PORTUGAL - Tourism
General Manager, Pine Cliffs, A Luxury Collection Resort
Thomas Schoen graduated from the Munich Hotel School and has worked for Starwood/Marriott for 25 years. He is currently the complex general manager of Pine Cliffs, a Luxury Collection Resort, in Algarve, Portugal. Until May 2016, Schoen was area manager Egypt as well as general manager of the Sheraton Cairo, where he supervised 14 business units with 4,750 rooms, covering the Sheraton, Le Méridien, Westin, W, and St. Regis brands. Prior to that, he was area manager Poland and general manager of the Sheraton Warsaw Hotel for five years, and complex general manager of the Luxury Collection Hotels Imperial and Bristol in Vienna for two and a half years. He also completed various executive assignments with Starwood in Scotland, Africa, and Bulgaria.
Looking back at its 25 years of history, Pine Cliffs Resort was positioned as a leading destination for the leisure and family market, also due to the continuous investment and enhancement made to the resort. These efforts have been recognized, and several distinctions were awarded throughout the years, the most recent being the World’s Leading Luxury Leisure Resort, Portugal’s Leading Family Resort, and Portugal’s Best Spa Resort. Pine Cliffs, with its wide range of facilities, is the perfect destination for individuals and family leisure travelers who are looking for well-being and lifestyle programs, offered at our brand-new Serenity Spa. It has received recognition worldwide and was recently awarded with the Best Luxury Wellness Spa Award in Europe. Due to the recent expansion of the property and the launch of two new products—Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites and Pine Cliffs Gardens—we are now a global player in the corporate and incentive market, benefitting from the global sales offices and loyalty programs for individuals and corporate accounts. In addition, Pine Cliffs Resort is the only Marriott property with these extensive and diversified facilities in Europe, which makes us unique.
The resort’s location is unsurpassed, standing on a spectacular clifftop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. To top that off is the beauty of the hotel’s impressive Portuguese architecture with a perfect combination of the Algarvian and Arab influences. Another unique feature is our beautifully manicured gardens, which offers a great space for special events such as weddings or product launches, namely top of the range bikes and cars. Guests can also enjoy a tennis match at the well-known Annabel Croft Tennis Academy as well as our gold course, which is amongst top 50 in Europe, or enjoy a stunning beach that was elected by TripAdvisor users as the best beach in Portugal and the 12th-best in the world. For our fit-fans, the fitness center “Pine Cliffs Goes Active” offers a range of individual and family activities with personalized service enabling guests to recharge energies.
Pine Cliffs benefits from a diverse geographical source of business, with the main feeder markets being the UK, Germany, and other European countries. There has been an increased interest out of Russia, the Middle East, and emerging markets, which have also played an important role in the local market over the recent years. There is a great diversity geographically in terms of the types of leisure guests. We can see families enjoying the resort as well as more leisure travelers with interest in sports, well-being, and lifestyle culture. In the business segment, the Algarve remains a unique destination either for incentives or using the destination for product launch events.
What is your assessment of the tourism sector in the country and of the hotel market in the Algarve specifically?
Portugal will continue its healthy growth process, mainly in cities such as Lisbon and Porto, as it enjoys a privileged position among the top three safest countries in the world. In 2018, a similar trend is expected in the Algarve region, but with a softer demand growth because competitive markets such as Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, and Greece are gaining share of the global tourism market.
What are your main priorities for 2019?
Considering the geographical diversity, we strive to improve our offers to the various demanding holidaymakers coming to the Algarve. We will continue to focus our position in the market with the newest additions in the resort—Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites and Pine Cliffs Gardens. Together with our parent company, United Investments (Portugal), S.A., we will further enhance the overall existing facilities that will contribute to reinforcing the prestigious image of the resort. œ–
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