Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya
- Al Soor Street, Al Mirqab, PO Box 735, Safat, 13008, Kuwait
Four Seasons Tenure
- First hired 1997, now since 2021
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Assistant Lounge Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC
- Viceroy Los Cabos, Mexico; Viceroy Zihuatanejo, Mexico; Viceroy Anguilla (now a Four Seasons resort), BVI; Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas; Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo; Four Seasons Hotel Boston; Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies; Four Seasons Hotel Berlin (formerly a Four Seasons hotel); Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies; Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC; Beau Rivage Palace Hotel, Lausanne, Switzerland; Dorchester Hotel London, UK; Renaissance Hotel Duesseldorf, Germany
- Diploma in Hotel Management, SHA Hotel Management School Les Roches, Bluche, Switzerland
- Wissen an der Sieg, Germany
- German, English, Spanish, French
Mist-cooled walkways through a vast urban park. Palm-shaded rooftop dining. Poolside cabanas overlooking twinkling city lights. An international art collection, French chocolaterie, and global culinary creativity from Milan to Tokyo. This is Kuwait, Four Seasons style: a destination that has got under Martin Kipping’s skin since he arrived here in November 2021 as Hotel Manager, before being promoted to General Manager in August 2022.
Different cultures have always captivated Kipping – who, with more than 25 years experience in luxury hospitality across the globe – is one of the industry’s consummate professionals. Growing up near Cologne, the cultural capital of Germany’s Rhineland, he spent summers exploring Europe with his family. Showing promise as a young footballer, his love of art saw him also toying with a career in architecture, but it was a friend’s experience at a luxury property in southern Spain that opened his eyes to “the glittery international world that offered an opportunity to break away from the routine.” Ambition led him to The Dorchester in London where then General Manager Ricci Obertelli inspired him “to one day lead a hotel offering the same level of luxury experience.”
Guided by this vision, Kipping studied at Switzerland’s prestigious Les Roches School of Hospitality, leading to his first Four Seasons move to Washington. After meeting and marrying his Mexican wife in Boston, he spent a decade crafting an extraordinary resume that spans a multitude of posts for high-end brands in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. But it was the values and familial culture of Four Seasons that drew him back – this time to the GCC.
“Kuwait is full of surprises,” he comments. “For people fascinated by culture, there is still such a sense of proud heritage: old souks, the Grand Mosque, great museums and galleries. Kuwait offers a surprising amount in terms of contemporary art as well.” Inspired by the Hotel’s impressive art and sculpture collection, Kipping’s role as General Manager sees him animated with ideas: “There are so many stories and interesting cultural components to explore – I see our role as storytellers sharing an insider perspective you won’t find on Tripadvisor – underpinned by incredible Four Seasons service.”
Having worked in different environments across various cultures, he’s excited to be merging the program-driven aspects of resort environments with the business focus of cities. His mission has a deeper resonance too: “Luxury has shifted from the idea of being glamorous to something far deeper: honouring the cultural ecosystem, meaningful experiences, and sustainability.” He’s on track to make the Hotel's guest rooms plastic-free while other sustainability focused initiatives – including enhanced support of local producers and an onsite processing water site – are in the pipeline.
Just like the Hotel’s stellar art collection, one aspect sure to benefit from Kipping’s careful curation is management of the Hotel’s 400-strong team. “I’ve never worked in a hotel with such diversity,” he reflects. “We have more than 43 nationalities here so it’s key for me to create an environment where people feel connected as part of the Four Seasons family.”
Family is central to Kipping outside of Hotel life too. When not working he spends “100 percent” of his time with his wife and children – raising his youngsters to be the world citizens that will, no doubt, continue the human-centric message of cultural connection that is central to their father’s success.