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Raul Leal - CEO

Raul Leal


Raul leads Virgin Hotels and is responsible for the company’s overall expansion, customer experience and culture. In a career that spans 30 years, Raul has held top management positions for Interstate Hotels, Lane Hotels and the Continental companies and is one of the few hospitality industry executives that understand both the lifestyle and branded hotels segments. In between 1996 and 2010, Raul was President and Partner at Tecton Hospitality which owned and operated over 35 full branded hotels and was named a “Preferred Hotel Management Company” by most of the major brands. In 2002 he launched Desires Hotels, a management company focused on the growing lifestyle hotel segment. Desires Hotels had 20 award winning modern boutique hotels located in urban and resort locations domestically and internationally. Desires Hotels was named “Best Management Company of the Year” by Lodging Hospitality in 2008 and consistently achieved high levels of REVPAR and profitability as well as social media rankings and owner satisfaction.

Raul also serves on the Boards for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Cornell University.

Allie Hope - Head of Development

Allie Hope

Head of Development

Allie is responsible for implementing Virgin Hotels’ global growth strategy. Allie’s primary responsibilities include sourcing and acquiring properties in key gateway cities, and structuring transactions that work for Virgin Hotels and our Owner/Developer partners. Prior to joining Virgin, Allie worked on acquisitions, dispositions and asset management at Sunstone Hotel Investors where she was instrumental in the acquisition and disposition of over $1 billion of hotel transactions. Allie was previously a partner at HMR Analytics, a hospitality asset management firm based in California, and a consultant with PKF Consulting, one of the top advisory services firms in the hospitality industry. Other experiences include hotel operations with Interstate Hotels and Resorts and spa development at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Allie is a graduate of Cornell's School of Hotel Administration where she received the Dean’s Baccalaureate Service Award, is a guest lecturer at Cornell Hotel School Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, Columbia University and NYU, and was named Southern California Real Estate “Woman of Influence” in 2007.

Doug Carrillo - Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Doug Carrillo

Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Doug has more than 28 years of experience in the hospitality industry. His background includes senior executive level Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management positions with Morgan’s Hotels Group, Desires Hotels, and Carnival Hotels and Casino.

In his capacity at Morgan Hotels Group he was directly responsible for overseeing the sales, marketing and revenue management disciplines for Delano, Shore Club and Mondrian South Beach. Prior to joining Morgan’s Hotel Group, Doug was Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing and a partner at Desires Hotels. Throughout his tenure, he developed a robust sales and marketing platform and solutions for e-commerce and revenue management that led to significant REVPAR premiums across the portfolio. In 2002, he co-developed Desires Hotels, and helped grow the portfolio from 4 to 35 modern boutique hotels. In 2009 he received the prestigious “Adrian Award” from HSMAI for website design and was honored as one of the “Top Twenty Five Sales & Marketing Minds”.

Doug graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Hospitality Management from Florida International University.

Marlene Leslie - Vice President of Food & Beverage

Marlene Leslie

Vice President of Food & Beverage

As Vice President of Food and Beverage, Marlene is charged with bringing Virgin’s legendary commitment to innovation, incomparability and hospitality to all of the dining, drinking and lounging outlets at Virgin Hotels. In her previous role as an executive at Hotels AB, Marlene ran the food and beverage program at The Standard, High Line in New York City. Working there to develop a unique and exciting hospitality culture, her primary focus was on driving the creative, financial and strategic direction of all of its F & B outlets and on developing an operational infrastructure optimally conducive to crafting authentic and unforgettable guest experiences. Before her employment at Hotels AB, Marlene held leadership positions at both Starr Restaurant Organization and BR Guest Hospitality. Having spent many years managing the financial performance of F & B programs with yearly revenues ranging from 20 to 50 million dollars, she has been able to hone her skills at driving revenues and controlling operating expenses while maintaining product quality and enhancing brand identity. As a result of her quest to nurture her passion for culinary excellence and her love of wine, Marlene has also become a certified sommelier. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Restaurant Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Shelley Yoon - Design Director

Shelley Yoon

Design Director

As the Design Director of Virgin Hotels, Shelley is responsible for defining the day to day implementation of the design vision and is "our design voice" at Virgin Hotels. She brings together her interior designer background and her passion for contemporary culture and design to develop and evolve what will be a unique Virgin Hotel product. Prior to joining Virgin Hotels, Shelley was a Senior Designer at Yabu Pushelberg and Rockwell Group. For over 8 years, she led the design of numerous hospitality projects and built an extensive Hotel Design experience, collaborating with Swire Properties, Four Seasons Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, Viceroy Hotel Group, and Starwood Capital Group. She also played a key role in the development of new brands such as Nobu Hotels. Shelley has a unique product design background and has launched collection lines with Baker Furniture, Kallista, McGuire and Tuohy whilst at Laura Kirar’s Studio in NY. Shelley received her undergraduate and associates degree in Toronto, Canada (BAH, DipID). Before relocating to the US, she worked in Public Relations & Marketing at Accor Hotels in Asia.

Clio Knowles - Vice President of People

Clio Knowles

Vice President of People

As the Vice President of People for Virgin Hotels, Clio's primary focus is developing a company culture that focuses on the Virgin brand values and celebrates our people. At Virgin, we believe that our employees are the key to an amazing customer experience and we recognize and reward that in our associates. During Clio’s most recent position as VP, Global Human Resources at Kerzner International, she designed and developed global human resource strategies that focused on attracting top talent to the business. Clio handled all HR matters related to the US and European offices, providing strategic guidance and support on labor relations issues, as well as leading the strategic development, implementation and management of recruitment, learning and development programs company-wide. Clio is passionate about people and creating an environment where employees work hard but also have fun. She is a Global Professional of Human Resources, SHRM and has a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Barry University, Miami, Florida.

Jefferson Thomas - Director of Architecture and Technical Services

Jefferson Thomas

Director of Architecture and Technical Services

As the Director of Architecture and Technical Services for Virgin Hotels, Jefferson is tasked to ensure that Virgin Hotel standards of quality, related to the physical product, and sustainability are achieved at each and every property. Jefferson delivers design and technical services to hotel owners in conjunction with the rollout of Virgin Hotels.

Jefferson's extensive hospitality experience includes 16 years with Marriott International in a variety of corporate capacities in design, construction, architecture and sustainability. He brings 28 years of architectural experience. At Marriott, Jefferson was responsible for the development of Marriott’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) volume program, working in conjunction with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the development of several Marriott brands. A LEED accredited professional, registered architect and certified project manager; Jefferson has provided change management expertise to companies, owners and franchisees in the hospitality industry and other commercial building types. He holds a Masters in Business Administration, a Master’s degree in Project Management, as well as a Bachelors degree of Architecture from Virginia Tech. He has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2006 and is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and the Project Management Institute.

Herbert Noll - Vice President of Accounting

Herbert Noll

Vice President of Accounting

As the Vice President of Accounting, Herbert is responsible for creating and implementing the accounting and finance structure that allows for growth and success for Virgin Hotels. In addition to that, Herbert’s focus will also be on implementing, directing and evaluating the financial operations activities of all Virgin Hotels to ensure compliance with applicable laws, policies, standard and procedures. 
Prior to joining Virgin Hotels, Herbert held Vice President of Finance positions for Interstate Hotels & Resorts, Noble Investment Group and US Standard Enterprises. In these positions, Herbert was responsible for the overall accounting and finance operation of up to 15 hotels and 3 Conference Centers throughout the USA. His strong involvement in the development and due-diligence process helped set-up these hotels for future success. His strategic and tactical leadership and directions to Ownership, Management Team and Hotels increased efficiencies and operational results. 

Herbert also held key operational and financial positions for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts both within the USA as well as internationally. 

David Moth

Vice President of Rooms 

David Moth started his hospitality career in Australia sorting linen in the basement of a hotel - as part of his high school work experience program - and immediately fell in love with the hotel business. After graduating from Ryde College in Sydney, David left Australia to broaden his horizons. That ongoing adventure has had him working in the UK for Trusthouse Forte, Virgin, and Malmaison; the Caribbean where he was Assistant Manager at Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Resident Manager at Rosewood’s Little Dix Bay, Resident Manager at Jalousie Plantation Resort and Spa, and General Manager of Nisbet Plantation Beach Club.

In 2001, David moved to the United States to manage the famed Tides Hotel in Miami Beach before spending over six years with Desires Hotels/Trust Hospitality in several General Manager roles including the Sagamore, the Strand and the Betsy hotels in Miami Beach, then becoming Vice President of Operations overseeing all hotels in the Trust Hospitality portfolio until coming back to the Virgin family as VP of Rooms at Virgin Hotels.