chief executive officer of luxury resort operator Kerzner International, got an early start in hospitality, attending hotel management school after graduating high school.
“It’s safe to say, hospitality is very much in my soul,” says Zuber, 51, who is based in Dubai.
After working with Hyatt International and then at Emaar Hospitality Group in Dubai, managing brands including Armani and the Address Hotels, Zuber joined Kerzner, which is also based in Dubai and owns One&Only Resorts and Private Homes, Atlantis, and new brands Rare Finds Hotels & Resorts and SIRO.
Rare Finds, a collection of distinct luxury resorts, will launch next year with a reopening of the Babs Al Shams Desert Resort in Dubai, and SIRO, a wellness-focused brand, will open its first property in Montenegro next year.
“We base our approach on creating bespoke and unforgettable experiences ensuring every interaction provided by our colleagues stands out in its heartfelt nature,” Zuber says.
Zuber recently shared travel tips and a few of his favorite places and things with Penta.
My favorite place in the world is… Rodrigues Island in Mauritius. The small volcanic island is the best place to rejuvenate [surrounded by] incredible scenery of tropical flora and fauna. Considered to be one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, Rodrigues is the most chilled out place in the world.
The place that inspires me the most is… whenever I’m traveling, I always try to spend time enjoying a café terrace. I like to be immersed in local cultures and neighborhood places. At a café, I feel like I am part of the locals’ daily routine and I can feel the pulse of the city in such a short period of time. My passion as a hotelier started from there, observing how hospitality can become an integral part of the destination. Sit for one hour at Café Bonaparte, Place Saint Germain in Paris, and you will never forget it. The terrace has this incredible energy and so much to observe and take in. It feels like everyone in the city is passing by and stops there.
The one thing in my home I can’t live without is… my hi-fi system setup and turntable for vinyl records. Music is a big part of my life and I look forward to unwinding with a record at the end of the day.
When I’m traveling, I always bring… my
Louis Vuitton Keepall
bag. This is the perfect travel companion to hold everything you need for a successful trip, from sunglasses to scarves, plus all required chargers.
My travel uniform is… a hooded cashmere zip-up cardigan is a must. It’s comfortable but stylish too. To look chic, I love Berluti, for something with a bit more of an edge, Zadig & Voltaire.
The first thing I do when I check into a hotel is… open the windows, observe the local scenery, and make sure the terrace furniture is comfortable.
If I were to buy a piece of art, it would be by… (South Korean painter)
I came to know his work when I was living and working in South Korea and I feel a special connection with his art. I am into contemporary art and really like
but Lee Ufan’s minimalist art is really something that resonates with me. When you appreciate and understand South Korean culture, it’s even more powerful. I was lucky to work in a hotel with an original painting by him, sitting right outside my office.
The best book I’ve read in the last year is… Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes. It’s a commentary on modern day Paris and its politics, full of fascinating characters—a memorable, thought-provoking read.
My go-to drink is… I’m French, so I hardly ever say no to French wines. My favorite is Bordeaux, but my passion for wines in general extends to all types and I enjoy trying different varietals and blends from each place I visit.
A passion of mine that few people know about is… I am passionate about supporting organic farming, since I believe in better, more sustainable ways of producing quality vegetables and fruits. I sponsor the conversion of classic agricultural lands into organic farming in Lyon in France. The farm produces vegetables with the most incredible, fresh taste. This is a small contribution in the big picture, but it makes a difference and is much needed in today’s environment.
The one trip I’ve taken that I would love to do again… there are so many of them and it’s difficult to choose one. My last trip was visiting One&Only Gorilla’s Nest in Rwanda with my family and my mother, a perfect multi-generational trip. It was everything you can dream of for a vacation… emotional, adventurous, beautiful, delicious, and memorable. But if I could redo any trip with my family tomorrow, it would be Japan. It’s the family destination that everyone loves so much—Japan never disappoints.
The thing that gets me up in the morning is… coffee and a read through the French newspapers—always Le Figaro—followed by morning yoga.
The restaurant in my hometown that I love to take a visitor is… my favorite restaurant in Dubai is Nobu in Atlantis, The Palm. As a family, we always look forward to dining there.
A person who inspired me to do what I do is… (French chef)
I have always been inspired by him. His recent interview on the Génération Do it Yourself podcast is incredible. Alain Ducasse has pushed the hospitality world so much by being humble, creative, a trendsetter, and is always so generous with spreading his knowledge. For example, in the culinary book world, he was the first one to share his recipes and techniques to a larger public in such a stylish way.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.