Spanish flavors with José Canals, Barceló Hotel Group’s MD Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia

Spanish flavors with José Canals, Barceló Hotel Group’s MD Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia

José Canals_Barceló Hotel Group

José Canals has been with Barceló Hotel Group for over a decade and is credited with leading expansion plans in North Africa and the Mediterranean. We find out more about the largest Spanish hotel group in the MENA region from the dynamic managing director for the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia.

What sets the Spanish hotel group apart from others and why is looking to further cement its presence in the Middle East?

Barceló Hotel Group’s approach to hospitality deeply reflects our rich Spanish heritage, meticulously developed to cater to a diverse audience. Moreover, honored as the Best Hotel Management Company in the World at the World Travel Awards 2023, our success illustrates our commitment to blending tradition with modern innovation.

In the UAE, we are focused on creating culturally immersive experiences that resonate with the regional ethos. Furthermore, properties such as Dukes The Palm, a Royal Hideaway Hotel, Barceló Residences Dubai Marina, Occidental Al Jaddaf and Occidental Sharjah Grand serve as gateways for travelers seeking authentic Spanish hospitality infused with local culture. Expanding our vision into the broader GCC region, we are strategically exploring new opportunities in markets like Bahrain.

These efforts aim at introducing our unique hospitality approach to a wider audience, focusing on cultural exchange and integrating Spanish warmth with local customs. Moreover, our expansion is guided by a philosophy of inclusivity and respect for diverse traditions, ensuring thoughtful and sensitive growth. As we continue to adapt and respond to the needs of travelers across the GCC, Barceló Hotel Group remains a dynamic participant in the tourism sector.

Finally, we are dedicated to enriching every guest’s experience through genuine cultural engagements.

What is the importance of the Bahrain hospitality sector and the Omani one?

In the context of our expansion in the Middle East, Bahrain and Oman stand out as key areas for development. Moreover, the opening of our first property in Manama, set for the second half of 2024, will enrich Bahrain’s tourism infrastructure. Additionally, it is a significant stride in strengthening our portfolio and presence in Bahrain, a country viewed as a vibrant tourism and cultural hub.

The Sultanate of Oman holds a special place in Barceló Hotel Group’s strategic roadmap. Indeed, in 2023, we fortified our commitment to Oman through a partnership with the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group). This initiative aligns perfectly with our shared vision to elevate Oman as a leading hospitality destination globally. By aligning with OMRAN Group’s objectives, we are poised to drive foreign direct investment (FDI) into the region. Additionally, we will spearhead strategic development projects that bolster the local economy and enrich Oman’s hospitality offerings.

In both of these countries, our objective is clear: to drive growth, foster tourism and hospitality innovation. Additionally, we aim to create distinctive, culturally resonant experiences that align with our ethos of inclusive and engaging hospitality for all travelers.

What is the goal of the hotel rebranding in the UAE? 

The transformation of Occidental Al Jaddaf in Q4 2024 represents more than a name change; it is about enhancing our offerings. Additionally, it aims to meet the evolving expectations of international and local travelers alike, providing a five-star hospitality experience. Furthermore, this initiative is a strategic step towards enhancing our market presence in the UAE, showcasing our renowned Spanish flair.

Aligned with our goal to elevate service and hospitality standards, this transformation is part of a broader strategy. Consequently, it bolsters our presence in the MENA region, responding to the growing demand for international tourism. Therefore, Barceló Hotel Group aims to solidify its standing in key source markets through this rebranding.

Moreover, our overarching growth strategy is carefully crafted to expand our global footprint. It continues to deliver the distinctive, culturally rich hospitality experiences synonymous with the Barceló name.


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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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