Leading with Passion

Robert Debono

Leading db Group’s Growth while balancing Innovation, Quality, Sustainability, and Exceptional Guest Experiences

In the world of hospitality, Robert Debono, CEO of db Group, stands as a driving force behind the company’s growth and success.

With a profound background in management and an innate passion for the industry, Robert has successfully overseen the rebranding and expansion of the Group’s restaurants. Moreover, he has spearheaded initiatives aimed at fostering sustainability and ensuring unparalleled guest experiences.

In this exclusive interview, Robert sheds light on his background, the challenges and opportunities of operating businesses in multiple countries, the Group’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, upcoming projects, key qualities for success in the hospitality industry, and their strategic positioning for the future.

Born into a family with a deep-rooted connection to the industry, Robert’s journey in hospitality began with his family starting a modest coffee shop, which gradually evolved into a small hotel. This early experience of his family’s journey instilled in him a deep appreciation for the sector.

Over time, the family business expanded to include renowned brands such as Hard Rock and Starbucks, with Robert’s expertise in Business Management playing a pivotal role in shaping their operations.

Operating businesses across multiple countries presents unique challenges and opportunities. To spearhead the Group’s international expansion, a family office was established in London, and a dedicated business manager was appointed.

Their first project in central London is the opening of a restaurant called AKI in a stunning building. Additionally, the Group is exploring opportunities in the UAE, a region brimming with immense potential.

With a steadfast commitment to sustainability, db Hotel Group has implemented a range of initiatives and practices. Beginning with small-scale efforts, they have progressed to incorporating improvements in building management systems and cost-saving measures related to electricity usage.

Additionally, they place significant emphasis on compliance with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards, with a firm focus on raising awareness and further enhancing sustainability efforts.

Setting themselves apart from other hotel chains, the db Group prioritizes trust in their workforce and provides them with the right guidelines. This approach ensures that quality remains at the forefront of their operations, cementing their reputation for excellent guest experiences. By maintaining high standards across all properties, db Hotel Group continuously strives to exceed expectations.

Looking ahead, the Group has a series of exciting projects completed and on the horizon. In addition to works on the London restaurant and a retail outlet at Malta Airport which has recently started operating, the Group has just opened a Chinese restaurant and a beach club in Sliema, near Valletta, and will shortly inaugurate a Spanish restaurant as well as the opening of more of Starbucks outlets.

In the coming months works will also commence on a mixed-use development in St George’s Bay. This ambitious venture includes a Hard Rock hotel, residential towers and a shopping mall.

Robert believes that offering the best at every price point is essential for success in the hospitality industry. Regardless of a guest’s budget, the group is dedicated to delivering exceptional experiences that leave a lasting impression.

To remain up to date with industry trends and best practices, db Hotel Group invests time in extensive reading and stays well-informed about the latest developments. They also draw inspiration and fresh ideas from the valuable input of those around them.

The Group now has an innovative app for their hotels, providing guests with convenient functions such as late checkout, restaurant and spa bookings, and check-in options. Moreover, their fully-fledged spa brand, Pearl Spas, offers a comprehensive range of treatments, saunas, and relaxation rooms.

In the face of changing industry landscapes, Robert acknowledges the challenge of adapting to increasing costs. To address this, the db Group ensure that any price adjustments are matched by the quality of their offerings.

By maintaining their focus on delivering exceptional guest experiences, investing in sustainable practices, and expanding their presence both domestically and internationally, db Hotel Group, under the leadership of Robert is poised to thrive and flourish in the dynamic and ever-evolving hospitality industry.

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