus on social sustainability at the core of what we do – we hire local, support the local supply chain, and bring communities together for impact. This social sustainability positively impacts the purchasing policy.
How does Kerten Hospitality cater to the community whether serving Egyptian or international homebuyers?
To maintain our social sustainability requirements, we always focus on the local components within a destination aiming to serve our hosting community and give a sense of belonging to our international guests. We empower the locals and celebrate their culture. We always want to benefit our host community and see how this community would be beneficial to the brand. Our policy or motto is to maintain attractiveness to the local as well as to the international community. We integrate both communities into one under any Kerten Hospitality development.
This is unique about the identity of our project in Jeddah, for example – a lifestyle destination with 114 rooms and 14 food and beverage outlets where we host events, pop-up markets and community engagement. There, you can see the Arabic culture meeting the modernity of the 21 Century with social networking and community gatherings in the lobby and in the Plaza. Our brand also celebrates our community-centric projects in Egypt that showcase the culture exchange between the local/host community and the international visitors.
How can we implement sustainable or green architecture? Would it increase the price for the end-consumer?
I think sustainable living is achievable and cheaper by using local materials. If we take as an example our projects in Ras Al Khaimah (UAE) – there, we are aiming to build our project guestrooms and houses with local natural materials (like the stones from the mountain) that would serve as the building blocks of our project. There, we will re-use wood and stones from old and dilapidated houses in the area. Our project in Amman (Jordan), applies the same approach. We continue to reuse the material available there and repurpose it injecting new life. Therefore, the cost of renovation of those projects do not affect the final price of our new development. Long-lasting building is the core of healthy living and green architecture and the means to achieve sustainability with a proper environmental impact for the future.
Please explain to us the “locality” concept of your brand
As said earlier, we are an ESG-focused operator. We hire local, support the local supply chain and connect the local community to international travelers. We aim to blend and to root our project in the local culture but with a modern interpretation. In Egypt’s flagship projects in Fouka Bay and Il Monte Galala we are going to give a distinguished travel experience that is both attractive to locals and at the same time offers international experience. International travelers blend in the Egyptian culture.
By that we are safe to say that our projects on the North Coast’s Fouka Bay and IL Monte Galala are completely different. Each embraces the culture of its locals under the sole identity of Kerten Hospitality. A mix that others need to watch out for.
How do you see the future of hospitality globally and locally in Egypt?
Sustainable travel is the future. In Georgia, where I just arrived ahead of the opening of our development in Tbilisi, we have adopted a real ESG initiative. International travelers are invited to volunteer in charitable activities during their stay to have a positive impact on the hosting city. The idea is not to have a neutral stay but a net-positive impact during their stay. There is much we can do as an industry while creating experiences and memories for locals and international travelers alike.