St. Regis Director of F&B career story
Courtesy of Melih E.

Name: Melih E.
Position: Director of Food & Beverage
Hotel: The St. Regis Longboat Key
Dream Destination: Japan and Korea
Drink or treat of choice: Negroni

From Sarasota to Riyadh, Jakarta, and St. Thomas, Melih has traveled the world working at some of the most luxurious properties around the globe — all before landing on one of Florida’s pristine west coast beaches as a part of the pre-opening team at The St. Regis Longboat Key.

The resort’s prime coastal location is nestled where the Gulf of Mexico waters meet Sarasota’s most coveted barrier island. It features an unforgettable private beach, an oceanfront spa, a saltwater lagoon, exquisite restaurants, and, of course, a St. Regis-level promise of exquisite, personalized service.

For Melih, the best part of being a part of this resort’s pre-opening team is the pride, and the feeling like he owns part of the final result.

→ The St. Regis Longboat Key Is Hiring Across Departments! Browse Positions at the Soon-to-Open Florida Resort

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see the hotel come to life from the ground up and knowing that you played a crucial role in its success,” he says. “The camaraderie and teamwork that comes with being part of a pre-opening team is truly special and creates a strong bond among team members.”

Many Marriott associates agree that one of the best, unexpected perks of joining a hotel pre-opening team is getting to know the area and soak in the local culture. Melih agrees.

“I have been able to immerse myself in the culture and community of the area, which has been a truly enriching experience,” he says. “From visiting local museums to meeting with talented craftsmen, I have gained a deeper understanding of the unique charm and character of the city. It has been a valuable and unexpected aspect of being a part of the pre-opening team at St. Regis LBK.”

St. Regis Director of F&B career story

Courtesy of Melih E.

To learn more about Melih’s unique experience and how to join his team in Florida, keep reading below.

When you are interviewing talent for your team, what do you look for most?

I want someone open to feedback, adaptable, and able to work well in a team. Communication skills and the ability to problem-solve are also crucial. I value individuals who are passionate, driven and have a strong work ethic.

What advice do you have for those who want to join you at the new resort?

This is the most anticipated opening of the year. Being excited, open to challenges, striving for excellence and innovation, and having a strong passion for hospitality are key qualities when working at the new St. Regis LBK resort. It’s important to be adaptable and willing to go above and beyond to exceed guest expectations.

St. Regis Director of F&B career story

Courtesy of Melih E.

What is the pre-opening vibe at The Longboat Key before it opens?

Welcoming and inclusive. The hotel is buzzing with anticipation as we prepare to welcome our first guests, and collaboration is at maximum level. Every team member is encouraged to bring their unique skills and ideas to the table, creating a dynamic environment open to innovation. The culture at St. Regis LBK fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment, where everyone feels valued and appreciated. It truly feels like a family working together to deliver exceptional experiences for our guests.

How do you build team spirit before the hotel receives its first guests?

There are special events and activities organized for pre-opening associates to build team camaraderie and foster a sense of excitement and anticipation for the grand opening. These events can range from team-building exercises to behind-the-scenes tours of the property. This is a time for associates to come together, bond, and prepare for the momentous occasion of the St. Regis LBK opening.

St. Regis Director of F&B career story

Courtesy of Melih E.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

Being part of this, one of the most anticipated openings of the year, and contributing to the success of the St. Regis LBK has been the proudest moment of my career so far. It has been incredibly rewarding. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing team and to play a role in creating unforgettable experiences for our guests.

→ Marriott Is Hiring! Find What You’re Looking For in a Career