Empathy at the top with Diletta Guarino, GM of Six Senses Zighy Bay Oman

Empathy at the top with Diletta Guarino, GM of Six Senses Zighy Bay Oman

Hailing from Rome, Diletta Guarino is an inspirational, hands-on hotelier with over two decades of experience in luxury brands. Here, she tells us how she manages to lead her team to success whilst not losing her human touch.

How has your experience as a resort manager prepared you for the role of GM at Six Senses Zighy Bay?

Since joining in 2021 as resort manager, it’s been an incredible journey. I was fortunate enough to work alongside talented GMs, which allowed me to acquire a deeper understanding of the importance of focusing on the bigger picture. Moreover, I learned to never miss the opportunity to interact with guests and personally ensure they are having a great experience.

As resort manager, I wore many hats, thus making sure everything ran smoothly and everyone was on the same page – guests, hosts and even the most senior people. Furthermore, this experience laid the foundation for my current role as GM. I can’t wait to bring my vision and new ideas to life.

Can you describe your leadership style, especially when it comes to managing a team of nearly 500 employees? 

I firmly believe that managing and inspiring a team, no matter its size, boils down to understanding the unique dynamics across all divisions. It also involves adjusting your approach to meet individual and collective needs.

Creating an environment for motivation requires positivity. At Six Senses Zighy Bay, we prioritize leading with empathy and kindness. Therefore, we make sure there is open communication. Moreover, we encourage the sharing of opinions and ideas among our hosts. Plus, we’re always there to cheer on our hosts’ successes. It’s all about creating a supportive and uplifting atmosphere because. After all, it is in this empowering environment that people truly succeed.

Empathy, authenticity, and inclusion are mentioned as your core work and life values. How do you incorporate these values into your leadership approach and how have they contributed to your success in the hospitality industry?

Human connections mean the world to me, as I firmly believe that genuine success comes from ongoing collaboration and inclusion. Infusing these values into my leadership approach has allowed me to shape a workplace culture that not only attracts top talents but also nurtures employee engagement. This consequently enhances the guest experience, which is our goal. Employees who feel understood, supported and celebrated are more likely to deliver exceptional service with a genuine and empathetic approach.

Discovering the same unique sense of authenticity and inclusion at Six Senses Zighy Bay has always been my driving force. Here, it extends beyond our fantastic hosts to encompass the local community in various meaningful ways. Additionally, actively engaging with the people of Zighy Village and Dibba, we provide support for infrastructure, strategic aid and education to local schools. Moreover, we collaborate closely with neighboring fishermen to promote our sustainable practices. The impressive results we’ve achieved are a testament to the shared success within our community.

How do you approach human resources within the context of managing a luxury resort? 

In the luxury hospitality industry, customer service and the guest experience take center stage. Thus, managing human resources requires an even more strategic and people-centric approach. This is a gem of wisdom I picked up during my master studies and years spent in the field.

In addition, a workplace buzzing with positivity, celebrating diversity and acknowledging each employee’s contribution is the secret recipe for success.

At the resort, we always find a reason to smile and laugh together, even during the toughest days. We also regularly arrange activities and events to foster open communication, boost morale and strengthen a sense of team belonging. Such initiatives not only improve team dynamics but also contribute to a positive and lively work atmosphere at our resort.

Finally, as luxury resorts are expected to offer the highest standards of service, our team are offered ongoing training and cross-exposure to level up their skills. Furthermore, it helps them climb the career ladder, as this is just as crucial. So, the company develops excellent employees, while the team gain motivation in growing professionally.

How do you encourage your staff to help improve operational efficiency?

I can’t stress enough the team’s vital role in the resort’s success. To boost efficiency, I encourage colleagues and create a strong sense of belonging. Indeed, tapping into their diverse skills and cultural backgrounds are crucial elements.

Diversity is a significant aspect at Six Senses Zighy Bay. We have 34 nationalities in our team, and their experiences in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America enrich our environment.

For instance, or spa manager, Khun Mee, joined from Thailand in 2023, bringing expertise in crystal and sound healing from Okinawa, Japan.

Everyone’s personal and professional journey is an inspiration. Thus, embracing varied perspectives sparks creativity and enhances problem solving, making our operations more efficient.

How do you encourage your staff to comply with sustainable practices? 

Encouraging sustainable practices requires leadership, education and fostering a transparent, inspiring work environment. Our director of sustainability, Armand Thieblemont, leads regular meetings to reiterate sustainability at Six Senses, sharing data on waste, energy consumption and innovative solutions to remove and replace plastic items. We also implement new trainings and special events.

Keeping hosts informed is crucial. Additionally, showing tangible proof of their contribution motivates them to comply with sustainable practices actively.

In 2023, our team contributed 297 volunteering hours, removing 847 kilos of waste from the ocean. The most extensive beach clean-ups in Zighy’s history occurred, where we removed 1,633 kilos of plastic and other rubbish from the oceans.

What is your vision for Six Senses Zighy Bay?  

Admiring Six Senses Zighy Bay’s commitment to sustainability and authentic travel, I aim to elevate guest experiences, making our property a global luxury hospitality leader.

In recent months, we’ve crafted extraordinary experiences like “Adrift at Smugglers Bay.” Guests embark on a dreamy adventure, enjoying the untouched beauty, snorkeling, and a delicious barbecue prepared on-site by a private chef.

Returning guests get to experience the unique Wishing Water Ritual, a serene reflection on their stay’s intention, releasing aspirations into the Wadi waters.

Our recently launched Beach Sanctuary offers rejuvenating outdoor spa treatments with panoramic views, providing a serene escape for up to two persons.

These incredible experiences await guests at our resort, and we can’t wait to welcome them.


Website Icon png images | PNGEgg sixsenses.com 


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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