Middle Eight appoints senior team ahead of May opening


UK: Shiva Hotels has announced the senior team for its latest boutique property, set to open on Covent Garden’s Great Queen Street in spring this year.

Offering 180 rooms, including 12 suites, and several food and beverage outlets, Middle Eight is the most recent venture of Shiva Hotels’ founder, Rishi Sachdev.

At the helm is general manager Christian Graf, who has close to 15 years of experience working in managerial roles. Previous positions were held at the Millennium Bailey’s Hotel and the Millennium Hotel London Knightsbridge. 

As head of people and culture, Melanie Heavern will be responsible for taking care of employee wellbeing. She has held several key positions across the hospitality sector, having spent a decade with Hilton Worldwide. 

Eva Maria Varela, director of sales and marketing, has over 20 years of experience in the global hospitality industry. Coming to the position from Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, Varela has held various senior positions at other hotels including Melia Zanzibar and Melia Serengeti Lodge.

Julian Zeneli, director of food and beverage, will oversee the hotel’s bar, restaurant and basement bar, as well as its live events space. Prior to Middle Eight, Zeneli founded the 60-seater Julian’s Kitchen in Notting Hill, and before setting up his own business he was general manager of The Garden House Restaurant in Surrey.

Heading the kitchen is executive chef Paul Robinson, who latterly oversaw the The Coal Shed restaurant in Tower Bridge. Before this, Robinson was head chef at Temper Restaurants and worked alongside Neil Rankin in Soho before leading the opening team at the Covent Garden site. 

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