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Guido De Wilde is one of the great architects of Dubai hospitality, and now he's back.

Guido De Wilde is out of retirement. De Wilde is one of the great city builders of Dubai, serving as the regional chief operating officer for Marriott International during the formative years of the modern emirate. De Wilde retired in June 2021, partly due to a cancer diagnosis.

Three years on, De Wilde is in good health, taking on a full-time role as hospitality director and advisor for Wasl.

Wasl is one of the emirate’s largest hotel owners and developers, with close ties to the government. De Wilde’s new role will have him oversee more than 30 hotels:

Marriott:

  • Le Meridien Dubai
  • Le Meridien Fairways
  • Westin Mina Seyahi
  • Le Meridien Mina Seyahi
  • Aloft Al Mina
  • Element Al Mina

Hyatt:

  • Grand Hyatt Dubai
  • Hyatt Regency Dubai
  • Park Hyatt
  • Andaz Dubai The Palm
  • Hyatt Regency Creek Heights
  • Hyatt Place Dubai / Wasl District
  • Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah
  • Hyatt Place Hotel Al Rigga
  • Hyatt Place Hotel Baniyas Square Dubai

Hilton:

  • Hilton Garden Inn Muraqqabat
  • Hilton Garden Inn Al Mina
  • Hampton by Hilton Dubai Airport

Other

  • Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah
  • Dusit Thani
  • One&Only Royal Mirage
  • One&Only The Palm
  • Nikki Beach

Wasl also has a second Mandarin Oriental property in the works and is developing The Island by Wasl, expected to house an Aria hotel, a Bellagio and MGM integrated resort.

De Wilde’s Impact

Starting out in call centers for Starwood, De Wilde went on to become Starwood’s Middle East VP in 2006, moving to Dubai for the role. Back then, he was entrusted to help establish the U.S. lodging giant in the would-be modern emirate. Ten years later, Marriott International took over Starwood. In the merger, De Wilde was made COO for the Middle East.

When he left the role, to be succeeded by Sandeep Walia, De Wilde led 150 operating hotels across the Middle East, including Turkey and Egypt. representing over 42,000 rooms.

In 2008, while working at Starwood, he played a pivotal role in launching the Road to Awareness campaign. De Wilde and his fellow colleagues embarked on extensive cycling journeys, covering thousands of miles, all in the name of charity. Their efforts resulted in an impressive $10 million raised for charitable causes in the region.

De Wilde was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer in 2019. He would go on to continue his cycling and charity work. In 2022, De Wilde and his cycling team raised more than 370,000 Dirhams for Al Jalila Foundation – a charity in the UAE – for cancer treatment funding.

At that time, he said: “From the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I had complete trust in the medical team and facilities here in the UAE, which motivated me to start my treatment as soon as possible. I was extremely well taken care of by a great multi-discipline team of surgeons, radiologists, oncologists, hematologists and gastroenterologists complemented by a caring nursing team. I will be forever grateful.”

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Tags: guide de wilde, hospitality news, Tourism news, wasl

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