Pegasus Capital Advisors LP hired Neil Jacobs, former president of Starwood Capital Group LLC’s hotel unit, to run its Six Senses Resorts & Spas division as it seeks to expand the ultra-luxury brand.
Pegasus, a Cos Cob, Connecticut-based private-equity firm with about $2.7 billion in assets, purchased Six Senses in April. The company -- which currently has eight resorts in the Maldives, Thailand, Oman and Vietnam -- wants to expand to South America and potentially urban areas such as New York, Jacobs said in an interview.
“Our focus is South America right now but the U.S. is also on our mind,” he said. The parent company’s “ability to attract capital and their ability to co-invest is going to help us drive growth.”
Jacobs joined Six Senses as chief executive officer last month after spending five years as president of global hotel operations at Starwood Capital, the Greenwich, Connecticut-based investment firm run by Barry Sternlicht. Jacobs oversaw development of the company’s Baccarat and 1 Hotels brands, which are opening their first properties in the next two years.
Starwood said last week that it hired C. Scott Rohm as president of SH Group, its hotel brand management company. The firm has resuscitated the 1 Hotels brand in New York after halting construction in Seattle in late 2007 amid the U.S. credit crisis. Starwood plans five hotel openings in the next 24 months, including the 1 Hotel Central Park in New York and a Baccarat in Morocco.
Tom Johnson, a Starwood Capital spokesman with Abernathy MacGregor Group, declined to comment on Jacobs’s departure.
“My primary reason to leave Starwood was that I wanted to go back to Asia,” said Jacobs, who will be based in Bangkok and previously oversaw Four Seasons Hotels Inc.’s Asia-Pacific properties. “With Starwood, that wasn’t really possible. But I’m still good friends with Barry and will always look out for opportunities for him also.”
Six Senses, which operates 21 stand-alone spas in addition to its eight resorts, is looking to operate or have signed management contracts for as many as 40 hotels within five years, Jacobs said. In South America, it is pursuing locations in countries including Colombia and Ecuador.
The Six Senses properties have amenities such as private villas and infinity pools. At the Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives, villas perched above the ocean feature outdoor rain showers and sunken, all-glass bathtubs as well as private water gardens.
Sustainable Luxury Holdings Ltd, a newly formed company managed by Pegasus, will operate the resorts and spa assets. While Six Senses is looking to gain management contracts as opposed to buying the underlying real estate, the company is willing to contribute as much as 15 percent of equity should a project require it, according to Jacobs.
“We’re able to do that should that be something that plays a significant role to open the door,” Jacobs said.