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Xavier Destribats, Chief Operating Officer The Americas and member of the Management Board of Kempinski Hotels

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
7 December 2022
5 min read
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The ILHA is excited to hear that Kempinski is expanding into North America. Can you tell us more about your plans?Our portfolio is continually extended with new hotels and residences around the globe, demonstrating the group’s strong growth capacity. We concentrate on prestigious properties in key international destinations, with a strategy based on the three focal points of selective growth, excellent performance, and outstanding quality. We see a strong demand for new projects in all regions worldwide, but as a good portion of Kempinski’s
guests are coming from the US, it would definitely be an asset to be expanding in this part of the world.

Xavier Destribats, Chief Operating Officer The Americas and member of the Management Board of Kempinski Hotels

In The Americas so far five properties are in operation and one is under construction (Kempinski Laje de Pedra, Brazil), while the newest addition in Cancún allows Kempinski Hotels to enter the North American territory and to extend our footprint in this crucial market. This helps the brand establish its presence in this region and set a solid foundation for possible future additions in this part of the world. Our development team is always seeking for opportunities and open for discussions with owners and investors.

Panoramic Suite

How will you weave the Kempinski brand into the resort in Cancun? What are the key elements that make up the ethos and culture of the brand?
As the oldest luxury hotel group in Europe, we’re incorporating those elegant, old-world touches throughout the property to create a sense of timeless hospitality, from our daily tea time to the fresh roses present in each suite. We seek to create an unforgettable, personalized experience for every guest. Present in our hotel lobbies and dressed in their tailor-made striking outfits, each Kempinski property for example has a Lady in Red, our exclusive brand ambassador who serves as the ultimate host and evokes an authentic sense of place and occasion showcasing the cultural nuance of the destination. They are alert to any opportunity to go one step beyond to craft unforgettable experiences for well-traveled guests, whether it’s a special anniversary celebration, a surprise proposal or a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday – also available 24/7 via WhatsApp chat.

What changes can guests expect in the property? Are you targeting a specific segment?
Guests can expect yet more elevated service and the classic Kempinski service that distinguishes the group’s hotels around the world. We are targeting the luxury traveler who is looking to experience an effortless yet locally infused stay in the heart of Cancun, promising a refined atmosphere punctuated with unique cultural elements. With amenities like our KAYANTÁ Spa, kids’ club, unique culinary experiences, and varied meeting spaces, the property is ideal for couples, families and business travelers alike. Bleisure travelers and planners will be pleased to find seven meeting rooms in addition to stunning outdoor spaces.


How are you preparing the hotel team for the new feel of the hotel?
Much of the staff is truly dedicated to and cherished at the property, with many team members having been here for over 20 years. They know the property inside and out, and likewise, longtime guests have come to know them and expect them when they arrive. For that reason, we are learning as much from them as they are learning from us. Our teams are going through extensive training to learn the Kempinski principles, such as the Lady in Red.
As part of the Grand Hotel Cancún managed by Kempinski ethos, we also aim to highlight more local elements than ever before. Each Kempinski has those added distinct local touches that are exclusive to its location. In Cancún, guests can enjoy our daily copal cleansing in the lobby, where they will see a shaman demonstrate this classic Mayan practice.

Are you revisioning the F&B offerings at the hotel?
We’re happy to be promoting the property’s longtime Chef Rene Camelo, who has been with the resort since 1996, to oversee all the culinary experiences across the property. Longtime guests know and love Chef Rene’s cuisine, and we won’t be making too many changes, rather he will continue to offer his specialities with the added Kempinski touch. One change that guests will see is the offering of our signature Kempinski sourdough bread – this European culinary staple offers the taste of Kempinski at all of our properties. Under our focus on local culture, we will also offer a unique culinary tour; guests will have the chance to pick fresh produce and ingredients at local farmer’s market Mercado 28 before returning to the hotel to make a recipe with the ingredients at our Culinary Center. These are just a couple examples of the Kempinski touches we are adding to the F&B program.