Energy roars at heart of unique Yas Viceroy
Andrew Humphries, the GM of the 499-room Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi, said variety, fun and discipline are the secrets behind the hotel’s success.
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates—Andrew Humphries entered the hospitality business after his accountant father predicted what a behemoth the hotel industry would soon become.
“It appealed to me,” said Humphries, who is regional VP and GM of the 499-room Yas Viceroy on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. “I wanted variety in a profession, something that was not primarily office-based, where I could use operational skills and have fun.”
That career wish list has come true in the last 30 months or so, in which Humphries has led the Yas Viceroy. The hotel was built at the same time—and as the lynchpin—of the Yas Marina Circuit, the home of the annual Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As a fourth-generation member of a Jamaican family, Humphries learned the hotel business during 17 years working at Four Seasons, but he said he’s seen the industry change. His most recent position was regional VP and GM of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the Caribbean.
“To be successful, you have to be a good business person,” Humphries said. He added attention to detail, discipline and good humor to the other necessary skills required.
Humphries said he places distinct emphasis on having a diversified team and doing all he can to encourage them to be natural and self-confident.
“That is not always encouraged in brands. A lot of energy goes into instilling that confidence,” Humphries said.
That need for variety has a perfect home at the Yas Viceroy, where the sound of corporate groups and thrill seekers speeding around the racing circuit is a constant backdrop to a contemporary, design-filled space with 11 dining and lounge venues, a spa and two pools, among other attractions, all within sight of a marina and mega theme park Ferrari World.
Yas Viceroy was built as part of the Yas Island master plan, according to Humphries, with Abu Dhabi yearning for Formula 1 to come to the emirate. The hotel was built and owned by local developer Aldar Properties, which operated the property for two years before bringing in Los Angeles-based Viceroy.
“Formula 1 is extremely important, but the hotel has a broad base of business and good corporate demand. (Information technology) companies love the environment,” Humphries said. “Due to the master plan, all the leisure destinations feel part of the island, which is unlike anything else in the (United Arab Emirates).”
The same is true of the Yas Viceroy.
“I loved Four Seasons, but what attracted me to the Yas Viceroy was that it was different, a smaller company where I could have an effect on the direction it took,” Humphries said. “Viceroy is a small, luxury hotel company with a great approach to hotel keeping. It’s business-focused and allows good managers to manage well.”
Humphries said his property is a developing destination with “huge potential.” He added that Viceroy
’s 16 properties each add something unique to the overall portfolio.
“The hotels in the portfolio are different, but their commonality is their sense of style,” Humphries said.