Doris Hecht is a really versatile hotelier. Girlahead met her first at PARK HYATT ABU DHABI and here she is, now, GM of ANDAZ PRAGUE, a splendid conversion of a central city bank – of which more to come.
Last night she was in her element, personal and professional, welcoming the 160-plus delegates to LUXURY BLOC. The only other speaker at the welcome cocktail was Gabriela Markova, CO-Founder of GM Selection and the power behind Luxury Bloc, the definitive highest-end meeting places for today’s luxury suppliers (hotels et al) and their travel-advising buying counterparts from the eastern part of Europe. This is the kind of travel consultant who might sport a black shorts-suit and 10-cm Louboutin sandals while finalising a six-figure (US) reservation.
The statuesque G. Markova, elegant as always in a full-length ice-green Greek goddess dress, pointed out that Central-Eastern Europe, CEE, consists of 14 countries, each with its own language. The total population is 113 million, with overall GDP growth of 5.4%. It is reckoned there are 27 billionaires, in US currency, and one million UHNWIs, plus 10 million affluents. One could cite Renata Kellnerova, 56, wife of the late Czech tycoon Petr Kellner, killed in a helicopter crash in 2021. She’s said by Forbes to be among the seven richest women in the world.
After such a bubbly welcome to Luxury Bloc the hotel laid on two superb, and identical, buffets. Girlahead sat a round table for six outside on Senovózné nóm and over carved-to-order slices of really outstanding rib roast and a glass of powerful red heard about how the empathy of the female President of Tanzania impacts travel to her native Zanzibar, why safari addicts are even venturing to Central African Republic and South Sudan, and how Kyoto is now over-run with mass tourism… it will be an interesting three days.