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Global hospitality expert joins Northern Xplorer team

Ivaylo Lefterov is a US and UK-trained architect and expert in property planning and development
Oslo-based Northern Xplorer (NX), which signed a LOI with West Sea for a 300-passenger cruise ship due in 2027, recruited travel industry innovator Ivaylo Lefterov as its executive advisor and for its on-board hotel brand implementation.

With over 20 years of experience in luxury hotel development and management, Lefterov has experience covering the planning and establishment of small boutique hotels and large-scale resorts in collaboration with luxury brands such as Rosewood Hotels, Nobu Hotels and Six Senses in locations as diverse as Norway, Iceland, Bulgaria, Italy and Texas.

‘We're thrilled to welcome such a valuable resource within hotel operations and development of hospitality offerings on board our vessels,’ NX CEO Rolf A Sandvik said.

‘We really look forward to leveraging Ivaylo's expertise and insight in developing new business models and premium hospitality products from initial concept to daily operations. His strong focus on immersive guest experiences, service empathy and operational sustainability matches our own vision and he's a great addition to our team.’

Pushing the boundaries

Lefterov commented: ‘I am passionate about pushing the boundaries in the travel industry and am convinced NX will provide a pioneering cruising blueprint for independent-minded travellers combining energy efficiency, minimal impact on the environment and superb hospitality,’ said Lefterov.

‘It's all about delivering a truly memorable journey rooted in great design, quality of service and value for money,’ the luxury hotel veteran said.

NX signed a letter of intent with Portuguese shipbuilder West Sea for the first in what it hopes will be a series of 300-passenger ships with delivery of the maiden vessel slated for 2027.

Fully electric propulsion

The ground-breaking ship will feature fully electric propulsion, including energy storage and hydrogen fuel-cell systems, that will enable to it to sail emissions-free in the Norwegian fjords and further afield.

Based in Lisbon, Lefterov is a US- and UK-trained architect and expert in property planning and development, both on the client side and as principal of his own international resort development and management company. Together with partners Svart, SharpEnd and Solice Health, he is currently masterminding a new customised concept ('Svart Touch') that aims to redefine luxury health and wellness hospitality.