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Grace Hotels Appoints New COO, Head of Americas

Thursday May 8th, 2014 - 1:23PM

PANAMA CITY, PANAMA—Grace Hotels has appointed Marco Novella as COO and Felipe Espinoza as Head of Americas. These two new roles have been created as the international boutique hotel group enters a significant period of expansion, prior to the opening of its latest hotel, Grace Panama.

Novella joins from Belmond (formerly Orient Express Hotels) where he held the position of General Manager of the Villa San Michele in Florence. An experienced senior professional with almost 20 years in the luxury hotel industry, Novella began his career in his native Italy at the Four Seasons in Milan.

Demonstrating a passion for the industry, he quickly progressed to a senior management level, joining Starwood Hotels & Resorts where he spent nine years. His roles with the group included General Manager of the renowned Gritti Palace in Venice.

Felipe Espinoza, taking up the newly-created role of Grace Hotels’ Head of Americas, joins from Rocco Forte Hotels where he was General Manager of Verdura Golf & Spa Resort in Sicily.

A Mexican national, Espinoza began his hospitality career at the age of 18 in Mexico City. After graduating from the Hotel Institute Montreux, Switzerland, he gained experience in a number of roles with Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula Hotels group and Orient Express, where he held the role of Managing Director of the Maroma Resort & Spa. He subsequently moved into asset management at Grupo Plan, a Mexican development company whose assets include the W Hotel in Mexico City, and Grupo Aleman, where he was responsible for managing a $100 million investment in a luxury resort in Mexico.