Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 69

perspectives

interview

nigel harris
By Rebecca Lo
Photography courtesy of Onyx Hospitality Group

1

DYNAMIC GROWTH

1. Images of players
adorn a guestroom at
the soccer-themed
Amari Buriram United in
Thailand.

Nigel Harris heeded the hospitality call in
college. While studying architecture at Plymouth
University in the UK, he designed a hotel
project and realized that he had a passion for the
business. After working as an architect for five
years in Hong Kong for the likes of P&T Group,
RMJM, and HPA (formerly Ho & Partners
Architects), he joined Kerry Group, the parent
company of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, to
oversee the construction of its Mactan Resort and
Spa, Cebu, in the Philippines. That was in 1990,
and Harris hasn't looked back.
"I couldn't have asked for a better
introduction to the hotel business, as I was
learning directly from the property's owner and
operator," he recalls. After the resort's completion
three years later, he moved on to Holiday Inn
as a quality control inspector where he visited
120 hotels per year experiencing the nuances of
Asia's different cultures, and eventually heading
up the group's technical services functions in the
region. In 2006, he joined Hilton Worldwide's
team in India, and while based in Delhi, led
projects for a major joint venture between Hilton
and DLF, one of the country's largest real estate
companies. At an event in late 2009, he bumped

into a former colleague who had recently joined
Amari, a Thai company with big plans. Two
months later, Amari came under the Onyx
Hospitality Group umbrella, and Harris was
ensconced in its Bangkok head office as executive
vice president and chief technical officer.
For almost four decades, Amari had
developed organically. "Amari's previous growth
was conservative," Harris acknowledges. "It
was a disparate brand, with 580 rooms in
city properties and 50-room boutique resort
properties. Six years ago, the owners wanted to
move forward and become more competitive
by leveraging the portfolio and expanding
within the region. It invested heavily up front,
doubling its [company] staff count in 2010
without increasing the number of properties.
They hired senior hoteliers from international
companies, and we worked with a branding team
and conducted market research to identify what
brand segmentation was appropriate for future
growth."
Amari, now known for its 4-Star hotels
and resorts, has become the leading sub-brand
within Onyx. The others include select-service
OZO; 5-Star Saffron; serviced apartment brand

A hotel veteran advances the Amari brand

2

2. Bright orange umbrellas
shade poolside loungers
at Amari Buriram.

Shama; and the eclectic Mosaic Collection-plus
Oriental Residence in Bangkok, a standalone
hotel-condo hybrid with interiors by local firm
Abacus Design.
Onyx owns approximately half of its dozen
or so properties in Thailand. "Our advantage
is our flexibility," Harris says. "We are able to
exploit market trends." The recently unveiled
hilltop Ocean Wing by locally based Create Great
Design at its flagship Amari Phuket, for example,
features residential-style guestrooms and blends
with the older, A49-designed beachside wing,
which the Thai firm recently renovated along
with the F&B facilities, he says. The new section
features a flat roof perfect for morning yoga that
overlooks Patong Bay and a picturesque staircase
that cuts through the property-from the highest
villa through the clubhouse down to the sea.
Now the Amari brand has nine properties

hospitalitydesign.com September 2015

069


http://www.hospitalitydesign.com

Hospitality Design - September 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - September 2015

Hospitality Design - September 2015
Contents
Online TOC
From the Editor
From the Show Director
People
Perspectives
Sketchbook
Places: Los Cabos
Interview: Carlos Flores
Interview: Nigel Harris
5 Questions for Kelly Wearstler
Products
Profile: Robert Sukrachand
Trends: Abstract Art
Casegoods
Wallcoverings
Seating
Hospitality’s Reach
Special Feature: New York
New York Edition
Projects
Chicago Athletic Association
Graduate Madison
Indigo Bangkok
Mama Shelter Hollywood
Finest Playa Mujeres
Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel
Ad Index
Back Space
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Intro
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Hospitality Design - September 2015
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Cover2
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 1
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 2
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 3
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 4
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 5
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 6
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 7
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 8
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 9
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 10
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Contents
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 12
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 13
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 14
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 15
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 16
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 17
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 18
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Online TOC
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 20
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 21
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 22
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 23
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 24
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 25
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - From the Editor
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 27
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 28
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 29
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 30
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 31
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - From the Show Director
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 33
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 34
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 35
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 36
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 37
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - People
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 39
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 40
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 41
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 42
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 43
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 44
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 45
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 46
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Perspectives
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 48
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 49
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 50
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Sketchbook
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 52
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 53
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 54
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 55
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 56
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Places: Los Cabos
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 58
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 59
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 60
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 61
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 62
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 63
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 64
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Interview: Carlos Flores
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 66
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 67
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 68
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Interview: Nigel Harris
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 70
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 71
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 5 Questions for Kelly Wearstler
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 73
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 74
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 75
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 76
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 77
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 78
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Products
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 80
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Profile: Robert Sukrachand
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 82
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Trends: Abstract Art
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 84
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 85
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 86
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Casegoods
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 88
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 89
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 90
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Wallcoverings
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 92
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 93
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 94
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 95
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 96
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 97
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 98
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 99
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 100
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Seating
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 102
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 103
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 104
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 105
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 106
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 107
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 108
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 109
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 110
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 111
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 112
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 113
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 114
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Hospitality’s Reach
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 116
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 117
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 118
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 119
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 120
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 121
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 122
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 123
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 124
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 125
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 126
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 127
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 128
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 129
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 130
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 131
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 132
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Special Feature: New York
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 134
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 135
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 136
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 137
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 138
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 139
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 140
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 141
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 142
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 143
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 144
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 145
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - New York Edition
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 147
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 148
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 149
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 150
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 151
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 152
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Projects
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Chicago Athletic Association
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 155
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 156
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 157
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Graduate Madison
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 159
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 160
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 161
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Indigo Bangkok
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 163
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 164
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 165
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Mama Shelter Hollywood
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 167
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 168
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 169
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Finest Playa Mujeres
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 171
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 172
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 173
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 175
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 176
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 177
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 178
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 179
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 180
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 181
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - 182
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Ad Index
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Back Space
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Cover3
Hospitality Design - September 2015 - Cover4
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