Daniel Lawder has been named Hotel Manager of Holiday Inn Express Brisbane Central

General Manager appointed for Le Méridien Melbourne

Marriott International has appointed Senior Marriott Associate Peter Minatsis lead the long-awaited Le Méridien Melbourne as General Manager.

The 235-room 12-storey hotel property was originally due to open in 2020, but is now set for an early-2023 launch.

It will feature a restaurant, café, roof terrace and 210sqm of function space.

The move marks the return of the premium brand to Australia. Le Méridien previously had properties in both Melbourne and Sydney.

Peter Minatsis

Minatsis joins Le Méridien after a five-year tenure at Sheraton Melbourne.

“I am delighted to welcome Peter Minatsis to lead the re-introduction of the distinctive premium Le Méridien brand to the Australian market,” said Marriott International Area Vice President, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Sean Hunt.

“Peter is a highly experienced hotelier with a proven track record for delivering outstanding results. His career at Marriott spans more than 17 years and he has worked in a range of markets including Vancouver, Sydney, Fiji and most recently at Sheraton Melbourne. He will lead the team at Le Méridien as we continue to cement our growing presence in the Melbourne market.”

Minatsis has over 20 years’ industry experience, starting out at The Fairmont Hotel in his hometown of Vancouver, and including positions at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park, Sheraton Resort and Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji, and Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa.

“Le Méridien is known for timeless, chic design and has a Parisian ‘je ne sais quoi’ about it that appeals to travellers looking to explore the world in style,” Minatsis said.

“Moreover, it is such a natural fit in Melbourne – a city known for inciting creativity across a vibrant arts, design and fashion culture.”

La Vie bolsters Australian team

La Vie Hotels and Resorts has made a number of key appointments in its Australian team.  

Russell Cool

Russell Cool takes the position of Group Director of Operations – Australia, Shellia Chang has been named Group Director of Sales and Distribution and Nelsy Zreik as Group Director of Finance – Australia.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Russell, Shellia and Nelsy to the La Vie team, during a year that has and will continue to be one of huge growth for La Vie Hotels & Resorts,” said La Vie Hotels and Resorts Managing Director, Craig Bond.

Shellia Chang

 “As we continue our rapid expansion across Australia and South East Asia, we have been strategically bolstering our team with talented hospitality and tourism professionals in key roles that will drive success and profitability for our owners. Russel, Shellia and Nelsy are excellent additions to our team and have already hit the ground running.”

Cool brings over 25 years’ experience across domestic and international markets, most recently holding the position of Minor Hotels Regional General Manager for Victoria and South Australia. He also previously worked as Area General Manager for Onyx Hospitality Group in Sri Lanka as well as Langham Hospitality Group in Hong Kong and Beijing and The Langham Yangtze in Shanghai. He has also held the role of Area General Manager for Stamford Hotels and Resorts in Adelaide.

Nelsy Zreik

Chang will oversee La Vie’s new hotel openings and commercial teams. Her previous roles include Cluster Director of Sales and Events with Accor, Director of Sales with Frasers Hospitality, and Assistant Director of Sales with Marriott International. She has also worked with IHG and Hilton in new business roles.

Zreik is an experienced financial controller who previously worked with Iris Capital Hotels, working across the company’s portfolio of 17 properties. She has also held financial controller roles with Novotel and Ibis Darling Harbour and Novotel Canberra.

Pro-invest appoints Hotels Managers

Pro-invest Hotels has announced the appointment of two Hotel Managers. Daniel Lawder has been named Hotel Manager of Holiday Inn Express Brisbane Central and Jamie Smith as Hotel Manager of Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank.

Lawder is an experienced Rooms Division Manager and has held various Front Office and Rooms Division Management roles with Pullman and IHG in Melbourne, and Stamford Grand Hotel in Adelaide.

“I am extremely excited to be a part of the Holiday Inn Express Brisbane Central team,” he said.

“I began my hospitality career with IHG back in Perth in 2008 and it feels as though I have come full circle stepping into this new role and being back in Queensland.”

Jamie Smith

Smith started their hospitality career at Crowne Plaza Terrigal and has been with the Holiday Inn Express brand since 2019, working their way up to become Duty Manager of Holiday Inn Express Newcastle.

“I’m really excited about my new role at Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank because it offers me the opportunity to build my own team and foster a great working environment for them,” they said.

“I have been fortunate enough to have had some amazing mentors in the hotel world and I can’t wait to be that for someone else.”

Visit Sunshine Coast welcomes MICE specialist

Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) has welcomed Ali Thompson to the position of Business and Leisure Events Manager.

Thompson – a specialist in the MICE industry (Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions) for over 20 years – has run her own marketing and events business and worked with events companies and industry bodies from the UK, New Zealand and Australia.

Ali Thompson

She is a founding member of Influential Women in Meetings and Events, member of Women in Tourism, and Event Professionals Australia, and was a Committee Member of Meetings and Events Australia for many years. She also previously sat on the Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Advisory Board.

“We are very fortunate to be able to attract such a passionate industry professional as Ali, and her experience and contacts will ensure she hits the ground at a really crucial time for the destination as we rebuild our business events market,” said VSC CEO, Matt Stoeckel.

“With a landscape that is ideal for high-end incentives, the Sunshine Coast has enormous potential to grow its business and leisure events sector.

“Ali will work closely with the events team at Sunshine Coast Council, Tourism and Events Queensland, and business and events operators across the Sunshine Coast to strengthen our position as a leading business and event destination.”

The position of Business and Leisure Events Manager replaces the former role of Business Events Manager held by Maureen Brennan since 2018.

Thompson said she is excited about the opportunities ahead.

“The Sunshine Coast offers an array of unique incentive and conferencing opportunities, blessed with an incredible coastline and breathtaking hinterland,” Thompson said.

“Plus, it has just been declared a Biosphere by UNESCO – what better place to wow delegates in a diverse eco-escapism that is committed to sustainability whilst warming the soul with year-round sunshine!”