Dutch Hotelier Alexander Musch receives General Manager of the Year Award in the UAE

Managing a hotel is an art. A modern-day hotel general manager (GM) comes with a broad package of skills: managing a large team, sharp attention to detail, and a commitment to implementing green initiatives. He must master customisation, which Alexander Musch (49), GM of the premium Pullman Downtown, understands very well. He was elected General Manager of the Year by Hotelier Middle East. “It is a true honour for my team and me,” he said.

By Arthur Blok
What’s suitable for one hotel may not be suitable for others; having the skill to become a good GM is something you have acquired over the years. The Dutch award winner looks back on a prosperous career in the hotel industry after receiving his Bachelor's in Hotel Management from the Rotterdam Euro College more than 25 years ago.

Musch started at Amsterdam’s Krasnapolsky Hotel, one of the leading luxury hotels in the Dutch capital. Soon after, he began a promising career at the Hilton chain in Amsterdam, followed by Frankfurt, Ras Al Khaimah, and Jeddah, and eventually ended up at the Hilton Dubai. A few years later, he moved to the Mövenpick, one of the leading brands of the ACCOR Group, which acted as a stepping stone to Pullman Downtown, pre-Covid known as a Steigenberger Hotel.

Musch was responsible for rebranding the Steigenberger into the Pullman: “Together with my team, I successfully refurbished and repositioned the hotel in the market after the COVID pandemic. Looking back, we are now one of the leading upscale destinations in the centre of Dubai. I am proud of that.”

Musch's leadership philosophy, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's words, ‘If you want to change the world, start with yourself,’ Is a guiding light for his team. He believes in leading by example and being a source of positivity for his staff. Focusing on the well-being of his team members across all levels, he introduced a five-day working week for all. His positive approach has shaped the culture of Pullman Downtown and reflected in the team's performance and the hotel's success.

The Dutchman emphasised that sustainable hotels are environmentally friendly and intelligent business choices. By saying that, he hits the nail on the head. Besides significantly reducing the environmental impact through green best practices, his hotel was able to cut costs and, more importantly, enhance its reputation. This is a testament to the fact that sustainability is not just a trend but a powerful tool for business growth and recognition.

The Dubai government also played a positive role in the sustainability process. They sent questionnaires to all hotels to assess and categorise them. Musch: “Of course, in the run-up to COP 28 held in Dubai last year, we stepped up our efforts and pace. Now, we are shortlisted for Sustainable Initiative of the Year. It gives me the confidence that we are on the right track.”

Musch and his team's strategic green approach and governmental recognition are success stories and clear examples of how a commitment to sustainability can elevate a hotel's business acumen and reputation. They are beacons of hope, paving the way for a greener future in the hotel industry, where sustainability is not just a choice but a necessary obligation for any hotelier.

The brand-new General Manager of the Year explained that sustainability has been pivotal in our policy and decision-making in recent years. Musch:” For us, this is a huge recognition for all the effort we put into this mission.  Although we have always been sustainable-oriented, we have taken it to the next level, and our hard work is now being rewarded.”

When visiting Pullman, it becomes evident that his team has taken the green culture with a healthy and sustainable work environment to the next level. For example, measures include solar panels for warm water, eliminating all single-use plastics, conserving over 1.5 million litres of water annually, and reducing food waste by 30%.

These implementations resulted in significant cost savings, enhanced operational efficiency, and sustainability while pioneering responsible hospitality. They also helped to become one of eleven establishments in Dubai to be awarded the prestigious golden stamp from Dubai Sustainability Tourism out of over 208 hotels, an initiative by Dubai Tourism to consolidate sustainable tourism destinations in the city.

The award, created by ITP Media Group and powered by their online Hotelier Middle East, is the first awards ceremony focusing solely on general managers and leadership teams. It includes 21 categories and aims to celebrate leading Middle East hotel managers. Musch was elected by an independent panel of judges, including some of the region’s most respected hospitality figures.


Arthur Blok

Veteran journalist, author, moderator and entrepreneur. The man with the unapologetic opinion who is always ready to help you understand and simplify the most complex (global) matters. Just ask.
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