• Virgin Hotels Appoints Shammas Vice President

    POSTED November 3, 2022

Development and hospitality management expert brings more than 30 years of experience to Virgin Hotels.

Virgin Hotels, the luxury-lifestyle hotel brand owned by Sir Richard Branson, is welcomed Leslie J. Shammas as vice president of development services. Shammas will be responsible for garnering partner relationships with key stakeholders on an international and domestic level. Stakeholders include developers, engineers, architects, designers, and more. Shammas will spearhead various initiatives with the goal of ensuring hotel projects are successfully achieved with brand, in budget, and on schedule. With a passion in project development and innovation, Shammas brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in project design and management, owner relations, and brand development. She will work closely with Teddy Meyer, Virgin Hotels’ vice president of design and creative director.

Prior to Virgin Hotels, Shammas served as a Development Services Consultant at Montage International. From 2017 to 2020, she worked for Canyon Ranch Wellness Resorts, with the Design and Development team. Starting as the global director and later becoming vice president, she spearheaded design endeavors. Shammas provided design and construction leadership for all architectural and interior renovations at existing properties, while simultaneously lending her support on new development and acquisitions for proposed properties. Before her work at Canyon Ranch, Shammas spent eleven years at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. As the executive director of design and construction, she provided owners and developers with support throughout the planning and building of new properties, major renovations, and resort residential projects, both domestically and internationally. During her time there, she established expectations and standards for every property to be aligned with the brand ethos.  Prior to that, Shammas was a senior associate at WATG Architects, an international hospitality firm, where she managed numerous projects and brands throughout the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome Leslie to the team,” says James Bermingham, CEO of Virgin Hotels. “Her expertise and extensive background in representing both ownership and brand operators bring value to each project while supporting on budgets and schedules throughout the process.”

Shammas holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from California Polytechnic University. In 2010, she managed the Fairmont Pittsburgh project, which became the first LEED Gold Hotel in the U.S. Shammas went on to be recognized as an industry hospitality and spa expert who has spoken at Boutique Design West, Hospitality Design Expo, and ALIS Conferences. Shammas also recently obtained a WELL AP Certification. 

We’re well past the halfway mark when it comes to business travel returning to pre-pandemic levels and the recovery will continue to gain strength in 2023. Those are the findings from a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), a leading organization serving the business travel industry. 


The numbers are in for the 11th edition of IMEX America held Oct. 10-13 at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. While last year’s show was a reunion of sorts for the meetings and events industry, this year it was a business-fueled gathering. 

About 12,000 people participated in IMEX America, including over 4,000 buyers. The 2022 show was 45% bigger than last year, due to an easing of travel restrictions along with 40% of returning exhibitors signing up for more booth space. 


Sitting at the corner of Chartres Street and St. Louis Street, the Napoleon House exudes and exhibits French history in a way that “suspends you in time,” says Executive Chef Chris Montero. The historic building’s first occupant was New Orleans Mayor Nicholas Girod from 1812 to 1815, notably offering refuge to Napoleon Bonaparte, from whom the building gets its name, during his exile. Though he never arrived, the name stuck.