Ascott strengthens Middle East management team

Sophia Berriane, director of marketing for MEA & Turkey, The Ascott Limited.
Updated 02 July 2019

Ascott strengthens Middle East management team

The Ascott Limited has bolstered its leadership team by appointing Sophia Berriane as director of marketing for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. 

Berriane holds a bachelor’s in communication and an MBA from Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco; a diploma in entrepreneurship from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan; and a master’s in psychology from Harvard in the US.

Berriane brings over 10 years’ experience in marketing, communications and brand development across luxury hotel, hospitality and multinational Fortune 500 brands in the UAE and Africa. Over the years she has built a track record for devising and executing successful strategies to drive brand awareness, increase sales and enhance consumer engagement. 

She began her career teaching marketing at universities while consulting in communications with five-star hotels and resorts in Morocco. In 2014, she joined the marketing team of Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi. Tasked with revitalizing the hotel’s 14 F&B and leisure brands, Berriane was instrumental in the successful branding, launch and marketing of the Emirates Palace Spa. Most recently, Berriane held the role of marketing director with a Dubai-based consultancy working across a portfolio of brands including Jumeirah, Emaar, Burj Al-Arab and Kempinski. 

“I’m thrilled to be joining The Ascott Limited,” said Berriane. “The hospitality sector in MEA and Turkey is fast-paced and dynamic, offering exciting potential for growth and development. I look forward to working closely with the team to drive the Ascott brand to the next level of success on the global map.” 

Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for Middle East, Africa and Turkey, said: “We are delighted to welcome Sophia on board. As we continue to expand and edge ever closer to our regional goal of 5,000 units by 2020, it is imperative we strengthen our senior management team with creative and strategic thinkers.”

“Sophia has an impressive track record working with leading hotel and hospitality brands in the region. Her tried and tested business acumen combined with in-depth marketing expertise will be a huge asset to the group as we continue to roll out Ascott’s operations across the region.”


Resort in Oman offers camping adventures

Updated 19 August 2019

Resort in Oman offers camping adventures

Al-Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara in southern Oman has unveiled its new Luxe Mobile Camping Adventures. In collaboration with travel specialist Oman Expeditions, this offering is the first bespoke luxury mobile camping experience to take guests across the diverse terrain of the Dhofar province from the mountains to the desert to the sea. 

Set between a relaxing stay at the beachside resort in Salalah, the camping adventures offer tailored itineraries of varying lengths. Activities and camp locations allow guests to discover a wilderness of star-studded skies, vast deserts, rugged mountains and long, empty beaches. Southern Oman is said to be an uncharted destination and one of the only places where the true culture of old Arabia is still alive.

Drawing on the vast country knowledge and experience of Oman Expedition’s founder Sean Nelson, these new experiences weave in the rich, traditional heritage and magnificent natural environment of the region to create rare and memorable expeditions for resort guests while continuing to provide the luxury and comfort they desire. 

A former officer in the British Royal Marines and Royal Army of Oman’s Desert Regiment, Nelson has been nominated annually for the Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist for Oman since 2012. A leading private travel specialist, he is renowned for his rich and varied experience of the country. Before setting up Oman Expeditions, Nelson founded Hud Hud Travels in 2006, Oman’s northern-based provider of professionally run private luxury camps and events. 

Traveling via luxury 4x4 vehicles, a sample itinerary would include two nights camping with three days of various activities. Guests may choose to venture deep into the most remote parts of the world’s largest sand desert to find peace and solitude amidst magnificent sweeping dunes reaching up to 200 meters in the Empty Quarter. For a seaside option, guests can camp on a stretch of wild and secluded beach along the Dhofar coastline where they will encounter an array of wildlife including spinner dolphins, green turtles and coastal bird life as well as swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water 30 meters from their tent. In the foothills of the Dhofar mountains, guests can step back in time on a trek with camels along the same ancient frankincense trading routes that these prized animals have been following for over 2,000 years.

Oman Expeditions also brings together Dhofar’s top local contacts from guides, drivers and chefs to camel herders, artisans and religious scholars to ensure clients have an enriching and authentic experience. In addition, expeditions are accompanied by members of the Mahrah, a tribe who have traveled along frankincense trading routes with their camels since the time of the Queen of Sheba.