LODGING Innovators: Doris Goh of Alila Hotels and Resorts

Doris Goh

The hotel industry is defined by its movers and shakers. Whether someone introduces an industry-disrupting technology or just executes a truly flawless renovation, those are the hoteliers and properties that people will remember. Every year, so much is accomplished by those in the hotel industry that it’s next to impossible to cover it all. In LODGING Luminaries, LODGING turns the spotlight on some of the people, properties, and companies that innovated in 2017.

Speaking recently to LODGING, Doris Goh, chief marketing officer of Alila Hotels and Resorts, describes a hospitality career that began with a degree in building science and interior architecture and led to the completion of a hugely successful Singapore hotel project. That, in turn, brought recognition that launched a successful career in hotel management and sales, a career she eventually found stultifying.

“I began to long for ‘the authentic travel experience,’” she says. “I wanted to bring back the romance and the excitement in the discovery of a destination and its people.”


Fortunately for her, a series of events—a conversation with a friend, a call from Alila CEO Frederic Flageat-Simon, and a meeting with its president, Mark Edleson—culminated in a job offer she couldn’t refuse, and placed her in the company of “like-minded, innovative individuals who want to make a difference.” She says, “They succeeded in getting me under the spell of Alila with the opportunity to start up a new brand based on the core values that we believe in. That, to me, was a chance of a lifetime to script our brand of surprisingly different hospitality experiences.”

With her help, they also succeeded in inducting key executives at both Ventana Big Sur (VBS) and its parent company Two Roads Hospitality into the “Alila Experience” through cross-cultural exchanges throughout Alila resorts. The recent opening of Ventana Big Sur, in Big Sur, Calif., she says, aligns with Two Roads’ international strategy to introduce Alila’s brand of innovative hospitality to the U.S. Ventana Big Sur—with unique features including a canopied rainforest—she says, reflects “the Alila hallmark of iconic bucket-list destinations,” which she describes as “a synergy in brand attributes and transformative experiences found throughout Alila resorts.”