st. regis director of restaurants keith career story
Courtesy of Keith T.

Name: Keith T.
Position: Director of Restaurants
Hotel: The St. Regis Red Sea Resort
Dream destination: Apart from my hometown of Dublin, of course, I hope to take a trip to Venice, Italy, to stay at The St. Regis Venice, one of the most iconic in the world!
Drink or treat of choice: An Irish Coffee!

The recently inaugurated St. Regis Red Sea Resort in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to remarkably exquisite dining options, which perfectly match the breathtaking nature and luxury that characterize this extraordinary resort. In this Arabian paradise is where Keith oversees operations at the resort’s unique dining outlets, from Tilina, a modern steakhouse that floats above an ocean reef, to Nesma, a shoreside Middle Eastern restaurant that highlights the best local ingredients.

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But Keith’s Marriott journey began far far away from the Red Sea. His first Marriott role was in his hometown of Dublin working as a Food and Beverage associate at the historic Shelbourne Hotel (part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection). During his time at The Shelbourne, he got the opportunity to work alongside and learn from some of the very best hospitality professionals his city had to offer.

“I found myself surrounded with associates that had decades of experience in some of the finest hotels and establishments in the world,” he recalls. “I used this time to extract as much knowledge and understanding of the industry from my peers to grow my own experience.”

Following that experience, Keith decided to move on to work in fine dining restaurants, as he had always had the lifetime goal of working in a Michelin-starred restaurant, and more specifically be a part of the process in achieving one.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

“I had the opportunity to be Restaurant Manager in the Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, where I was responsible for the operations of The House Restaurant which held one Michelin star and four AA Rosettes (the United Kingdom’s equivalent of the James Beard awards for culinary excellence),” he recalls.

A few years later, Keith had the chance to work as a General Manager at Glovers Alley, the newly opened restaurant at The Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin, alongside chef Andy McFadden. Their goal was to lead a brand-new restaurant team to become one of the city’s top dining venues and win a Michelin Star for the first time. And they did! On February 16, 2022, the dream became a reality when they received a call from a representative from the Michelin Guide awarding them the distinguished accord. After hitting that milestone, Keith was promoted to Hotel Manager of the iconic property.

When he summed up a decade of working at the top of the hospitality game in Ireland, Keith knew it was time for a big and bold next move.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

“I wanted to further grow and develop my skills, and international experience was something I was lacking,” he says. “I reached out to the General Manager at The St. Regis Red Sea Resort. We spoke and he reinforced that my decision to move abroad was the correct thing to do at this point in my career and he then allowed me to join his team as Director of Restaurants at the St. Regis Red Sea Resort. I relished the chance to return to Marriott International where my hospitality career once began.”

Learn more about Keith’s international journey in his own words below.

What attracted you to want to work at Marriott, vs a more traditional restaurant or culinary space?

After having started my career with Marriott, I was always looking forward to making a return when the opportunity presented itself. The reason behind this was the deeply rooted core value “Put People First”. This value resonated with me for many reasons, it was something I never forgot.

I remember the first time I received a promotion in my career, from Food and Beverage associate to supervisor. The first day in the new position I was nervous about how I would perform with the responsibility of leading a team for the first time. I spoke to my father the night before, he mentioned to me the Marriott core value of “Put people first “and treat others as you wish to be treated. The advice he shared pushed me to be the best leader I could be. I made sure to be the best version of myself so I could help others grow and succeed. I was excited to join Marriott as I wanted to be surrounded by culture and a team that puts people first.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

How would you describe the culture?

Empowering and rewarding. In my current role, I am given the support and right resources to carry out my duties. This may seem like stating the obvious, but it is not always the case. At The St. Regis Red Sea Resort, we are given the full support of our senior management team to not only fulfill our capabilities but to also continue to grow and develop. Marriott also has a great reward system to recognize and reward employees for their hard work and commitment.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

What is your favorite part of the job?

It’s hard to point out one single part of the job that I enjoy most when working in such an incredible environment. If I had to pick one it would be being able to work with people that are striving for excellence and share a common goal to push the boundaries every day. It is a very powerful force when a cohort of driven and like-minded people are in the pursuit of breaking new ground in luxury hospitality. This is what we are doing here in Saudi Arabia, The St. Regis Red Sea Resort is the first island resort to open in the country!

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

What does a good day at work look like for you?

Our daily goal is to ‘Make the Everyday Exquisite’ here at St. Regis. Each day I encourage my team to use their individuality and personality to assist them in creating unforgettable memories for our guests. We are all from different backgrounds and cultures, and we can use this in our daily tasks to ensure that each guest receives a bespoke experience, while the culture of St. Regis stays consistent. A great day of work is when each guest leaves the property with a memorable experience, with a smile on their face, knowing they received the highest level of service that St. Regis has to offer.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

Tell us about a time you were incredibly proud of your team.

Recently, I and numerous members of my team were part of the pre-opening Countdown of The St. Regis Riyadh. I had multiple team members operating in the hotel on Task Force roles throughout the countdown to opening. As we began to leave and fly back to the Red Sea to return to our property, I received several comments about how professional and hard-working my team was and that I was very lucky to have a team of such talented hospitality professionals. Receiving such comments from senior members of Marriott made me incredibly proud and thankful for my team.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

What surprised you most about working for Marriott?

Transparency. Initially, when you start working for such a large company, you believe that there may not be an inclusive work environment. This was not the case; it was made clear to me from the very beginning that Marriott values all associates’ opinions regardless of seniority or length of service in the company. Everyone has a voice; everyone is listened to. The culture Marriott has built is based on inclusion and transparency. It’s been a pleasure to see this in action and I’m proud to be part of the Marriott family.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

Which of Marriott’s values resonate most with you?

“We Serve our World.» The core value related to sustainability and social impact is an area that has always been at the forefront of my mind when it comes to operating a hotel. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to look after the planet we live on. Working in the Red Sea Global Project has allowed me to participate in the opening of a world-class luxury resort hotel in an environmentally conscious manner. This project is striving to set a new standard of responsible and sustainable development worldwide. That means delivering for employees, visitors, residents, and communities, as well as protecting our planet. This includes powering our hotel by 100% renewable energy sources, growing more than 30 million plants, and achieving net zero operations by 2030.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

How would you describe your experience as an associate?

Inspiring! The chance to work every day with incredibly talented and passionate people. Here at The St. Regis Red Sea, I’m surrounded by people who really care about what they do. I see the senior leaders in the management team who started in similar positions to me growing within the company to bigger roles and this motivates and encourages me to continuously improve. I am proud to say that I am a part of the Marriott team and the family spirit that we have here.

st. regis director of restaurants keith career story

Courtesy of Keith T.

How have you used the Marriott Explore Rate?

I have used it on multiple occasions since arriving here in Saudi Arabia. A fantastic perk of being a Marriott associate is the discounts on stays in some of the world’s most luxurious hotels. This also allows us as hospitality professionals to grow our knowledge of other luxury brands in the Marriott portfolio. It also encourages us to connect and grow our network with other Marriott associates all around the globe, which further reinforces our teamwork culture. The Explore Rate has helped me stay at some of the most iconic hotels and create unforgettable memories throughout my journey.

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