Pandemic Travel: 4 Luxury Hotel CEOs Discuss The Tourism Industry In Asia

This week, Haute Living took a look at the state of the travel industry in Asia, utilizing the expertise of four major Asia-based hotel brand CEOs —Nicholas Clayton, CEO of Capella Hotel Group, Stefan Leser, CEO of Langham Hospitality Group, Deepak Ohri, Founder and CEO of lebua Hotels & Resorts, and Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva—for a discussion on the current climate of the Asian travel market, how their hotels are keeping guests safe and what Americans can expect when they can finally travel to the east in a post-COVID world. In case you missed it, check out the full conversation below!


Nicholas ClaytonPhoto Credit: Capella Hotel Group

Nicholas Matthew Clayton has been the Chief Executive Officer of Capella Hotel Group since 2015. Prior to his position with Capella, he was, most recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Operations, of Jumeirah Group and prior to that, he was the President of the Viceroy Hotel Group. Mr. Clayton’s solid foundation in luxury hotel development and operations is built upon three decades of an illustrious career with some of the world’s most respectable brands such as Ritz Carlton, Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons. His professional journey has taken him across the Americas, Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific.


Stefan LeserPhoto Credit: Langham Hotel Group

Stefan Leser joined Langham Hospitality Group in 2018 as Chief Executive Officer. Based in Hong Kong, he oversees all aspects of the group’s global portfolio of hotels, resorts and residences, and provides strategic guidance to achieve the company’s vision, implementing organizational processes for all divisions, and leading the global expansion drive. Leser has over 30 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industries, and before Langham, he was at Jumeirah International where he was the group chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors.  At the Dubai-based company, Leser was responsible for several significant milestone projects, such as the inauguration of The Terrace at Burj Al Arab and the completion and launch of Jumeirah Al Naseem, the group’s luxury hotel overlooking the Arabian Gulf.  Prior to joining Jumeirah, Leser held senior roles for more than a decade at Kuoni Travel Holding Ltd., the leading Swiss travel services provider. Prior to joining Kuoni, Leser spent six years working in the information technology industry with Swissair and EDS Corporation.


Deepak Ohri_Photo Credit: Lebua Hotels

Deepak Ohri is the founder and CEO of lebua Hotels & Resorts, which has properties in Bangkok, where he is based, in India and New Zealand.  He is often credited with kicking off the rooftop dining craze in Bangkok with his collection of upscale bars & restaurants at The Dome, which soars 820 feet above his luxury hotel in Bangkok, Tower Club at lebua. As the lebua mainstay, The Dome is well-known for SkyBar of Hangover 2 fame and boasts one of Thailand’s only 2-Michelin star restaurants, Mezzaluna; his Chef’s Table restaurant is also Michelin ranked. Most recently, he opened the world-famous lebua No. 3, which features high-end offerings exclusively from Pernod Ricard, as well as a private-label album created just for lebua in partnership with chart-topping international music producer, Andrew Murray.

SONU SHIVDASANI: CEO OF SONEVA Sonu ShivdasaniPhoto Credit: Bill Curry

Sonu Shivdasani is the CEO and joint Creative Director of Soneva, a group of luxury properties in the Maldives. He is also the founder of Evason, named after his wife, and the Six Senses brand, both of which he sold in 2012, in order to focus solely on Soneva as part of the ‘One Owner, One Operator, One Philosophy, One Brand’ strategy. He and his wife founded the Soneva Foundation, a UK-registered charity committed supporting the development and operation of projects and campaigns that have a positive environmental, social and economic impact. For the last 25 years, he’s been a forerunner in the sustainable tourism movement, coining the concepts of “SLOW LIFE” and “Intelligent Luxury.”