Jay Stein is Chief Executive Officer of Dream Hotel Group, overseeing the evolution and expansion efforts of the company and its portfolio of brands: Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal, Unscripted Hotels and its new By Dream Hotel Group collection of independent lifestyle hotels.
With over three decades in the industry and more than 20 years with Dream Hotel Group’s predecessor, Hampshire Hotels Management, Stein has held a variety of roles with both large and boutique hotel brands, including Hilton Worldwide, Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Doral Hotels.
Stein began his career in 1983 with Hilton Worldwide at the Vista International Hotel in the World Trade Center in New York City. After five years in F&B management, he joined Doral Hotels as Resident Manager for Doral Court and later became Managing Director for three Doral Hotels in New York City and stayed on as Area General Manager after Starwood acquired them. He joined Dream Hotel Group as Executive Vice President of Operations in 1995 and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2005, overseeing hotel operations and playing a vital role in the company’s expansion efforts. Stein was named Chief Executive Officer in 2015.
An engaged professional dedicated to making a difference, Stein is a true ambassador for the industry, having spoken on numerous panels at conferences worldwide and having served as adjunct professor for the Hospitality programs at NYC College of Technology and New York University.
Originally from Pasadena, CA, Damon has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. In high school Damon was voted most likely to become a CEO and his classmates proved to be prophetic as the currently helms as Chief Executive Officer of Homage Hospitality. Like many hoteliers, he grew to love hospitality as he rose through the ranks. Damon began his hospitality journey as a front desk agent at the Donovan House Hotel in Washington, DC while attending Howard University. He then moved into management at companies such as The Ritz-Carlton, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Dusit
International. After noticing a lack of African American brand ownership and leadership in higher management ranks, Damon created the Homage Hospitality brand in 2014 and currently oversees operations and creative direction. In July of 2018 Homage
Hospitality opened their first property “The Moor” in New Orleans, LA. The small property stands out with an emphasis on the culture of New Orleans and its relation to multicultural heritage of the North African Moors in its design and architecture. The nearly 100-year-old facade sports Spanish Colonial features, while inside, the four suites have rustic elements of exposed brick and hardwood floors softened with Moroccan patterned textiles. Homage will follow up their opening of The Moor with a 94 room boutique hotel in Oakland, CA called ‘Homage Oakland’ which will open summer of 2020.
Verena Haller joined Standard International from Equinox Hotels, where she informed the creation of the Brand, Design Vision and Guest Experience for its new concept. She began her hospitality career with Skidmore Owings & Merrill, refining & honing her hospitality and design knowledge. For over a decade, Verena has worked with leading brands, designing for The W, Four Seasons, and James hotels. Verena went on to join Ian Schrager as EVP of Architecture and Design, working on and opening a variety of Edition Hotels and The Public Chicago. She later partnered with Morgans Hotel Group as SVP of Design, defining the brand’s next steps. She opened properties in London, Las Vegas, Istanbul etc., utilizing her expertise to help create the brand as it is today.
Currently Chief Design Officer for Standard International, she is helping to expand The Standard label and brand worldwide, with their first international property opening in London later this year. Verena’s unique innovative vision and refined eye for detail has greatly contributed to the overall success in the expansion and evolution of The Standard.
With degrees in Architecture and Industrial Design, Aliya Khan brings 20 years of experience and her passion for furniture design and travel to her current position as the Vice President of Design Strategies. With a focus on AC Hotels, Aloft, Element and Moxy, she drives the effort to define the design strategy for the brands, and position each with a distinct personality.
As a part of her responsibilities, Aliya is charged with the next generation development of both Aloft and Element – in addition to continually refining the position of AC Hotels and Moxy – to support a growing global pipeline.
Prior to joining Marriott International, Aliya worked in numerous roles with Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She was the driving force behind several award-winning projects, including the opening of the W Montreal, renovations of the W Mexico City and the Le Meridien properties in French Polynesia, in addition to leading the design partnership effort between St. Regis Hotels and Bentley Motors. In addition to these notable projects, she led the renovation of the iconic St. Regis New York.
Most recently, before joining Marriot, Aliya took a break from the hotel industry to lead Design and Development for NeueHouse, including the opening of their award-winning location in Hollywood.
Having lived in six cities of the world, Aliya has now made her way to her new home in Washington, D.C.
Michael G. Medzigian is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Watermark Lodging Trust Inc. (“WLT”), a publicly-registered Real Estate Investment Trust. WLT was formed by the merger of Carey Watermark Investors Inc., and Carey Watermark Investors 2 Inc., both publicly-registered Real Estate Investment Trusts, for both of which Mr. Medzigian served as CEO and a Director since their inception. Mr. Medzigian is also Chairman and Managing Partner of Watermark Capital Partners, LLC (“WCP”). He has led some of the world’s largest real estate private equity funds and has overseen over $17 billion of investments. He was previously President and CEO of Lazard Freres Real Estate Investors and before that a Founding Partner of Olympus Real Estate Corporation, the real estate fund management affiliate of Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst. Earlier in his career he was President of Cohen Realty Services, he founded and was National Director of the Hospitality Consulting Practice at Deloitte & Touche, and he held various management positions with Marriott Corporation. He has served on numerous public and private boards and is a graduate of Cornell University.