Luxury Hotels

Cuba – Zanzibar – Henssler

Time to think plunging into the sea and perhaps, admits Girlahead, Kempinski is not the first brand that springs to mind.  But think again.  Kempinski is, for instance, on Gozo, and head far far west from the Mediterranean to Cuba and there you find Cayo Guillermo Resort Kempinski (of the brand’s three properties on the island). Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s legendary love for the Cayes, this non-inclusive resort on the pristine shores of Playa Pilar is ideal for relaxing with turquoise water and virgin white sand. Cuba’s three Kempinskis are under the thoughtful professional eyes of Xavier Destribats: listen, by the way, to words of wisdom – below – from another of Kempinski’s great leaders, Michael Henssler.

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And now let us fly on again, to the east coast of southern Africa, Zanzibar.  Girlahead spoke with Blanche van Berckel, Founding CEO of a new brand, Vous Hotels & Retreats. Its first property will be a new-build on 311ha of Pemba Island, an hour’s seaplane from Zanzibar airport – its 24 villas, designed by London-based Michaelis Boyd (whose portfolio includes New York Williamsburg Hotel), will be at least 100 sq m, and all will have pools. Vous will have its own working farm: food options will be heavy on plant-based, says Blanche van Berckel, who anticipates competitors for this new resort will be existing luxury properties on Mauritius and Seychelles.

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Competition is good for everyone – can you imagine Ursain Bolt running alone? Goodness, the greatest sprinter of all time has even named his 11-month daughter for competition-to-come (Olympia Lightning Bolt). But actually Kempinski does have, among all its competition in the luxury hotel category, some unique features, a history that goes back to the 19th century and its current strength in China, for instance. Now listen to COO China, and Asia Pacific, Kempinski, Michael Henssler: