BD Hotels appoints Gharbie to boost The Pod Hotels expansion

George Sell By George Sell
17 April 2019 | Updated 17 April 2019

US: BD Hotels has appointed Rani Gharbie as head of acquisitions and development for The Pod Hotels, its micro-hotel concept.

The Pod Hotels currently has five properties in the portfolio, three of which opened over the past two years (the brand's flagship Pod Times Square opened in January 2018; Pod DC and Pod Brooklyn opened in 2017), with the brand recently announcing two more hotels in the direct pipeline (Pod Philly opening in fall 2019 and Pod LA in 2020).

Gharbie is tasked with replicating the business model in key markets including Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Boston, Nashville, Seattle, Montreal, Toronto, and Mexico City, among others. Gharbie formerly oversaw development and acquisitions for North America at Virgin Hotels where he actively contributed to grow the brand's footprint in key markets.

Working closely with BD Hotels owners Richard Born and Ira Drukier, Gharbie will be responsible for identifying potential investment opportunities and bringing together strategic partners and investors to fund future projects in numerous markets. He will leverage BD Hotels' expertise in hotel development, investment and operations to expand The Pod Hotels brand across the country and eventually globally.

"Rani joins us at a pivotal time as we scale The Pod Hotels portfolio exponentially in North America" said Born. "He will undoubtedly be a tremendous asset as he brings over 20 years of experience in hotel acquisitions, development and operation."

"I'm looking forward to expanding the profitable model Richard and Ira created to key markets nationwide," said Gharbie. "I see great growth potential for the brand as there is an increased desire from today's travellers to stay at smart, innovative brands like The Pod Hotels."

Prior to joining Virgin Hotels, Gharbie was the managing director and founder at Cedar Funds, a New York City-based development and investment firm with a focus on hotel and real estate assets, as well as regional director of development with IHG. In addition, Gharbie is an adjunct professor at Columbia's Masters in Real Estate Development program, where he teaches the spring course Private Equity Development, Hotel Focus. He holds a Masters Degree from the program, an MBA from the HEC Business School in Montreal, a Bachelor degree in Hotel Management from the Glion Hotel School in Switzerland, and a Certificate in Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management from Cornell University in New York.

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